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Photographer/cartoonist and friend of comics Seth Kushner is still battling leukemia, and currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant. He’s a tough fighter and a great guy and this shouldn’t be happening. But it is. A benefit for Kushner will be held tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn. The evening will include a full line-up of performances, music and comix readings, all to raise money for Kushner’s health care costs.
August 26 at 7:30pm to 10:00pm
Union Hall – Brooklyn – 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
If you cannot attend but would like to help Seth, you can donatehere
As reported yesterday, the Ice Bucket Challenge fad is hitting comics and it’s spreading like wildfire. The viral fad involves having a bucket of ice dumped over you to create more awareness of ALS — Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis— a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord” and can cause total paralysis.
Those taking the challenge posted results to Facebook, which will not allow me to embed the videos because Facebook. But here’s a list of the latest to take the plunge:
Dean Haspiel, who did it sirtless, as I hardly need even mention.
So far, I’ve only found one — Billy Tucci! Tragically, Tucci did not call out other comics folks, so the charity meme has not yet spread to out part of the world. But let’s give Billy a hand for doing it!
In case you missed it, the ice bucket challenge is meant to draw attention to ALS, aka Lou Gehrig disease. When called out, you must either dump a bucket of ice over yourself or donate $100 to the ALS Foundation. Most celebs who have been doing this do both. You make a mideo of yours;f getting dumbed on, and call out someone to take the challenge next at the end of your video.
It’s a fun way to while away the summer—somehow I don’t think this would be as popular in November. People who have done it so far include Lady Gaga, Robert Downey Jr., Justin Bieber (he didn’t actually use ice), Steven Spielberg, Carrie Underwood, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, the NY Mets, the NY Jets, and a bunch of nerdlebrities folks like Tom Hiddleston (very popular),
Chris Pratt, Nathan Fillion, James Gunn and Stephen Amell.
I found Dave Bautista’s by far the most impressive however.
When we look back at the summer of 2014, will it be as the time that famous people dumped ice on themselves? In these turmoil filled days, it’s nice to have something giving and fun and silly to talk about.
Here’s a nice story from Comic-Con about more than 50 comics artists including Bernard Chang and Sanford Greene, teaming up with QANVAS by Quiznos, an art project that saw them drawing on Quisnos sub wrappers. The resulting art was auctioned off to benefit ArtReach, and some $10,000 was raised for art programs in San Diego schools. Win win win!
We’re not going to keep doing weekly updates on comics Humble Bundles, but since this is a new way of promoting comics—digital bundles on a pay-what-you-want model to a mostly gaming audience—is seems worth checking in on the first couple. The first comics Related HUmble Bundle was with Image comics, and raised about $400,000. The second, featuring Doctor Who comics and Docor Who game, has raised even more with more than 42,000 bundles sold and $500K spent, with a portion going to Doctors without Borders and the CBLDF.
When fully unlocked, the Bundle includes over 80 comics and the Android-based puzzle game Doctor Who: Legacy, which includes a bunch of Doctors and costumes.
I’m told Humble Bundle is getting more involved in selling ebooks, so expect to see more of these bargains in the coming months.
Here’s an absolutely cool comics event that may help save lives.
Wednesday, May 28th the Hang Dai Studios gang of Dean Haspiel (The Fox, American Splendor), Christa Cassano (The Giant Effect) and Josh Neufeld (The Vagabonds) will be signing at JHU to celebrate Haspiel’s art in FF #5. But it’s also World Blood Cancer Day and in support of photographer/writer/Hang Dai member Seth Kushner, who is being treated for leukemia, they will also host a bone marrow drive. Getting a DNA sample involves a cheek swab, so if you’re up for it and eligible, come on down, see some cool cartoonists and do something for a good cause.
Delete Blood Cancer is going to be here, swabbing and informing folks on how being a donor works. (More on that below!) Even if we don’t find a match for Seth at our event, there are millions of others that could use your help and you as their match!
Come out, get some comics, meet some great people and help out in the name of one of our great, talented friends!
