Studio Card #2

Introducing Back of the Yards!
What With this Studio Card #2 overview, we introduce you to our first Comic story series, Back of the Yards!, a story about young man in the West Side of Chicago that has what he believes to be a supernatural encounter and his subsequent journey to understand what is real and what isn't within his neighborhood - the Back of the Yards!
When We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.developed in collaboration with participating youth from the West Side of Chicago.
Who As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.

A Quick Introduction

It doesn’t get more real than Back of the Yards, on the South Side of Chicago, when you’re growing up as a teen. It’s where fantasy and the power of story can build resilience, foster healing and lead to greater understanding. Based on the stories and experiences of real urban youth, the Made Collaborative Studio presents Back of the Yards, a story of gritty truth that’s beyond your wildest dreams.

A fictionalized version of the real Back of the Yards neighborhood serves as setting for the eponymous comic book series. Likewise, the stories and the characters themselves are based on the real lives and musings of Chicago youth. These stories were first conceived by students attending an after school arts program. They were collected by our main man, Jimmy Briseno, during Made Collaborative’s first round of urban outreach to inner-city schools. Jimmy had the bright idea to elevate these kids’ ideas in a way that few had contemplated before. By bringing professional comics artists and writers into the creative process, Jimmy hoped to validate the kids’ stories and experiences by weaving them together as the narrative threads of a real comic book series.

The result is a collaborative effort between artists and youth. It is the stuff of Back of the Yards’ first story arc: “Just Dreamin’.” But how, exactly, do kids’ ideas become comics pages? Read on.

 

First, A Prologue & Comic Series Origin Story

Before we jump into the actual development and related overview of the Back of the Yards comic series, we thought we’d start with a quick peak into how all of this first came about even prior to the comic itself – and be sure to expand to full screen (lower right hand corner within the window below) for the best reading experience… 

Back of the Yards Comic - The Early Development Process

By Len Kody

The magic of creativity begins with inspiration but it can only be sustained by unwavering dedication and tireless grinding. Project founder, Jimmy Briseno, has since recruited others to grind with him on the Made Collaborative journey (and we’re so glad he did!) but the journey began with him, all by himself, in front of a room full of kids all waiting for what he was going to say next.

It took a little coaxing, at first, to get things started, but once the kids caught the storytelling bug they were off and running. It only made sense to bring a small team of artists into the collaborative process to add greater depth and legitimacy to all that Jimmy had documented from his afterschool creative sessions with the youth.

Together—Jimmy, the artists and the youth—had refined and expanded upon a number of narrative threads. All of them fresh, original ideas from the kids, based on their lives and heightened by their favorite pop culture. Jimmy and his collaborators had compiled a “series bible,” of sorts, with model sheets, storyboards, descriptions of plot and characters. There were even some preliminary scripts that Jimmy had worked out with the youth.

It all amounted to the ingredients of a great comic book story. It had elements of romance, adventure and that all-too-elusive authenticity that came straight from the kids.But it wasn’t a comic book yet. Only the ingredients of one.

Telling a Story About Telling a Story

The first round of collaborations had produced a wide variety of narrative content. Which was wonderful. That’s exactly what the kids had been encouraged to do: tell whatever story they felt was worth telling. But it also presented a challenge in bringing all the disparate elements together into a harmonious whole. That was the challenge presented to the comics production team seeking to make “Back of Yards’” very much a reality.

An anthology of disconnected storylines would have been easier, but not nearly as engaging. We, on the comics production team, were inspired. We were inspired by the kids’ authentic, original stories and driven to produce something worthy of their courage. Because it takes courage to nurture the creative impulse and make something new in Chicago’s harsh urban environment. We wanted to reach a little higher.

But how?

Eureka!

We’d frame the Back of the Yards series in a context that mimics the one in which it was created! (Are you still with me?) In other words, the teenaged characters in kids’ stories would all go to the same school. And they would all be familiar with each other, too, because they are all part of the same afterschool arts program led by the same mysterious facilitator.

Introducing Carl Castaneda!

Presenting the comic book this way created two opportunities for the production team. First, it allowed us to incorporate elements of Made Collaborative’s amazing genesis into the comic itself. Because, as fascinating as the kids’ stories are, just as appealing is the story behind the story. That is, the story of the kids who created the stories.

On a deeper level, structuring Back of the Yards in this way forced the production team to search for the common themes influencing all the kids’ stories. They were by no means obvious. The stories ranged from heart-wrenchingly real to mind-blowingly fantastic. But the search, indeed, bore fruit, and it led us a journey starting on the Southside of Chicago and taking us to places beyond space and time.

So, how does a story of young love and betrayal connect to a story of secret chiefs from a higher dimension? How do the video game fantasies of two young cousins play into it? And how is the magic of creativity and storytelling somehow responsible?

Read on! …

 

Introducing Andre Davis! - A Young Man With Big Ideas

Andre is based on an intelligent and charismatic young man from Phase One of Made Collaborative’s youth outreach, and hence, he takes the lead role in our initial story arc of the Back of the Yards comic. Like the Chicago youth who inspired him, he is a curious and creative character, inclined to question, rather than take things at face value.

Andre finds himself the recipient of mysterious superpowers as a result of an amazing encounter with one of the inscrutable secret chiefs of all space and time. He learns that he has a certain mastery over the strange world that we all go to when we dream.

“You can make your dreams real,” he is told.

But, does that mastery carry over into the waking world, too? 

Moreover, what would Andre do with that kind of power?

In the dream dimension, Andre’s formidable intellect is given regal form when his whole essence is enhanced to resemble a lion-themed superhero with heightened powers of strength, agility and perception.

The question posed by the Back of the Yards comic story arc is whether Andre’s superhero adventures are simply an escapist power fantasy or a representation of his highest, truest self.  

And that’s just the start of the tale as Andre’s story will ultimately become intertwined with Tamia’s story of first love and betrayal …  

And Our Comic’s Heroine Tamia Parker! - A Story of Betrayal & Empowerment

The Back of the Yards comic character of Tamia Parker was also inspired from the first round of youth collaborations in the West Side of Chicago.  During those initial collaborations, Jimmy Briseno met with a number of youth who shared initial ideas for comic characters and storylines.  One of those youth was a young African American girl from that West-Side neighborhood.

Tamia’s story is surely relatable, but it’s also based on the true-life experiences reported to us by participating urban youth. And, like many of the kids in our program, Tamia turns to creativity as both an outlet and an escape from her daily struggles. She is an avid artist and journaler. Her perspective gives the story emotional depth and balance.

Tamia is a powerful young woman still in search of her voice. Will she ever realize the heights of her potential or will she continue to be stifled by those who seek to take advantage of her?

In the dream dimension, Tamia’s efforts to find her own voice are personified by a tiny fairy with a siren call that reaches beyond the boundaries of linear time. Her potential is great, but still not fully realized, as the fairy form she inhabits is small, undeveloped and not yet a true agent in her own destiny. 

She has a special relationship with Russell, who can summon her for help when both of them are dreaming. The depth and the nature of this creative connection is yet to be explored in the pages of Back of the Yards. 

 

The Young Cousins - Russell & Draymond!

Cousins Russell and Draymond share a fraternal bond that is cemented by the fantastic world they both share. It’s a world inspired by the manga and video games so popular in today’s youth culture. The stories they create make them feel powerful when they are so often made to feel powerless by neighborhood bullies and other stressors.

Many of our Phase One participating youth had similarly intricate imaginary worlds, worlds they would create with others. Made Collaborative has provided a structured outlet for these stories and we’ve developed them into real comic books with the help of professional artists and writers.  

In the dream dimension, Russell and Draymond are Teshue and Shiro, powerful ninjas forever locked in mortal combat. They collaborate on an intricate storyline that incorporates both elements of the real world and the dream dimension. Their imagination is powerful, but, unlike Andre’s abilities, their shared narrative is not yet “self-aware” enough to have evolved beyond the potential for escape.

Give them time. They’re still young. 

Interestingly, Teshue, Russell’s alter ego, is capable of summoning Tamia’s fairy from for assistance. But the process is difficult for Russell to master. And since the fairy has a developing will of her own, she isn’t always helpful to Russell. At not helpful in ways that are immediately obvious. 

The Mysterious Lynchpin that Connects Them All - Mr. Carl Castaneda!

And as we previously described, to tie all of the youth characters together as part of a common comic story narrative, we developed the character of Carl Castaneda.

Mr. Castaneda, that is.

Mr. Castañeda has the poise and bearing of a seasoned teacher. 

But nobody knows who he is. Mr. Castañeda may or may not be a real teacher, but his afterschool arts program is ardently attended by those in the know. Their regular meetings in Room 23 are no secret, nor are they what one would call common knowledge. By all appearances, Mr. Castañeda handpicks young people of promise and extends them a personal invitation.

His recruitment efforts have been fruitful. Tamia and Russell are both already in the program. Andre was recently invited.  And from there, a special bond between Andre and Mr. Castaneda begins formation from which we will build through future collaborations with participating youth.

And Last But Certainly Not Least, the Bedrock of the Neighborhood - The Elders!

And last but certainly not least, central to the Back of the Yards comic narrative are the Elders.  Created by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody to help provide further context for both the fictional Back of the Yards fictional neighborhood and the younger comic characters, the Elders are three wise-cracking wise guys man a permanent post around a pickle barrel in front of Kozlow’s General Store

They are Peaches, Dex and Big Earl. Although these distinguished gentlemen of the neighborhood are officially retired from whatever eclectic ventures kept them occupied (and mostly out of trouble) in their storied youth, the Elders, as we call them, continue to serve an important purpose in their community—and in our story!

