826 on the ESB

826 is a family of non-profit tutoring centers founded by author dave eggers to help students "with their writing skills, in the realm of creative writing, expository writing, or english as a second language." each center has its own silly store (a time travel mart in echo park for example and the brooklyn superhero supply in new york) and its own cranky mascot publisher (admiral moody in chicago and mister geoduck in seattle).

i've been a fan of the 826s ever since christine brought me to the pirate supply store at 826 valencia in san francisco. the store itself was great. imagine a bookish spin-off of the pirates of the caribbean ride. the classroom in the back held my imagination even longer than the nautical dioramas though. no one was there at the time but there was a writing challenge on the blackboard. and it was good!

when my friends at poketo asked if i wanted to participate in a fund-raiser for 826LA, i couldn't wait to get started. this illustration was created for a series of poketo wallets inspired by short stories that the 826 students wrote. a boy named ethan wrote this story about an x-games fan who does a natas spin on the empire state building.

i used to have fantasies like this one when i rode to school every morning. i sat in the back seat watching the buildings zoom by. i imagined that i was running on the rooftops, leaping, and swinging - spider-man style - fast enough to keep up with the car. it's the fun of video games, action movie, and comic books: dream movement.

© 2008 rama hughes