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Posts Tagged ‘history’




KICKSTARTER CRAB

Written on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 [permanent link]

Kickstarterlaunch

And to finish off the 10th anniversary year of Chester Comix: A PLEA FOR MONEY!

No, see, this really does make sense. Chester Comix LLC launched in 2003 with generous financial help from many friends and family members. And a few credit cards. The business has continued to grow with important and timely support from many sources. Revenues have climbed steadily, but the capital expenses are big — when you have to spend $12,000 to reprint just four of your 31 titles, the search for $$$$ is ongoing.

So it’s been obvious for several years that MOBILE is the answer. Selling stories that don’t require me to print on paper and ship books in boxes is a good way to smooth out the revenue stream and expand Chester’s audience. And tablets and smartphones are where many of today’s reluctant readers are actually reading (texts, social media). In 2010 I got three Chester stories into iTunes to be read on Apple’s iPhones and iTouches. In 2011 I got eight of Chester’s books into iBooks for Apple’s iPads.

But that’s not enough. I have more than ONE HUNDRED stories in my printed comix that I could turn into fun stories on smartphones. For the past two years I’ve been drawing new panels for those stories to add MORE jokes and MORE fun details that the textbooks miss. But as I gleefully drew, the technical requirements to get these stories onto the iPhone got thornier and thornier. It became like Gatsby’s green light or Ahab’s whale — the goal that remained stubbornly out of reach the closer I got to it. An Apple rep told me last summer what it would take to build on the existing Chester story apps. His solution requires more intense programming. And that requires more money.

So: KICKSTARTER. Kickstarter is for artists what venture capitalists are to Silicon Valley. It’s crowdsourcing — a way for me to raise small amounts of money from fans far and wide and add them into a big project. I love that part of the Kickstarter model is that I give the supporters unique rewards. Check out the link to the project to see some of the fun (everything from free copies of the stories we make to signed copies of full Chester pages to a drawing of yourself in one of the stories!).

The other big part of the Kickstarter model is that the projects have a limited time to raise the funds. We have 30 days. LET’S GET IT!

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Give Me History or Give Me Death!

Written on Monday, June 25th, 2012 [permanent link]

We get plenty of Patrick Henry thundering around the historic streets of Williamsburg, where I live. But he also made a lot of noise in Richmond during the Revolutionary Era, so yesterday I spent a lovely Sunday afternoon at Historic St. John’s Church in Richmond for the weekly reenactment of Henry’s “Give Me Liberty” speech.

It was sunny and warm — nothing like the wintery March day in 1775 when Henry and other people you know (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc) gathered at the church to talk about what to do in the face of Britain’s troop surge to control Boston. St. John’s Church was the biggest, most comfortable building in what was then a village of about 600 people, and it was a good distance away from the cranky royal governor still perched in the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg. More than 100 Virginia colonial leaders heard Henry ask that the colonists form a militia to prepare for war. When conservative leaders spoke against his motion and urged patience, Henry stood to give the rousing speech that ended with his dramatic cry.

The reenactment was rousing, too. The actors in costume sat among the people in the modern crowd and rose to speak as if we were all in that 1775 convention. At the end, we all got a vote. Back then, Henry’s resolutions passed by only five votes. But the next few weeks after that vote proved he was right — shots fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts began open warfare, and a few days later Virginia’s royal governor took away the colony’s gunpowder in the middle of the night to prevent open rebellion in Virginia. It’s rare for a politician to be proven so right, so soon 😉

It was wonderful to be in the same space where Henry himself spoke. St. John’s Church was completed in 1741 — the first church built in the city of Richmond. William Byrd II, founder of the city of Richmond, donated the land and timber to build the church. The graveyard is the site of the first public cemetery in Richmond; buried there are George Wythe, signer of the Declaration of Independence and teacher of law to Thomas Jefferson, Chief Justice John Marshall, and Henry Clay; John Page and James Wood, Governors of Virginia; Elizabeth Arnold Poe, mother of Edgar Allan Poe; and Dr. James McClurg, a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention of 1787.

If you’re in Richmond on a Sunday afternoon this summer, go to church!

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Posted in Colonial Williamsburg, Historical Travel, History Teacher | No Comments »

History comix for the iPad

Written on Thursday, February 9th, 2012 [permanent link]

When Apple announced last month that it will push to make digital textbooks more available, many bloggers noted just how few titles are available. Well, now there are eight more titles.

Converting some of the most popular Chester Comix titles from printed book to e-book was one of my big projects in 2011. It feels fantastic to look into Apple’s iTunes store today and now see eight of my books ready for download: American Symbols, Founding Fathers, Moving and Grooving, The Jamestown Journey, Go West Young Crab!, World War 2 Tales, GOVERNMENT, and Revolutionary Rumblings.

If you do a search for “Chester Comix” in the iTunes store, you’ll find these books AND the three apps I published in 2010. The books are clearly for the iPad (much too big to be viewed on the iPhone) and the apps were drawings that I cut specifically to be easily readable on the iPhone and iTouch. Those apps can be viewed on an iPad, but they don’t fill the iPad screen. The commercial success of the iPad meant I could present my Chester adventures in their original vertical design. With even MORE vertical-ness! Part of the process over the past few months was making the page layouts that I drew 10 years ago stretch out to fit the iPad screen’s dimensions. For most readers on most pages, the differences between the print version and iPad version aren’t noticeable. But I as the author got more and more excited to see how the added space gave the drawings more room to breathe. I think these iPad versions are more readable for young people, and the history lessons within them flow more easily. The format has helped the storytelling! (By the end of the five-year run of Chester in the Daily Press newspaper in Newport News, VA, I was clearly trying to tell too much story and cramming too many words and detailed images into the space I was given on the page. You could see that I knew the project was coming to an end, and I was trying to say as much as I could in the pages I had left. Some of the Chester pages make me claustrophobic when I view them now 😉

Please help me share this great news about Chester for the iPad. The goal is to get all 27 titles into the iTunes store this year!

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Posted in Author's Purpose, Comix Creation, literacy | No Comments »


Chester crab comics