Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Author D&D 2 -- This Time With You!

When I heard about the epic "author D&D" session that my friends Myke and Peat were taking part in last year, I begged them to add a charity element to it. The original gathering was just a fun get together for a few professionals who happened to like one another, like role-playing, and be at the same convention, so coordinating a formal fundraising aspect wasn't in the dice. But now that we all know the first game was a delight -- AND a fun attention getter for the world builders who played -- their second game is going to be for fun AND funds! And this time YOU can join them:

Join 8 Fantasy & Science Ficiton authors for a classic game of Dungeons & Dragons at Detroit's very own Immortal ConFusion this January
Join eight other fantasy authors in a classic game of D&D at Immortal ConFusion this coming January! The players include some of the best in the fantasy world: Pat Rothfuss, Peter V. Brett, Diana Rowland, Jim C. Hines, Mary Robinette Kowal and Sam Sykes. Authors Myke Cole and Saladin Ahmed will DM the game.

Immortal ConFusion will be held at the Doubletree Hotel Detroit/Dearborn‎ located at 5801 Southfield Road, Detroit, MI 48228. The convention will run from January 18-20, 2013 with the game taking place on the 19th from 10am until 1pm. Books, dice and other supplies will be provided, but you are also welcome to bring your own. The game will be filmed and edited for release on YouTube.

This is a great opportunity for folks attending the convention or people who live in the Detroit area as the convention is unable to cover travel and hotel accommodations. This auction is only for admission to the game--you'll need to provide your own travel and accommodations.

Monies raised go to the Worldbuilders charity. Bid on your chance to play with the modern masters of fantasy here.

Wondering what you would be in for? Check out last year's game:

A Tale of Two Sandies and What Good Geeks Can Do

The 12/12/12 Hurricane Sandy relief concert was the cathartic national closure to one terrible tragedy that tested the human spirit, the collective will, and our country's social conscience. While many victims and communities directly hit by the storm's devastation will continue to be tested, we can at least mark 12/12/12 as the day the world watched, wiped off the muck, pulled ourselves up, and agreed that we would make it through after all. We can continue helping as long as help is needed...but 12/12/12 was the multimillion dollar moment when we stopped brooding and got to rebuilding.

We did good. We all showed the strength of heroes. But this had been a natural disaster. This was a force beyond humanity's control. Homes were destroyed. Lives were lost. Neighbors came together. There was no questioning what good was during the storm or after it passed. There was no conflict between good and right.

So let's be honest--this catharsis came easy. Most of us can walk away from Sandy now and wish those poor souls who lost their lives or their homes or their stuff luck in the aftermath. We can count the pennies raised and look at our closets emptier by whatever amount we rushed to donate after the skies cleared. Except for the people directly hit by Sandy, we can all go back to our pre-Sandy mindsets, except now just a little more wary when the newscasters warn us of threatening cloud formations.

But where that first Sandy couldn't keep us down, the Sandy of 12/14/12 just might. There will be no easy catharsis in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

The super storm was no geek culture issue, except maybe in the sense that the destruction mirrored something you might see in a comic book or video game or summer blockbuster. Maybe an arguement can be made that geeks like us are built to deal with that form of chaos and devastation, and therefore comic books and video games and blockbuster movies made us better equipped as a society to cope and recover.

Maybe. It would be a stretch.


With Sandy Hook, the link to geek culture is no stretch. Sadly, the link is to the negative. How much does the current state of geek culture feed the controversial gun culture at the heart of Sandy Hook? I think we are dealing with a chicken-and-the-egg dilemma that connects the most violent corners of geek culture to the dangerous reality of gun rights.

Here's something I wrote on Facebook the morning after, which seemed to resonate with some...piss off others:

