Kids Y2K-OK?

Come January 1, 2000, the hard drives of all computers that aren't Y2K-compliant will be stolen by an evil orange bug. And that's just for starters.

This loathsome villain also plans to suck millions of dollars out of noncompliant ATMs, make himself the beneficiary of every insurance policy, and have your stocks transferred to his name. The good news? The villain doesn't plan to physically harm anyone. He is, after all, a character in a children's comic strip. Debuting this week on the Web (http://www.hidenzeek.com) and running in instalments, the strip features a cuddly yellow fellow named Zeek, the "official Y2K hero", who seeks to foil the diabolical plans of Y-Rus, the aforementioned scoundrel and "official Y2K villain".

The strip is designed to engage children throughout the world in helping Zeek "in his mission to subdue the villain while having fun and encouraging Y2K awareness and preparedness," according to the site.

Don't expect Zeek, Y-Rus, and the gang to disappear after 01-01-00. Masterminds of Fun, the strip's creator, expects the Y2K problem to be only the beginning of their adventures. Future topics could include environmental or other issues.

"The ultimate purpose [of the strip] is to educate youngsters by playing on a variety of problems which, like the Y2K crisis, [people] brought upon themselves," say company representatives. Which means that next year you should look for a comic strip/Web site about the world of professional wrestling.

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