Kent State alumnus and cartoonist Chuck Ayers debuted a comic strip to promote Heisman Trophy candidate Dri Archer.
The strip first appeared on Twitter's @Dri4Heisman and was reproduced in Thursday's Record-Courier newspaper in Ohio.
Ayers is best known for "Crankshaft" and "Funky Winkerbean."
The 1971 KSU grad said he was happy to spread the word about the versatile Archer, who is a running back/wide receiver/kick returner.
"I've been working on comic strips for 26 years now and did editorial cartoons for the (Akron) Beacon Journal before that, but I've never done anything quite like this," Ayers told Sports Business Daily. "It just looked like a lot of fun. I got a chance to see Dri play a couple times last year, so obviously I knew who he was and knew that he had some really good stats. It just sounded like a cool thing to get involved with."
Schools are looking for more and more unique ways to prop up Heisman candidates to get exposure. Kent State is no exception.
"All the credit goes to them. I really had nothing to do with the initial planning part," Ayers said. "Somehow they hit upon sort of a superhero approach, and being a Kent graduate and a cartoonist my name came up. They got in touch with me and asked me if I'd be interested, and I said that sounds great. That's basically how I got involved; I just got asked."
Ayers explained the process of creating "The Archer," saying it was pretty easy.
"I met with the folks that are doing it, a group called (Whitespace Creative) located in Highland Square. I live and work right here in Highland Square, so it's been real easy to meet with them," he said. "They had a basic idea, and we just kicked it around at the first meeting. They said they'd put some words and concepts together for me and let me take off with it. They did a really good job. I think there's a couple of them that are comic book fans, so they've got a good grasp of what we can do and can't do with some of this material."
Ayers said he was pleased with the final product.
"Dri is a good lookin' kid. He's really kind of easy to draw, which is a help for me," Ayers said. "The superhero thing just worked so well because most of those superheroes are built like they're wearing football uniforms anyway, so it was real easy to incorporate that -- pretty much a football uniform with a cape and Dri Archer's head on it. It works real well; it's real easy to do. It's a fun concept, so it's a lot of fun doing the drawing too."
More "The Archer" comic strips are coming. A second one is scheduled to be released Aug. 21. There will also be game preview strips on Wednesdays starting Aug. 29 for the season opener against Liberty.
"I'm not a huge sports fan, but I follow Kent, especially in football," Ayers said. "I've watched them over the years. I go back to the time before the Tangerine Bowl (1972); when I was in school Kent was lucky to win a game or two. So it's been fun watching them go through all of this, especially last year and going to a bowl again. It's exciting. It's fun to be just a little bit of a part of this right now."
The Flashes are coming off a team-best 11 wins last year.