We want to make sure that helping a patient get healthy won’t impact your health. Please review the following list of conditions. If you’re not sure about a condition, feel free to call us: 212-209-6700.
You are eligible to register if you are:
between the ages of 18 and 55
in general good health
at least 4’10” and 110 lbs
below the max weight listed for your height on the chart below
You are not eligible if you have:
Hepatitis B or C
Kidney or liver disease
Chronic or severe neck or back problems
Epileptic or other seizure within past year
Diabetes that requires medication
Sleep apnea, breathing problems or severe asthma (daily inhalers are acceptable)
Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia
Or a history of:
strokes, including TIA
blood clotting or bleeding disorders
cancer, with the exclusion of melanoma, breast, bladder, cervical (stage O, in situ) and cured localized skin cancers such as basal cell or squamous cell
JHU Comic Books
32 East 32nd St, New York, New York 10016
Humble Bundle is at it again, this time with a collection of Doctor Who comics, including seven books of collected comics, and a game. You can pay what you wish and a portion of the price will go to Doctors without Borders. Once again, all good. The first comics Humble Bundle, featuring Image Comics, did very well, as we reported yesterday. Details below:
Humble Bundle, the pay-what-you-want plus charity digital platform, and award-winning publisher IDW Publishing have teamed up to launch the Humble Doctor Who Comics Bundle today. Customers can pay what they want for up to 14 digital collections of Doctor Who comic books along with puzzle-RPG adventure Doctor Who: Legacy with unlocked bonus content for Android.
Customers can name their price for Doctor Who: Series 1, a three-volume series following the 10th Doctor (David Tennant), and Doctor Who: Series 2, a four-volume series featuring the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). Each series contains 16 issues of Doctor Who comics. Also included is the critically praised mobile game, Doctor Who: Legacy for Android, which comes with 10 pre-unlocked Doctor characters.
If customers pay more than the average price, they will also receive four more volumes from Doctor Who: Series 3 featuring the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). Paying $15 or more will unlock the three-volume seriesDoctor Who: Prisoners of Time, which features all 11 of the Doctors’ incarnations, as well as the 50th anniversary celebration issue and 2014 Hugo Award-nominee, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who.
Customers’ purchase dollars can be divided between IDW Publishing and two vital charities: Doctors Without Borders, which delivers independent emergency medical care and relief to more than 70 countries around the world, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community. Since Humble Bundle’s launch in 2010, $37 million has been raised for more than 20 different charities and non-profit organizations.
The Humble Doctor Who Comics Bundle ends on Tuesday, May 28, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. PDT.
The first ever comics sale on pay-what-you-want portal Humble Bundle is wrapping up tomorrow, and it seems to have been a success, with 38,847 bundles of digital comics sold, making a little over $397,000. As we reported earlier, Humble Bundle operates on a pay what you want model, with the buyer choosing to give all the money to the creator or to a charity – in this case the CBLDF.
There’s still time to get in on this offer, which makes copies of Saga, REvival, Chew, East of West and more top Image books available for what has averaged out to $10.
We’re told more comics bundles are on their way from Humble Bundle, so stay tuned.
Anatomy of a good deal: get digital versions of nine acclaimed Image graphic novels—including Saga, Chew, East of West, Walking Dead and more—pay what you want, AND send money to the Comic book Legal Defense Fund.
Win win win!
That’s the deal offered by Humble Bundle, a website that offers a pay-what-you-want model for top digital content, while helping charities. Consumers pay what they want and can to send money to charities or to publishers. They’ve already sold hundreds of thousands of video game bundles, as they are called, with more than 15 million bundles sold overall for more than $80 million, with more than $30 million going to various charities. While they made their name with video games, Humble Bundle has been getting more into e-books —this is their first comics bundle.
Humble Image Comics Bundle offers nine top Image books with a tiered pricing structure. Pay whatever yuo want (even a penny) for East of West Vol. 1, Lazarus Vol. 1, Morning Glories Vol. 1, and Fatale Vol. 1. By paying more than the average price (currently $9.35) you unlock Saga Vol. 1, Revival Vol. 1 and Chew Vol. 1. If you pay more than $15, you also get The Walking Dead Vol. 1 and 20. Nine graphic novels for $15? Good deal.
