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Graphic novel inspired by real world programming hacks, tutorials and hardware components, authored by 15 year industry veteran.
Explore the culture of software and hardware hacking with this one of a kind experience designed to keep newbs & hardcore engineers continuously inspired and aware of the most important concepts in the STEM field.
Explore the culture of software and hardware hacking with this one of a kind experience designed to keep newbs & hardcore engineers continuously inspired and aware of the most important concepts in the STEM field.
577 backers pledged $17,858 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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The Boy and the Computer

$17,858

577

Please email me directly if you'd like to discuss ways I can improve franchino@problemspaces.com
Please email me directly if you'd like to discuss ways I can improve franchino@problemspaces.com
The Boy & the Computer has brought together top artists from all over the world.
The Boy & the Computer has brought together top artists from all over the world.

The Boy and the Computer is the first graphic novel of its kind and offers a unique educational opportunity for anyone that wants to learn about and play with innovative technology. It incorporates existing tech, offering them a way into the Internet of Things. Using QR codes, Arduinos, Raspberry Pis, and hands-on tutorials, readers learn with the characters as they vividly experience real hacker culture.

What you are buying as a backer!

We are creating a graphic novel, a soft and hard cover book filled with comic book style pages. We think that graphic novels are a highly under-appreciated and lesser known medium for teaching. Our first volume will contain over 150 pages of action packed adventure, learning, hacks and interactive content. 

Stretch Goal Swag - Let’s hit it! 

$15k   3 stickers and 5 promo cards for all backers! 

$20k   Character decals for all backers at or above $19 – Kickstarter Exclusive! 

How this all got started...

Francesco Pinto (aka Franchino) started Gamifyed in 2013 as he tried to teach his three children computer science (2nd, 3rd and 4th grade). Now, he's making it his mission to help other parents inspire their kids to get more involved. He says the number one issue is that we don't provide kids with enough context around why they should learn computer science.

 “It was impossible. I simply could not get the buy-in amongst my kids. They refused to willingly spend time on it no matter how much I incentivized it. It was too intangible for them.”

Author and creator, Franchino is the a real world computer programmer and designer
Author and creator, Franchino is the a real world computer programmer and designer


Eventually he discovered the reasons why they were reluctant:

  • It felt like more school work to them. It wasn’t as cool to them as it was to their father
  • The digital natives were more interested in playing traditional video games and sports
  • His kids had no context of why they should spend time studying computer science. The benefits and opportunity were not clear to them

A programmer, HCI designer and user researcher by trade, Franchino quickly saw the opportunity in this crisis. He began asking other parents what their views were on the matter and found that most parents had similar goals and frustrations, with no solution at hand.

“These kids were practically born with iPhones and tablets in their hands. They don’t care about how they are made, programmed or what impact the underlying technology can have on their future. They take technology for granted.”

Franchino's three children are digital natives
Franchino's three children are digital natives

Franchino isn’t just talking about learning to code apps either. He’s talking about ECE, an emerging field that bundles electrical engineering, computer sciences, the internet of things and more.

“Today you can put your skin cells on a chip and analyze them with a Pi. You can remote control a live beetle with diodes and some code. There will be 50 billion IoT objects online by 2020. Even your soccer ball will soon have a MEMS chip and a tiny wifi module that can tell your phone how much force or spin you kicked the ball with. I wan to start educating kids early on about the future of ECE by way of story telling.”

Last year, Franchino quit his job and developed this graphic novel so he could share his experience and ignite students’ passions for designing and building their own projects. “I began authoring parts of a graphic novel illustrating the life of a young hacker using the likeness of my oldest son, Frankie Jr. I like to think I combined lots of action with real world hacks and technology. Every chip, hardware part, code snippet and brand in the book is real, nothing is masked.”

Franchino found success in doing this and his kids are now eager to learn on their own and are fascinated with hacking and hardware. “I’ve given the materials to other parents and the results are in, this definitely could work.”

Franchino and John Richard have been working on The Boy & the Computer since April 2015
Franchino and John Richard have been working on The Boy & the Computer since April 2015

 Much progress has already been made!

