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Companion characters emerge in new edition of Indian Superhero comic book
8 February 2005

BISMARCK, ND - When last we left our hero, he was getting to know his new companion, Benny the Rez Dog. Now, in the colorful pages of a new edition of the comic book series, KODA The Warrior, Benny is along for adventure right from the start and other companions join the battle too.

      Illustrator Mark L. Mindt has grown the cast of characters who join KODA, an American Indian Superhero, in the third edition of the educational comic book series. KODA means "friend" in the Dakota language. Mindt introduced the action hero to school audiences in two previous volumes.

Mark Mindt and TJES students
Illustrator Mark L. Mindt shares drawing tips and techniques with students at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School in Bismarck using his KODA The Warrior comic books. The newest edition of the American Indian Superhero comic book series is titled Healing Time. UTN photos Dennis J. Neumann.

      This story, Healing Time, begins on the Couer D'Alene Reservation in Idaho and leads through Wyoming, Montana and North Dakota.

      "Benny the Rez Dog is now the traveling companion," said Mindt. "Like KODA, when the need arises, he assumes the shape of another creature with super powers. He shifts into his secret identity as The Coyote."

      In this adventure, KODA and Benny face an abusive husband, grocery store robbers and a drunk driver, touching on the themes of domestic violence, law enforcement, and personal choices. The ever-present character, Negativity, representing the dark side of human nature, threatens to destroy the heroes throughout.

      Along the way Mindt introduces readers to four new companion characters, The Strong Hearts.

Mercedes Gourneau and Mark Mindt
Fourth grade student Mercedes Gourneau discusses an idea for her comic strip with illustrator Mark L. Mindt, creator of the KODA The Warrior comic books.

      "They come directly from tribal culture," said Mindt, an enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Nation. "Tribes have Strong Heart societies that provide a positive influence. And that's the basis of these new characters. They're going to help KODA and Benny in their adventures and become role models for young readers."

      Mindt uses the KODA comic books in his work as an instructor at Theodore Jamerson Elementary School on the campus of United Tribes Technical College.

      "This idea of modeling positive American Indian values is so important," said Mindt. "Using the comic book format has proved to be a good way to reach youngsters of any background."

      The books have been distributed throughout the Midwest. Mindt speaks to school groups and other organizations, spreading a positive message and good character values. Part of his presentation shows young people how to tell their own stories. He demonstrates tips and techniques for how to draw in the comic book format.

      All three KODA The Warrior comic books, The Beginning, Fighting Negativity, and Healing Time, are available from Pony Gulch Publishing, PO Box 276, Harvey, ND 58341, phone 701-471-6257, kodathewarrior@yahoo.com.


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