Author Devin Grayson Shares Two of Her Passions: Comics and Cody
If you have ever read a comic book, watched a movie based on a comic book character, or attended Comic-Con, chances are you have encountered Devin Grayson’s work. What many don’t know is that in addition to writing superhero stories, Devin has type 1 diabetes and lives with her own personal superhero, her hypoglycemic medical-alert dog Cody.
As an author, Devin has worked on stories for iconic characters including Batman, Catwoman, the X-Men and Nightwing (who started his superhero life as Batman’s sidekick, Robin). When asked about her initial interest in comic books, she shared the story about her inspiration and how it grew into her career.
“I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and was a theater-geek. I was very serious about it and had some great opportunities to train with amazing people. But theater frustrated me because the characters were so scripted and I wanted a more dynamic relationship with them.”
Her desire to bring life to characters manifested itself in an assignment for her college sociology class, which required her to recount a story about someone who had inspired her. Devin chose, instead, to create a fictional character named Flynn, who trekked through Africa and ended up falling off a waterfall singing ‘Que Sera, Sera.’
“In my mind, it couldn’t have been any crazier and I thought I was going to flunk,” Devin shared. What she found, after reading the paper aloud to the class, was that the audience was actually in tears because they thought the story was real.
Comic books weren’t even on her radar at that point though. Her interest in animated characters was sparked one day while she was watching a television episode of ‘Batman: The Animated Series.’
“I was immediately drawn to the relationship between Batman and Robin. Here was Batman, who is heroic and amazing, but still a bit insane, and he’s raising Robin, who is cheerful and gregarious. I was drawn to that relationship and wanted to explore it more and found that their original medium was comics.”
This very exploration fueled her deep interest of comics and eventually led her to pick up the phone to call DC Comics, the pubishers of Batman and Robin.
“I got a receptionist and asked to be put in touch with whoever was in charge of Batman, and the next thing I knew I was on the phone with Denny O’Neil.”
Devin then quit her day job and moved to New York when she accepted DC Comics’ offer to work on the Catwoman series. Since then, she has written stories for a wide variety of characters, including her own Batman book.
“Writing Batman: Gotham Knights was the pinnacle of everything I wanted to do with Batman. The feeling that I made this happen with sheer adoration and that I let that passion carry me into this career was really amazing.”
Devin’s passion isn’t limited to her career, however. It also comes through loud and clear when she discusses her experience with diabetes, and particularly when she talks about her personal superhero, Cody.
“I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 15 years old and there was a huge learning curve for me. For about 10 years, I didn’t really think much about it. I always took insulin, but I don’t really remember when it fit in or how it was part of my life.” Around her 20th diaversary, she started to feel the effects and had a wakeup call.
“I found an organization that offered hypoglycemic medical-alert service dogs. I thought it was amazing because they could smell changing blood sugar and let you know before you are impacted by the low.”
Intrigued, Devin began getting involved with Dogs4Diabetics and after about a year, was gifted Cody. “He is a golden retriever and is my personal medical-alert dog, and he is so charming and has a beautiful smile. He’s like a permanent +10 to my charisma. When I take him to a store or a restaurant, he behaves politely. He does his job.”
When asked about how her fans respond to Cody, she explained, “Cody gives me the opportunity to talk about my diabetes in a positive way.” At comic conventions, he’ll rest under the table while she interacts with fans. “Every once in a while, though, he’ll poke his nose up from under the table and it gives me a chance to talk about him and it’s amazing how people respond.”
Devin explained that things change when Cody takes off his service vest, but he’s always on duty. “When it comes off, he becomes the silliest, goofiest, ball-obsessed golden retriever who loves swimming and is crazy about kids. But he’s always paying attention and I had to learn to listen to his instincts and trust that he senses the changes in my body long before I’m aware of them.”
Devin explained that Cody has helped her make a complete change in her approach to living with diabetes. She continues her volunteer work with an organization called Early Alert Canines, a group that not only trains alert dogs, but also skilled companion dogs who serve younger kids under the age of 12.
“Being part of the organization and watching other peoples’ lives transform is amazing, especially those families with kids. There are a couple of families that have multiple children with diabetes and those parents just never got to sleep.” She explained that putting a dog in the home and allowing the dog to help the family is an amazing feeling.
I want to thank Devin for sharing her story and Cody’s. Whether it’s writing comics or working with organizations like Early Alert Canines, her passion vividly stands out in the stories she shares.
All the best,
Disclosure: Devin Grayson received no compensation for this post. All opinions contained in this post reflect those of the interviewee, and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.
Batman, Catwoman, Nightwing and Robin are all registered trademarks of DC Comics.
X-Men is a registered trademark of Marvel Comics.