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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

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Introducing
Back of the Yards!

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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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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!
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Debut
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Who is…
Dex?

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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
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Dex was developed by Jimmy Briseno and Len Kody as part of the initial Issue 1 scripting process.
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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.
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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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Character Archetypes

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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.
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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.
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Who is…
Carl Castaneda?

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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
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“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.
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And Action!
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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.
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Who is…
Big Earl?

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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.
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Issue #1 of the Back of the Yards comic series
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And Action!
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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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Neighborhoods
& Their Residents!

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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.
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Why
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My Skill
Web Designer 50%

Submit Your Artwork

Collaborate with professional artists by contributing some artwork of your own! Some special pieces may be selected to appear in the Back of the Yards comic book.

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