I live in an apartment in the Bronx a block away from a recent fatal shooting and two blocks away from the site of a foiled terrorist plot. Wanting to be prepared to protect my family in the event of a home invasion, I place a very heavy wrench in a reachable location and a large knife in another. It never crossed my mind that a gun was the safest or smartest means of physical defense. Stray bullets, misfire, the weapon turned on me or my own in a close-quarters struggle. So if my child grows up to develop some sort of emotional disorder or evolves into a homicidal sociopath, she will be doing so armed with a wrench, maybe a knife, or maybe nothing, because I teach her about right and wrong and good guys and bad guys and how there are no outcasts or "others" to identify negatively with or to lash violently against. If I die violently, it will have been out of my control, because I know what and where and who to avoid, so it would have to be random and chaotic, unexpected, and not something a rifle in my closet could prevent. The reason the initial gut instinct in response to this school shooting was "take the guns, stop the guns, it's the guns" is because this kid saw those guns as an answer. He had to. The answer to what, I don't know. Mommy didn't love him enough? He wanted more syrup on his waffles? Irrelevant. He was fucked and he had guns, and he saw them as a solution to problems. He may have been twisted or wrong minded, but we now know he grew up in a house where guns were presented as an option. Multiple legally registered weapons. Now we understand why those guns were REALLY there...protection or sport. BUT if there was a home invasion, in the chaos of the moment, would someone get to them in time? Would gun fire spray through the suburban home's walls into neighboring apartments as registered mom fired wildly at a cat burglar looting for some fancy jewels? And if they were for hunting, did they not have a Shoprite or A&P or WalMart nearby from which to buy their Dead animals? Nobody NEEDS these things. The government isn't coming for your land or your things. They like you where you are, dumb and complacent and playing video games and watching reality TV. Buy a wrench if you are scared of burglars. The guns were there because the guns were their right and their privilege, and because the Right and the Privileged have this fantastical notion that they pump into the minds of the masses that some day they will have to fight back the "others" in this world who come for them and their stuff...that they will have to fight back, confront them head on in an armed assault. Because gay love and brown skin and green energy are coming to get us all and because guns are the answer. At least that is what it looks like from my soap box. Guns are also now an escape. The best selling video games in the world are basically gunfight simulators creating a direct link in some minds between a good time and a good shot. What happens when that kid who needs stronger meds and another hug is instead sent up to his room, down the hall from where they keep the shotgun and glock, to play a round of Call of Duty instead? Or the outcast kid who sees all of the "normals" enjoying themselves doing just that but can't even get an invite into their virtual murder circle? Well, he has the IRL version right down the hall. I'm not saying these details have anything to do with what happened yesterday, but this is gun culture and this is why people immediately rallied (again) about gun control instead of "letting the dust settle" or offering a prayer. Those dead kids don't need our prayers. The ones that are still alive need our voices. As passive as it may seem to some, a newsfeed filled with posts like mine can get pretty loud, and forcing the hard talk immediately is what will invoke change.

In this rant, I dwell on the gun problem and only touch briefly on the matter of mental health. But these two issues come to a head when you bring violent media into the conversation.

I don't want to be that guy, but let's be honest--what might pass as fantasy for a sophisticated, healthy mind can easily be misread as instruction by an ill-formed or misguided or unfocused child's mind. An ill-formed, misguided, unfocused child becomes a teenager who becomes an adult much faster than anyone realizes. We can't just blindly lump all games together, never check the ratings, and turn our backs as a generation locks itself in a room for 12-hour stretches of simulated warfare. Anxious about raising a flag against violent media -- and violent games in particular -- I was happy to find this article, posted by Buzzfeed's John Herrman, which said exactly what I have been feeling better than I could. I'll let him be that guy...

Herrman, like me, doesn't (seem to) want any direct or obvious action taken to censor the gaming industry or to even change the types of games being made and played. What he is asking for, however, is for his fellow gamer geeks to reflect on their beloved and emboldened industry, to take some responsibility for the incredibly violent cultural shift that they have been a part of since the first first-person-chainsaw kill in DOOM and the first hooker murder for points in GTA. This is not a lot to ask. In fact, this is a small price to pay for the lives lost in Sandy Hook and those lost before and after in similar violent tragedies.

Self-reflection, introspection, and maybe a little care in to whom and how we push the most egregiously amorally violent games. Mortal Kombat has been an awesome fighting game for years, gruesome fatalities are fun to watch, but I would be doing my daughter a disservice to hand her a copy of the latest MK, stick her in a room for a few hours unsupervised, and say "Have fun!"

Still, Guns and Games are not the same. I really do want to infringe on the rights of gun enthusiasts. I want fewer types of guns available to citizens. I don't want you to have the right to bear just any arms you want. I want limits and liability to make gun ownership a pain. I want it to be a bear for you to bear.

I don't want to limit the gaming industry any more than I wanted to limit the film industry after Aurora or the music industry after Columbine. Not at all.

