Artist uses comic talents to tell history

July 5, 2005 at 7:05 PM
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OYSTER BAY, N.Y., July 5 (UPI) -- A New York comic book artist has diverted his talents from Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich to a piece of local history.

Ernie Colon of Huntington, N.Y., and his wife, Ruth Ashby, collaborated on "A Spy for General Washington." It's the story of Robert Townsend, who lived in Raynham Hall in nearby Oyster Bay on the north shore of Long Island, and spied under the name Culper Jr.

"I thought it would be a good idea to have a comic book because children usually get pretty bored in museums pretty quickly," Colon told Newsday.

The comic book has been available at the Raynham Hall Museum for several months, but it got its official launch Monday during a July Fourth encampment of Revolutionary War re-enactors.

The book tells the history of the war as well as Townsend's story. There's also the story of Morton Pennypacker, who discovered in 1930 by comparing handwriting samples that Townsend was the mysterious Culper Jr.

The book also shows children how to make invisible ink and create simple codes.

Colon told Newsday he is already thinking about a sequel that would focus on the Townsend family's slaves.

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