Not many kids can say they grew up with a comic book series based on their community – but Chelsea students can! CPTN SRSLY and the Super Master Sentinels series was created by the SRSLY coalition and features local landmarks and people.
CPTN SRSLY (pronounced: ‘Captain Seriously’) is a shared comic book project between the SRSLY Coalition, Chelsea School District, Chelsea District Library, Edgar Norman Creative, and local cartoonist, Jerzy Drozd, with support from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
The comics feature current students and principals in the Chelsea School District, and the stories promote positive social protective factors. As of 2018, there are eight issues in the series – one issue for each grade from 2nd-9th.
Each issue is designed for a specific grade level to include age-appropriate content and messaging. For example, the book for 2nd graders is a coloring book that encourages students to wash their hands, whereas the 9th grade book includes the death of a character with the message that your actions have consequences.
Each school year, SRSLY distributes the comic books to their respective grades, and every student in the school district receives one. SRSLY introduces students to the CPTN SRSLY series in the second grade by reading the book to each classroom during March is Reading Month. South Meadows Elementary students also receive their comics during March, while Beach Middle Schools students receive their issues each fall.
CPTN SRSLY is an ongoing series, with an issue for 10th graders scheduled to be released in 2019 and plans to create and release books for 11th and 12th graders in the following years.
Students might even catch a glimpse of some of their favorite characters and school and community events, as SRSLY now has mascots of CPTN SRSLY, Dame Ladycat, and Monstrarch.
The CPTN SRSLY project has emerged as an exemplary local collaborative effort to support Chelsea youth. Comic books connect language and art in a way that draws readers in and encourages literacy within children. By using a medium that kids already enjoy, adults can pass along messages that benefit kids and help establish a positive sense of place in Chelsea. When local agencies come together to professionally produce fun and creative comic books that teach local kids about healthy and positive behaviors, the whole community wins.
What’s more fun than reading comic books? Creating your own!
When SRSLY released CPTN SRSLY comic books to Beach Middle School in 2014, students asked for even more comics! So SRSLY partnered with local cartoonist and author of the CPTN SRSLY series, Jerzy Drozd, to bring a comic book workshop to Beach Middle School.
Now entering its fifth year, the workshop is held after school for five weeks every fall. Over the course of 10 sessions, students learn about using color, line, size, and shape to tell a visual story. As their final project, students create their very own comic! All of the comics are then compiled into an anthology issue. The issue is then printed in full color and passed out to their peers.
The young authors also spend a lunch period signing copies of the anthology to share with their fans and family!
The workshop is another way SRSLY shows students that you can have fun without substances. It also provides an opportunity for pro-social community involvement, which is a protective factor against youth substance abuse.
To learn more about how your student can sign up for the middle school comic book workshop, email email@example.com.