So a few popular games make bad guys sexy and reward doing harm... The "guns don't kill people" argument is a shallow, hollow one, but that logic DOES apply with intangibly playable pixels. A video game may be more immersive than a book or a movie, but it is still, ultimately, a form of storytelling. Not all stories have heroes or happy endings. So I do NOT want to put limits on the types of games or the sort of content allowed by the gaming industry. Nope. What I would like is for the gaming industry and its aficionados to limit themselves, within reason, and with respect for the collateral damage of irresponsibly hiding behind the banner of "it's just a game."

Call of Duty and Super Mario Bros are not equal. They do not belong in the same section, on the same shelf, or on the same child's playlist. Adult gamers can do what they want, just like adult moviegoers and readers do. But protect the kids who don't know any better. At the very least, encourage adult consumers to talk to kids about their games, about the subject matter, to KNOW what they are consuming and interacting with for hours at a time.

My daughter LOVES a gory little game on the iPad called Zombie Swipeout. This game is essentially fruit ninja with zombies instead of watermelons. You get extra points for headshots and you lose if you swipe (with your sword or bat or chainsaw) the nonzombies. It is cartoony and ridiculous, but it is still violent enough that I hesitated. I debated allowing it at all. But we talked about it, we limit it, and she only plays it WITH me or my wife, not alone (unless she is being sneaky). I may very well be responsible for dementing my poor child with this horribly violent game...but I did so with forethought and debate and discussion. I monitor it, as silly as it is, and I even rationalize it by saying it is the compromise for not allowing her anywhere near the TV when Walking Dead is on, no matter how much she wants to watch it. I could be stricter. Some parents are. A lot of parents don't give a crap one way or the other, see something as fictional and cartoony, and therefore child appropriate. This is the same non-logic that has little kids watching Family Guy and South Park. All I want is for the responsible parties to think first, think often, and be willing to reconsider along the way. If Zombie Swipeout has an "Xtreme Update" with added screams and splatter, I may just ban the app after all. Or not. But I will think about it and everything else I allow my kid to consume.

I want mothers and fathers and older siblings to just use common sense. I want them to apply the same sense that I hope gun owners apply when deciding what to make available to the young and impressionable people-in-progress who might be in their care.

Geek culture has power here. We can do good simply by reflecting on ourselves and drawing the lines where we know they should be, putting our own limits where common sense dictates, respecting the ratings and the warning labels and the potential for harm that a crime or war or murder simulator might have on our little brothers or sisters or daughters or sons. We won't be able to move on from Sandy Hook with a concert and a seasonal shift the way we can the hurricane. We shouldn't. We need to live with this horror and we need to decide HOW we are going to live responsibly with our games and our guns. Where are we going to place our priorities? Where and when will we find our Sandy Hook catharsis?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Writers From Across the Geek Realm Join One (Speak)man's "UNFETTERED" Quest to Conquer Cancer

While this may seem like another one of those "not really about comics" Comics Cure posts, Peat is wearing a Spider-Man t-shirt. He's also working on a new Red Sonja series for Dynamite. So, hear him out and be sure to check out Unfettered.

The anthology features 23 stories edited by Shawn Speakman and written by these modern masters of fantasy fiction: Terry Brooks, Patrick Rothfuss, Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson, Jacqueline Carey, Tad Williams, Geno & R.A. Salvatore, Naomi Novik, Peter V. Brett, Daniel Abraham, Lev Grossman, David Anthony Durham, Peter Orullian, Blake Charlton, Eldon Thompson, Michael J. Sullivan, Robert V.S. Redick, Carrie Vaughn, Mark Lawrence, Kevin Hearne, Jennifer Bosworth, Todd Lockwood, and Shawn Speakman! Other contributors to the anthology posted videos, too, viewable here.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Siike Donnelly Bares His Sole -- SOLESTAR #1 FREE

We told you it was coming, and now Siike Donnelly and his super friends are ready to bare their Sole. Enjoy this free first look at SOLESTAR #1, and be sure to support their Kickstarter, which goes live later this week, to bring the complete jam-comic miniseries to fruition.

Solestar Issue 1 Free

Monday, July 9, 2012

Naive Nation: Siike Donnelly's Naive Project Is Coming!

I've posted about the ambitious Siike Donnelly's plans to save the world before. Well, what started as a Superman pitch to DC comics has evolved into a creator-owned endeavor with none of the corporate shackles that might limit such a project's ability to raise awareness and do some good for brain aneurysm survivors, their families, and the doctors innovating the future of aneurysm treatment.

