Friday, December 16, 2011

"The Man" Picked Us a Winner! (5 of them, actually)

Remember Stan Lee's World of Heroes contest? The winners are in!

The STAN LEE'S WORLD OF HEROES T-SHIRT CHALLENGE winners have been chosen and the wining shirts are now for sale! The Top 20 designs were voted on by the public, and Stan hand-selected the final 5 winners. Each of the winning designs will be hand-numbered and printed in limited quantity, with a portion of each sale will be donated to the John Wayne Cancer Institute. Purchase the tees now from MASScanvas! When they sell out, they're gone for good!





For the record, I like this one best...




For more information about the John Wayne Cancer Institute, please call (310) 315-6111 or visit their website at http://www.jwci.org/.






Thursday, December 15, 2011

Nobody's Immune to Breast Cancer

"When we talk about breast cancer, there's no women or superwomen. Everybody has to do the self-examination monthly. Fight with us against this enemy and, when in doubt, talk with your doctor."

Via BleedingCool. More by ~Halfy at http://halfy.deviantart.com/.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanks for Giving: Comic Charity Roundup

A little peak behind the curtain, in case you hadn't already figured it out: I get the majority of my "news" posts from a Google alert for "comic book charity". You may have also noticed I'm not exactly a prolific poster, which is in direct conflict with the fact that my alert has been blowing up all week with noble efforts from the comic community to give back or lend a helping hand. 



Here a four fantastic charitable efforts you can be a part of:
  • From the Dead Horse Committee: Please join Team Comics Cure as a rider or 'raiser in the upcoming 2012 MSKCC Cycle for Survival. We've got a modest goal and plenty of time to surpass it! Read more: http://mskcc.convio.net/site/TR?team_id=17392&fr_id=1600&pg=team
  • From Newsarama: Six-year old Aidan Reed dealt with his 2010 acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis in a rather unique way: drawing pictures of monsters and selling them on Etsy to help pay for his chemotherapy. Now, Mike Mignola, Walt Simonson, and other artists are putting ink to paper to help him raise even more. Read more: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/comic-artists-charity-auction-111121.html
  • From Challengers Comics in Illinois: We’re the host for this year’s Briggs4Kids Foundation Charity Event and we are accepting Comic Book & Graphic Novel donations from now until the event. Monetary donations will also be accepted. We are also celebrating the release of Top Cow’s Pilot Season: SERAPH, created by Lance! Also appearing, local creators Alex Rosado, Tom Kelly & Brian Mead. Read more: http://www.conventionscene.com/2011/11/16/il-briggs4kids-charity-event/
  • A Call for Support in the Wake of Tragedy: Ugh...this. Be thankful for what you have. Be thankful for what you've had. I can't even begin to imagine. http://www.laurenweinstein.com/2011/11/rosalie-lightning/

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Movember Moustaches: Occupy Your Face

While it is too late to kick off moustache month, I want to at least acknowledge this 30-day feast of face fuzz -- all in the name of prostate cancer awareness. My father is one of millions of men who had (and happened to beat) prostate cancer. I have a prostate. You might have one, too! What any of this has to do with moustaches, I don't know. But cancer sucks, and prostates are tucked away deep in a place that makes it easy to lose awareness of them. And while it is possible to simply lose track of a perfectly healthy prostate, it would be especially tragic to be unaware of one that has cancer.

You need a stiff upper lip (among other things...good health insurance, broccoli, etc) to battle through it. I guess growing a moustache helps with that. Okay, there's your rationale. So go check out Movember's official site and then grow out your own mouth muff while there are still days in the month. You can tie it all back to Comics Cure's theme of geek-centric charity and awareness by basing your own moustache on one of these great lip lines of comic book history:


Jim Gordon's Commish-stasche


Omni-Man's Invinci-stache

Batroc the Leaper's Curly Fritte

Doctor Strange's Stache of Agamatto

J. Jonah Jameson's S. Stachey Stache-stache

The Sinestache

90's-era Tony Stark's Iron-stache

General Ross' Thunderstache

Stan "The Man" Lee's Excelsior-stache

And remember: You can also bring it back to Comics Cure by showing your support for Team Comics Cure in the upcoming Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Cycle for Survival. The money raised by that annual event goes to rare cancer research. Sadly, prostate cancer has become all too common, but the important research undertaken at MSKCC serves to help find optimal treatments and, maybe one day, a cure for all cancers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

T-Shirt Time With Stan The Man!

Are you nerd enough to take Stan Lee's "WORLD OF HEROES" T-Shirt Design Challenge?

Stan the Man is teaming up with online community MASScanvas, encouraging fans to design and illustrate "hero-themed" t-shirts. A portion of the sale of winning t-shirts will benefit the John Wayne Cancer Institute.


The contest started today -- Thursday, November 4 -- so get to it! You can submit designs for the WORLD OF HEROES challenge through November 20 at masscanvas.com. All entries will be featured on the site, the only requirement being they reflect the heroes theme.

But that's just half the battle. Entrants and fans can comment on designs throughout the challenge and VOTE for the top 20 designs. And then, on December 8, Stan Lee himself will choose the 5 winning designs from the top 20 that he feels best represent the theme. The 5 winning Ts will be custom printed in limited quantity, individually hand-numbered, and sold in support of the charitable cause -- and the winning designers will be rewarded $1000 each!


Stan Lee will be hands-on throughout the campaign, and will appear in person November 5 & 6 at Comikaze Expo in LA (where Stan is Guest of Honor) providing signed shirts and special giveaways. Stan will personally congratulate the winners via video on December 8. Check out the contest launch video above and visit masscanvas.com to learn more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Comedians Cure, Too: REED Academy Comedy Fundraiser for Children With Autism

From a part-time colleague living with the full-time challenge of a child with autism:
Do you know anyone who LOVES Curb Your Enthusiasm? Want to support education for children with autism? REED Academy, is having a comedy night fundraiser hosted by Susie Essman of Curb Your Enthusiasm at the Wellmont Theatre in Montclair, NJ on November 8, 2011 at 7pm. For tickets, click this link: https://reedacad.ejoinme.org/MyPages/ComedyforCauseRegistration2011/tabid/315517/Default.aspx

One in 110 children are diagnosed with autism each year. While families struggling with autism face many hurdles, one of the greatest challenges is finding an appropriate educational program. In 2003, faced with no other options, a group of Bergen County families founded REED Academy, Inc., a not for profit school serving children with autism. REED provides highly individualized, scientifically based, state-of-the art intervention for children aged 3 through 21. Children are making tremendous progress at REED — they are reading, writing, solving math problems and working on the computer. They are having conversations with their peers, riding bicycles and playing kickball. They are learning to play the piano, prepare meals, take showers and brush their teeth. Since REED opened its doors, nine children have graduated and have returned to their local public schools. Every child deserves the opportunity to become a productive, independent adult, and enrollment at REED is not contingent upon a family’s resources. While a significant portion of our funding comes from school districts, it does not meet all of our costs. The balance of more than $20,000 per child is raised through efforts like this one.