BUT THERE’S MORE! You can even choose how your payment is split up: between the comics creators and/or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
PLUS the digital comics are DRM free and available in a variety of formats Android, Kindle HD, iPad or even the Nook HD.
As we mentioned, this is Humble Bundle’s first foray into comics, but it’s a great way to help charity AND for readers to sample books they may not have picked up otherwise, so hopefully it won’t be the last.
The deal ends Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. Thus far, more than 11,000 bundles have been sold for more than $100,000 — we’ll check back next week to see the grand total.
While comics pundits continue to debate (well, really beat down) Frank Miller over his ornery comments about the Occupy Wall Street movement, Occupy Comics continues to ramp up, with the addition of contributions from Darick Robertson, Dan Goldman, and musician Amanda Palmer , just three new high profile contributors with, we’re told, more to come.
The project has a Kickstarter page, and is already $1000 away from their goal of funding comics coverage of the protest movement. Susan Cagle, Charlie Adlard, Molly Crabapple, Joseph Michael Lisner, Steve Niles, Tim Seeley, Ben Templesmith, and others are already on board.
In a PR statement, the organizers write:
In order to get funds to protestors in various cities quickly, Occupy Comics is looking to raise at least $10,000 that will be distributed to the individual artists involved in the project, who will then determine the best way to support the movement in their area or on the national level.
Because at portion of the funds raised will be used to create the books, and all other money going directly to occupation needs, Occupy Comics organizers are hoping to raise well-over the original Kickstarter goal in order to give protestors more money to continue their campaign against economic injustice.
Spearheaded by Matt Pizzolo of Halo-8 (the film & comics studio behind behind the Warren Ellis and Grant Morrison documentaries), Occupy Comics has received a tremendous amount of support from people in the industry on every level who are volunteering their efforts in order to expand awareness and complete the final products.
Alan Moore will contribute a prose essay to the Occupy Comics project currently running on Kickstarter. He joins David Lloyd on the roster of the project which will record the Occupy Movement in comics — their V FOR VENDETTA comic has been an inspiration for the protesters with the Guy Fawkes mask from the comics showing up around the globe.
Moore’s contribution will be a longform prose piece (possibly with spot illustrations) the content of which is still to be determined, but Moore has indicated he intends to touch on the principles of the Occupy movement and how those principles compare and contrast with the comics business in terms of corporate control of creative arts and also in terms of the superhero paradigm itself.
The project now reunites Moore with his V FOR VENDETTA collaborator David Lloyd, who joined the roster last week.
“Alan Moore and David Lloyd joining the project is really incredible not just because their creation from 30 years ago continues to inspire activists today, but because they themselves are inspired by the activists they helped influence,” said Matt Pizzolo, who spearheaded the organization of Occupy Comics. “It’s also impressive how careful they both are to join the coalition as part of the team, they want to support the movement and the project without being treated as de facto leaders.”
Uniquely, Occupy Comics is more than just a show of solidarity with the protesters: the collaborators are creating new art & stories inspired by the protesters and are actively fundraising for them – having already raised nearly $15,000 on Kickstarter with just days left to go.
This is the first project of its kind to bring together artists and writers inspired to create change by making art together and utilizing that art to financially support a social protest movement in an organized, sustainable way.
Updated Complete Roster
(in alphabetical order)
Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead)
Mike Allred (Madman)
Marc Andreyko (Manhunter)
Susie Cagle (Notes on Conflict, arrested at Occupy Oakland)
Mike Cavallaro (Parade (with fireworks), Life & Times of Savior 28)
Kevin Colden (I Rule the Night, Grimm’s Fairy Tales)
Molly Crabapple (Dr. Sketchy’s)
Tyler Crook (Petrograd, B.P.R.D.)
Vito Delsante (Superman, FCHS)
J.M. DeMatteis (Justice League, Spider-Man, Imaginalis)
Guy Denning (painter)
Eric Drooker (Flood!)