The intertwining threads of fate, Back of the Yards, all intersect at the Elders’ humble pickle barrel, believe it or not. In ancient mythology, the Fates weren’t just observers and commentators but also tailors in life’s grand pageantry. Similarly, Peaches, Dex and Earl color the happenings of their Southside Chicago block with their piercing insight and cutting humor. They provide context, gravitas and perspective, reminding the reader and our younger characters that the world is big and history is long.

 

Read Issue #1!

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Let’s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

Related Studio Cards

Who is…
Draymond Carter?

Studio Card #14

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Summary Traits
Draymond Carter is Russell Paterson’s fiery-tempered younger cousin. But the cousins are more like brothers ever since Russell moved in with his Auntie (Draymond’s mother).
Core Personality Traits & Values
Draymond’s extroverted and assertive personality is a stark contrast to Russell’s more gentle and introverted nature.
Primary Archetype
The Sidekick
Motto
“You're going to lose.”
Collaboration Background
Draymon was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody in 2015 as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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Introducing
Back of the Yards!

Studio Card #2

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What
With this Studio Card #2 overview, we introduce you to our first Comic story series, Back of the Yards!, a story about young man in the West Side of Chicago that has what he believes to be a supernatural encounter and his subsequent journey to understand what is real and what isn't within his neighborhood - the Back of the Yards!
When
We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.developed in collaboration with participating youth from the West Side of Chicago.
Who
As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why
In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations 

Source Card #13

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What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

Who is…
Andre Davis?

Studio Card #3

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Summary Traits
Andre is a young African American high school youth who suddenly obtains god-like superpowers through an encounter he has in an alley within his Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Andre is bright, inquisitive and self-reliant, always searching for the truth and a greater understanding of himself and others … but he may also be susceptible to the trappings of his newfound power …
Archetype
The Hero
Motto
“To dare is to do.”
Collaboration Background
Andre’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

And Action!
Create an Illustration!

Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!

QR Code for Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!
Collaboration Summary
With this collaboration series, we will work with aspiring illustrators that may be interested in developing new illustrations that could ultimately be incorporated into our Back of the Yards comic series!
Collaboration Background
When we began this project, it was based on a simple premise that all of us have the ability to be creative. However, we also recognize that this creativity can come in many different forms and with that, some of you may actually be talented illustrators. So it is that with this Action Card collaboration series, we will present you with opportunities to submit your illustrations by providing you with possible comic scenes, newly developed characters and/or other comic settings to choose from, all updated regularly!
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Who is…
Tamia Parker?

Studio Card #5

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Summary Traits
Tamia is a young African American high school youth who learns more about herself as she experiences the pain of betrayal and lost love.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Tamia is extremely bright, curious, introspective and creative. She is an artist at heart, with empathy that forms connections with others in ways that she even doesn’t fully understand yet…
Archetype
The Creator
Motto
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen
Collaboration Background
Tamia’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Who is…
Dex?

Studio Card #10

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Summary Traits
Dexter Coleman, or “Dex,” is one of the last of a previous generation of neighborhood troublemakers who are alive and not in prison. He’s gone (mostly) straight in his older years, trying his best to make amends for the bad deeds of his youth.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Dex is a wisecracker, a sharp dresser and a straight talker. Even though his moral compass has evolved over the years into that of a respectable citizen of Back of the Yards, he’s still known to indulge in a few vices.
Primary Archetype
The Rebel
Motto
“I ain’t got time for dreamin’. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Collaboration Background
Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

And Action!
Create a Character!

Castaneda's Red Book: Part I, pg. 6

Action Card #2: Create A Character!

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Collaboration Summary
With this first collaboration, we will help you develop your own characters which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your newly created characters to us if you would like us to help further develop your character ideas, and in some instances, include these new characters as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of new fictional characters. This all started in 2013 as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

A Map of The
Hero’s Journey

Source Card #7

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What
With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When
The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who
This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why
The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.
Read more

A Call to Action
Join the Hero’s Journey

Studio Card #7b: The Hero’s Journey Pt II

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Collaboration Summary
Action Card #3 will challenge you to develop your own Hero Journey storylines (based on concepts developed by Joseph Campbell) which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your Hero Journey storylines to us if you would like us to help further develop your ideas, and in some instances, include those storylines as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of Hero's Journey storylines. This all started as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series, and with that, independent storylines for those characters, which we then synthesized into one integrated comic storyline. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
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Studio Card #3

Who is ...
Andre Davis?
Summary Traits Andre is a young African American high school youth who suddenly obtains god-like superpowers through an encounter he has in an alley within his Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Core Personality Traits & Values Andre is bright, inquisitive and self-reliant, always searching for the truth and a greater understanding of himself and others … but he may also be susceptible to the trappings of his newfound power …
Archetype The Hero
Motto “To dare is to do.”
Collaboration Background Andre’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series

A Quick Introduction

Many of our initial stories and characters in Back of the Yards aren’t really entirely ours. We are but humble stewards to the exciting new narrative avenues Jimmy Briseno discovered while facilitating the Made Collaborative After School Arts Program with real urban youth in Chicago in the winter of 2013.

Indeed, this entire project can be traced to a single, intrepid utterance by a young man whom we call “Andre.” It was a declaration that emboldened us all:

“I’ve got an idea.  I know what story I want to tell.  And it’s going to be great!”

Andre’s audacity, creativity and charm crystalized the vision we have for this whole enterprise. So, it is absolutely fitting that the character he inspired should step forward into a leading role for this first chapter of Back of the Yards: “Just Dreamin’.”

Andre's Story

The premise of Andre’s story is that Andre himself, as the main character, obtains “god-like” powers through a supernatural encounter in his Chicago neighborhood.

As originally described, the story begins with Andre and a friend walking to a house party of a known high school acquaintance. At the party, Andre sees some familiar faces and also some new ones. He meets Charmayne for the first time. The two banter as they get to know one another. Charmayne—one-half of a precocious pair of twins—challenges Andre’s rebellious and self-assured manner.

That is, until he hears some commotion outside.

Meanwhile …

Tamia is at the very same party. The party serves as the backdrop for an important point in her narrative, as well. Has she been betrayed? She’s been hearing rumors and fearing the worst. So, she confronts her boyfriend, Wilson, the young man with whom she’d spent one magical summer.

The bracing winds of autumn, however, have a way of revealing difficult truths. The young lovers argue. Wailing and in tears, Tamia dashes from the adolescent revelry.

The Wake-Up Call

A high-pitched whistle, or a siren, rings throughout the party. It’s so loud it’s painful! But only Andre can hear it.

Andre reels, bidding an abrupt farewell to Charmayne. He stumbles to the alley behind the house, the apparent source of the piercing tone. This is where the story takes an interesting turn—both in Andre’s tale and in the story of how the Made Collaborative project came to be.

While “Andre,” our participating youth, described his fantastic alleyway vision to Jimmy, the cinematic sweep of all the kids’ narratives took shape in Jimmy’s mind. There was potential here. It was palpable. These were all creative, fun and sometimes personal teenage stories, to be sure. But, to Jimmy, there seemed to be more to them than only that. As in dreams, the familiar sights and sounds of everyday life can also indicate hidden features of the collective unconscious.

Jimmy felt his suspense heighten as the youth continued his chronicle…

The Translucent Staircase

The alarming sound fades as Andre steps into the alley. He raises his eyes to the soft, pallid glow of what he assumes to be the full moon. Appearing in the middle of the alley, a flight of golden, translucent stairs lead towards the sky, beckoning Andre to ascend.

Ascend he does, where he finds himself in the smooth interior of a higher dimensional craft. He is greeted by a giant—one of the mysterious Secret Chiefs—who immediately speaks words of comfort and reassurance.

“Welcome, Andre. Please, don’t be alarmed. We’ve been expecting you.”

Having heard the otherworldly call to adventure, and answered, Andre can now worthily receive his revelation. The strange visitor explains that he has the power to make his dreams real. It is a power which, for now, distinguishes Andre from the other characters in Back of the Yards.

Fight!

Aloft in the moon-shaped craft, Andre observes others’ dreams, as well, like the video-game combat of Russell and Draymond. As their ninja alter egos, Teshue and Shiro, their sparring is cut short when they are attacked by a gang of bullies.

Andre feels compelled to intercede. Once again answering the hero’s call, he emerges from the dream craft as a heightened version of himself—a true superhero like the kind he draws in his sketchbooks. If not yet a god, Andre is now far more than mere mortal. Using his enhanced physical abilities, he easily beats back the bullies.

An Uncertain Future

We follow Andre’s journey as he comes to terms with his newly obtained powers, and begins to contemplate how he will use those powers as a teen still living in his inner-city neighborhood.  

To be continued …  in the Back of the Yards comic!

Let’s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

Related Studio Cards

And Action!
Create a Character!

Castaneda's Red Book: Part I, pg. 6

Action Card #2: Create A Character!

QR Code for Action Card #2: Create A Character!
Collaboration Summary
With this first collaboration, we will help you develop your own characters which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your newly created characters to us if you would like us to help further develop your character ideas, and in some instances, include these new characters as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of new fictional characters. This all started in 2013 as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Neighborhoods
& Their Residents!

