World Regions professor John Boyer’s campaign to integrate his Plaid Avengers comic book into an online application has successfully come to a close.
Boyer is known for being an innovator in using alternative learning forms and applying them to his global world regions class.
His latest venture is the creation of a comic book series and accompanying app where his alter ego, the Plaid Avenger, takes on the Mexican drug war.
The mission of the online app is to explain the relationship of the United States and Mexico in a mode that reaches out and involves students while still including Boyer's signature quirky content and visuals.
Boyer has raised money for the webpage via Kickstarter, an online tool to help innovaters raise funds for projects. His website calls this the “future of education.”
The venture is completely non-profit, with all proceeds going directly to the creation of the comic-book and app. Funds raised by sales go straight back into development, design and creation. Boyer will not make any money from sales.
Along with Boyer, a small team works voluntarily to help make production possible. Pledges from $5 to $5,000 were invited on their website, with each level of donation earning a different “comic package.”
For instance, those who donated $20 got the app, the print edition of the comic once released, a Plaid Avenger sticker and a listed name on the thank you page. The eight donors who gave more than $400 will be featured in the comic book.
At the close of the donation period on Nov. 11, 579 backers had pledged $23,181, surpassing the $20,000 goal.
“Overwhelming support from the Kickstarter community will assuredly put us over the top in terms of motivation, materials and labor,” Boyer said. “We are all so inspired to see our ideas become a reality.”
Boyer’s World Regions class pulls in thousands of students a year, most of whom are already aware and supportive of his Plaid reputation.
“I donated a small amount because I believe the project will take off,” said freshman World Regions student Bingying Lin. “I’ll be getting an original copy of the comic book before it becomes a big success story.”
Boyer's students can have more to expect from the class next year, where the comic book and app will be integrated.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if his app and videos went viral on the internet,” said freshman World Regions student Jack Madden. “His ideas are fresh, and the global issues are relevant to everyone.”
With the success of fundraising, the next step for Boyer and his team is to live up to the creative touchstone established by the first two Plaid Avengers editions.
With the writing complete and illustrations in process for the comic, the biggest hurdle will be the iPad app. The team has never created an app before, but is, according to Boyer, well-equipped for the coding and production that the project requires.
“We are on strict deadlines to finish before January 2013 for the comic and in March for the app,” Boyer said. “Deadlines we most certainly will meet.”