Troy Dye (Shrek, Puss in Boots, The Goblin Chronicles)
Joshua Dysart (Swamp Thing, The Unknown Soldier)
Zoetica Ebb (Biorequiem.com)
Joshua Hale Fialkov (I Vampire, Tumor)
Dan Goldman (Shooting War, 08: A Graphic Diary of the Campaign Trail)
Jenny “Devildoll” Gonzalez-Blitz (Coffin Factory art collective)
Brea Grant (We Will Bury You, Suicide Girls)
Zane Grant (We Will Bury You, Suicide Girls)
Joe Harris (Ghost Projekt, Spontaneous)
Dean Haspiel (American Splendor)
Joe Keatinge (Hell Yeah, Glory, Brutal)
Tom Kelesides (Shrek, Puss in Boots, The Goblin Chronicles)
Ales Kot (upcoming projects w/ Image Comics & DC Ent)
Superheroes have often stepped up to campaign for charities, but this morning’s announcement of Warner’s new WE CAN BE HEROES initiative has set the bar pretty high. A multi pronged campaign spearheaded by DC Entertainment and WB has committed several million dollars to teaming with three charities to fight starvation in the horn of Africa, were 13 million people are currently at risk due to drought and war. In addition to selling merchandise, DC Entertainment will match donations dollar for dollar up to $1 million.
The initiative was announced this morning at a presentation featuring Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros.; Jeff Robinov, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Group; and Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment. Representatives of the three charities that are benefitting from WE CAN BE HEROES — Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps —were also present. Save the Children’s Cokie Roberts stole the show, however — she was introduced by Nelson as “the real Wonder Woman.” Roberts joked that it was perhaps best that she didn’t wear the costume however.
Although the effort will run across WB’s various divisions, WB president Jeff Bewkes announced, DC Entertainment is leading the charge with its aspirational superhero characters. The Justice League — the traditional line-up with the addition of Cyborg — is the face of the campaign—no actual comics tie-ins weren’t mentioned, although it seems like a logical outlet. Maybe Vixen can be involved somehow? An African women superhero, she seems ideally suited to the theme of the campaign.
The effort recalls a previous charity campaign, heroes Against Hunger from 1986, in which proceeds of a benefit comic went to combat famine. Superman has also fought landmines in the past.
The event was also the corporate debut of the new DC logo, which appeared on various slides and artwork. It’s here, and it’s Gotham.
The week of Comic-Con just got even MORE momentous with “The Course of the Force” which ties the Olympic torch relay, lightsabers and Comic-con up in one totally nerdtastic bundle.
And it’s all for a good cause. As announced by Chris Hardwick and Marvin E. Quasniki in the above video, this Nerdist-sponsored event will be a relay-style run from Santa Monica to San Diego starting July 7 and ending Wednesday July 11th as Comic-Con kicks off. Participants will carry a special lightsaber along the more than 100 mile route in quarter mile segments.
On top of creating an event for Star Wars enthusiasts to celebrate and embrace their love of the Saga, Course of the Force will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Fans will have the opportunity to participate in the historic lightsaber relay through various promotions and online calls to action.
Participants in the relay are encouraged to come decked out in their best Star Wars, or pop culture- themed running gear, not only to look good but also to win prizes. Ancient Jedi Masters carried within backpacks are not required.
We’ve been meaning to write up the disgusting legal maneuver that has left 69-year-old Gary Friedrich owing Marvel $17,000 after a failed attempt to get some ownership of Ghost Rider, a character he co-created back in the ’70s. In a story first reported here by Torsten, Marvel/Disney filed a countersuit for copyright infringement based on Friedrich’s convention appearances selling Ghost Rider-related merchandise. As Daniel Best wrote:
This stipulation has been agreed upon and so ordered by the court, with the final judgement reflecting all that contained within. This now means that Gary Friedrich has the right to appeal, and appeal he shall, but it also means that he now owes Marvel Comics, a multi-million dollar making machine, backed by the multi-billion dollar Disney company, $17,000 and cannot ever sell anything related to Ghost Rider, nor can he even say that he created Ghost Rider for any form of gain or advertising. Well done Marvel!! I do wonder though, how does the likes of Joe Quesada, who has also made millions from Marvel in recent times, take the court’s judgement? As Friedrich himself has stated, he is unemployed, has no real assets and is, for all intents and purposes, destitute. $17,000 might be chump change for some, but for someone in Friedrich’s situation it’s a lot of cash.