Studio Card #9

QR Code for Studio Card #9
What
With this Source Card collaborative production, we examine the unique characteristics of our urban neighborhoods, including their unique histories, events and residents.
When
We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.
Who
As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why
In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.
Read more

A Map of The
Hero’s Journey

Source Card #7

QR Code for Source Card #7
What
With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When
The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who
This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why
The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.
Read more

Who is…
Dex?

Studio Card #10

QR Code for Studio Card #10
Summary Traits
Dexter Coleman, or “Dex,” is one of the last of a previous generation of neighborhood troublemakers who are alive and not in prison. He’s gone (mostly) straight in his older years, trying his best to make amends for the bad deeds of his youth.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Dex is a wisecracker, a sharp dresser and a straight talker. Even though his moral compass has evolved over the years into that of a respectable citizen of Back of the Yards, he’s still known to indulge in a few vices.
Primary Archetype
The Rebel
Motto
“I ain’t got time for dreamin’. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Collaboration Background
Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Who is…
Carl Castaneda?

Studio Card #8

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Summary Traits
Mr. Castañeda is a mysterious teacher and mentor who guides our main characters on their road to realization. Glimpses at his own foggy past reveal that he embarked on a similar journey long ago.
Core Personality Traits & Values
He clearly knows more than what he is saying, but the best teachers do not give they answers but merely point the way.
Primary Archetype
The Mentor
Motto
“Your dreams are part of the same primal energy that brings all existence into being!”
Collaboration Background
Mr. Castañeda is a character developed by Len Kody. He is a way of tying the various narratives and characters created by the first wave of participating youth as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #2 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

And Action!
Create an Illustration!

Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!

QR Code for Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!
Collaboration Summary
With this collaboration series, we will work with aspiring illustrators that may be interested in developing new illustrations that could ultimately be incorporated into our Back of the Yards comic series!
Collaboration Background
When we began this project, it was based on a simple premise that all of us have the ability to be creative. However, we also recognize that this creativity can come in many different forms and with that, some of you may actually be talented illustrators. So it is that with this Action Card collaboration series, we will present you with opportunities to submit your illustrations by providing you with possible comic scenes, newly developed characters and/or other comic settings to choose from, all updated regularly!
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Who is…
Tamia Parker?

Studio Card #5

QR Code for Studio Card #5
Summary Traits
Tamia is a young African American high school youth who learns more about herself as she experiences the pain of betrayal and lost love.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Tamia is extremely bright, curious, introspective and creative. She is an artist at heart, with empathy that forms connections with others in ways that she even doesn’t fully understand yet…
Archetype
The Creator
Motto
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen
Collaboration Background
Tamia’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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Law Enforcement
And Community Relations 

Source Card #13

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What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations

Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations

QR Code for Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations
What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

A Call to Action
Join the Hero’s Journey

Studio Card #7b: The Hero’s Journey Pt II

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Collaboration Summary
Action Card #3 will challenge you to develop your own Hero Journey storylines (based on concepts developed by Joseph Campbell) which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your Hero Journey storylines to us if you would like us to help further develop your ideas, and in some instances, include those storylines as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of Hero's Journey storylines. This all started as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series, and with that, independent storylines for those characters, which we then synthesized into one integrated comic storyline. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
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My Skill
Web Designer 50%

Studio Card #4

Carl Jung's Character Archetypes
What This Studio Card production features Carl Jung’s Archetypes of the Unconscious Mind. This Studio Card sets forth the 12 primary character archetypes.
When These 12 character archetypes can be used by participating youth for their own independent collaborations, just as they have been used by others throughout the course of time, from the ancient Greek plays to modern day Star Wars trilogies.
Who These character archetypes are important to understand because unlike character stereotypes, which are superficial generic generalizations, archetypes are said to have been deduced through the development of storytelling over tens of thousands of years, indicating repeating patterns of individual and group experience.
Why Character Archetypes can help one gain a better understanding and development of literary characters and stories for not only our Made Collaborative comic publications, but also independent collaborations of any participating youth and others.

Quick Introduction

Sometimes dreams are bizarre. Some dreams are scary. Others are downright silly. Most of the time, your dreams don’t have anything to say that is especially deep or profound. They simply echo your everyday experiences.

But Dr. Carl Gustav Jung was a 20th-century Swiss psychologist who thought that dreams had something more to tell us. He explored the hidden and mysterious aspects of the mind and found that some dreams are energized by timeless motifs that have echoes in art, poetry and music throughout all human existence. These dreams may hold intriguing new insights into life and the world, Jung believed, because they come from the “collective unconscious.”

The collective unconscious is bigger and more fundamental than the mind of any single individual; it is the profound and timeless wisdom that all humans share. But, because our waking minds aren’t able to directly communicate with the collective unconscious, it will sometimes send us unexpected signs and signals in our dreams.

When you decode the images in these important dreams you may find yourself the beneficiary of some new or hidden knowledge. In the classic cases of these instances, prophetic dreamers will receive esoteric knowledge that can help their community through a coming crisis.

With this Source Card production, we will provide you an overview of each of the 12 primary character archetypes, starting with The Hero. 

 

The Hero

Motto:
“I will achieve my goal.”
The Hero is the one the story is usually about. Some modern narratives have attempted to subvert this eternal expectation by featuring a villain or even side characters as the story’s main character. But even these “exceptions” must embrace a protagonist, and, practically speaking, a protagonist and the “Hero” are pretty much the same things. The Hero is the central figure of the story’s action and drama. The Hero has a problem to solve, or (very often) many problems. We will learn about the “Hero’s Journey” in the coming collaborations. 
The Hero’s Journey describes the different stages a Hero must be initiated through to achieve his or her ultimate goal. Heroes are easy to find in the stories and media you regularly consume, from superhero summer blockbusters featuring Marvel’s Avengers to more realistic dramas, like Selma, about the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr. Heroes are the classic initiators of change in both history and mythology. The Hero transforms their world and will usually go through a personal transformation, as well.
Play Video

The Mentor

Motto:
“I will guide and teach.”
The Mentor fulfills a very important role in the story (and in real life, for that matter). A Mentor is a wise old teacher or a guide whom many aspiring Heroes first encounter early in their journey, right before they cross the foreboding threshold into a strange new world of adventure. The Mentor provides motivation, insights and training to help the Hero overcome his or her doubts and fears. The Mentor prepares the Hero for the dangerous road ahead. The Hero may learn a new skill from his or her Mentor, or receive a magical gift. 
Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda were both mentors to Luke Skywalker in the original Star Wars Trilogy. Obi-Wan gave Luke his lightsabre and taught him how to use it. Later, Yoda teaches Luke how to further develop his mystical connection to the force. The Mentor role can change as the needs of the story and the characters change. The Mentor may have once been a Hero in another time or context. For instance, in many Marvel movies, Tony Stark (Iron Man) is Peter Parker’s (Spider-Man) Mentor, but Tony is also the Hero and protagonist in many Avengers movies.
Play Video

The Ruler

Motto:
“I will achieve my goal.”

The Ruler is also known as the King, the Queen, the Guardian, the Politician, etc. All of the archetypes go by many names because the simple and intuitive roles they describe belie significant complexity. Like real people, the archetypes of the unconscious contain both light and dark energy.

At their best, a Ruler provides structure and protection against the creeping threat of chaos and anarchy. But when does one’s quest for power make him or her a tyrant? At their worst, the Ruler’s “structure” is simply a prison. So you see that the Ruler especially, along with all the archetypes of the unconscious, has both good and bad aspects to them. Whichever aspects of the Ruler are manifest in a given story or situation depends a lot on context and the character that happens to be inhabiting the Ruler role at the time. 

Much of the resistance the Hero first encounters when they leave the familiar behind frequently comes in the form of institutional “red tape,” close-minded laws or irrational traditions. In fact, as part of their initial heroic baptism, the Hero might find his or herself having to take a stand against a corrupt Ruler, government or philosophy that defines the boundaries of the Ordinary World. 

In this way, Robin Hood classically combats the tyrannical Sheriff of Nottingham when the dashing archer and his Merrie Men rob from the rich and give to the poor on their quest to undermine the political and economic inequalities of their day. King Arthur, on the other hand, eventually became the Ruler as part of his Heroic Journey. A big theme of the Arthurian legends was Arthur’s quest to unite the feuding powers of medieval Britain to create a peaceful and stable homeland for his people. In some stories, the Hero rises to become Ruler but is eventually corrupted by that power. 

Play Video

The Explorer

Motto:
“What's That Over There?”

The Explorer wants to see the world! If every story is a journey of some sort, the Explorer embodies the willingness—nay, the eagerness—to seek the novel, the exotic and the intriguingly unfamiliar.

In life, dreams and in stories, characters are constantly changing roles, archetypes are always exchanging masks. If the Hero crosses paths with the Explorer, the Explorer may provide the Hero with some helpful information from the wider world, thus becoming a Mentor and guide. The Explorer’s wanderlust may be what sends him or her on a journey in the first place, across the threshold of adventure; thus the Explorer may become a Hero, in some cases. On the other hand, the lonely life of the Explorer may make them a permanent misfit, never at home wherever he goes. This makes the Explorer quite different than a Hero, depending on your perspective, because heroes are usually a champion of a particular community. 

In 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first human being to ever set foot on the moon. He eventually returned, of course. But, in that “one small step” he took onto the cold and distant lunar surface, he embodied the spirit of the Explorer for the 20th century. 

