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Character Card #4 – Carl Castaneda

Who is ...
Carl Castaneda?
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

Quick Introduction

Carl Castaneda - Did He Just Appear Out of Thin Air?

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.

Mr. Castañeda knows more than what he is saying. Which is a little staggering, when you think about it, because he says an awful lot. He speaks to his students as a shaman would to his apprentices, seeming to prepare them for some future challenge. He encourages them to see the intrinsic power within themselves.

“Calm yourself,” he says to two fighting students, “Your anger is your weakness.”

In his classroom lecture, Mr. Castañeda alludes to celebrated comic book scholar Scott McCloud and his theory of art: “It is a happy fact of human existence that we simply can’t spend every waking hour eating and having sex!”

Art, Castañeda explains, is an elevated, almost sacred human activity, because it is not motivated by life’s two most compelling instincts—survival and reproduction. 

McCloud puts the whole artistic enterprise of our civilization into perspective, observing that art is what we expressive apes will inevitably do “when we just don’t have a thing to do!”

Be that as it may, McCloud only  leaves us with a pithy definition of art. As for its purpose? 

Mr. Castañeda has some thoughts to share on that, as well.

“Your dreams are part of the primal energy that brings all existence into being!”

A Young Carl Castaneda and His Rendezvous with the Secret Chiefs

The full catalog of Castañeda’s strange journeys shall remain mostly mysterious, for now. But the initiated among us may be granted a glimpse of his humble origins. Our story begins in (where else?) Chicago. The year is 1968

Young Carl Castañeda is an unmotivated, uninspired commercial artist who is experiencing a quarter-life crisis. He is an assembly-line creator of comic books, cartoon drawings and children’s advertising content. He was initially drawn to the work because of his innocent soul and his talent for illustration. But the real work of the job has turned out to be as cold and mechanical as any in Corporate America.

Worse!

He and his ink-stained ilk are looked at as little more than tradesmen. Carl has grander artistic ambitions. He keeps his most personal musings in an illuminated log, his crimson composition book, the scarlet sketch-dairy he refers to as the “Red Book.”

It is within the weathered pages of his Red Book, whilst deep in aesthetic meditation, that Castañeda decides to leave the Windy City behind in search of adventure!

Chicago to Mexico City

The full catalog of Castañeda’s strange journeys shall remain mostly mysterious, for now. But the initiated among us may be granted a glimpse of his humble origins. Our story begins in (where else?) Chicago. The year is 1968

Young Carl Castañeda is an unmotivated, uninspired commercial artist who is experiencing a quarter-life crisis. He is an assembly-line creator of comic books, cartoon drawings and children’s advertising content. He was initially drawn to the work because of his innocent soul and his talent for illustration. But the real work of the job has turned out to be as cold and mechanical as any in Corporate America.

Worse!

He and his ink-stained ilk are looked at as little more than tradesmen. Carl has grander artistic ambitions. He keeps his most personal musings in an illuminated log, his crimson composition book, the scarlet sketch-dairy he refers to as the “Red Book.”

It is within the weathered pages of his Red Book, whilst deep in aesthetic meditation, that Castañeda decides to leave the Windy City behind in search of adventure!

Sancho Panza and the Translucent Staircase

As they sip wine under the moon, Sancho determines exactly what it is that has brought Castañeda all these many miles. Better yet, he offers to help.

The next day, Sancho Panza begins his a harried attempt to prepare Carl Castañeda for an ineffable encounter with the Secret Chiefs.

Carl Castañeda is an ambitious aspirant. He meditates daily at the foot of the great pyramid. He refuses to leave until one of these so-called “Secret Chiefs” shows themselves!

After five days, the appearance of a familiar translucent staircase heralds the thunderous arrival of Castañeda’s cosmic appointment. Carl is pulled through a door to some higher, unfathomable dimension.

This might be more than our friend Carl bargained for.

He is quickly overwhelmed by the ornate immensity of what his inferior senses are able to relate to him. The Secret Chief manifests to Castañeda with such baroque intensity that he is devastated.

Carl is swatted like a fly from the gates of heaven.

The End of the Beginning

As his consciousness comes crashing back to Earth, Carl knows that he has paid the price for his impudence. In these first few steps of the many long voyages which will eventually lead Castañeda back home to Chicago (and to the hallways of New City High) the young man still has a lot to learn.

Let’s Collaborate!

Table of Contents

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Introducing
Back of the Yards!

Source Card #1: The Back of the Yards Comic Series!

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What
With this Source Card #1 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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Who is…
Russell Patterson?

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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
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Who is…
Dex Coleman?

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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.
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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 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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Who is…
Andre Davis?

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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
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And Action!
Create a Character!

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.
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Neighborhoods
& Their Residents!

Source Card #4: Neighborhoods and Their Residents

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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.
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Who is…
Big Earl?

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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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Action
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A Call to Action
Join the Hero’s Journey

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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.
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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!
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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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Who is…
Peaches?

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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
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Collaboration Background
Peaches was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
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My Skill
Web Designer 50%

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