In just six months at REED Academy, Ava has learned to use a fork, sit for story time and most importantly, say "hi Mommy!".


Thank you for your very generous support. If you cannot attend Comedy Night, please spread the word and post to Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter!

Kim, Charlie and Ava Jolie Cristo
 
The Cristo Fam has the scoop on Susie Essman, but the event is also promoting Marriage Ref host Tom Papa. Check the site (and the poster below) for details, and maybe have yourself a laugh on Ava's behalf.
 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

"Wonder Woman Day" Charity Event to Celebrate More Than Just the Amazon Princess on October 30th


Since 2006, artists, collectors, cosplayers, and fans have gathered on one weekend each year and in two cities to raise money for domestic violence charity programs. The star of the annual gatherings and creative theme for the artwork and costumes on display was always the iconic Amazonian super hero, Wonder Woman. Now, for the 6th annual gathering on October 30, 2011, the event has grown to a third city and the creative focus is growing, too. Organizers are renaming "Wonder Woman Day" to reflect their expanding focus on other pop culture heroine. The newly christened "Women of Wonder Day" will feature characters and collectibles related to Wonder Woman, Super Girl, Lois Lane, Princess Leia, Ripley from the Alien films, Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, and more. Sookie Stackhouse may come face to face with Buffy the Vampire Slayer on the streets of Flemmington, NJ; Portland, Oregon; and now San Antonio, Texas -- and all to showcase the strength and wonder of these female icons and archetypes in support of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 100% of all monies raised at the event from auctions and signings will go to 501(c)3 tax deductible charities affiliated with the event. Visit womenofwonderday.com for more information about the charities, the program for 10/30, and how you can participate.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2012 Cycle For Survival: Wanna Go For a Ride?

It's that time again. Team Comics Cure will be back in full effect -- and, hopefully, bigger and badder than we were last year. "Badder" meaning "gooder", that is. Not that "gooder" is a word, but you totally get it. We're going to pump some pedals and test our mettle. Are you coming for the ride?

Click here to SUPPORT TEAM COMICS CURE in the 2012 Cycle for Survival!

Dear Matt,

Thank you for starting team Comics Cure for Cycle for Survival! Your registration is now complete!
Cycle 2012 is our biggest ride to date and we look forward to working together to raise the most money possible for research on rare cancers!
To help you get started, check out the Team Captain Check List and log in to your Cycle Center with the username and password you used during registration. From there you can customize your team and personal page, send e-mails, track your fundraising progress and access the Fundraising Tool Kit which includes a fact sheet on rare cancers, a list of Cycle-funded research, a timeline of Cycle's history and useful fundraising tips!
Thank you again for being part of Cycle 2012. We look forward to working with you and your team this season!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Riverdale & Ronald Team Up Against Cancer in The Archies' 70th

Forgive my lazy copy-paste post, but AP-reporter Matt Moore has done a fine job covering the full story already, and I want to help spread the word before the book's Wednesday release. From one Riverdale boy on behalf of the original Riverdale gang, let's help support two great institutions -- Archie Comics -- 70-years strong -- and the Ronald McDonald House's ongoing efforts to help families through the burden of an ailing child. 


   

"Archie's 70th looks at cancer, help for families" 
Archie Comics is celebrating its 70th year publishing comic books by focusing the next issue on helping treat kids with cancer and donating the profit from it to the Ronald McDonald House New York. 
 
Monday - 9/26/2011, 1:40pm ET

By MATT MOORE
Associated Press


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - For families of ill children, a night or two or even more at the Ronald McDonald House is one way to help focus on their ailing kids without having to shoulder the burden of hotel costs. It's a lesson that the gang in Riverdale -- including Archie, Veronica, Jughead and others -- will learn firsthand this week.

The national network of homes, which provides free or inexpensive lodging for families near hospitals, is making an appearance in the issue of "Archie Comics" being released Wednesday.

In the 70th anniversary issue, No. 625, the kids at Riverdale High School find out that the younger sister of one of their fellow students is seriously ill with cancer and has to spend time in the hospital. The gang chips in to help to get the family to the Ronald McDonald House New York.

That realization sparks an epiphany for Archie and the others who, in turn, visit the house in New York City and volunteer their time and service, playing musical instruments, talking to kids and families and helping make things easier for those who are living there.

"Just because we've been, in a certain sense, a little insulated from the events of the real world, when we venture out or support or get behind something, it's like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval," said Jon Goldwater, co-chief executive of Archie Comics. "That makes things good for that person or that cause."

Dealing with cancer, and the help that Ronald McDonald House provides, fits that meter, he said.

The company's writers and artists ventured to the New York City house to meet not the children, their families who stay there and the staff. They painted the stairwells with a mural of Archie characters and a massive picture of the Riverdale gang, which now hangs in the house's playroom.

From there, Goldwater said the decision was made to focus on the house, not just in New York, but nationally.

Goldwater said Archie is "giving 100 percent of the profits" from the issue to the New York Ronald McDonald House, too.

That struck a chord with William T. Sullivan, president and CEO of the Ronald McDonald House New York.

He said that by having Shrill's sister come and stay at the actual house, "it kind of makes it all the more real" and gets the word out about the house to people who may not otherwise be aware.

For Dan Parent, who drew the issue, it's an achievement.

"Working on this issue was special on a number of levels _ the Ronald McDonald House is a very important charity and Archie has always been a huge supporter, so it was an honor to bring that relationship to life," he said. "Plus, it's Archie's 70th Anniversary Issue. It doesn't get cooler than that."