Renowned Explorer - Matthew Hanson (Click on the Image to Learn More)

The Dreamer

Motto:
“I have the faith of a child.”

All of us were innocent Dreamers once. As we learn the ways of the world and become wiser, there is something that is lost, too. 

The Dreamer experiences the world as we all did when we were wide-eyed children, when everything was still charged by the electric fairy dust of imagination. The Dreamer believes in a world beyond the one we can see. To some, these innocent young cherubs might seem very detached from the real world. The Dreamer can be incredibly naive. However, they do serve to constantly remind us (and possibly remind the Hero, as well) that paradise awaits at the end of the Journey when our present struggles have reached their conclusion. 

Even if their childish aphorisms are ultimately untrue, they’re worth fighting for. So, the Dreamer often reminds the Hero what he or she is fighting for. The Dreamer can be a focal point for all the transformative potential that transcends the restrictive structures of the Ordinary World, making them the stewards of some very potent energies, indeed. 

The adorable and innocent Baby Yoda character from the Mandalorian show is a good example of a Dreamer character. The show’s rugged protagonist fights to defend the green infant who unwittingly commands the powerful force.  And yet another Dreamer is a man named Tucker …

Play Video

The Rebel

Nelson Mandela
Motto:
“Rules are for fools.”

The rebel wants to change the world by tearing down the status quo. Many of the other archetypes have a strained relationship with “the ordinary world” that often sets the scene for dramatic changes and amazing journeys later in the story: the Hero, the Creator, the Explorer, etc. What distinguishes the Rebel from similar archetypes is his or her fiery passion for immediate change and their willingness to engage in disruptive, even destructive behavior in order to achieve their goals.

Whether you view a Rebel character as either good or evil depends a lot on your perspective—one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. Many criminals engage in Rebel-like behavior when they break the law to advance their own agenda. Entrepreneurs, like Steve Jobs, have a rebellious streak in them too, because they defy expectations and subvert conventions that would otherwise restrict innovation and creativity in their industry—that’s why Apple’s slogan is “Think Different.”

Civil rights leaders and activists must all be Rebels, too, because they are trying to topple the established structures of institutional racism.   


Play Video

The Magician

Motto:
“I will manifest my own destiny”

The Magician is the master of the universe. He or she is sometimes depicted with the forces of nature bending to their will. Also known as the Wizard, the Visionary or the Healer, we see these Shaman characters in fiction and in real life. 

The founders of the great Silicon Valley tech giants are often spoken of in the same terms as Wizards and Magicians—they imagined a different way of doing things and, using the mastery over occult forces (computer technology, in this case) they made those dreams a physical reality. Today, we are truly living in a world that was first dreamt of by Steve Jobs and the Google brain trust. 

In fantasy stories, like the Lord of the Rings, the Magician role is inhabited by a literal Wizard. Gandalf guides the journeys of his hobbit allies, also taking on the role of Mentor, on occasion. Some see the Magician as the inevitable conclusion of the Hero’s Journey, a journey which we’ll discuss in detail later. As the Hero is transformed through his or her trials of initiation, they transcend the boundaries of crude duality and basic conflict. 

Unlike the Hero, the Magician’s will is in accord with the will of the greater universe, and so they seek win-win solutions that dissolve differences rather than getting bound up in all that antagonistic tension. The Magician is sometimes the Hero’s shadow companion, using their unique talents to support the Hero’s crusade, as Merlin did with King Arthur.

The Trickster

Motto:
"Why so serious?”

There is a great tradition of comedy in American culture. We celebrate the Trickster because of his ability to speak truth to power and to turn expectations on their head. Also known as the Jester, the Joker, the Comedian or the Disruptor, this character does more than make us laugh. 

The Trickster brashly points out the unseen absurdities that govern all our lives. These absurdities are unseen because most “normal folks” are either unable or unwilling to acknowledge any incongruities in their boring existence until the Trickster’s cutting quips make them impossible to ignore. The classic observational comedy of Jerry Seinfeld is so fondly remembered for taking the mundane silliness of day-to-day life—things like airplane peanuts, searching for parking and going to a restaurant—and presenting them in a humorous way that makes us see the preposterous assumptions we make all the time. Comedians like Richard Prior and Dave Chapelle spotlight institutional racial injustices in a similar way. They challenged the invisible and unspeakable mechanisms of racism operating in every aspect of our society by making them look stupid (which they are). 

With their ability to help others see beyond the various veils of illusion, the Trickster often provides welcome “comic relief” in many movies and TV shows. They are the goofy friend or sidekick who release the pent-up tension of the pulse-pounding action and heart-rending drama with a few well-timed jokes. Trickster-Heroes like Deadpool use humor to outwit their opponents and confuse their rivals. Trickster-Villains like the Joker are a colorful contrast to absolute, black and white, law and order represented by Batman’s single-minded quest for vengeance.

Play Video

The Sidekick

Motto:
“I am at at my best when I'm with you.”

The “Sidekick” archetype is traditionally known as “the Lover,” but the “love” alluded to in this role can encompass many varieties of companionship. The Lover may literally be an intimate associate of the Hero, like a spouse or romantic partner. This role may also be inhabited by a dear friend or close associate to the protagonist. 

Robin is Batman’s Sidekick because they fight crime together. They share a mutual affection, admiration and respect for one another along with whatever professional bonds they’ve developed in the course of their superhero duties. The classic love shared between Romeo and Juliet certainly fulfills our expectations of the Lover role more closely. Even though it was forbidden by their feuding families, Romeo and Juliet’s flaming passion continued to develop until the two could not live without each other. They chose to squelch their own lives rather than live without each other. 

And therein lies the weakness of the Sidekick archetype. At his or her best, the Sidekick supports the Hero through the inevitable trials of the Journey. At their worst, the Sidekick can develop a self-destructive codependency as a result of their attachment to the Hero.

Play Video

The Caregiver

Motto:
“I will take care of you.”

The Caregiver can be a parent or an especially caring mother figure or father figure. More than a mere teacher (as the Mentor is), the Caregiver is a source of unconditional love and support. As such, the Caregiver often plays a vital role in the emotional stakes of a story. They personify the warm, loving feelings that are associated with home, which can motivate the Hero and in the last, most difficult steps of his or her Journey. 

The untimely passing of a Caregiver also lends energy to the narrative and may become a memorable inflection point in the development of a particular character. Batman and Spider-Man both lost important Caregivers as part of their tragic origin stories.

When taken to a dark extreme, the Caregiver role can become distorted into an overbearing, tyrannical figure that stands as an obstacle in the path of the Hero’s personal development. Who can forget when Darth Vader uttered the memorable words “I am your father” at the surprise ending of Return of the Jedi? In that moment, Vader became more than just a political adversary to the young Jedi, Luke Skywalker, and his newfound friends in the Rebellion. As a Caregiver gone bad, Darth lends frightful immanence and palpable peril to Luke’s internal struggle to come to terms with his own enigmatic past. 

Elsewhere in the Star Wars universe, on the popular Mandalorian TV show, we see an armored, gun-slinging bounty hunter become an unlikely Caregiver when he chooses to double-cross his client and instead save a strange, green, pointy-eared baby Yoda from being kidnapped by the mad doctors of the Galactic Empire.   

 

Play Video

The Everyperson

Motto:
“I like to keep it real.”

The Everyperson represents all that we have in common as fellow travelers through the human experience. They are the down-to-earth, “regular guy” or “girl next door” that does not have and great wealth or impressive power… and they don’t want then, either. That’s because the Everyperson is extremely fair. They are guided by a highly developed (though very conventional) moral code that stresses equality for all members of their community.

The Everyperson doesn’t appreciate it when either prejudice or privilege causes somebody to be treated unfairly. So, they sometimes find themselves as the unlikely champion of the oppressed. In these instances, the Everyperson moves towards the role of Hero not to seek glory or to revel in the glory of battle, but merely to set right the imbalances that would rob somebody of their basic human dignity. 

Frequently, politicians take on manners of speech and dress that make them appear like a “regular guy” because people tend to trust the mild-mannered ways of the Everyperson. As bespectacled reporter, Clark Kent, Superman pretends to be an Everyman when he moves about the crowds of Metropolis so that nobody suspects that he is a flying god from another planet.  

 

The Creator

Motto:
“I am master of my craft.”

Alternately known as the Artist, the Inventor, the Author and the Master of the Craft, this archetype is a visionary with the skills and the drive to make their vision a reality. Characters who inhabit the 

Creator archetypes may take on other roles, as well. Pablo Picasso was an artist with a unique perspective on the world who took a very distinctive approach to his art. He was a consummate Creator but parts of his story read like the Hero’s Journey as well. When Picasso started his career, all painting aspired to emulate real life as closely as possible. But, Picasso was on the vanguard of a sweeping change in art and expression in the 20th century. He and other brave “Heroes” like him had to leave familiar forms of expression behind as old-fashioned portraits and landscape paintings frankly became obsolete when the photographic technology had advanced enough to replace them. Like the Explorer, Picasso probed new aesthetic approaches and discovered a completely original, innovative, abstract approach to painting that presented drama and emotion in a way that does not compete with the camera’s lens. 

The Creator can also take on the roles of Sidekick, Magician or Trickster in your story, depending on what the scene requires. The Creator archetype is a popular one in movies and books because it provides an interesting opportunity to tell a story about telling a story. “Making of” documentaries and “Behind the Scenes” features capitalize on this same curiosity to see the Creator at work. 

