SAY comic books and the adventures of superheroes and humorous characters usually spring to mind.

But now, a Beano and Dandy illustrator is using a comic format to tell the stories of the homeless in Scotland's biggest city.

The first episode of the cartoon series Heartbreak Hotel is published tomorrow in The Pavement, a monthly free magazine for the homeless across Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and the West Midlands.

The cartoon is based on life in Glasgow's homeless hostels and has been drawn by Mike Donaldson, who usually works on the world famous Beano and Dandy comics.

He spoke to people who had been homeless before putting pen to paper. Donaldson said the strip was a way to tell stories of homelessness in an accessible way.

He said: "The stories were mostly of survival and squalor. But there were also tales of human warmth, and humour in the face of adversity.

"So I set about turning the ­reality of their accounts into, I hope, a compelling fictionalised narrative."

He added: "You could call it a graphic docu-drama. I'm looking to do justice to the folks who have lived these often harrowing lives, and to tell their stories in as truthful a way as possible."

Graphic novels are becoming a mainstream literary form, with Glasgow's Freight Books publishing graphic novels such Dougie's War about a Scottish soldier with PTSD and a graphic novel about refugees which included collaborations with Irvine Welsh and Denise Mina.

The Glasgow-based Word On The Street group, which has direct experience of homelessness, helped develop the new cartoon strip.

Karin Goodwin, editor of The Pavement, said the strip was devised by those who had first-hand experience of hostel life.

She added: "The stories they told - mostly of the old-style hostels which have long since been decommissioned - were always evocative, sometimes harrowing, often funny and at times surprisingly touching. We wanted to use these in a way that chimed with people who'd had similar experiences to them.

"Heartbreak Hotel aims to combine entertainment with some serious messages about how to treat people well whether they are homeless or not."