Follow Matt Moore at http://twitter.com/MattMooreAP

Online: http://www.archiecomics.com


(Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Comedian Rebels Stand Up to Cancer

Sure, they're helping promote the new Star Wars blu-rays, too...but this all-star ensemble of comedians would be just fine ONLY curing cancer. Visit standup2cancer.org to join the rebellion and help. Bill Hader's tonton impression is worth the price of admission. Add that to your reboots, Lucas!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blank Slate Books Puts the Full "NELSON" on Homelessness

Bleeding Cool is running a preview of a great looking anthology called Nelson. The 250-page book will feature 54 creators telling the life story of the eponimous lead. Proceeds will go toward the UK-based homelessness and housing charity Shelter. The book comes out in November.


Click over to BC for a list of talent involved with the book and for a gallery of preview pages, including art by Duncan Fegredo and Harvey James--and featuring a ruined ice pop, a censored penis, an exposed brain, and Batman, among other things (but not all in the same panel).


Friday, August 5, 2011

So Watcha Want? How About These Beastie Boy Toys With Kung-Fu Cancer Fighting Grip!?

via Buzzfeed

"Professor...what's another word for clever charitable promotion?"
"I think it's booty, b-booty, booty. Yeah, that's what it is!"


Actually, I think it's these awesomely accurate action figure depictions of Ad Rock, MCA, and (not me) Mike D. You can get the set here, with proceeds going to two charities benefiting kids with cancer -- the Pablove Foundation and Alex's Lemonade Stand.

Adam "MCA" Yauch is fighting it personally -- and the rest of the hot sauce committee wants you to join the battle. We followed them in the fight for the right to party, and then in the fight to help free Tibet. Now let's get the hip hop heroes' backs against the big C!

Click through for details on the 3-figure B-Boy set, limited-supply bonus item for early buyers, and links to the charities.


And in case you need a little inspiration before going into battle, here are the dolls in action...

Monday, August 1, 2011

RT America ALMOST Gets the Comics Cure Call to Action, But Misses the Point and Power of Comic Con



Comic Con brings in a ton of revenue for San Diego. Geek conventions across the country bring in a ton of revenue for whatever community they run in. And the geeks attending Comic Con and comic cons, in costume or out, do participate in and contribute to various charities -- including the comic-based chairities like Hero Initiative and CBLDF, which raise a great deal of money for their respective casues at such events, and whatever community charities manage to make a successful plee in and around these events.

If you took the geek angle out of this discussion and made it about the disproportion of wealth in the US and tax policies regarding the richest 1% in the country vs the 99% below, I would not feel the same...BUT we're talking about cosplayers, comic nerds, and hobbiest. We're talking fanboys and -girls getting a guilt trip for travelling to Geek Mecca. And that's where the RT America anchor gets it wrong.

Everyone deserves an escape...even an occasional, expensive escape from reality. You don't have to ask people to give up what may very well be the brightest spot on their calendar just to ask those people to ALSO be a little more aware of how good they have it compared to so many others. Ask geek hobbiests to consider sharing some of their have with the have-nots living on the street or laying in hospital beds...but don't suggest having is part of the problem.

It's trickledown geekonomics! Put on your Vader masks and TARDIS backpacks and buy your weekly comics... but remember to drop a dime in the bucket and lend a helping hand from time to time, too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Comic Blogger Goes the Digital Distance for Charity

This post satisfies my two geek-Web interests: comic-related charity and comic bloggers blogging... 


Chad Nevett is a contributor to the blog GraphicContent. He also writes reviews and commentary for Comic Book Resources and 411mania. For the last 3 years, he's gone the digital distance blogging for charity -- and on August 15th, he's going to do it again in a  24-hour Blogathon to raise money for Comics Cure-favorite charity, the Hero Initiative. Chad explains it via a recent CBR post:
"For those unaware, a Blogathon is where you blog for 24 hours straight, updating every 30 minutes, for charity. There’s an ‘official’ one of these where everyone does it on the same day and that’s how I first got into it back in 2007 when I blogged on some Joe Casey comics for 24 hours. ... In my three previous Blogathons, they always happened from 9am Saturday until 9am Sunday. This year, the Blogathon will run from 9am Monday August 15 until 9am Tuesday August 16."
Chad offers a few ways to support him (and the Hero Initiative) during the Blogathon:

Be sure to let Chad know if you make a donation or purchase of any kind to support him so he can track the results of his efforts. Send him an e-mail at chevett13[AT]yahoo[DOT]ca with the details of your contribution. Visit GraphicContent on August 15th to support his effort and read his posts, and be sure to check out his Blogathon announcement for a preview of what he'll be blogging about over that long day.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Medikidz Takes the Notion that 'Comics Cure' Literally

Meet the Medikidz founders at http://www.medikidz.com/


BleedingCool included a bit in its most recent Sunday news roundup directing me to good news for a neat organization. Medikidz is expanding, following a successful year and the sale of its one millionth comic book.

I first became aware of Medikidz at the 2010 Book Expo in NYC, where I grabbed a copy of their press kit as one of a few publishers to watch. What with my love of comics and a decade under my belt working in medical publishing and advertising, let's just say I think me and Medikidz--a company founded by doctors who saw comics as the perfect tool for talking medical science with kids--could be very good for one another. But most importantly, Medikidz is very good for the comic book industry, setting a positive example as to how exactly the medium can be used to help raise awareness about diseases and other medical issues to young audiences, or even to audiences otherwise unable to grasp complicated doctor speak that might apply to them or a loved one. The Medikidz comics also help provide comfort to a target audience of sick kids looking to better understand what is happening to them when they have a particular condition.

With a growing catalog of titles (leaping from 4 to 20 comics this year), non-sequential content offerings on close to 300 conditions, and a social network in the works, Medikidz is the perfect representation of the Comics Cure philosophy -- creating an educational escape for people struggling through the harshest realities. Be sure to visit the Medikidz website to learn more about the company of do-gooders.   

Monday, June 13, 2011

Comic Community Lends "Helping Hands" to Widowed Mother of 3

Bettie Breitweiser is a a colorist for Marvel Comics. She has taken to the Web to rally her fans and followers to come to the aid of a family in need and pay tribute to a lost friend. Jospeh Miller drowned over Memorial weekend, leaving his fiancee, Brittany Delarosa, and three children--one disabled--behind. Bettie has set up an auction site to help her old high school friends' family through the charity.

"Even if all you can give is $1.00, please help this family. I promise you, it adds up. No amount is too small. From the bottom of my heart I ask again, please help me help this family. Take care and hold those loved ones tight. This could happen to any of us."


The Helping Hands website includes donated pieces by Bruce Timm, Dennis Calero, and more, as friends and colleagues come out to support this cause. Join them.