Play Video

Let’ s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

Related Studio Cards

Introducing
Back of the Yards!

Studio Card #2

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What
With this Studio Card #2 overview, we introduce you to our first Comic story series, Back of the Yards!, a story about young man in the West Side of Chicago that has what he believes to be a supernatural encounter and his subsequent journey to understand what is real and what isn't within his neighborhood - the Back of the Yards!
When
We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.developed in collaboration with participating youth from the West Side of Chicago.
Who
As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why
In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.
Read more

Who is…
Russell Patterson?

Studio Card #6

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Summary Traits
Russell is a very shy and creative young man. He is a grade or two younger than the rest of our young principal characters.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Russell Patterson has an extremely vivid imagination and a very active dream life. He just may be the most talented and creative student at New City High, but he lacks confidence so he too often daydreams as a means of escape.
Archetype
The Dreamer
Motto
“It is okay to live a life that others don't understand”
Collaboration Background
Russell’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Who is…
Carl Castaneda?

Studio Card #8

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Summary Traits
Mr. Castañeda is a mysterious teacher and mentor who guides our main characters on their road to realization. Glimpses at his own foggy past reveal that he embarked on a similar journey long ago.
Core Personality Traits & Values
He clearly knows more than what he is saying, but the best teachers do not give they answers but merely point the way.
Primary Archetype
The Mentor
Motto
“Your dreams are part of the same primal energy that brings all existence into being!”
Collaboration Background
Mr. Castañeda is a character developed by Len Kody. He is a way of tying the various narratives and characters created by the first wave of participating youth as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #2 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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Neighborhoods
& Their Residents!

Studio Card #9

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What
With this Source Card collaborative production, we examine the unique characteristics of our urban neighborhoods, including their unique histories, events and residents.
When
We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.
Who
As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why
In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.
Read more

And Action!
Create an Illustration!

Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!

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Collaboration Summary
With this collaboration series, we will work with aspiring illustrators that may be interested in developing new illustrations that could ultimately be incorporated into our Back of the Yards comic series!
Collaboration Background
When we began this project, it was based on a simple premise that all of us have the ability to be creative. However, we also recognize that this creativity can come in many different forms and with that, some of you may actually be talented illustrators. So it is that with this Action Card collaboration series, we will present you with opportunities to submit your illustrations by providing you with possible comic scenes, newly developed characters and/or other comic settings to choose from, all updated regularly!
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
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And Action!
Create a Character!

Castaneda's Red Book: Part I, pg. 6

Action Card #2: Create A Character!

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Collaboration Summary
With this first collaboration, we will help you develop your own characters which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your newly created characters to us if you would like us to help further develop your character ideas, and in some instances, include these new characters as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of new fictional characters. This all started in 2013 as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations

Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations

QR Code for Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations
What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

Who is…
Andre Davis?

Studio Card #3

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Summary Traits
Andre is a young African American high school youth who suddenly obtains god-like superpowers through an encounter he has in an alley within his Back of the Yards neighborhood.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Andre is bright, inquisitive and self-reliant, always searching for the truth and a greater understanding of himself and others … but he may also be susceptible to the trappings of his newfound power …
Archetype
The Hero
Motto
“To dare is to do.”
Collaboration Background
Andre’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

A Map of The
Hero’s Journey

Source Card #7

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What
With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When
The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who
This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why
The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.
Read more

Who is…
Dex?

Studio Card #10

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Summary Traits
Dexter Coleman, or “Dex,” is one of the last of a previous generation of neighborhood troublemakers who are alive and not in prison. He’s gone (mostly) straight in his older years, trying his best to make amends for the bad deeds of his youth.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Dex is a wisecracker, a sharp dresser and a straight talker. Even though his moral compass has evolved over the years into that of a respectable citizen of Back of the Yards, he’s still known to indulge in a few vices.
Primary Archetype
The Rebel
Motto
“I ain’t got time for dreamin’. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Collaboration Background
Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Studio Card #5

Who is ...
Tamia Parker?
Summary Traits Tamia is a young African American high school youth who learns more about herself as she experiences the pain of betrayal and lost love.
Core Personality Traits & Values Tamia is extremely bright, curious, introspective and creative. She is an artist at heart, with empathy that forms connections with others in ways that she even doesn’t fully understand yet…
Archetype The Creator
Motto “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen
Collaboration Background Tamia’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series

Quick Introduction

Tamia Parker was a character inspired from the first round of youth collaborations in the West Side of Chicago.  During those initial collaborations, Jimmy Briseno met with a number of youth who shared initial ideas for comic characters and storylines.  One of those youth was a young African American girl from that West-Side neighborhood.

The young woman’s initial question to Jimmy was whether the comic stories could be based on be based on real life, and more specifically, relationships?  When Jimmy affirmed that the characters and stories could be about whatever she wanted, she would go on to describe a recent relationship experience which was characterized by drama, deception and ultimately, heartbreak.

But as she explained her experience and her story premise, the young woman also emphasized to Jimmy that she didn’t want to tell this story to focus on a broken heart and the related drama from her relationship, but rather, she wanted to emphasize how that experience ultimately helped her grow as a person and look within herself to find her value as a woman.

And from there, the inspiration for the comic character of Tamia Parker was born, which we hope will in turn inspire many more collaborations to come.

Tamia's Story - First Love

The dizzying highs and lows have long inspired song and verse. Tamia Parker, like so many young girls her age, confides her deepest thoughts and feelings to a well-worn journal that she always carries with her.

For Tamia, her poems and drawings are both an escape and an inward journey of exploration to the potent and turbulent depths within herself. Adolescence is a time of profound inner and outer change, after all—a metamorphosis. In the rough waters of constant change, it can be difficult for some teens to find their place of centeredness—their axis mundi.

Young girls, especially, are often discouraged from developing their own voice and speaking their truth. This leads to a sense of inferiority and “smallness” among many young women. They don’t think their words and actions matter as much.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

We present Tamia’s self-esteem struggles visually by depicting her dreamworld avatar as a Fairie that has not yet blossomed into the full flowering of maturity. In Tamia’s dreams, she takes on the appearance and abilities of the Fairie. And, as the Fairie grows and evolves, so too will Tamia’s own sense of centeredness within herself.

An Unforgettable Chicago Summer

Perhaps it is a lack of centeredness that leaves so many teens vulnerable to manipulation by others. For Tamia, naive to the often treacherous ways of young love, she simply trusted too much.

During one unforgettable summer, she developed very strong feelings for an older boy in her Southside Chicago neighborhood. Wilson no longer attends New City High, where Tamia is currently a sophomore. He used to play basketball there. Wilson represented for Tamia an intoxicating mix of male athletic ability and a whiff of mature confidence she’d only seen in adults. Being a somewhat shy and serious girl for her age, his attentions were more than she could resist—not that she was all that interested in resisting.

And Wilson certainly appreciated the 10 fold attention she reciprocated. Wilson is good at cultivating attention for himself. He certainly enjoys receiving it from pretty young girls. Wilson basked in the warm glow of Tamia’s constant attention all summer long.

Autumn and the End of Innocence

The sharp, cold winds of autumn also reveal long-hidden truths. When the neighborhood kids go back to school, and the recent grads go off to the working world, higher education or to any number of adult endeavors, Wilson stays home, eschewing responsibility. He falls in with a group of troublemaking neighborhood boys who keep similarly idle agendas: no job, no educational ambitions and no other interests besides a hedonistic pursuit of the diversions of the moment.

As the leaves fall from the knotted old oaks, Back of the Yards, Tamia begins to sense the imbalance in her relationship. Was she just another of Wilson’s diversions? He walks her to school every morning, but then what does he do all day? And why has the boy who basked in her attention all summer long begun to respond sharply to her probing questions? Tamia is a mature young woman. Wilson’s age was once something that drew her to him. His potential and potency were why she fell in love with him. But in the same way that the falling leaves expose a great tree’s spindly branches, Wilson’s true nature is slowly revealed to Tamia.

She unwittingly becomes entangled in a love triangle of sorts with Wilson and another girl at her school named Natalie.

Tamia begins to hear rumors that her boyfriend, Wilson, was already seeing Natalie when the young lovers met. The revelation tests her sense of self as everything she believes (and wants to believe) is called into question.T

The Transformative Power of Creativity

When the real world seems like a dream, Tamia turns to creativity to map her inner reality. The after school arts  program in Room 23 and its kind, clever, though peculiar facilitator, Mr. Castaneda, encourage her to develop her art and writing.

Tamia’s creativity enhances her resilience but also her intuition as her dreams begin revealing exactly what Wilson has been hiding from her (and the truths she’s hidden from herself).

Issue #1 of Back of the Yards ends in a shocking revelation: Tamia learns that Natalie is pregnant with Wilson’s child. This fact is confirmed to Tamia when she finally confronts her ex-boyfriend after hearing the rumors from other kids at her school. To overcome the heartbreak and betrayal, Tamia will have to summon vast reservoirs of strength. Though she may be in for a surprise when she learns the extent of all that she is capable of.

In the after school arts program, Tamia strikes up an immediate friendship with Russell. Even though he is younger, the pair seem to resonate on a similar frequency. Both have deep and complex inner lives. Also, Tamia may envy Russell’s sense of wonder and innocence. As we go through periods of growth in our lives, as Tamia is, the exchange we often make for greater power and self-mastery often comes at the expense of our innocence.

