"Bleeker: The Rechargeable Dog" Promotes Engineering Education in New Storyline
KING FEATURES AND THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF ENGINEERING
TO PROMOTE ENGINEERING EDUCATION IN
"BLEEKER THE RECHARGEABLE DOG" COMIC STRIP
Special Two-Week Storyline Debuts in Newspapers and Online from Sept. 17-29, 2012
New York, Sept. 13, 2012 – Starting on Monday, Sept. 17, the digital-themed comic strip, BLEEKER: THE RECHARGEABLE DOG, in partnership with the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), will launch a special two-week comic series that shines a spotlight on engineers and highlights the growing importance of engineering on future innovation. A new strip from the storyline will run in newspapers in the U.S. and Canada and on the NAE website at www.nae.edu and on www.BleekerComics.com.
Just like students across the country, the comic strip's characters, Lila and Skip, are back in school. These two fifth graders are assigned an early class project that focuses on perhaps the least talked-about part of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education—engineering. With Skip's electronic pet Bleeker tagging along, Skip and Lila learn what engineers do and how they might make positive impacts in the world by pursuing engineering as a career path.
Created by cartoonist Jonathan Mahood and distributed by King Features Syndicate, BLEEKER: THE RECHARGEABLE DOG is a funny strip about the friendship that exists between a boy and his dog, all with a contemporary 21st century twist. Bleeker is a rechargeable dog—he comes with his own battery pack and touch screen belly. Bleeker is a walking cell phone, music player, camera, printer, smoke detector, global positioning system and scanner all rolled into one user friendly device. He is like a typical canine, in that he can play fetch and do tricks like any other dog…except he needs to be recharged at the end of the day.
"Since I draw a comic strip about robots, I was really excited to join forces with the National Academy of Engineering and create an engineering-focused storyline in Bleeker," said Mahood. "It was a chance to highlight, for readers young and old, the essential role engineering plays in our daily lives and how it will help shape our future. On a personal note, my dad was an electrical engineer and as kids we really had no idea what he did at his job all day. Creating these comics helped me to reconnect and realize what a creative and hands-on profession he had."
The inspiration for Bleeker himself came partly from an engineering innovation with wide-ranging impact, because he is a combination of Mahood's favorite companions: his dog and his iPod.
On Sept. 21, the BLEEKER comic strip will feature a mention of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering. These game-changing opportunities, which are identified by an international committee of some of this generation's leading technological thinkers including Google CEO Larry Page, NOAA head Jane Luchenco, Nobel Prize-winner Mario Molina, genome pioneer J. Craig Venter, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry among others, are proving to be inspirational in education through activities like the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program taking root at colleges and universities across the nation.
"By opening young people's eyes—even through fun avenues like the 'BLEEKER' comic strip—to ways engineers make a difference in the world, we are sure to attract a more diverse group of the best and brightest students to pursue this career path and help drive our nation's innovation engine," said NAE senior communications officer Randy Atkins. "It's great to see a female character like Lila excitedly leading her friends on a path to learning more about engineering."
The "BLEEKER" series utilizes research from the NAE's Changing the Conversation report, which identifies messages likely to promote the public understanding of engineering.
BLEEKER: THE RECHARGEABLE DOG is distributed to newspapers, websites and mobile applications by King Features Syndicate, and can be read daily on more than 100 Comics Kingdom sites, www.DailyINK.com/features/Bleeker and www.Bleekercomics.com.
The mission of the National Academy of Engineering is to advance the wellbeing of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies, which also include the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council.
About Jonathan Mahood
After years of sending cartoon submissions to newspaper syndicates (and receiving the corresponding rejection letters) Jonathan decided to launch his first comic online in July 2006 called "Hoover: The Rechargeable Dog." The strip combined his two favorite companions: his dog and his iPod. In 2007, the comic was picked up by GoComics and Mahood renamed it BLEEKER, after his grandfather's middle name. Since then the comic has built a strong daily audience, attracted interest for an animated television series and has been translated weekly for Die Zeit, Germany's largest national weekly newspaper. In 2010, BLEEKER: THE RECHARGEABLE DOG was signed by King Features Syndicate for worldwide syndication. Mahood, his dog and his iPod, live in a small town north of Toronto.
About King Features Syndicate
King Features Syndicate is a member of Hearst Entertainment and Syndication Group, which combines Hearst Corporation's network partnerships, television programming activities, and newspaper syndication and merchandise licensing operations. King Features is the world's premier distributor of comics, columns, editorial cartoons, puzzles and games, distributing in print and online some 150 features to nearly 5,000 newspapers and other outlets around the globe. It is one of the largest and most experienced organizations in merchandise licensing and entertainment. It represents some of the most recognizable global brands, including Popeye the Sailor Man, Olive Oyl and Betty Boop. For more information, please visit http://www.kingfeatures.com.