BISMARCK, N.D. - 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.
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.
"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
Mindt uses the KODA comic books in his work as an instructor at Theodore
Jamerson Elementary School on the campus of United Tribes Technical
"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,
P.O. Box 276, Harvey, ND 58341, phone (701) 471-6257 or e-mail kodathe