CBLDF "Guardians of Free Speech" Membership -- We Got Ours!

re: Deadly Tales: One & Done anthology


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Friday, June 10, 2011

You're Doing It Wrong

Via World-Shaker.

Teenage Dream to "Live Life" Inspires New Jersey Charity Concert and More

Claire Gallo, a high school sophomore in Glenrock, New Jersey, was so inspired by the way a dying boy lived his life that she made a point of getting involved with the organization the boy's family created in his memory. The result of that involvement is this weekend's "Teenage Dream" charity concert benefitting The Christopher Barron Living Life Foundation (Sunday, June 12, Glenrock High School).

This is but one charitable outlet for Gallo, an inspiration herself. According to an interview with a local news site, Gallo also founded a program called "Teen Bridges," through which she helps connect her peers to volunteer programs. Visit that site for more on Teen Bridges, Gallo's thoughts on Christopher Barron and the Live Life Foundation, and on this Sunday's benefit concert.

And be sure to check out the official Live Life site for more about Christopher and the organization that his life and death inspired. One of the things that helped Christopher through his battle with leukemia was a love of comic books and superheroes (just look at the org's logo!) and a desire to be a comic creator himself one day. As a tribute to the boy and to help bring his passion for comics to others, the foundation runs a series of annual comic book writing workshops called "Christopher's Comic Book Inspirations."

http://www.christopherbarronlivelife.org/


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Drops in The Bucket

From HuffPo.

Alice Pyne is 15 years old and has terminal cancer. This is her bucket list.

Brutal, brave, and inspiring.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Rebooting Batgirl -- Literally -- Leaves Oracle Fans Scratching Heads and Drawing Protest Pics [UPDATED]

DC's upcoming line-wide relaunch of new #1s -- The DCnuniverse -- has certainly got the comic community talking. The controversial move by one half of the Big 2 will certainly lead to a sales spike when the market is flooded with 52 first issues of rebooted or brand new series, ranging from half-a-dozen Bat books to a new line of horror-tinged titles billed as "DC Dark." I only read one DC superhero comic regularly at the moment -- Green Lantern -- so the publisher is sure to make a few extra bucks off of me as I check out the new offerings. They'll also tap into potential new and return readership by offering every title in their catalog online, day and date of print release.

But despite the fresh start for bored or continuity-fatigued readers, and new opportunities for the company to make money, the DCnuniverse has also upset a portion of the DC devoted. I don't mean the long-time readers worried that all of their beloved continuity is getting flushed, nor do I mean the comic retailers bracing for lost revenue when a segment of clientelle happily retire their bag-and-board longbox lifestyle and migrate to 100% digital collecting. The loudest contingent of DCnu naysayers are the fanboys and fangirls of Barbara Gordon -- the wheelchaired watcher known as Oracle, who once-upon-a-time wore the cape and cowl of Batgirl. DCnu is rebooting Babs right back into prime crimefighting form in her own Batgirl #1.

Journogeek Andy Khouri of ComicsAlliance covers the controversy in detail here, with assorted links and a quote on the matter from Batgirl #1 writer Gail Simone.

THAGOMIZER Debi Linton deconstructs the badness of the bad idea here.

Wheelchair-familiar redheaded ubergeek Jill Pantozzi offers more than two cents on her frustration over the de-iconizing of Oracle here.

Current top-blog on the Comic Blog Elite toplist, DC Women Kicking Ass, had something to say about this kick in the ass of Oracle fans here.

And, of course, the redditors are on the case.

My favorite reaction to the Batgirl reboot is the Oracle Fans Unite tumblr (covered in some detail by ComicsAlliance here), where fans of current continuity Barbara Gordon are asked to show their displeasure over the DCnu change by celebrating the paralyzed heroine in pictures. Comics Cure usually asks you to give money to a cause, but I encourage you to simply give your own take -- pen to paper, or whatever -- on Oracle for the OFU movement.

It is unfortunate that DC appears to be taking away an important piece of pop culture -- the former Batgirl paralyzed by a bullet written from the Joker's gun by Alan Moore in The Killing Joke, and pulling herself up like a true hero, and in the most human way, to become a major behind-the-scenes player in the fight against crime in Gotham and beyond. Batgirl is fun and cute and peppy, and looks great on lunchboxes and in cartoons...but it was Oracle who showed people with (and without) disabilities that, despite any odds, they too can make a difference. They can be superheroes.

To be fair, it would be worse if Simone and DC just killed Oracle, and you can't rightly judge any comic story on prerelease hype alone. For all we know, issue 2 of the DCnu Batgirl will reveal that the person in the costume is an android, and wheelchair-bound Babs is still in her tower working a remote control.

But for now, it just doesn't feel right. Simone famously coined the term "Women in Refrigerators," a specific reference to the literal shoving of a generic girlfriend character into a refrigerator in order to help push the new-at-the-time character of Kyle Rayner to embrace his destiny as a Green Lantern, which became the catch-all term for the perceived abuse, degridation, and general disregard for female characters in mainstream comics. So I guess when the fridge is all filled up and there's no place to put the disabled, you just have to hit the reset button. :(

UPDATE: Possibly the last word on this matter until Batgirl #1 actually comes out, Pantozzi cuts through the noise with Simone about the controversy on Newsarama here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Making Art Out of Illness: Dana Heffern Has the ANTIDOTE for Type 1 Diabetes

A friend of mine needs your help -- and your old medical supplies -- to help complete her "Antidote."

Dana Heffern worked for over a decade as a decorative painter; interior designer; and scenic artist on top-selling and award-winning Broadway productions such as Billy Elliot, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, The Color Purple, and Mamma Mia. She has since moved from working on the Great White Way to working on an MFA at Goddard College in Vermont. She also volunteers as a diabetes mentor in Spectrum’s Youth & Family Services program supporting young people with type 1 diabetes.


For her latest project, Heffern's medium is her disease and all the accoutrements of life as a type 1 diabetic.

Herself a type 1 diabetic, Heffern has been awarded a scholarship from the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), which will help fund "Antidote," a performance art piece that discusses the difficulties of living with type 1 diabetes.

In addition to visual pieces created for the show (see sampling of works in progress below), the central performance piece of "Antidote" will be a dinner party of sorts designed to project the difficulties, dangers, and frustrations of the type 1 diabetic's diet to non-diabetic guests. The work will go live at Goddard College on July 26, 2011.