 

Summoning the Fairie

Tamia and Russell share more than a budding, though innocent friendship. The two appear to be linked in an as-yet inexplicable way in their dreams.

Both Russell (as Teshue) and his cousin, Draymond (as Shiro) are capable of summoning familiars to their aid. Shiro’s brutish and assertive personality is matched by his pet, Enyo, a feral war-hound with a pair of curving horns atop her head. She is a loyal and ferocious wolf that obeys Shiro’s every command.

Teshue has a more difficult time summoning his familiar, the Fairie, who seems to have a will all her own. Russell is not yet aware that the Fairie does, indeed, have a will of her own because she is Tamia’s dreamworld avatar.

The difficulty that Tamia—and, by extension, Russell—have in harnessing the power of the Fairie is indicative of the extent of her power. As the Fairie continues to evolve, more powers and abilities will be revealed. But until then, both Tamia and Russell will struggle greatly to truly know themselves.

Perhaps it is some intuitive knowledge of this great yet deeply hidden power still locked within both Tamia and Russell that draws them together as allies in the seen and unseen worlds.

Their heroic journeys are quite different than that of Andre, who experiences his power in a sudden, almost uncontrollable rush. Even so, Andre is linked to the other two in ways he’s only beginning to figure out for himself.

The Call to Adventure Beyond Time and Space

When Andre is called to the craft of the Secret Chiefs, it is by a sound that resonates beyond this dimension. It is a single note from the music of the spheres, a tone that can only be heard by those chosen to hear it.

Andre eagerly answers his call to adventure. But, because of the non-linear nature of higher dimensional travel, it isn’t until a bit later that we learn the source of that call: Tamia in her Fairie-form.

Tamia was, in fact, summoned by Russell (as Teshue), who, at a key moment that would have sent many others into panic, Russell instead becomes calm and focused. His mind quieted by a deep sense of concentration from the still waters within his psyche, Teshue beckons the Fairie to join the battle.

The Fairie cries out her extra-dimensional alarm, back through time and up into the mysterious craft from which Andre incredulously observes the perilous goings-on below. When Andre emerges to save the day in his heightened, lion-form, the paradoxical time loop is closed. The cycle is complete.

Andre makes quick work of the bullies who threaten Teshue and Shiro. It’s at this point when an epiphany strikes Tamia, too. One of the thugs seems to have a connection to her philandering boyfriend, Wilson. Tamia’s intuitive dream senses provide her some glimpse of the truth. Natalie is pregnant with Wilson’s child.

Mr. Castaneda’s Guidance

Mr. Castaneda can see the potential brewing within all the students he’s personally chosen to take part in his after school arts program. Exactly who Mr. Castaneda is and what his connection might be to the bizarre, god-like travelers known as the Secret Chiefs is a story for another day. But whatever his ultimate purpose may be, his current agenda seems focused on pushing his students—like Tamia—to explore the bounds of their creative powers.

Tamia will develop a unique relationship with Mr. Castaneda, who will provide a comforting perspective as she struggles through her relationship troubles, and who will challenge her to become more when he believes she is ready to accept the truth about her power.

As she cries one night, after having had a fight with Wilson, she thinks to herself, between sobs, that art is how one can make their true selves visible to the world. This is more than Mr. Castaneda’s comforting wisdom, and more than a creative conceit of our far-out comic book adventure. It is Made Collaborative’s mission to make visible the hidden power of the project’s participating urban youth.

By helping to give a voice to the real kids in the Made Collaborative Project, we hope to unleash the limitless power within each of them.

Let’ s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

Related Studio Cards

And Action!
Create a Hero’s Journey

Action Card #3: Create A Hero’s Journey!

QR Code for Action Card #3: Create A Hero’s Journey!
Collaboration Summary
Action Card #3 will challenge you develop your own Hero Journey storylines (based on concepts developed by Joseph Campbell) which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your Hero Journey storylines to us if you would like us to help further develop your ideas, and in some instances, include those storylines as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of Hero's Journey storylines. This all started as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series, and with that, independent storylines for those characters, which we then synthesized into one integrated comic storyline. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations 

Source Card #13

QR Code for Source Card #13
What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

Who is…
Tamia Parker?

Studio Card #5

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Summary Traits
Tamia is a young African American high school youth who learns more about herself as she experiences the pain of betrayal and lost love.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Tamia is extremely bright, curious, introspective and creative. She is an artist at heart, with empathy that forms connections with others in ways that she even doesn’t fully understand yet…
Archetype
The Creator
Motto
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen
Collaboration Background
Tamia’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

And Action!
Create an Illustration!

Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!

QR Code for Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!
Collaboration Summary
With this collaboration series, we will work with aspiring illustrators that may be interested in developing new illustrations that could ultimately be incorporated into our Back of the Yards comic series!
Collaboration Background
When we began this project, it was based on a simple premise that all of us have the ability to be creative. However, we also recognize that this creativity can come in many different forms and with that, some of you may actually be talented illustrators. So it is that with this Action Card collaboration series, we will present you with opportunities to submit your illustrations by providing you with possible comic scenes, newly developed characters and/or other comic settings to choose from, all updated regularly!
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

A Map of The
Hero’s Journey

Source Card #7

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What
With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When
The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who
This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why
The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.
Read more

Carl Jung’s
Character Archetypes

Studio Card #4

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What
This Studio Card production features Carl Jung’s Archetypes of the Unconscious Mind. This Studio Card sets forth the 12 primary character archetypes.
When
These 12 character archetypes can be used by participating youth for their own independent collaborations, just as they have been used by others throughout the course of time, from the ancient Greek plays to modern day Star Wars trilogies.
Who
These character archetypes are important to understand because unlike character stereotypes, which are superficial generic generalizations, archetypes are said to have been deduced through the development of storytelling over tens of thousands of years, indicating repeating patterns of individual and group experience.
Why
Character Archetypes can help one gain a better understanding and development of literary characters and stories for not only our Made Collaborative comic publications, but also independent collaborations of any participating youth and others.
Read more

Who is…
Peaches?

Studio Card #11

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Summary Traits
For now, known only by his nickname, “Peaches,” he is one of the neighborhood’s “Elders” who observe and comment upon the activities of the younger folks. Peaches backstory is rich, deep and yet-to-be revealed!
Core Personality Traits & Values
Peaches is the dignified moral compass the Elders. Even though he is very much a realist, Peaches tends to see the best in people and he encourages them toward a righteous path.
Primary Archetype
The Mentor
Motto
“Though our destiny is now our own, our search for that destiny has only just begun.”
Collaboration Background
Peaches was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Introducing
Back of the Yards!

Studio Card #2

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What
With this Studio Card #2 overview, we introduce you to our first Comic story series, Back of the Yards!, a story about young man in the West Side of Chicago that has what he believes to be a supernatural encounter and his subsequent journey to understand what is real and what isn't within his neighborhood - the Back of the Yards!
When
We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.developed in collaboration with participating youth from the West Side of Chicago.
Who
As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why
In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations

Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations

QR Code for Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations
What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

Who is…
Dex?

Studio Card #10

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Summary Traits
Dexter Coleman, or “Dex,” is one of the last of a previous generation of neighborhood troublemakers who are alive and not in prison. He’s gone (mostly) straight in his older years, trying his best to make amends for the bad deeds of his youth.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Dex is a wisecracker, a sharp dresser and a straight talker. Even though his moral compass has evolved over the years into that of a respectable citizen of Back of the Yards, he’s still known to indulge in a few vices.
Primary Archetype
The Rebel
Motto
“I ain’t got time for dreamin’. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Collaboration Background
Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Studio Card #6

Who is ...
Russell Patterson?
Summary Traits Russell is a very shy and creative young man. He is a grade or two younger than the rest of our young principal characters.
Core Personality Traits & Values Russell Patterson has an extremely vivid imagination and a very active dream life. He just may be the most talented and creative student at New City High, but he lacks confidence so he too often daydreams as a means of escape.
Archetype The Dreamer
Motto “It is okay to live a life that others don't understand”
Collaboration Background Russell’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series

Quick Introduction

Russell and Draymond: Closer Than Brothers

There’s a magical time in a young person’s life, before the opposite sex becomes quite so interesting, when the diaphanous membrane between dreams and reality is at its most permeable. It’s a time when dreams can be shared easily between those with whom we’ve forged a special, life-long bond.

Russel and Draymond are cousins—but more like brothers, really—and they share a common dream iconography made up of interwoven archetypes and meta-narratives. Together, they intermittently inhabit a whole universe of stories that are both created and experienced by the two. 

They participate avidly in video games, but their imagination is ultimately too big for the platform. Russell and Draymond collaborate in fully imaginative, visionary campaigns, more akin to the tabletop D&D adventures of a generation before. 

Their inner landscape is deep and vivid. Russell and Draymond express themselves through their imaginary ninja avatars, Teshue and Shiro, respectively.

Teshue and Shiro: Continuity of Dreaming

Russell and Draymond’s connection to the power of dreaming is strong. Perhaps it is their youthful innocence which grants them ease of access. Of all our Back of the Yards cast, so far, they are the most easily transported to the surreal depths of imaginative fantasy. 

