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."

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

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 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.