Here's the official press release from Siike with all of the do-goody details:


Los Angeles, CA - July 7, 2012 – A brain aneurysm survivor aims to share his love for comic books, and his writing ability, to recruit artists for a very personal project that will save more lives like his.

30-year-old Siike (seek) Donnelly survived a subarachnoid hemorrhage, commonly known as a brain aneurysm, in 2010. Having to rebuild his speech pattern and learn to walk again, Siike has reached out to other aneurysm survivors, finding that very little is being done to not only raise awareness to something that could affect anyone at any moment, but also found very little money being raised as well. Today, he aims to change that.

"I’m one of the lucky ones. Most people don’t survive a brain aneurysm, and of those that do, most suffer from disabilities,” said Siike Donnelly. “Though I have new daily obstacles, I want to take advantage of the world I’m connected to, and love more than anything, to help me raise awareness and funds through something as simple as a comic book.”

In recent months, Siike has gathered nearly a dozen artists for his cause, even starting up his own company called “The Naïve Project.” Through his company, Siike will publish a comic book called Solestar, a Japanese character of his creation, who has an origin set during the bombing of Hiroshima.

“I wanted to create a superhero that knew loss right from the start. It’s kind of the staple when creating someone with powers. They have to come from tragedy to obtain victory. This is something I now understand on a personal level. Hopefully victory follows my tragedy with this project.”

The concept is simple; Siike, a published author of two books, “Rhino” and “Heaven’s Echo”, has written a 55 page story that focuses on Solestar’s final day on Earth, December 25th, 2099. He is asking for 55 artists from anywhere in the world to email him, read his script, and pick a page that they are willing to donate to the cause. With a dozen artists already on board, including Kate Carleton, Paul Barnes, Aaron Pierce, Renzo Ventrella, Christian Leaf, Martin Dunn, Neil Kapit, Jim Dewey, Jenai Pellerin, and more coming on board each week, Siike is a 5th of the way to his goal in just 2 short months.

Once all 55 pages are completed and compiled as a “jam” style comic, it will be packaged with a few pages about brain aneurysms, information on the people sponsoring the comic book, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (www.bafound.org), and a short story featuring unused artwork and photos to show how this project all came together. Siike hopes to have the 100 page graphic novel print ready by Christmas of this year, 2012. It will sell for $10, in limited supply at first, with all proceeds going to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.

There are six million people in the United States at this very moment with an unruptured brain aneurysm. At any second, it could burst, with a great chance at ending their life. For those that survive a brain aneurysm, it’s guaranteed they will experience another in their lifetime. It’s averaged out that every 18 minutes, someone suffers from one of these ruptures. Siike hopes his comic book will change those statistics.

“It’s important that people just know about this. Raising money with this comic will help those already affected but the knowledge inside the pages alone could save a life that has yet to be affected. I think that’s kind of cool, a superhero that will actually save a life. I hope we can see more of that in the future.”

At The Naïve Project, a quote adorns any spot that Siike can find room for it. It’s from his favorite superhero of all time, Mr. Christopher Reeve.

The quote reads, “At first dreams seem impossible, then improbable, and eventually inevitable.” Saying that Siike is a dreamer is an understatement. And though some may not see the irony in the name he gave his company, Siike shows no fear for the many obstacles that still lie ahead.

“My concept may seem stupid to some, a waste of time to others, but trying to do something good is never any of those things. During my attempts at getting this project off the ground I’ve run across people that have tried to stop it, bring it down, and take personal shots at me. I let them, because I know they are wrong. The life I save could be their mother, father, significant other, or child. I can endure a few haters knowing the end result will be someone not going through what I went through, or what someone who had it worse than me went through. Hopefully there are 43 more artists out there that appreciate and respect what I’m trying to do. Hopefully they’ll join us.”

Siike (seek) Donnelly
Listen to his podcast, which he co-hosts with his good friend Gene Hoyle, at www.nerdnation.co.

Read more about Siike’s project at

Monday, June 25, 2012

Critical Care Comics Knows Comics Cure!

Robot  6 has a new post up about a charity doing exactly what I initially set out to do with Comics Cure. I wish them luck and hope they have better luck navigating the red tape and restrictions that go with achieving true non-profit status, not to mention the difficulty unloading dusty old back issues (putting the 'bac' in bacteria) on pediatric hospitals. Do-gooders doing it right!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kickstart Renae De Liz's Recovery... Then Let's Kickstart This Broken System!

