/HC Rock Center.jpg

Photo courtesy Margot Wood

To conclude a year-long promotional campaign for the latest book in his popular tween series, "Big Nate" author Lincoln Peirce and HarperCollins Children's Books took the name of their star character quite literally.

In front of thousands of spectators in New York's Rockefeller Center and with millions more watching live at home, HarperCollins recently broke the record for longest cartoon strip by a team. The record-breaking comic - revealed exclusively on NBC's TODAY show - spanned a length of 1,214.07 m (3,983 ft 2 in).

The massive strip, more than 11 football fields long when unspooled - told a story adapted from the first two Big Nate books, "Big Nate: In a Class By Himself" and "Big Nate Strikes Again." It came on the heels of Peirce's latest release, the sixth in a 16-book series, "Big Nate: In the Zone."

The strip consisted of 1,202 panels, each a replica of Peirce's popular work and trademark illustration style. HarperCollins staff, booksellers, educators, and students from 100 schools in 30 states and seven countries contributed to the lengthy strip.

HC Rock Plaza.jpg

HarperCollins projected existing Peirce illustrations to the larger panels, before outlining each panel in pencil.

Students would then fill in the panels in marker before sending them to HarperCollins, which assembled all panels into a single, uninterrupted strip. Peirce contributed five panels drawn himself by freehand.

HC Peirce panel.jpg

HarperCollins' strip beat the previous record by more than 200 m (656+ ft). After the certification of the measurement and verification of the result was announced on TODAY, HarperCollins announced it would donate $10,000 (£5,973) worth of books to First Book, a non-profit organization that provides books and educational resources to children in need.

Thanks to its promotional boost, "Big Nate: In the Zone" remained in the Top 50 of Amazon.com's Best Sellers Ranks for children's humor books more than a month after its release.

Yes panel.jpg

Since the series launch, "Big Nate" has more than 6 million books in print and 109 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. HarperCollins' triumphant cartoon strip capped a week of record-breaking attempts on Today, in which more than $150,000 (£89,000+) was raised for various charities.