You can read an interview the artist gave to diabetes lifestyle blog Living In Progress about herself and her work, and you can even help with the creation of "Antidote" yourself! While the project is partially funded by the AHEAD scholarship, Heffern has to cover the majority of expenses herself, so she is asking for donations of any used and unused diabetes management supplies -- such as unused test-strips and syringes, the leftover plastic parts from Minimed infusion sets, empty insulin bottles, reservoirs, tubing, etc. -- that she can incorporate into the show.


Mail supplies
and support to:
Dana Heffern
P.O. Box 9244
South Burlington, VT 05407

Hey, Comics Cure--what does this have to do with comics and geek culture?
Okay, you got me! Dana Heffern is not a comic creator. She's not an illustrator by trade, nor does she make craftwork superheroes or modelling-clay action figure accessories. But she is an artist -- and comics are art. So there's your relevance to this site. Disease does not discriminate, so Comics Cure won't either. Besides, the idea of turning illness into artwork, as Heffern does in "Antidote" may very well inspire you to do the same. Comics certainly offer a fine medium to draw (or write) out the demons of disease -- your own or those of someone close to you.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Number Ones

Not about charity, fundraising, cancer, or my own work. Just a quick word on comics...

If DC Comics wants to relaunch an entire line of books with new #1 issues, let's just hope they're as good as the new #1's that kick off every self-contained storyline in the ongoing Hellboy saga. If either of the Big 2 are looking for the comics model of the future, they need only look to what Dark Horse has been doing for years with HB and BPRD -- short-run miniseries with an ongoing continuity and expanding mythology. The stories stand alone, but long-time readers are rewarded with the richer epic adventure unfolding.

And hot damn, the Francesco Francavilla variant cover to the latest #1 (The Fury #1, pictured) is nice.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

3rd Annual "Superheroes for Hospice" Event Calling for Comic Donations and Thrifty Fans in West Orange, NJ

I wrote about this event last year. They're back and more motivated than ever to raise big money for the Saint Barnabas Hospice. Check out the PR below to find out how you can help:


+++

Comic Book Sale Scheduled in West Orange

Essex County, NJ - Superheroes for Hospice will host its 3rd annual
summer Comic Sale on Saturday, July 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the
Saint Barnabas Health Care System Corporate Office located at 95 Old
Short Hills Road in West Orange, NJ. The show will benefit patients
and families served by the Saint Barnabas Hospice and Palliative Care
Center (SBHPCC), an affiliate of the Saint Barnabas Health Care
System.

The sale will feature more than 300 boxes of a large selection of
comic book genres. Graphic novels and artwork will also be available.
Comic book creators and sketch artists will be in attendance to
discuss their work, sign books and sketch your favorite characters.

Superheroes for Hospice was launched in 2009 by SBHPCC Volunteer
Coordinator, Spiro Ballas. His concept for the project is simple:
people donate comic books for a tax-deduction statement, fans get
comics at a nice price reduction, and hospice benefits-a win-win for
all involved. To date more than $10,000 has been raised.

For more information about the sale, or to make a comic book donation,
please contact Spiro Ballas, at sballas@sbhcs.com or 973-322-4866.


+++

Be sure to "like" Superheroes for Hospice on Facebook, too.

In addition to the call for donations and collectors, Mr. Ballas would love to hear from comic creators -- writers and artists of yesterday, today, and even tomorrow -- available to sign books at the event. Superheroes for Hospice is, in many ways, the perfect opportunity for all corners of the comic book community to come together and do some good.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Help "One and Done" Anthology Make a Killing for Charity


I had the pleasure of speaking with Jay Katz, head honcho of InvestComics, about his upcoming anthology, Deadly Tales: One and Done. Jay picked my brain a bit about charity leads and directing proceeds from the book to different beneficiaries. He even offered me a spot in the book (which I gladly accepted, thank you very much)! At the time, InvestComics had yet to work out the details to making the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund their beneficiary, so we kicked around some other "good cause" possibilities. CBLDF is a fine and noble organization sworn to defending free speech and artistic freedom, so Jay and his team have a great cause to champion with their cool concept. Hooking up with CBLDF was a great idea and I wish them all the best of luck with the book.

BUT...

I had a great idea, too. (Not in any way an official part of InvestComics's plan, the guidelines for the One and Done anthology, or the CBLDF fundraising model. My idea is my own. Consider it the Comics Cure bonus plan!)

Small-press comics don't make a whole lot of money. (This is not the "great idea," but it has been my experience and the frustrating experience of plenty of other far more prolific, ambitious, and successful indie creators. It is what it is. That's why there's a BIG two and a small rest.) So I was concerned about a promise to donate "100% of profits" to charity from a book that may not make much, if any, profit. It would be a shame to let all of the hard work and genuine good intentions--in this case, of Jay, his IC partners, and every artist who contributes to the book (self included)--amount to a few pennies in the pot for the chosen cause.
This is not to say in any way, shape, or form that I think One and Done is a bad bet. It could very well be a big money maker for CBLDF. It's the concept of approach to charity comics in general that I want to revisit here, and this book is a killer opportunity to try something new.

In this age of Kickstarter comics and DIY empires, any writer or illustrator contributing to a fundraising project could (and dare I say should) give more than their words and pictures to their cause du jour. Small press comics rarely make a profit, but if every contributor on a "charity" book were to approach their effort like some people approach marathons or bike races or even bake sales, it could change the game entirely.

If creators were to treat their participation in charity books like a sponsorship drive--soliciting contributions from friends and families and employers (who might even offer matching contributions!), shooting for an ambitious fundraising goal of hundreds or thousands of dollars--even the tiniest small-press book otherwise destined for the discount bin might help make a significant difference for those in need. More than 100 creators will be involved in the creation of One and Done. What if they each set a modest goal of raising $100? What if they were more ambitious and less modest, setting the goal at $500 or $1000? What if they simply spread the word that they are supporting CBLDF through this anthology and want others to help you?


I'm like a living "before" photo, yet last year I was able to raise nearly $4000 for cancer research, with some humble e-mails to the right people and a few hours on a stationary bike alongside some like-minded do-gooders. That particular event raised over 4 million. Couldn't we take that same approach with the marathon that is making comics? It is a hell of a lot harder to create a comic book than it is to ride a bike for a few hours. (Try it, bikers!)