I wish this blog could stick to the original premise--do-gooder geeks sharing their disposable income and creative energy to make the world a better place. But here's another post tying comics to charity in the wrong direction--another creator in need.

This sad news comes with a glimmer of hope via Bleeding CoolWomanthology creator Renae De Liz, who made a name for herself by pulling together the many talents featured in that beautiful book and then by raising an at-the-time unheard of amount of money to fund the project through Kickstarter, is now in a far more dire fundraising scenario. Like so many artists living job to job and uninsured, De Liz has fallen ill and, perhaps worse, deep into debt as a result. You can read the details at her husband Ray Dillon's blog, here. There's also information on how you can help them out with a donation or by hiring them for a commission.

Dillon's latest update is that De Liz is going to pull through with a full recovery...physically. The family will be digging its way out from under medical bills for years to come. Knowing De Liz will be okay makes me feel better grumbling over the politics of the matter.

It is frustrating how this system (which system? healthcare? comic industry? society?) is set up in such a way that so many professional creatives are forced to ask for handouts -- direct donations or charity commissions -- to survive. I guess it is cool that anyone with a vision can go to Kickstarter and present their idea to a world wide web of potential investors. But to have to do the same to stay afloat on medical bills and mortgage payments? The fuzzy four-foot high cubicle walls of the full-time job look more and more attractive each day.

We've got to find a better way for artists and the arts to thrive beyond passing the virtual collection plate. But is there a better way?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Cancer Mom's Dying Wish Is Granted

Darlene Gant is dying from stage 4 breast cancer. She caught wind of a new drug on the horizon that could help win her a few extra months, or weeks, or days, or even hours with her family. She didn't have the time to wait for approval or for the product to launch. She needed those days now. She asked, and she received.

The story has been all over the news today, not comic book or geek related in any way, but still worth mentioning here because this bold woman's dying wish happens to be part of my day job.
I am but a tiny speck of a cog in the vast system of agencies and experts involved, but I was still touched to learn I've touched something of this thing that is bound to do some real good.

Watch the 20 grueling minutes of hope that paid off here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

JR JR Is a Marvel of a Man (...and a Very Manly Marvel)!

via Bleeding Cool

John Romita Jr may not be a super hero, but he has a big heart and super stamina. The co-creator of Kick Ass and longtime Marvel artist is going to attempt to break his own decade-old Guinness World Record for continual cartooning (there's a record for everything, isn't there? [yes]) to raise money for Heroes For Jordan and Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada.

Heroes For Jordan was set up to secure medical treatment for his twelve year old niece Jordan Alyssa Atherton for the effects of cancer therapy and surgery as a young child. It will also raise money with Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada raises much needed funds to assist other children suffering the effects of cancer.

JR JR's feat will start on Friday, May 4, at the Hard Rock Cafe on the Las Vegas Strip in the Showcase Mall, to coincide with the release of Hit Girl #1, the Avengers movie, and Free Comic Book Day on May the 5th.

Marvel Heroes Are Helpful, Too!

While DC and the Justice League have been off trying to end hunger in Africa, it looked like Marvel was going to happily sit back and focus on simply ending the hunger of fanboys going giggity for the new Avengers movie. But rest assured--Marvel Super Heroes SAVE LIVES! Specifically, they help save the lives of cancer patients via St. Baldrick's Foundation.


Proceeds raised for the charity from the sale of this Stan-tastic t-shirt bearing the awesome assemblage of Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America go toward the org's efforts to conquer kid's cancer. So you should buy one. Go do that.

Don't worry--there's an Avenger's movie ad on the site in case you need a helping of noncharity hype to help you through the transaction.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Empire Strikes BOOK

DK Publishing announced today that it has donated $95,000 in children's books on behalf of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion--the Star Wars cosplay groups you've seen marching through comic conventions for years alongside the amateur bikini Leias and Jedi. The donation was made to The Today Show Charitable Foundation, Inc., who dispersed over 7k books to The Pajama Program.

