I have been observing, for as long as I can remember, how all the kids I knew and most of the adults I have mingled with, that grew up with a steady diet of comic books, were remarkably clever, witty, worldly, have great problem solving skills, wide vocabularies, and a very strong sense of morality. They also tend to not exhibit much racism or sexism. Comic books seem to create the “good guys”.
Why Superliterate? Because there are a lot of kids that need our help. Particularly those abandoned or taken by Child Protective Services. Kids in foster care NEED role models, they need every edge they can get, and they need to realize that the best heroes DO come from adversity. In comics they pretty much all do!
They would do well to find out that they have been given the ingredients for the stronger, that the strife they are experiencing need not be permanent damage. They are simply experiencing the pressure and intense conditions that changes coal into diamonds. They can become the hero, the brave leader, the good example, and incidentally… Superliterate.
There are hundreds of thousands of comic books that are wasting away in attics and basements. Most have no real collector or resale value, but studies show that comics are tremendously valuable as teaching tools. It is something even the most difficult students WANT to read.
Most heroes are born from adversity that they overcome and use as fuel to become stronger. This could also be the journey of our challenged youth. These kids are ready to become heroes, all 28,000 of them, and that’s just LA county, 300 or more in Skid Row. We should not be okay with leaving them behind. Their lessons don't need to be learned the hard way. They just need reminding that they are NOT the damaged or the underprivileged, they are the pre-strengthened.
The SuperLiterate Project is founded by a disabled US Navy Veteran and plans to work with as many other vets as possible. Getting integrated back into society can be challenging for some Vets and this organization and it's giving forward is a good way to stay active and involved in a strong community. Escaping from a negative place by joining the Military was a smart move for many of us, it may be a valid option for many of the teens we work with to get a decent education. Note: We are still in the process of filing all of the proper forms that will enable us to grant tax-deductible receipts for all donations and contributions, we cannot accept donations yet, updates soon.
Initially what we will do is accumulate comic collections, through tax-deductible donations made to it as a non-profit corporation, allowing comic book sellers to get rid of old inventory and be able to write it off of their taxes. Or through purchase of large discounted collections with moneys raised from a Patreon account and from the sales of products we will produce as a means of generating income.
We will then put together gift sets for kids in need that can benefit from them. As soon as possible we will also provide space and facilities for weekly Book Club discussions and provide tutors to help with the reading, and understanding some of the more complex concepts. Intermingled with this will be ongoing counseling and real world coaching to help them learn to achieve and do good things with their life. A Superhero Academy if you will. The Los Angeles Superheroes. It could make for a really cool t-shirt.
How we accomplish this will be through ongoing outreach for fundraising purposes. Promotions at Comic Book Conventions to gather Patreon subscribers and co-promotions with the publishers that can benefit from an expanding user base. The Public Library system will come into play with their selection of graphic novels and database of digital comics.
Swag will be a significant income generator for this project and books, limited edition prints, clothing, even short run action figures will need to be in constant production. This will keep things exciting and give valid reasons for knocking on the interested parties digital doors with our never ending supply of fundraising goodies. We’ll be like the Girl Scouts with the goodies. We can be the Geek Scouts.
Gamification should be easy. We can create a reward system for avid readers that allows them to get prizes we gather as donations, or work with artists to make highly sought after streetwear that would be coveted and worth striving for. Trivia contests for some of the stories the Book Club works with could also help stimulate interest.
For fundraising, an affiliate system could be set in place for those that help promote the cause. Affiliates could be rewarded with commissions on sales of merchandise and maybe incentivized to take it in trade at a much higher commission level. In this rabid community of fans, something like a Grand Prize dinner with a celebrity, participating in an interview, or attending a meet and greet with a star of a comic book movie property- could really get them working on promotions. Red carpet events and insiders parties really get the fan community excited. This could be a lot of fun. So much fun it would rarely feel like work (even though it may very well become a significant part of my own life’s work).
Once an initial program is set into motion we would love to expand. A reading room and event space/workshop would be ideal. Plus, once we create a good set of best practices the program can expand to as many cities that need it.
This project is dedicated to Stan Lee, Will Eisner, John Rogers, and Jon Schnepp. This is a cause I would like to think that they would have loved. They serve as ongoing inspiration.