The Adventures of Future Hearing Man – Scene #1

*NEW* Life outside the Box hero, Future Hearing Man – Scene #1: The origin story.

Jenna OakleyI asked artist and graphic designer, Jenna Oakley, to take some comic slam challenges to show how the Life Outside the Box playing cards and comic slam worksheets can help comic book creators build a likeable superhero with unusual super strengths and ordinary character flaws who is ready to face everyday — and extraordinary — challenges.


"Future hearing" one of 20 "quirky super power" cards in the Life Outside the Box deck.

“Future hearing” one of 20 “quirky super power” cards in the Life Outside the Box deck.

First, Jenna chose the “future hearing “quirky super power” card.  Each card is designed to get the comic artist think of odd, funny powers that come with save the world potential but also are likely to lead to funny or awkward social moment. Each quirky super power card also suggests a motto for the hero that reveals a bit about their personality. Jenna’s card read:

Superpower: Hero hears an “audio-recording” of a moment from the future but may not be sure about the WHEN, WHO, or WHERE of the moment.

Unfortunate side effect:Hero can misinterpret the meaning of the audio-moment from the future.

Motto:“Hear I come to save the day! It’s a pun, get it?”

After choosing this card, Jenna used the Life Outside the Box comic slam, “Create a quirky super hero” to further develop her hero, Comic Slam – Create Quirky Hero – Life Outside the Box. This comic slam had these sections:

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Comic slam: “Create a quirky super hero.”

A) Big idea: QUIRKY: an odd, unexpected or weird action, behaviour, personality or mannerism.

B) Method: Step 1. Choose a card from the “Quirky Super Power” deck. Step 2. Create a character who has the chosen quirky super power with unfortunate side effect. Your character can be male or female; human, animal, or alien; child or adult, etc. Step 3. Name your hero and sketch out/describe clothing, head and foot wear, etc. Step 4. Choose a place, year, culture, and/or world for your hero. Step 5. Describe the social life of your hero. Are there family members, friends, coworkers, pets, children, etc?

C) Comic: Now that you have created your hero and “back story” (congratulations!), sketch a comic showing a typical day in the life of your hero.

After reading the comic slam, Jenna was ready to imagine and created her hero’s origin story in, “Future Hearing Man – Scene #1.” (Note: She created her comic using ADOBE digital tools.) I hope you enjoy the adventures of Future Hearing Man! (Click image to read).

Scene #1 – Future Hearing Man: The origin story.

Follow the continuing adventures of Future Hearing Man in scene #2 and scene #3

The Adventures of Future Hearing Man – Scene #2

Scene #2 – The Adventures of Future Hearing Man!

Jenna OakleyAfter writing the origin story for Future Hearing Man, guest artist, Jenna Oakley, needed to show the growth of her character as he came to understand the possibilities and limitations of his new “future hearing” powers. (Notice Jenna casted her hero as a university student — a life she knows well as a graduate of fine arts — so she could have the best chance of adding age-relevant, real life social interactions in her comic. Children and youth should be encouraged to “write what the know” and choose a character of similar age to themselves.) To help her with her hero’s growing pains Jenna followed the Life Outside the Box comic slam worksheet: Life Outside the Box Comic Slam “Fail, fail, fail, save-the-day!” I gave this comic slam activity the nickname “Goldilocks challenge) because it involves the hero having to deal with too little, too much and just right amounts of super power — an exercise in learning super power self-regulation. his comic slam has four sections:

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Comic slam: “Fail, fail, fail …Save the day!” (click image to read)

A) Big idea: GRIT – firmness of mind or spirit; courage in the face of hardship or danger; able to deal with hard times

B) Method: It’s time to give your character some Super Power lessons. Learning to control super powers and those annoying unfortunate side effects can be challenging, dangerous — and sometimes embarrassing. You need to give your hero some grit! Step 1. Imagine a scene in which your beginner-hero first accidentally discovers her or his super power. What happened? Who was affected? Step 2. Imagine what would happen if your beginner-hero was trying to “save the day” and she or he did not yet know how to turn on the super power. What happened? Who was affected? Step 3. Imagine what would happen if your beginner-hero was trying to “save the day” and used too much super power. What happened? Who was affected?

C) Comic: Draw a comic strip in which your hero’s super power lessons get off to a rough start — first, there is “too little” power; second, “too much” power, and third — hurray! — your Hero’s super power is “just right” and helps to get the job done.

D) Rules 1) To build up your beginner- hero’s grit and strength, you must make your hero go through some failures before the ultimate win. 2) Your hero must go undergo a super power learning process. 3) Just like Goldilocks, your beginner-hero must learn about: “too little,” “too much,” and “just right” when controlling super powers and unfortunate side effects.

Jenna’s hero struggles to bring on his future hearing power. At first it does not come; then it is waaay too sensitive and he picks up too many sounds; then he wonders, “Maybe if I just relax …” After successfully learning to regulate his super power, Future Hearing Man decides he needs to dress like a super hero and shows us he also has super skills with a sewing machine.


Scene #2 – “Fail, Fail, fail … Save the day!” Future Hearing Man learns to control his power –too little, too much, and then just right.

Follow the adventures of Future Hearing Man in scene #1 and scene #3

The Adventures of Future Hearing Man – Scene #3

Scene #3 – The Adventures of Future Hearing Man.

Jenna OakleyWith the origin story and master of the super power complete, guest artist, Jenna Oakley, chose to explore the personal price well-meaning heroes pay when they drop everything to respond to a distress call. Jenna followed the Life Outside the Box comic slam worksheet: “Comic Slam – Great power, Great responsibility – Life Outside the Box.” Here is a transcript of this comic slam activity sheet:

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 8.48.01 PMA) Big idea: OBLIGATION: something that you must do because it is morally right; something you do out of a sense of duty to others who depend on you.

B) Blurb: Heroes eventually learn, “with great power comes great responsibility.” But how is a hero to earn good grades at school, be on time for meals, go on dates, or put in enough hours at work if she or he is always being interrupted with “Help, Save me!” calls? How will your hero handle balancing a life of frequent super-rescues while still keeping up with her or his everyday duties and obligations? Can your hero handle being a “winner” in the public’s eye but risking looking like a “loser” in everyday life when important meetings, tests, jobs — and even sleep — get(s) frequently interrupted? Imagine the personal cost your hero pays to drop everything and run when villains attack, aliens invade, or kittens get stuck up in a tree? What happens to your hero’s friendships? What happens to your hero’s everyday, personal reputation?

C) Comic: Draw a comic strip in which your hero has to choose between dropping everything to run and “save the day” or showing up for an important personal meeting/event. How does your hero feel about having to choose?

D) Rules: Step 1: You must show your Hero really needs or wants to do something that is personally important. Step 2: You must show a clash — a fight — between your hero’s personal needs and the needs of others. Optional extra Step 3: Show your hero’s mixed feelings about “saving the day” AND being absent for a meeting, missing a deadline or not being there for a friend.

Jenna begins this scene with her hero studying hard for an exam. He hears a cry for help and without hesitation responds. Fortunately, he is prepared and has his hero costume with him. Unfortunately, he discovers his future hearing power was accurate but the context of the emergency was not what he was expecting. Future Hearing Man fulfills his obligation to serve those in need and he pays the price in lost marks for the missed test.FutureHearingMan-02Follow the adventures of Future Hearing Man in scene #1 and scene #3 …