Saturday, August 15, 2009

Heroes And Monsters

In addition to my regular haul of comics, I did my small part to support a good cause this week, by picking up an anthology book put out by The Hero Initiative charity.

If you were at the shop and missed Hero Comics, you can look for one of two covers next time you go back. (Grendel's cool, but I picked the one with the boobies. Sorry, mom.)

A book like this doesn't need to be reviewed. Like any anthology, the content in Hero Comics is hit or miss. Kaare Andrews' sci-fi retelling of Sleeping Beauty ("Dream Princess") is probably the best story in the book, though I was also quite entertained by Lowell Francis and Gene Ha's "Samson." And an Arthur Adams pin-up gallery is always a welcome addition to any book.

(That's pin-ups drawn by Art Adams, not of him. I don't think I'd buy that.)

But the one offering in the book that really sold the message and mission of Hero Initiative to me was "Monster," a single page thank you from artist Josh Medors (with Tom Smith). I've never met Josh, but he is part of the circle of comics folk at Silent Devil who helped get me making comics instead of just reading them. I learned about his battle with (a much more serious and aggressive) cancer through my old Division 18 publisher, with whom he was working on a cool looking new horror book called Willow Creek, that looked like it might do for werewolves in comics what 30 Days of Night had done for vampires and The Walking Dead had done for zombies. But Josh's cancer--his monster, as he calls it in Hero Comics--sidetracked that next big thing.

But Hero Initiative was there from the start trying to raise money on his behalf, trying to keep him working when able to work, and just checking in on him to see that he was being cared for properly when he couldn't work.

Now, I don't make a living at comics. I probably have a long way to go before I can even pretend to be eligible for any of the help this group offers comic professionals in need. But I also have a steady income and decent medical coverage through my day job, and my medical condition is in check, so that's fine. But the biggest fear I've had since this thing started with me is that I might lose my job, and with it my medical coverage, and be left scrambling to support my family while also struggling to get access to the medications I need to take for the rest of my life. There's not a lot of room in that equation for me to buy in to the next Dremo's Taphouse anthology or pay for the setup fees to self publish new D18. So it comforts me to know that an organization like Hero Initiative is around to provide a safety net for people worse off than I am, and that if things do ever take a wrong turn for me, I may still be able to do what I love.

If you want to learn more about Hero Initiative, make a donation, or find out about other ways to contribute, click on through.

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