Like Andre, whose awareness is unlocked by his encounter with one of the strange Secret Chiefs, the younger pair’s ninja visions have a continuity with the waking world—broomsticks become katana swords and a band of bullies is a marauding and villainous horde. But, Andre becomes lucid as he evolves; he begins to show signs of godlike control over the dreamscape. Russell and Draymond, on the other hand, are all but completely swept away in their recurring reveries. 

Draymond, in fact—the younger and more impetuous of the pair—completely forgets himself.

“Draymond!” his cousin Russell cries. 

“I am Shiro,” the mistaken middle schooler repeatedly insists.     

But the two young boys do possess some imaginative insight. Russell especially. Russell and Draymond are the first to discover the interconnectedness of the grander dream universe, even if they aren’t quite aware of it yet. Because their dreams aren’t only shared between the pair of them. Their dreams regularly include Tamia and eventually many others. 

Both dreams and stories can be a community asset because they reflect the world we know but they also show us something new.     

The Fairie and the War-Wolf

Russell and Draymond, as Teshue and Shiro, inhabit a world filled with more than rival bullies, they each have pet allies, as well—familiars which they summon to aid them in the heat of battle: Enyo, the loyal, horned war-wolf, and the strange and mysterious fairie. Captivating in their own right, these fantastic beings also highlight other points of interest.   

There’s a developing sense of camaraderie between Tamia and Russell. It goes at least as deep as their preference for the same sweet yet cinnamon-y snack: Red Hot Popcorn. Perhaps she envies his innocence. In the world of dreams, their connection is even more curious. Russell’s ninja avatar, Teshue, has the power to summon Tamia’s nascent fairie-form! 

Draymond’s wolf is more of an extension of his own contentious energies. Quite unlike Russell’s experience. Enyo the war-wolf is Shiro’s pugnacious partner. She is steadfast at his side as Shiro bravely (and sometimes recklessly) charges into battle.

Stories Show Us How to Think

Russell and Draymond are at first only immersed in their consuming world of fantasy. But in that bemused state, the boys’ powerful shared story grows to include many other players, even if most of them (including Russell and Draymond themselves) are hardly aware of it. 

Stories reflect the everyday world, but they can also change it. One wonders where young Russell’s path, particularly, may lead him as he joins other youth in beginning to “wake up” to the transformative power of dreams. 

Let’s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

Related Studio Cards

Who is…
Dex?

Studio Card #10

QR Code for Studio Card #10
Summary Traits
Dexter Coleman, or “Dex,” is one of the last of a previous generation of neighborhood troublemakers who are alive and not in prison. He’s gone (mostly) straight in his older years, trying his best to make amends for the bad deeds of his youth.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Dex is a wisecracker, a sharp dresser and a straight talker. Even though his moral compass has evolved over the years into that of a respectable citizen of Back of the Yards, he’s still known to indulge in a few vices.
Primary Archetype
The Rebel
Motto
“I ain’t got time for dreamin’. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Collaboration Background
Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

A Call to Action
Join the Hero’s Journey

Studio Card #7b: The Hero’s Journey Pt II

QR Code for Studio Card #7b: The Hero’s Journey Pt II
Collaboration Summary
Action Card #3 will challenge you to develop your own Hero Journey storylines (based on concepts developed by Joseph Campbell) which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your Hero Journey storylines to us if you would like us to help further develop your ideas, and in some instances, include those storylines as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of Hero's Journey storylines. This all started as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series, and with that, independent storylines for those characters, which we then synthesized into one integrated comic storyline. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Who is…
Carl Castaneda?

Studio Card #8

QR Code for Studio Card #8
Summary Traits
Mr. Castañeda is a mysterious teacher and mentor who guides our main characters on their road to realization. Glimpses at his own foggy past reveal that he embarked on a similar journey long ago.
Core Personality Traits & Values
He clearly knows more than what he is saying, but the best teachers do not give they answers but merely point the way.
Primary Archetype
The Mentor
Motto
“Your dreams are part of the same primal energy that brings all existence into being!”
Collaboration Background
Mr. Castañeda is a character developed by Len Kody. He is a way of tying the various narratives and characters created by the first wave of participating youth as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #2 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

Who is…
Big Earl?

Studio Card #12

QR Code for Studio Card #12
Summary Traits
Big Earl is a big man with a big heart. Beloved by all in the neighborhood, everybody knows his name and has heard a story or two about this gentle giant.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Earl was the neighborhood football hero before an injury pushed him to the sidelines. And undiagnosed dyslexia prevented him for excelling in school. But Earl’s kind soul and balanced nature granted him resilience through life’s toughest struggles.
Primary Archetype
The Everyman
Motto
“If I didn’t get hurt, then I would never have found me.”
Collaboration Background
Big Earl was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody in 2015 as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

And Action!
Create a Hero’s Journey

Action Card #3: Create A Hero’s Journey!

QR Code for Action Card #3: Create A Hero’s Journey!
Collaboration Summary
Action Card #3 will challenge you develop your own Hero Journey storylines (based on concepts developed by Joseph Campbell) which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your Hero Journey storylines to us if you would like us to help further develop your ideas, and in some instances, include those storylines as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of Hero's Journey storylines. This all started as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series, and with that, independent storylines for those characters, which we then synthesized into one integrated comic storyline. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations

Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations

QR Code for Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations
What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

Law Enforcement
And Community Relations 

Source Card #13

QR Code for Source Card #13
What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
Read more

A Map of The
Hero’s Journey

Source Card #7

QR Code for Source Card #7
What
With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When
The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who
This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why
The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.
Read more

Who is…
Russell Patterson?

Studio Card #6

QR Code for Studio Card #6
Summary Traits
Russell is a very shy and creative young man. He is a grade or two younger than the rest of our young principal characters.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Russell Patterson has an extremely vivid imagination and a very active dream life. He just may be the most talented and creative student at New City High, but he lacks confidence so he too often daydreams as a means of escape.
Archetype
The Dreamer
Motto
“It is okay to live a life that others don't understand”
Collaboration Background
Russell’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
Read more

And Action!
Create an Illustration!

Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!

QR Code for Action Card #4: Create an Illustration!
Collaboration Summary
With this collaboration series, we will work with aspiring illustrators that may be interested in developing new illustrations that could ultimately be incorporated into our Back of the Yards comic series!
Collaboration Background
When we began this project, it was based on a simple premise that all of us have the ability to be creative. However, we also recognize that this creativity can come in many different forms and with that, some of you may actually be talented illustrators. So it is that with this Action Card collaboration series, we will present you with opportunities to submit your illustrations by providing you with possible comic scenes, newly developed characters and/or other comic settings to choose from, all updated regularly!
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more
My Skill
Web Designer 50%

Source Card #7

A Map of The Hero's Journey
What With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.

Quick Introduction

Welcome to the adventure, fellow travellers. As we hope you’ll soon discover in the course of this Collaborative Series, stories and storytelling are an important part of our human existence. The natural, narrative flow of a story—from beginning, to middle, to end—seems to be part of our DNA. The stories we tell ourselves play a large role in how our brains make sense of the world.

Many stories throughout history and across cultures have followed the format of the “Hero’s Journey.” From Hamlet to Harry Potter, from Buddha to Spider-Man, the basic formula of the Hero’s Journey (and our intuitive, almost unconscious knowledge of it) appears to be universal across all humankind. That’s because, when you look closely, the Hero’s Journey isn’t just about how dreams and stories work. The Hero’s Journey is a roadmap for our lives, as well. That’s why stories are so important to us. It’s why some stories are so important they build nations, religions skyscrapers and cathedrals around them. 

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The Twelve Phases of the Hero’s Journey!

And so we begin sharing those concepts here, with this Studio Card Presentation, by giving you a broad overview of the 12 phases of the Hero’s Journey.  Joseph Campbell originally outlined 17 phases of the Hero’s Journey, but for our purposes, we will focus on the most recent iterations of the Hero’s Journey, which further distills the process into the 12 following phases:

Phase #1: The Ordinary World

The hero is introduced to us in their ordinary world. The mundane, ordinary world is presented in stark contrast with the “special world” that the hero will enter when they accept their quest.

In Spider-Man, Peter Parker is introduced as a regular, particularly nerdy teen in residential borough of Queens–quite the opposite of the New York-based superhero he becomes.

In our comic series, the “Ordinary World” is Back of the Yards, a fictionalized version of a real Chicago neighborhood with a community and a history all its own. Another of our collaborative projects about Neighborhoods and Their Residents deals exclusively with this aspect of the story.

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Phase #2: The Call to Adventure

This is the part of the story when there is an incident that essentially initiates the story by introducing our hero with a challenge or problem that their hero’s quest will seek to overcome.

In Star Wars, the call to adventure comes in the form of Princess Leia’s message, delivered by R2-D2, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.

Our hero Andre hears a call to adventure the night he ascends a translucent staircase to a mysterious craft in a dark South Side alleyway.

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Phase #3: Refusal of the Call

The hero hesitates to accept the call to adventure. This could be because they don’t feel they have the skills to take on the quest or they don’t want to leave the life they know.

In The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Frodo is reluctant to leave his comfortable and familiar life in the Shire in order to face the unknown dangers that await him on his journey.

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Phase #4: Meeting The Mentor

The hero meets a wise, usually older, woman or man. The mentor guides the hero in gaining the supplies and knowledge needed to embark on the adventure. However, the mentor can only go so far with the hero.

In The Matrix, this is where Neo meets Morpheus, who tells him to take the red pill or the blue pill.