Deadly Tales: One and Done is going to be a cool book--especially MY page! It's a solid concept that should make for both an excellent read AND an exciting creative challenge for any creators who participate. And CBLDF is a major force in the comic industry, which should help attract the big names needed to draw the big sales needed to raise some big funds for the cause. But I dare you and everyone involved or looking to be involved with the book to add this new dimension to the charity angle and make it a huge fundraising success before a single page is printed.
My original recommendation to Jay was a little different than this. I suggested that he require that contributors make their own donation (at the time, any amount to any cause they wanted) and show the receipt or other proof that they did so in order to be considered for the book, and then list the cause each contributor supported as part of the credits for the book. It was more about twisting people's arms to be active in their charity. Forced fundraising may have been ill-advised, but credit earned is credit deserved. So I invite anyone who chooses to donate to CBLDF (or any other charity) while working on or otherwise supporting this book to drop by Comics Cure for their virtual pat on the back. And if this grand experiment in suggestive giving doesn't work for you, well, it's just one and done.

Here's What You Do:

1. Check out the Official One and Done Press Release and One and Done Submission Guidelines so you understand the project and know what/when/how to contribute.
2. Ask your friends, family, etc, to support your efforts on the book with a donation to CBLDF
3. Support the organization yourself by purchasing a membership -- just $25 for the basic 1-year membership, plus premiums if you get a higher level membership.
4. Tell your local comic shop about the project and, when the time comes, be sure to tell them how to preorder copies.
5. Share your progress -- here, on Facebook or Twitter, or in the InvestComics community -- to help rally others around the effort.
6. Tell a great story! Make this anthology worth it for everyone.

Now get to it!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Help the Kids of Joplin Escape

Tornado-devastated Joplin, MO, is not without its heroes. Specifically, the proprietors of Joplin comic retailer Hurley's Heroes have been living up to the example of their product during their community's harrowing time. First they put out notice that they were safe and open for shelter and support. Now, the heroes of Hurley's Heroes are sending out a call to the comic community to help them help their family, friends, and patrons find a sort of escape from the traumatic surroundings.

It will be days at least, maybe weeks or longer that people are forced to live in shelters, without the comfort and calm of home. For many, there is no home left. So Hurley's Heroes is asking for a very specific type of donation to help provide peace and calm and even a little levity to the dire circumstance: comics!

All-ages books are the order of the day--anything to help the kids stuck indefinitely in shelters. Books can be sent to Hurley's for distribution around Joplin. Send packages to:

Hurley's Heroes
1515 w 10th
Ste.c
Joplin, MO 64801

You can also find Hurley's on Facebook to send virtual care packages of well-wishes and moral support. And, of course, as this horrifying tornado season unfolds across the heartland, there are a number of ways to support the relief efforts in Joplin and across the midwest, like donating to the Red Cross or supporting local and regional missions.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Color of Money for Moose

The perpetual content machine of the comic industry churns out dozens of new, expensive books every Wednesday, so it is easy to forget that for the individual artists creating books, the pay isn't always so great (assuming there is ANY pay) and the work isn't steady. Even a fan-favorite colorist who works on high-profile books can get overwhelmed by the extreme cost of sudden illness.

Popular colorist Moose Baumann (Green Lantern, Flash, 52) needs our help to pay down a massive healthcare debt! This isn't some something-for-nothing cry for charity. Moose is selling prints of his (beautiful, masterful) work to cover those expenses. Baumann-colored pieces include work by Andy Kubert, Ivan Reis, Ethan van Sciver, and more.


From the Nerdy Bird via Newsarama:

"A few years back my wife had breast cancer. She had chemo and a partial mastectomy, and we thought things were good. A year later we found out that it had spread, and she went in for more chemo and surgery. Several months prior she had lost her job and her insurance, and because of her “prior condition” she no one else would insure her. So we’ve been working on paying off the full cost of her medical bills for the past two years, just north of $90 grand.

"Right now work is scarce and money is super tight, and on June 1st it looks like we may lose our home because of all of this. I’m trying to sell some prints of my work online to make some quick cash, and hopefully keep my home. I’m reluctant to ask for help, it’s embarrassing, but I’m at the end of my rope."

Baumann is currently selling prints of his work which you can preview here. People can email the artist at moosebaumann [at] mediacombb [dot] net to place orders. He’s accepting both Paypal and money orders. If you’ve enjoyed any of his work, please consider helping the guy out.

UPDATE: I ordered this Cyborg Superman pic by Moose and Simone Bianchi, which happens to be one of my favorite comic covers, plus two more that are hella good. Love 'em. Good luck, Moose!




Monday, May 9, 2011

Medors Working Through Rare Cancer to Help You Help Him

Josh Medors was working with my old Division 18 publisher, Christian Beranek, on the werewolf comic Willow Creek, when he began treatment for his cancer.

My last bit of comic writing was for a Hero Initiative benefit collection, Hope: The Hero Initiative, published by Ronin Studios.

Hero Initiative has been helping Medors, as they do with other comic artists and creators in need, through auctions and events for a few years now. Here's the latest.
Official Press Release

Artist Josh Medors continues to battle against a rare form of cancer in his spinal column. And Spider-Man’s coming to help save the day.

The Hero Initiative in conjunction with Marvel Comics has created a limited edition print featuring Josh Medors’ recreation of the classic AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #33 cover by Steve Ditko. Proceeds from sales of the print, available at Medors’ hometown comic store, Packrat Comics of Hilliard, Ohio, will go directly to Josh to offset medical expenses.

Only 250 individually numbered prints will be available. Of these, 50 will be autographed by both Medors and Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee at $100 each. The remaining 200 will come autographed by Medors alone at $20 each. Prints will go on sale on Free Comic Book Day, May 7, 2011 at Packrat Comics, and will also be available at Packrat Comics.

Medors created the artwork for the cover of issue #105 of Alter Ego magazine, on sale October 2011 from Two Morrows Publishing. “It’s an honor to feature Josh’s work on our issue about the Comics Code, which Spider-Man helped bring up to date in the early 70's,” said Alter Ego editor Roy Thomas. “His reinterpretation of Ditko’s original drawing literally took my breath away.”

“Josh Medors is proof that you don’t need a costume and super powers to be a hero,” said Tim Dillon, Marvel Business Development Manager. “We’re all inspired by his fight against cancer and glad to help support him by joining Hero Initiative on this limited edition print. “

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment. For more information, call 626-676-6354 or visit http://www.heroinitiative.org/

More on Marvel.com: http://marvel.com/news/story/15809/spider-man_swings_to_josh_medors_aid#ixzz1LsYwBoFc

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Cosplayers Kick it for Cancer Charity

Via The Daily Echo:

Everyone from superheroes to cartoon characters to muppets showed up. He-Man took part. Even Jesus Christ took time out of his traditional Easter Sunday obligations to participate. And it was all for the Sporting Compass FC Charity Fancy Dress Football Match in aid of the Wessex Cancer Trust. Video and original article at the source.