The first draft of the graphic novel was tested amongst a controlled group of 15 students in August of 2015
The first draft of the graphic novel was tested amongst a controlled group of 15 students in August of 2015
Opening scene of the main character, Gou, as he sets his on the Raspberry Pi for the first time.
Opening scene of the main character, Gou, as he sets his on the Raspberry Pi for the first time.


World leaders express their views on why kids should get started earlier.

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Franchino explains some of the philosophy behind why he started his company
Franchino explains some of the philosophy behind why he started his company
Franchino uses inspiration from his personal career to illuminate the politics in the tech and startup industry.
Franchino uses inspiration from his personal career to illuminate the politics in the tech and startup industry.
Many of the characters are real people Franchino has worked with. Practically every cast member will teach you about computer science.
Many of the characters are real people Franchino has worked with. Practically every cast member will teach you about computer science.
Franchino has even used his own children as models that represent typical American household behaviors.
Franchino has even used his own children as models that represent typical American household behaviors.
Unlike other tech inspired comic books and graphic novels, The Boy and the Computer does not mask brands or concepts with fake alternatives
Unlike other tech inspired comic books and graphic novels, The Boy and the Computer does not mask brands or concepts with fake alternatives


Earlier character sheets profiling real world industry professionals, hackers, designers and prodigies to understand their reactions, expressions and thought process. All of these people will come together to teach the reader important lessons, give clues and help the reader memorize important concepts which could make the difference in real life.

Here are some early examples of our sketches:

Here is Gou, the main character. You can get a sense for his intellectual capacity by the faces he makes and his reactions to people and his environment.
Here is Gou, the main character. You can get a sense for his intellectual capacity by the faces he makes and his reactions to people and his environment.
Here is Gou's father who's been discouraged from the technology industry by local entrepreneurial, disparaging zealots Chad and Deric
Here is Gou's father who's been discouraged from the technology industry by local entrepreneurial, disparaging zealots Chad and Deric
Tara is Gou's crush although older and extremely mischevious, she is one of the only characters who is not a hacker or technology industry type
Tara is Gou's crush although older and extremely mischevious, she is one of the only characters who is not a hacker or technology industry type
Dr. Winslow is one of Gou's many advisors. Gou meets with Dr. Winslow at the University of Chicago to be inspired
Dr. Winslow is one of Gou's many advisors. Gou meets with Dr. Winslow at the University of Chicago to be inspired
Ladybug is an MIT hardware hacker who plays hard to get with Gou and is reluctant to help him for a variety of reasons.
Ladybug is an MIT hardware hacker who plays hard to get with Gou and is reluctant to help him for a variety of reasons.
The Rabbi in many cases, helps Gou understand the gravity of many situations and uses analogies from the Torah to guide Gou
The Rabbi in many cases, helps Gou understand the gravity of many situations and uses analogies from the Torah to guide Gou
Nōn, Gou's brother is an athlete. Each cast member supports Gou in a unique way.
Nōn, Gou's brother is an athlete. Each cast member supports Gou in a unique way.

 TSHIRTS!!!!!

The Node, a small computer that Gou builds along with the reader, is called the Node.
The Node, a small computer that Gou builds along with the reader, is called the Node.
What's a function?
What's a function?
Hardware hacker
Hardware hacker

Our timeline is simple, we don't want to overcomplicate it. We will send our final edited version to print ninja in April 1st (our 1 year anniversary). The copies will arrive by sea a month later and begin shipping May 15th. Our supply chain and distribution facility is in place, we simply need demand. 

Great conversation starter!
Great conversation starter!

Risks and challenges

Our publishing house, supply chain and consumer distribution platform is in place. The greatest challenge is to grow the confidence needed to fulfill this project. We think that everyone wants this but until we establish a real base of subscribers, we won't know for sure.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Get 1 copy of the first edition digitally. Digital edition will be formatted as a downloadable PDF and as an interactive app for the mobile web and eventually available on iOS and Android. Digital owners will be one of the first to receive the Graphic Novel / Comic Book. Although one day we would like our releases to be publicly available, free of charge online, we'd like to control this in the beginning, not to mention we need your support!

