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.


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
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