This is the sort of goofy event I'd love to see more of here in the U.S. But "Geek" is global, so good on the old chaps who put this together and pulled it off.

Friday, April 22, 2011

'Godzilla' Attacks Japan (with kindness)!

Via Digital Spy:

IDW Publishing has announced an Ebay charity auction of all 83 variant editions of Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsters #1 to raise money for disaster victims in Japan.

Godzilla: Kingdom Of Monsters #1 is written by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh with artwork from Phil Hester. It marks the iconic monster's return to the medium of comic books, and this auction marks an ironic twist in the radioactive lizards relationship with his homeland.


The auction includes designs by Alex Ross and Eric Powell, a rare retailer incentive cover, a WonderCon exclusive, and four previously unreleased IDW covers.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Tale of Two Diagnoses

Warren Ellis is comics to a lot of fans, so the fact that I learned about this tragic tale of a Brooklyn couple each diagnosed with advanced-stage cancers through one of his tweets is more than enough to land it here on Comics Cure.

Join the Friends of Nathan and Elisa to help in their fight.

Turning (our attention to the) Japanese

From the Power Rangers to Ranma to the Ring, and every Super Mario in between, we geeks owe the world to Japan!  So it is awesome that the geeks are uniting in so many ways to help that ravaged country. Japan has been and will continue to be a critical influence of fanboys and fangirls worldwide in so many ways--video games, manga, anime, kaiju, filmfashion. If you're part of the Comic Con Crowd, you've got a little Japanese in your heart and soul.

What follows here is just a retread of all the comic community efforts to raise money for Japan relief that the Bleeding Cool bleeding hearts committee already reported on. (Click the original link for images plus the BC comments thread.) BC gets the credit for the reporting. The community gets the credit for rising up and doing what it can to help those in need. Comics Cure just wants to help spread the word a little bit further.
  • Japan Needs Heroes is a new Kickstarter comics project to raise money for the Japanese Red Cross. The funding will paty for the printing (at cost) and creators include Aaron Williams,Benny Powell & Weilin Yang,Bill Walko,Brion Foulke,Chris Crosby & Owen Gieni, Cory Brown & Ran Brown, Courtney Huddleston, Dale Mettam and Matt Keltner, Dave Zero1 & Gisele Lagace, David Campiti, David Reddick, Gar Molloy, Genzoman, Jason M. Burns, Jennifer Brazas, Jinky Coranado, Ken Johnson, Mark McKenna, Rae Baade, Rob Haines & Jenny Sargent, Scott Story, Tarol Hunt and Tracy Bailey.
  • The Comic Book Alliance is launching a comic book called Spirit of Hope with Mike Allred cover and lots of familiar professional work, like the above piece by Chris Weston.
  • Genre for Japan is running a series of auctions, including signed proofs of Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman.
  • The Geek Girls Network is raising money for the Mercy Corps.
  • Ladbroke Radio is creating a fundraising audiobook of Japanese fairy stories that’s three and a half hours long.
  • A collection of voiceover artists from Japan are running a series of fundraising events in Japan this weekend.
  • We Love Japan are running a music and comedy concert in London on April 2nd with karaoke and cosplay.
  • 43 big manga creators are having a big fundraising sale of work on April 3rd in Utsunomiya.
  • Heart Japan and J Pop are holding a manga/anime fundraiser at the Vibe bar in Brick Lane, London on April 20th and will, amongst many other things, be auctioning off original Bryan Lee O’Malley artwork.
  • We Heart Japan ran a comcs/manga/anime fundraiser at Meltdown Comics last week, with a repeat performance soon.
And, of course, in addition to supporting or contributing to any of the above efforts, you can help directly by donating to the Red Cross disaster relief effort. Fill out the form at the link for donations of any amount, or simply text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

So let's go, do-gooders--time to do some good!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mmm, Pamcakes!



Stick it to the legions of Hell by celebrating National Pancake Day with IHOP. Check the site for details.

Proceeds go to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals®, an organization that raises funds for 170 children's hospitals across North America, which, in turn, use the money where it's needed the most. When a donation is given it stays in the community, ensuring that every dollar is helping local kids. Since 1983, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $4 billion, most of it $1 at a time. These donations have gone to support research and training, purchase equipment, and pay for uncompensated care, all in support of our mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Learn more at CMNHospitals.org.

Apologies/thanks to Hellboy creator and artist Mike Mignola and publisher Dark Horse Comics for the brilliant comic short above.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Another Cause in Need of Some Muscle

We've spent the better part of the past year helping cure cancer via fundraising and awareness projects with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, but Comics Cure's mission is to create awareness about and rally the comic book community to fight back against the entire spectrum of diseases, disabilities, and downers that might affect our fellow geeks and nerds.
 


And speaking of spectrums, Comics Cure hopes to help one nerd, in particular, who you may have seen around the Web rocking some awesome Green Lantern-inspired cos wear. Another spectrum-related note about her would be that she has like 50 different jobs in the geek community--though she seems to enjoy them all too much for it to be considered "work." Our favorite rising star blogger, podcaster, radio DJ, and costumed convention fixture, "the Nerdy Bird" Jill Pantozzi-is a lifelong champion in the battle to find a cure for muscular dystrophy. Jill uses her various geek media outlets and resources to raise awareness about the condition, participates in various annual events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and has her own team, The Nerdy Birds, in the 2011 MDA Muscle Walk. And she's also a client. Jill received a diagnosos of spinal muscular atrophy (a form of muscular dystrophy) when she was just a two years old, and she has been involved with the MDA, both receiving assistance and giving back, ever since.

So let's help the Nerdy Bird give back by supporting her team in the MDA Muscle Walk.The event takes place on March 12 at the Prudential Center in New Jersey, but you can donate and spread the word today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Spider-Man on Broadway: Turn Off or Turn On?

It is time to hit pause on the charity talk and put on my geek blogger hat. The wife and I saw a preview of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark at the Foxwoods Theater in Times Square, NYC.

Every Wednesday is Comic Day, so we made Wednesday night our comic-theater night. Our show happened to be a couple of days after the dramaturg terminators from multiple papers and publications posted some brutal reviews about the show. And those came after the weeks of mockery and mayhem from so many people who had seen it, mostly related to the string of injuries and accidents that had plagued the show for months.

