SAVE OUR HISTORY FROM THE TEXTBOOKS!
I have 15 years of fun stories about American history, trapped in print. You can help me refresh those stories and put them into the pockets of young readers on the go and their cool parents who care about what their kids are learning. Instead of piling a stack of my 31 history comix into the backseat of the minivan, kids should be able to read and laugh at Chester Comix on a smartphone or tablet.
THE HISTORY OF THE HISTORY
I have researched, written and drawn Chester the Crab and his historical adventures since 1995. I picked a Chesapeake Bay blue crab for my narrator because his stories appeared in the Daily Press newspaper in Virginia near the bay. In 1999, Chester was given the mission to help reluctant readers do better in school. My target audience is the high elementary or middle school student who can read but chooses not to touch books. Right -- boys, usually. Chester's five years of test-based lessons in the newspaper were popular with students, teachers and dedicated parents and were syndicated across Virginia.
In 2003 I started a company to reprint those stories in book form to share them with a national audience. Chester Comix LLC now has 31 titles in print for sale to schools and families through museum gift shops and online outlets. In recent years I have drawn all-new Chester books, such as a biography of George Washington for the Mount Vernon estate.
Now my commitment to make American history fun and easy to access means digitizing my stories for a mobile platform. And I'm going to take this opportunity as the author, artist and historian to revise and expand Chester's adventures. MORE jokes! MORE details that the textbooks miss! MORE links to the latest, coolest websites! It's exciting for me to spruce up stories that I first drew for a newspaper 15 years ago.
Digitizing Chester's stories for a mobile platform means more reluctant readers can find his inspiring fun and learn what they need to do well in school. Putting Chester Comix onto a smartphone puts him where young people are already reading their texts and social media. This project will:
* make available stories from the Chester Comix archive that have not seen print since the early 2000s.
* Add extra panels to stories that are in print, to give readers more fun and more facts.
* Add links within the story that take readers to safe and authoritative websites when they have internet connection, so that Chester's stories are not just a doorway to history but a research tool as well.
* Present the new stories within an easy, free reader app for iPhones and iPads; the app will be created by Chester Comix LLC and Imagine Simplicity of Richmond, VA. Young people will be able to download stories to read them later with or without an internet connection.
Chester Comix will continue to be printed and distributed to retailers and schools directly. Print was Chester the Crab’s first home. But it’s time to adapt to a format that promises a more dynamic future for his stories of the important past. This project will reinvigorate almost 20 years of storytelling into a living, growing, active set of stories
The prototypes already exist: three Chester story apps hit the iTunes store
in 2010. The stories were a great bang for the 99 cents -- each had almost
twice as many panels as the original stories drawn for print. But app technical
demands and costs have changed since then, and the next stage of development
needs more work than what was done in 2010. The plan now is to do a
"reader" framework app that will be free; within that app will be
many Chester stories available for 99 cents.
THE SEASON FOR REWARDS
Thanks for reading this far! If you choose to support the digitizing of Chester's history, some of the rewards will be immediate and useful for the gift-giving season. Original Bentley Boyd artwork makes an excellent gift for family and friends who already have all the vases or socks they need. And once fully-funded, the work between Chester Comix and Imagine Simplicity will proceed with haste and deliver the smartphone stories by March, pending Apple approval.
Risks and challenges
I have almost 20 years of steady, reliable production in this art form. For 10 years I have run a business to market and sell books of my stories. Organizing, coordinating and implementing a new outlet for Chester the Crab is the next step in my artistic and marketing growth.
I will maintain communication with the backers of this project, as I already do with my fans through a variety of social media (pick your favorite social media and search for "Chester Comix" to see if I'm there). My developer is just 40 minutes away from the desk where I draw Chester, and we have already met and communicated frequently about this project. All we need is your support!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)