The reaction to this has been two-fold. First, it’s the latest and worst example of an encroaching corporate power-grab against actual creators—although it is merely financial Darwinism in a world where corporations are people, there is the chance of a significant PR backlash, as James Sturm’s call for a Marvel boycott earlier in the week over the Kirby matter shows.
Second and even more chilling is the possible end to the gentleman’s agreement that has allowed freelance artists to sell sketches, drawings and even entire books of art based on copyrighted characters. Marvel and DC have long looked the other way for this staple of the freelancer’s income. But Disney doesn’t. If Friedrich owes $17,000 over the bits and pieces he has sold over the years, what about the countless, expensive convention sketches by Adam Hughes to name just one? Or Steve Rude. Or anyone.
These questions are now circulating everywhere. In the meantime, Friedrich is old, broke and in ill health. Although many doubt Marvel will try to collect the money—since he had none—the ruling has taken away one of the few ways he had to make money. As he has written to several supporters, he is in danger of losing his home. In a recent Facebook status update, he wrote:
Since the various news agencies and websites have reported the ruling against me on my claims against Marvel in the Ghost Rider lawsuit, and the assessment of a $17,000 judgment against me and my company instead, I have read an amazing amount of comments in my support on the internet, and have received many messages of support directly. Although the reports of my emplo
The CBLDF is offering this swell poster for THE MASSIVE by Brian Wood and Kristian Donaldson as member thank you. BUT ONLY THIS WEEKEND! So hurry if u want to get this charmingly model kit-evoking poster.
This weekend only! Brian Wood and Dark Horse Comics are thanking new and renewing CBLDF members by giving away an exclusive print promoting the upcoming series THE MASSIVE by Brian Wood & Kristian Donaldson. The 17″ x 24″ print, which was given away exclusively at ComicsPRO was designed by Wood to evoke the classic Japanese model kits of his youth, and will come signed by the artist. This weekend only, we’re offering it as a thank you to everyone who joins the CBLDF at the $50 Supporter level or higher, while limited supplies last! Please join the CBLDF today!
Hero Initiative is the non-profit organization that aids comic creators in medical and financial need—and if you’ve been reading the Beat lately you know that they are more needed than ever. Tonight, as part of the Emerald City Comicon, they are having a bowling fundraiser which sounds like a great time for a great cause, as they say. Although spots have already been auctioned off, you can still go watch the fun:
That’s right! We’re bowling to raise money for our cause on Friday March 30 at 8pm! There are 24 spots to bowl with a special guest including Jim Valentino, Francis Manpul, Barry Kitson, Tony Parker and more at Garage Billiards at 1130 Broadway in downtown Seattle! (http://www.garagebilliards.com) For $40 you get 2 games with a special guest, shoe rental, a drink ticket and five raffle tickets to win a bowling pin designed by artists such as Joe Linsner or Matt Wagner!
And if you don’t want to bowl, come and have some fun! The custom bowling pins can be won by ANYONE who shows up! Raffle tickets are $5 each, and tickets will be sold all day Friday at booth number #807 and all evening at the event. Winners MUST BE present.
And of course our special guests at the booth will be signing and sketching for us. Check it out!
Friday, March 30 (hours 2-8)
200-300: Keu Cha
300-400: Scott Morse
400-500: Mike Oeming
500-700: Bill Willingham
Saturday, March 31 (hours 10-7)
1230-130: Jim Valentino
130-230: Adi Granov
430-630: Chrissie Zullo
Sunday, April 1 (hours 10-5)
1030-1130: Steve Lieber
1130-1230: Matt Fraction
Legendary Filipino creator Tony DeZuniga recently had a severe stroke, and he is currently in critical condition. And his family does not have health insurance—yeah, this stuff happens in the Philippines, too. HIs wife Tina wrote of the details in the link below.
