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Wednesday, 2 August, 2000, 03:35 GMT 04:35 UK
Net comic hero targets pupils
World Wide Webley
Webley's appeal has a serious educational side
A new comic book hero has been created to make using the internet more open and easy for young school children.

World Wide Webley was devised by professional cartoonist Mike Collins, from Cardiff, who has worked on DC Comics Batman and Superman titles.

The first issue of Webley's world - featuring the hero and his friends Annette and Intergnat - will be distributed to schools across Wales in the autumn term.

The adventures of Webley focus on teaching infant school aged children on the positive uses of the internet.

The project is concerned with explaining that computers are changing the way we work

Tim Robins, University of Glamorgan

Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are also targeted in an effort to draw them into the information "revolution", tackling the issue of social exclusion.

In the comic's launch issue, Webley and his friends take characters called Jenny, Rhian and Peter on an educational ride through history.

World Wide Webley - which is produced in Welsh and English - explains key words used on the internet and how technology is used in society.

computer terminal
Computer know-how: Internet terms are spelt out
The 100,000 World Wide Webley project got off the ground with the backing of the University of Glamorgan and funding from the European Union's Information Society Project Office.

Cardiff-based Fairwater Films - which hopes to create an animated film of Webley - has also worked extensively on the scheme.

Mr Collins brings his experience of working on top projects such as the Flash and 2000AD comics and creating animated books for films such as The Quest for Camelot and Star Trek series.

'Changing world'

Project co-ordinator and University of Glamorgan lecturer Tim Robins said the project had a real role to play in educating children on the serious function of computers.

"Although children might be good at playing games on computers, the project is concerned with explaining that computers are changing the way we work.

"The ISPO wants to address any inequalities in the new information society and they are concerned that some children might be excluded from participating in society.

"That might lead to problems later in life, such as unemployment."

Mr Robins added: "We chose Mike Collins to animate the story because he is a very traditional artist."

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See also:

31 Jan 00 | Education
Centres to bridge 'digital divide'
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