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    Pledge $17 or more About $17

    Early bird access. Be the first to get the Graphic Novel and have it signed by the creators! We can only sign so many copies. Get a bonus swag package of mixed stickers. This price is dangerously close to our cost so we are limiting it to the first 1,000 backers.

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    Pledge $19 or more About $19

    Get a physical and digital copy of The Boy and the Computer in June 2016, just in-time for summer. Also, for your support, get a swag pack with 5 awesome stickers including Gou and his companion, the Node.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Digital Early Bird edition (June) plus the physical book and 3 digital invites for your friends. Get 5 premium large laptop stickers for sticker bombing and one random expansion pack!

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    Pledge $35 or more About $35

    New: International Shipping Saver! We've created a special package for international customers after finally negotiating our final shipping costs with USPS. We're offering you TWO physical soft bound copies and 5 stickers by end of JUNE! We've kept the shipping cost at our exact cost, $22.50 for up to 2lbs. Also, act or upgrade now and we'll send you the digital content beginning in MAY, so you don't have to wait!

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    Get 2 copies of the graphic novel and a swag package filled with 10 stickers of the cast of characters. We will be taking photos of the stickers in the coming weeks for all to see, they will be awesome!

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    Pledge $55 or more About $55

    Two autographed copies to your door in June! If we have to autograph copies until our wrists fall off, it'll be worth it for us. We will autograph a page dedicated to you or your child with a special message helping to encourage and promote computer science and programming. This package will include 8 awesome stickers for your laptop and early bird access to the content via digital download in May.

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    New. Early Bird Package! A lot of folks want the content asap, so we are making a commitment to begin shipping content as it becomes available, beginning in April, for those who choose this package or upgrade. Expect 5-10 digital chapters to be released by end of April and to get a full digital copy by end of May. When the official book is ready for print, we will send you two copies in the mail (both autographed) sometime in June. We'll also toss in a sticker swag package and a t-shirt for your support! The content's too good, we gotta get it out there.

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Get 5 copies for you and friends. Get 2 swag packages and one autographed copy by Franchino and John Richards, the author and illustrator. Get your copy before everyone else. Get a t-shirt, the swag package and first dibs on the digital editions.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Teacher bundle! Teachers, olly olly oxen free, we've got 15 copies of the book for you, a Raspberry Pi Zero and an Arduino, the early digital edition, a deluxe swag bundle for your students and a t-shirt for you, teach. Backers will get special attention in our communications to help guide you through our research and best practices in learning.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Become our original angel group on Kickstarter and get early access to all our content as it's produced and be a part of our focus group. Get 50 copies of the graphic novel for you, your friends and local community. Get 5 autographed copies. Do this because you genuinely appreciate this idea and because we will print your name under credits in the first edition. Get your physical copies prior to June. Get early access to all future editions and promotions. Get a massive swag package with a 5 t-shirt's and a hat. Get a guaranteed right to purchase 5,000 copies for your own personal distribution channel.

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    Pledge $850 or more About $850

    2-hour phone interview with you to hear your stories about kids and computers and technology. We will work your ideas into the story and give you credit in the back of the credits. We will send you a signed hardcover edition of the book 5 extra hardcovers for your friends and family (plus bragging rights!). You’ll also get 10 paperback copies and access to all early bird editions.

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    Pledge $1,150 or more About $1,150

    Industry sponsor package. Get Franchino to where he needs to be. He’ll send you two dozen paperbacks, a half dozen hardcovers and give you content access as early as May. You’ll also get the inside information regarding the company's specifics. Be a part of a special newslist gathering. He’ll also include a quarter panel and 140 character advertisement for your business in the first edition.

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Investor package. For those top notch investors that wish us the best, choose this package and you won’t be disappointed. Be one of the first people in the world to receive a Node and the original set of 9 expansion packs.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Cameo celebrity influencer package. Guest star in our comic and promote your agenda.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    Full time season one cast member. Before purchasing, review our contract and script written specifically for you. If you approve, you can purchase this package.

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Funding period

- (30 days)