I've got friends who work or have worked at DK Pub, I love a good heart-warming tale of Imperial cosplayers facilitating good will, and I have aspirations toward writing my own children's books, so this wins my vote for best story of the day. Full press release below:

NEW YORK, April 10, 2012 -- /PRNewswire/ -- DK Publishing announced today a $95,000 children's book donation on behalf of the 501st Legion and Rebel Legion, two all-volunteer organizations of Star Wars™ costume enthusiasts who raise money for children's charities all over the world. The donation, a record-breaking amount for DK, was made to The Today Show Charitable Foundation, Inc., who dispersed over 7,000 new, full-color reference books to The Pajama Program for distribution to children across the country.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120119/NY38606LOGO-b)

"We love our ever-growing relationship with the 501st and Rebel Legion volunteers," said Rachel Kempster, DK's Director of Marketing and Publicity. "They are devoted, caring groups of people, who are more than just our partners in business—we also consider them our friends." Kempster was inducted as an official Friend of the Legion at last year's Comic-Con International in San Diego by 501st Legion Officers Lesley Farquhar and Mark Chu-Lin of the Southern California and Central California Garrisons respectively.

2012 marks the fourth consecutive year DK and the Legions have partnered in spreading a love of reading and Star Wars™. "The 501st and Rebel Legions have attended hundreds of book events for us, from small gatherings at independent bookstores and public libraries to large conferences and tours such as Book Expo America and the forthcoming Attack of the Authors West Coast tour, kicking off in mid-April," said DK Publicity Manager Mindy Fichter. "I've grown to love the Star Wars™ universe throughout my tenure at DK and am so pleased we are part of the Legions' important mission."

"This donation from DK is a prime example of how many lives we can touch with our unique brand of volunteerism," said Dean Plantamura, a 501st Legion Public Relations Officer. "The men and women of the Legion donate their time and often commute great distances to bring a Star Wars presence to an event and smiles to children's faces. In 2011 alone, we estimate that the efforts of the 501st Legion helped raise more than $11,000,000 world wide to benefit charities all around the globe."

For more information about DK's Star Wars™ events program, please visit http://us.dk.com/static/cs/us/11/starwars/events.html.

Editor's Notes About DK Publishing DK Publishing is the New York Times bestselling publisher known for its distinctive, highly visual books, eBooks and apps that inform, inspire and entertain readers of all ages. DK also publishes the award-winning Eyewitness series for children and Eyewitness Travel Guides. BradyGames and Rough Guides are also available from DK, a division of Penguin Group.

About the 501st Legion Since 1997, the costuming organization known as the 501st Legion has spread the magic of the Star Wars™ genre worldwide through its authentic-looking costumes, and has become the leading force in fan-based charity events. The 501st, also known as "Vader's Fist," is truly dedicated to brightening the lives of those less-fortunate. While it is not sponsored by Lucasfilm Ltd., it is Lucasfilm's preferred Imperial costuming group.

About the Rebel Legion The Rebel Legion is an international Star Wars™ costuming organization that promotes the Star Wars™ franchise and helps others through charity work and community service. The Rebel Legion first appeared in mid-1999 and in the years since its formation, the group has grown from a few dozen Rebel costumers to the premier Rebel costuming group in the Star Wars™ community.

Lucasfilm, STAR WARS™ and related properties are trademarks and/or copyrights, in the United States and other countries, of Lucasfilm Ltd. and/or its affiliates. TM & © Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved. All other trademarks and trade names are properties of their respective owners.

SOURCE DK Publishing

Monday, April 2, 2012

Siike...And Ye Shall Find. Nerd Nation Co-Host Looking for Support for Ambitious Charity Comic Project

Siike Donnelly has quickly become one of my favorite "charitable nerds" to pay attention to in the vast geekosystem of the Web. Comics Cure has very little in the way of measurable output, but Siike has made it clear in words and action just how strongly he has taken our mission to heart. Even without Comics Cure to help form the notion of geek-centric do-goodery into a tangible ideal, the brain aneurysm surviving, podcast hosting, comic writing fanboy extraordinaire would have found the words and the way to rally his Nerd Nation toward making this world a better place. That's why I am diving into the deep end, throwing my full support behind his ambitious...maybe impossible...possibly preposterous...and most DEFINITELY naive project.

Important note about Siike: his head is not right. Literally. He's got (just a little bit of) brain damage. So when he comes up with a crazy idea, there's an automatic, understandable out for anyone. Yet somehow, this kid has developed a swell of support and an outpouring of interest from those in and around the comics community to see him succeed. You see, Siike survived a brain aneurysm. His engine short-circuited and now he counts every day on his lifelong road to recovery and reinvention and blessing. It inspires the rest of us--especially those of us who have our parts in order and our systems in check--to do the same.

And it doesn't hurt that his idea, as naive as it is, is a good one. If he pulls it off, hot damn, it may just be a great one. More details on the project when more details are allowed. For now, seek him out and see if you can help!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

We Came, We Saw, We Cycled!