I’ve been in touch with Neal Adams and he’s going to try to pull something together to help Tina and Tony. If anyone would like to contribute to Tony’s health care, they can send the money directly to the DeZunigas via Paypal at email@example.com.
If you make the payment as a personal gift, 100% of the amount gets transferred.
I have some books signed by Tony on my website www.fantompress.net. I’ve been doing Doc Savage related collectibles to help Bob Larkin whose wife is suffering from brain cancer.
Tony signed book plates for the Showcase Doc Savage reprint from DC and I’ll donate 100% of the profits from the sale of the Showcase books to Tony as well as 50% of the profits for anything else on site that you purchase.
Tina also is hoping to be able to send scans of some of Tony’s art that she will sell to help with their bills, so please drop me a line to get on the list to be notified when I get them.
DeZuniga co-created Jonah Hex and Black Orchid and brought many of the other Filipino artists of the ’70s and ’80s work. He’s a legend of the field, and if you can’t afford to help him monetarily, at least send him some good wishes. Display CommentsAdd a Comment
In all the hubbub of the last few weeks I haven’t been able to write about the passing of Robert L. Washington III, a comics writer who was a key part of Milestone comics. He co-created Static and helped write Blood Syndicate and other comics for DC and Valiant. And then, things got slow. And Washington had troubles, years of them. And on June 7th at the age of 47, he died of multiple heart attacks.
Just before his death, he’d been helped out by the Hero Initiative, as shown in the above comic which he wrote for a Hero Initiative anthology. Washington had ben living marginally on part time jobs…and when he died, as you may have read, there wasn’t enough money left to bury him. Some folks have been collecting fund to give him a proper funeral; I’ve given and I would hope some of you reading this will follow that link and make a donation.
I remember Robert Washington. To be honest, he was pretty unforgettable, with a booming voice and an easy laugh. He also wore hats quite a bit, which always stood out. When Milestone was riding high, we were convention pals, of the casual sort you make, making jokes at BarCon, saying hello in artist alley. It was apparent to me that Washington was a “character”, like many of the people in creative businesses, but all the same, I didn’t expect him to die in a pauper’s grave.
What was a day in your life like when you had steady comic book work?
Phenomenal — I woke up when I wanted, did what I wanted, stopped by the office one week to drop off a script and a week later for the check. It was really great lifestyle. As long as you turn in the work, your lifestyle is completely your own. I will beat you up to get back to it. That was the early 90s until about 1998.
What was a typical day like before reaching out to the Hero Initiative?
Going on the Internet, which I could barely afford to — I don’t have a computer, so I use one at an Internet café. I’d collect cans for money for bus or train fare.
This is the part that we all need to write in big letters on our walls however:
Looking back at your career and life, what would you stress to young writers and artists?
Have a backup plan. That goes for everyone that wants to go into media. Being really talented isn’t enough. Do something that’ll bring you a regular income in any other industry, you can work your way back into media. The people I know in my situation have no fall-back
Just now got back from visiting with Roger at the hospital. Wish there was something more to report, but 2 weeks in he’s still in critical but stable condition, and still completely non-communicative. He requires an anti-seizure medicine which as a side-effect can make him sleepy, so that may contribute to his lack of lucidity. On the bright side, the swelling has decreased dramatically and he once again looks like the Roger we know and love, though I’m sure he’d have something to say about the haircut they gave him.
I promise to continue keeping you all posted as his recovery continues and when there’s more to share.
Thanks again for all your love, care, concern, good wishes and prayers! Roger still needs them, and we believe they’re going to help him tremendously.
is a great way to end the week. The Kesels had been assigned a drug affected baby and this meant their child was born with a methadone addiction and has to be hospitalized for six weeks:
Isaac was born, sadly addicted to methadone, and had to go through withdrawal, which is a long and I’m sure not fun process. It took about six weeks for him to be weaned all the way off the methadone, and some of those weeks were very tough. He was very inconsolable; we couldn’t soothe him, clearly he was agitated. He was on a morphine treatment during that time period, but each day, they cut that back just a little bit more and so his body had to pick up the slack and clean himself out a little more. It took about six weeks, but now he’s just a kid. He’s a very happy kid and seems to have no major effects from the drugs. There might be some learning disabilities later on. The doctors have told us we might not really know until he enters school. We might find he has a little trouble with math, with reading or something like that. Right now, he seems to be very, very normal. We’re extremely happy. He brings a lot of joy into our life.