Mr. Casteneda is a mysterious mentor to creative young students of promise at New City High. Another of our collaborative projects will probe deeper into the intriguing background of this character.

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Phase #5: Crossing the Threshold!

The hero commits wholeheartedly to the adventure and integrates into the special world. There is no turning back from this point.  In Spider-Man, Peter crosses the threshold when he catches the thief who killed his Uncle Ben and realizes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

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Phase #6: Tests, Allies & Enemies

The hero explores the special world and faces trials, making friends and enemies along the way.  In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, this is the part where Harry adjusts to life in the Wizarding world, makes friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and becomes enemies with Draco Malfoy.  The hero explores the special world and faces trials, making friends and enemies along the way.

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Phase #7: The Innermost Cave

The hero draws closer to the center of the story and the special world. Often, this “innermost cave” is where the “object” or “elixir” of the quest is hidden. The object of the quest may be an actual treasure or a symbolic achievement.  The innermost cave takes the form of the Death Star in Star Wars; Luke and his companions must infiltrate the ship to save Leia.

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Phase #8: The Ordeal

The hero is pushed to the brink of death or loss and faces the greatest challenge yet. It is through this struggle that the hero experiences a process of death and rebirth (figuratively or literally).

In The Lion King, Simba’s ordeal means he must face the guilt he feels for his father’s death and reclaim his right to Pride Rock, which has been taken over by Scar.

 

 

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Phase #9: The Reward

The hero receives the boons of surviving death (figuratively or literally) and obtains the object of their quest. It’s often at this point that the hero has a love scene with their romantic interest and reconciles with their enemies.

In Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry passes the obstacles barring the Philosopher’s Stone and discovers that the stone has appeared in his pocket.

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Phase #10: The Return

Castaneda's Red Book: Part I, pg. 6

The hero returns to the ordinary world or continues onward to an ultimate destination, but their trials aren’t over just yet. They are often pursued by a vengeful force that they must face.In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, this is where Gollum confronts Frodo at the ledge of the volcano and tries to take the Ring back from him.

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Phase #11: The Resurrection

The hero emerges from the special world fundamentally changed by their experiences.

In The Lion King, Simba learns the truth that it was Scar who orchestrated Mufasa’s death. Simba throws Scar off Pride Rock in order to reclaim his place as king.  

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Phase 12: The Return to Elixer

The hero brings with them the object of their quest, which they use to better the ordinary world in some way–whether it’s through knowledge, a cure, or some form of protection.

In The Matrix, armed with the knowledge of the truth, Neo delivers a message to the Matrix that he will save humanity.  

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Let’ s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

Related Studio Cards

And Action!
Create a Character!

Castaneda's Red Book: Part I, pg. 6

Action Card #2: Create A Character!

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Collaboration Summary
With this first collaboration, we will help you develop your own characters which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your newly created characters to us if you would like us to help further develop your character ideas, and in some instances, include these new characters as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of new fictional characters. This all started in 2013 as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
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Law Enforcement
And Community Relations

Source Card #5: Law Enforcement and Community Relations

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What
This collaborative series is a peek into the issues facing law enforcement and community relations within our urban communities.
When
We will begin Part I of this collaborative series with a snapshot of the early origins of modern day policing, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the present day issues in Part II of this series.
Who
This Source Card overview begins with a look at a man named Robert Peel who may not be a household name to many of us, but as it turns out, in many ways he may well be the founding father of today’s modern day police force as we know it.
Why
To facilitate a collaborative process that promotes just a little more understanding from all sides on a complicated set of issues facing our country’s urban centers. And along the way, with your help and input, incorporate some of these themes and issues into our Back of the Yards comic series.
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Who is…
Peaches?

Studio Card #11

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Summary Traits
For now, known only by his nickname, “Peaches,” he is one of the neighborhood’s “Elders” who observe and comment upon the activities of the younger folks. Peaches backstory is rich, deep and yet-to-be revealed!
Core Personality Traits & Values
Peaches is the dignified moral compass the Elders. Even though he is very much a realist, Peaches tends to see the best in people and he encourages them toward a righteous path.
Primary Archetype
The Mentor
Motto
“Though our destiny is now our own, our search for that destiny has only just begun.”
Collaboration Background
Peaches was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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Introducing
Back of the Yards!

Studio Card #2

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What
With this Studio Card #2 overview, we introduce you to our first Comic story series, Back of the Yards!, a story about young man in the West Side of Chicago that has what he believes to be a supernatural encounter and his subsequent journey to understand what is real and what isn't within his neighborhood - the Back of the Yards!
When
We will examine past, present and future states of these neighborhoods in attempt to gain a better understanding of how these neighborhoods originally developed and evolved through the years.developed in collaboration with participating youth from the West Side of Chicago.
Who
As part of this collaborative series, we will also examine the residents of these neighborhoods, including early immigrants to present day inhabitants, and their corresponding influence and impact to our urban communities.
Why
In order to more fully understand some of the complexities of our urban centers, we must understand their neighborhoods, including the evolution of those neighborhoods and their residents. And, of course, we plan to incorporate some of these related themes into our ongoing comic series, Back of the Yards, with your collaborations.
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And Action!
Create a Hero’s Journey

Action Card #3: Create A Hero’s Journey!

QR Code for Action Card #3: Create A Hero’s Journey!
Collaboration Summary
Action Card #3 will challenge you develop your own Hero Journey storylines (based on concepts developed by Joseph Campbell) which you can use for own creative projects. You can also submit your Hero Journey storylines to us if you would like us to help further develop your ideas, and in some instances, include those storylines as part of Back of the Yards comic series.
Collaboration Background
At the heart of our project’s collaborative is the creation of Hero's Journey storylines. This all started as part of a supplemental art program in the West Side of Chicago where participating youth would help create the original characters of the Back of the Yards comic series, and with that, independent storylines for those characters, which we then synthesized into one integrated comic storyline. With this collaboration, we are simply trying to extend this same collaborative opportunity to others virtually.
This & That
Action Card cover illustrated by Andrew Dimmett. Content developed by Jimmy Briseno, Len Kody and … you? Learn more on how by linking to the QR Code above.
Read more

Who is…
Dex?

Studio Card #10

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Summary Traits
Dexter Coleman, or “Dex,” is one of the last of a previous generation of neighborhood troublemakers who are alive and not in prison. He’s gone (mostly) straight in his older years, trying his best to make amends for the bad deeds of his youth.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Dex is a wisecracker, a sharp dresser and a straight talker. Even though his moral compass has evolved over the years into that of a respectable citizen of Back of the Yards, he’s still known to indulge in a few vices.
Primary Archetype
The Rebel
Motto
“I ain’t got time for dreamin’. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”
Collaboration Background
Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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A Map of The
Hero’s Journey

Source Card #7

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What
With this inaugural Made Collaborative Studio Card production we introduce you to, well, the Made Collaborative Studio and with that, we take a quick glimpse of the early origins of this project.
When
The Made Collaborative Studio began as a modest grass roots project started by a ragtag group of participating artists in Chicago and was designed to provide a unique collaborative opportunity for after school programs and participating youth from our urban communities.
Who
This Made Collaborative Studio project technically started over 10 years ago as only a kernel of an idea in the mind of the project’s founder on one of his many bus rides home and through much trial and error over the years, evolved into the Made Collaborative Studio virtual model that exists today.
Why
The Made Collaborative Studio was created to help promote creative thought and provide a unique (and free) collaborative experience for afterschool programs and participating youth alike.
Read more

Who is…
Tamia Parker?

Studio Card #5

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Summary Traits
Tamia is a young African American high school youth who learns more about herself as she experiences the pain of betrayal and lost love.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Tamia is extremely bright, curious, introspective and creative. She is an artist at heart, with empathy that forms connections with others in ways that she even doesn’t fully understand yet…
Archetype
The Creator
Motto
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” - Leonard Cohen
Collaboration Background
Tamia’s character was initially developed during the original Made Collaborative in-person classroom collaborations with youth in the fall and winter of 2013, as part of an after school program in the West-Side of Chicago.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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Who is…
Big Earl?

Studio Card #12

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Summary Traits
Big Earl is a big man with a big heart. Beloved by all in the neighborhood, everybody knows his name and has heard a story or two about this gentle giant.
Core Personality Traits & Values
Earl was the neighborhood football hero before an injury pushed him to the sidelines. And undiagnosed dyslexia prevented him for excelling in school. But Earl’s kind soul and balanced nature granted him resilience through life’s toughest struggles.
Primary Archetype
The Everyman
Motto
“If I didn’t get hurt, then I would never have found me.”
Collaboration Background
Big Earl was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody in 2015 as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
Debut
Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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Carl Jung’s
Character Archetypes

Studio Card #4

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What
This Studio Card production features Carl Jung’s Archetypes of the Unconscious Mind. This Studio Card sets forth the 12 primary character archetypes.
When
These 12 character archetypes can be used by participating youth for their own independent collaborations, just as they have been used by others throughout the course of time, from the ancient Greek plays to modern day Star Wars trilogies.
Who
These character archetypes are important to understand because unlike character stereotypes, which are superficial generic generalizations, archetypes are said to have been deduced through the development of storytelling over tens of thousands of years, indicating repeating patterns of individual and group experience.
Why
Character Archetypes can help one gain a better understanding and development of literary characters and stories for not only our Made Collaborative comic publications, but also independent collaborations of any participating youth and others.
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