Blame lowered expectations, or maybe it was my love for the source material that gave me a different perspective than theater critics focused on Julie Taymor's career trajectory, but I thought the show was good. I liked it and I'm glad I got to see it. And yes, if the price was right, I'd see it again. I'll pick it apart in a little more detail below, but just understand going into this review that I did have a good time.

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark gives us glimpses of Peter Parker's wall-crawling origin and his early days of crime fighting and juggling a relationship with high school crush Mary Jane, all within the framework web of another character's origin and evolution. A mythological being, Arachne, who challenged a god, showed her up, and was punished for it, is woven into the show--or maybe she is the one doing the weaving--as a means to exploring the standard Spidey story points without falling to the expected tropes and cliches to set them all up. So rather than recreate the plot to Sam Raimi's film franchise or a stack of selected back issues on the great white way, Julie Taymor and company have given us a new perspective, in many ways an outsiders perspective, on the Spider-man mythos.

This was done to mixed effect, with some aspects of the character elevated or enhanced by the new lens, but other crucial Spideylore reduced to soundbytes and afterthoughts. For instance, J. Jonah Jameson and the Daily Bugle only serve the storytelling as a vehicle for telling instead of showing, as several action sequences take place entirely offstage while DB reporters describe the events. Another victim of the new perspective, Peter's relationship with Aunt May and Uncle Ben comes across as unexpectedly tense and confrontational in the short time it is given, and Uncle Ben's iconic lesson to Peter, "With great power must also come great responsibility," is all but cut from the adaptation when instead it should have served (as usual, an important Spidey cliche) as the guiding mantra for his heroism.

Getting back to Arachne--because the play always gets back to Arachne, whether you like it or not--she had great power--her uncanny talent for weaving--though great responsibility never really comes into it. Unless maybe flaunting her skill to the goddess Athena, who liked to think she was a pretty good weaver herself, was an irresponsibly reckless thing for Arachne to do. But she does, and as punishment for her insolence, she is turned into a spider by the goddess. The world's first spider, in fact. From there, Arachne becomes the weaver of a mystical, magical web in the astral plane, which allows her to look into our world from time to time, influence events, and even step into it (assuming she has the appropriate footwear). This also puts her in a position to speak to Peter Parker after he gets his spider powers. The show suggests, rather than allowing us to believe a braniac kid can plausably get super powers and have the resources to invent and maintain his own web shooters and know how to sew well enough to make his own costume, that Arachne was, in fact, the one who granted him the means (or at least the materials) to spin out his super suit.

But the show doesn't dwell on this point too long, as it is one of many plot threads that, once you start tugging, will unravel the whole story. The biggest weakness of the show is this weak connection that ties the various moving parts together with Spider-man. This is why the JJJameson and Uncle Ben stuff unravels. This is also why I worry that anyone going into the show with a more limited knowledge of Spideylore may just feel lost. I happen to be enough of a dark that I can subconciously fill in the gaps of logic and storytelling that probably exist for anyone trying to compare the show to Wicked or Jersey Boys. I was simply comparing it to 30+ years of Spider-man.

And what should have been the oddest fit for Spidey, this "brand new" character Arachne, actually worked better than I expected. Along that fragile story web I mentioned earlier, a strong case is made to connect Arachne to Peter/Spidey in a way that could translate to the comic book origin and rationale of a newly minted super villain. I could see J. Michael Straczynski adapting Turn Off the Dark with the same sensibilities that he applied to making comic-book Spidey a totemic icon, mating Gwen Stacy with Norman Osborn to make evil super clone babies, and nullifying Peter and MJ's comic marriage via a deal with the devil. Actually, Arachne and the essence of this play's plot would probably be more welcome in the current comic Spideyverse than any of those JMS premises were.

But this is all about the story. Visually, I loved the set pieces and stage craft -- especially the subtles tricks  of design and engineering that turned a house into a classroom and allowed two characters wallking in place centerstage to travel several blocks through their Queens neighborhood. I liked how Norman Osborn's Willy Wonka-meets-Sgt. Pepper laboratory was juxtaposed with a sunset duet between Peter and MJ within the same scene. The theater version of spider sense in action was fun to watch and established Peter's new powers quickly and cleverly. Even the big rubber-suited villains worked--those goofy costumes not so goofy in the context of the madcap comic book landscape established for the show as a whole. They were in the right spirit of fun and energy that the show was shooting for.

The thing I didn't like at all and think hurt the show immensely was the wire work. There's nothing natural or graceful in the take-offs and landing when Spider-man swings from his webs. And there's no magic or illusion to those webs or any other wire work within the theater, except when the characters are set back deep within the frame of the stage and against a dark backdrop. Otherwise, it just looks like people swinging around the theater in front of the show. The wires are thick and obvious. There's no clever weblike camouflage or lighting tricks employed to help maintain the illusion of Spider-man in action, of the Green Goblin flying at you, or of Arachne weaving her web of mystery. Its just big, fat cables attached to actors in costumes. The most important post-previews adjustment they could make to this show would be to fix these clunky, obvious, awkward wires--the centerpiece of all of the show's marketing and controversy.

The music is inoffensive, obviously U2-spawned, but mostly forgetable. Nothing stuck with me after the show and I can't recall any of it besides the whiney guitar riff that plays with the TV commercials. But if I heard any of the tunes a second time, I could actually find qualities to judge them on more than recall.

Loose, frayed plot threads, distracting cables, forgetable tunes, yet still entertaining. Maybe this does count as charity.

We Cycled, We Survived!

I knew curing cancer would be a pain in the ass, but this is ridiculous!

Team Comics Cure was in full effect this past Sunday at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center's Cycle for Survival. While the look on my face in the photo above suggests otherwise, it was a pleasure to take part in the day. 

The 2011 event has pulled in 4.2 million dollars for rare cancer research, with Comics Cure securing more than 3.3 (thousand) of that. But the fundraising doesn't end there! We've still got a corporate match pending for about a third of our monies raises, thanks to my wife's diligence raising donations at her job, and all Cycle for Survival team pages will remain open to donations through the end of March. If you were worried you missed the boat or feel guilty about leaving little old Matty B to represent the entire comic book community at the event, please visit or share our team page and make a donation.

Big thanks to everyone who took part in the event, especially those of you who gave your time and/or money to support Team Comics Cure.