So a down economy and loss of last year's biggest donor has us at about half our 2011 fundraising haul, but we've doubled in spirit! Team Comics Cure turned into a real team for the 2012 Cycle for Survival!

Thanks to Dean and Christy, old friends and the creative coupling behind Level 92 Films, for joining the ride. Thanks, as well, to the Team Comics Cure satellite squad (my sister in DC) and my better half, Ursie B, who you can't tell from the pic below rocked a Division 18 t-shirt for the event.

And, of course, thanks to everyone who donated to Cycle for Survival, especially on our team's behalf.

If you're feeling left out, you can still donate to the team, so feel free to click our team name above to contribute a little more to our effort in this record-breaking charity event. If we're lucky, soon we won't have to do too many more of these.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cycle in 3...2...1...

The Cycle for Survival is ONE WEEK AWAY!

Team Comics Cure still needs your support -- and your money -- to reach our goal in time for the big day.

The good news is that Cycle has already surpassed last year's 4.4 million dollars raised. The bad news is that Team Comics Cure is still way below what we brought in for the 2011 drive. Every little bit helps, but I am not content helping just a little bit!

AND REMEMBER: Beside possibly funding the cure for cancer, donating to our Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center fundraiser can also qualify you to win an autographed copy of the Stephen King Library 2012 Desk Calendar, signed by best-selling fantasy authors and calendar contributors Peter V. Brett and Myke Cole, SKL calendar editor Jay Franco, and little old me, Matt B. We've also got a signed bookplate from contributor and King scholar Bev Vincent. If you are a fan of good writing or the months of the year or both, it's a cool perk to making a donation. If you happen to be a fan of Stephen King or any of the above mentioned writers, well, how can you not enter!? Just make a donation to Team Comics Cure with the initials "SKL" after your name, and you'll be in the running. Click here for more details on the contest.

Cancer sucks. The MSKCC Cycle for Survival raises millions of dollars each year to find a way to cure it. Those millions of dollars come from donations from people like you to teams like mine. So let's do this. Visit the Team Comics Cure page to donate today.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Nerd Nation Hero Wants To Keep a Record of Your Heroism

From Bleeding Cool:

Following the launch of DC Entertainment's "We Can Be Heroes" Campaign, Nerd Nation co-host Siike Donnelly has launched a piggyback campaign to help support the supporters of the Justice League-themed humanitarian drive. 

Siike is collecting receipts of donations to the We Can Be Heroes charity from anyone willing to share with him. Print out a copy of your receipt, draw or write something on it, or even just write your name on a sheet of paper, scan it and send it to siikedonnelly@gmail.com. Be sure to edit out credit card information or anything else you want left private before sending receipts. Siike is going to collect all of the receipt into a collage showing his Nerd Nation united in this powerful cause.

In Siike's own words (via Bleeding Cool): "I know to most this may not seem like a cool thing to be a part of, or maybe you just want to stop at the donation. Obviously that’s more than okay. Helping the people in the Horn of African comes first here. Always. I just want to take my enthusiasm for DC Entertainment’s initiative a step further in a creative way. My doctor saved my life, but receiving DC Comics while I was recovering is what kept me fighting.

Surviving a brain aneurysm comes with a lot more daily obstacles, so I look for things like this to fill my free time. Sometimes my days include seizures, physical therapy, migraines on a whole new level, and much worse. I’m lucky to be alive. I meet so many others that have been through the same, some doing better than me, some not. We do what we can to help each other and I want to pay that forward in the only way I know how to express myself, through art.

It’s the easiest thing in the world to do something selfless."
Another fine example of the Comics Cure philosophy at work. Take a break from your escape to help improve someone else's reality.

Monday, January 23, 2012

DC Heroes Fight a Crisis on OUR Earth, and You Can Help

DC Says "We Can Be Heroes", Helps Facilitate Our Heroism With New Humanitarian Aid
Time Warner and DC Entertainment have launched a multi-million-dollar campaign to support the efforts of three humanitarian aid groups working to end the hunger crisis in Africa. 

Visit DC's The Source blog for the full press release.

The We Can Be Heroes campaign will support the efforts of Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps—as part of the global effort to fight the current hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa, a region suffering its worst drought and famine in over 60 years, with 13 million in need of critical assistance and 250,000 facing starvation in Somalia alone.

