The scene is tragic. Jack drives up on a crash involving alcohol and an impaired driver. Jack’s sister is killed in the crash and Jack’s life takes a turn he never anticipated. This is the call to action for our super hero in his personal fight against DWI. This scenario is fiction but there are real life situations and tragedies far too often.
This is the beginning of the Santa Fe County DWI Program’s new public awareness campaign. The first episode appeared March 16, 2018 as a full page insert (Click to view) in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Further appearances of Jack and his friend Emily can be found on social media, on signs and Johnny Boards throughout the County.
The idea of a comic book and comic book characters presenting the anti-DWI message is based on research and studies done incorporating this type of media in public awareness campaigns. Research conducted by the Columbia University’s Comic Book Project shows that 75% of newspaper consumers read the comic section of the newspaper regularly. Comics are gaining respect in the educational community also. “The idea of using comic books as an educational tool isn’t new,” says Michael Bitz, founder of the Comic Book Project at the Columbia University School of Education. “What is new is the larger embrace of comics as literature.”
Programs in Mexico have been very successful in educating people, especially men, on sensitive subjects like health, safe sex and aggression. The highest percentage of clients in the Santa Fe County DWI Compliance Program fall into a similar demographic of those targeted in the Mexican campaign and in other campaigns in the United States.
“This is a very novel approach for us and I feel it will be a very effective way to re-tell the “don’t drink and drive” message we all have heard so many times. This is a new approach to an old and difficult problem,” said Rachel O’Connor, Director of Santa Fe County Community Services Department.