June 30, 2009
CW's "Revolutionary City" now a comic book
Colonial Williamsburg reaches out to kids with a new comic book based on its popular “Revolutionary City” street theater program that depicts ordinary citizens making choices about whether to support revolution or remain British subjects.
Though the colorful and engaging comic can be read from start to finish, there is an unusual twist – at the bottom of each page readers face a choice that determines which page they will turn to next. Kids have to decide, for example, whether to be a patriot or a loyalist, or whether it’s worth the risk of fleeing slavery to join the British – choices their ancestors likely faced.
"I had never seen anyone do a choose-your-path comic before, but I thought that structure would be a great fit with the ‘Revolutionary City’ storyline,” said Bentley Boyd, who adapted the scripts and drew the illustrations for the comic. “Before I drew anything, I had to jump into the ‘Revolutionary City’ script and find the moments of decision for these people.”
Richard McCluney, Colonial Williamsburg’s vice president for productions, publications and learning ventures, stressed that the format is also a great fit with Colonial Williamsburg’s education for citizenship initiative. “Citizenship meant making choices in the 18th century just as today,” McCluney said. “We think that Revolutionary City – the program and the comic book – drives home that message.”
Boyd is best known for his educational cartoons for the Newport News Daily Press, which featured “Chester the Crab.” In the Revolutionary City comic book, he introduces a new animal character, the blues-singing, wise-cracking John Lee Otter, who Boyd hopes will appeal to kids. “He's a old bluesman who has seen it all,” Boyd explained.
Boyd will sign comic books and talk about his passion for teaching history to the next generation of American citizens three afternoons in July at the Visitor Center: Saturday, July 11, 4 – 6 p.m.; Sunday, July 19, 4 – 6 p.m.; and Thursday, July 30, 4 – 6 p.m.
Boyd received a bachelor’s degree in history and literature from Harvard University and has resided in the Williamsburg area for 17 years. His two sons are junior interpreters in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area. In addition to publishing his Chester Comix series, Boyd was previously a cartoonist, editor and reporter for the Daily Press newspaper.
The comic is available for $6.95 from WILLIAMSBURG Booksellers® in Colonial Williamsburg’s Visitor Center, 101 A Visitor Center Drive, Everything WILLIAMSBURG in Merchants Square and other Colonial Williamsburg retail outlets. In late July, the comic will be available by phone at 1-800-446-9240 and at www.williamsburgmarketplace.com.
Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational institution that preserves and operates the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia as a town-sized living history museum, telling the inspirational stories of our nation’s founding men and women. Within the restored and reconstructed buildings, historic interpreters, attired as colonial men and women from slaves to shopkeepers to soldiers, relate stories of colonial Virginia society and culture – stories of our journey to become Americans – while historic trades people research, demonstrate and preserve the 18th-century world of work and industry. As Colonial Williamsburg interprets life in the time of the American Revolution guests interact with history through “Revolutionary City®” – a dramatic live street theater presentation.
Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s Web site at www.history.org.