From the release: "The Justice League characters were chosen by DC Entertainment both for their global recognition as well as their demonstration of strength in unity and numbers. The campaign’s graphic identifier features the iconic Justice League characters—Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg—outlined in silhouette against the African continent. Each of these characters is a super hero in his or her own right, but when they band together as the Justice League, they become an unstoppable force for good and right in the universe—a key message of the We Can Be Heroes campaign. While many individuals may feel powerless to effect change on their own, as part of a global campaign such as this, their efforts, combined with those of other donors, can create a world of change."

This encapsulates the Comics Cure mission perfectly. Follow the example of your fictional, fantasy do-gooders by doing some good yourself. The collective effort of the few can quickly snowball into the many, and before you know it, become an unstoppable force. We can be heroes. We can be that force of good in this world.


Click through to www.WeCanBeHeroes.org to learn more about the details of becoming a hero yourself, including the opportunity to have DC Entertainment match 100 percent (up to $1 million) of consumer donations. For more information on the campaign’s partner organizations, visit their websites: www.savethechildren.org (Save the Children); http://www.rescue.org/ (International Rescue Committee) and www.mercycorps.org (Mercy Corps).

Monday, January 2, 2012

Cycle for Survival Contest: Donate to Win, Still Feel Good if You Lose (UPDATED...AGAIN)

UPDATE 4/2/12: We hit our quota and then some, cycled to survive, and allowed a few weeks extra for late comers...but would you believe there were no bites on the contest? Late comers interested in getting in on the action should hit me up in the comments or elsewhere online to find out how they might get a hold of the prized autographed calendar...you know, before it becomes last year's calendar!

Click to Join & Donate to Team Comics Cure!

For the past three years, I have contributed essays to the Stephen King Library Desk Calendar, published by the Book-of-the-Month Club and edited by Jay Franco. I'll be writing for the calendar again this year, too. And, of course, you know about that other thing I am doing again this year. So, I figured why not combine the two for your benefit?

You see, I'm a small fish compared to some of the literary leviathans Franco pulls together each year, and I happen to have a couple of them on speed dial...

I've lined up Peter V. Brett, writer of Red Sonja: Blue and best-selling creator of The Demon CycleMyke Cole, real American hero and 2012 breakout author of Control Point; and the Mayor of Booktown himself, Mr. Franco, to autograph a single copy of the BotMC-exclusive Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012 edition.

The limited edition calendar is already hard to come by. This one-of-a-kind autographed edition will be a treasure for any fiction fan's collection -- and that fiction fan can be you!

1. Donate to Team Comics Cure between today and our cycle day of Sunday, February 12, 2012.
2. Include the initials "SKL" after your own name when you make the contribution to confirm that you are entering.
3. The winner will be chosen at random from the top 5 highest donors tagged with "SKL" during the ~1-month contest period.

The winner will be selected and announced here on lucky February 13.

UPDATE 1: The signing!

Your Prize in Progress, 1/4/2012 @ Live Bait, NYC

Update 2: Now With Added Bev Vincent!
Another 2012 SKL Calendar contributor has reached out to participate in the contest. Bram Stoker Award-winning author Bev Vincent will be sending an autographed bookplate for inclusion with the prize calendar. Bev's inclusion in this contest is a huge get, for as much as I love my boys above, we're just a handful of King fanboys compared to the expert writer of The Road to the Dark Tower.

 Pro Tip: If you can't afford a triple-digit donation on your own but still want to win, try pooling small contributions from family and friends or from around the office to make a winning bid without breaking the bank.

Disclaimer 1: While I am certain Mr. King and the publishers of the SK Library Desk Calendar would be in favor of any and all efforts to raise money and awareness in support of finding a cure for cancer, neither Stephen King nor anyone from the Book-of-the-Month Club has played any part in this Comics Cure contest. The autographed copy of the calendar is my own contributor copy of the book, and the participating authors are my good friends whom I contacted on my own. I'll be the one licking the stamp and sending the book to the winner.

Disclaimer 2: Other contributors to the 2012 calendar include Justin Brooks, Matthew DeVirgiliis, Samantha Etkin, Brian James Freeman, Robin Furth, Stephen Jewell, Daniel M. Kimmel, Fotini Marcopulos, Jon Oden, Micol Ostow, Tricia Pasternak, Rome Quezada, Jeff Somers, and Bev Vincent. While they won't be signing the prize copy, wouldn't it be fun to take your winnings around the world in a quest for all of the remaining autographs? :)