As mentioned above, Kesel is selling a stunning Silver Age comics collection to pay the medical bills. You can purchase something at Blastoff Comics. “I’m selling my past to gain a new future,” he told CBR, and the whole story is touching in the extreme.
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We’re soliciting donations from international comic book writers and artists to give what they can (signed books, original artwork, etc.). We’re planning on holding either a local auction or on ebay for these items, and the proceeds will all go to those in need. A great deal of people have already pledged their support.
As all of you know, I never sell original artwork, so this a rare exception that any piece is available. 14′x17″ India ink on Bristol board. If I have a chance, I’ll personalize a note on the back to the donor. Please, look into bidding to help raise funds for this crucial cause. Thanks!
Wow, sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity here.
The Philippines, as we have often noted here, have a unique comics background, and have produced some amazing cartooning talent over the years, so this comics-based grassroots support is very appropriate. Anyone interested in contributing should contact Fullybooked at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “AUCTION”.
Authors and musicians are coming together for a benefit that will raise money to rebuild Red Hook, a water-front community in Brooklyn that was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Novelist/journalist Kurt Andersen will host the event, which is called “Defiance: A Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook,” and will take place on November 14th at Littlefield at 7pm. Musicians Steve Earle and Stew will perform and novelists Joseph O’Neill, Sam Lipsyte, and Rivka Galchen will do readings, as will non-fiction writers Phillip Lopate, Chuck Klosterman, Philip Gourevitch, Meghan O’Rourke, Deborah Baker, and Robert Sullivan will also participate.
Tickets for the event cost $50, and can be purchased at this link. All proceeds from the event will be split between two charities who are helping to rebuild Red Hook post-Sandy — Red Hook Initiative and Restore Red Hook.
Autobiographical comics used to be a feature of zines and small private presses, but readers are increasingly able to follow their favorite genre of the comics medium in graphic novel editions from mainstream book publishers. There’s no doubt that the artistic appreciation for autobiography and semi-autobiographical works is on the rise, but amid commentary on layouts, designs, and narrative choices, it’s easy to lose touch with the personalities behind the works and the often difficult waters they navigate to create their comics. At Housing Works Bookstore and Café in Soho, part of the Housing Works charitable organization benefitting those affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness, four cartoonists weighed in on their life in comics on March 5th in a panel hosted by comics scholar and author Christopher Irving (LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS, GraphicNYC). The event formed part of “Geek Week” at Housing Works, with copies of speakers’ books donated by publishers for sale to support the charitable organization.
Panelists included Dean Haspiel (BILLY DOGMA, CUBA: MY REVOLUTION), Bob Fingerman (MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE, FROM THE ASHES), Laura Lee Gulledge (PAGE BY PAIGE, WILL AND WHIT), and Ethan Young (TAILS) and featured projected slides of their artwork along with readings, commentary, and discussion. Haspiel read “Dumbo” from his STREETCODE series, a tale of extensive personal injury after being “busted” as a thief by an overzealous and perplexed local driver during a film-shoot in Brooklyn and Fingerman read from an unpublished script of issue #11 of his acclaimed MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE series (which will appear in the new deluxe edition coming from Image March 20th) about the trials and tribulations of negative reviews and the dubious creative credits of working for “porno mags”. Gulledge, too, presented previously unseen material from her upcoming (in March) new book WILL and WHIT dealing with the stresses and awkwardness of teen life pursuing artistic expression, while Young read from his series TAILS, featuring cultural and familial clashes over relationships, but also noted that a second printed volume of the previously online series TAILS will be coming soon from Hermes Press.
Each of the cartoonists presenting their work engaged the audience on an emotional level in different ways, showcasing the versatility that makes autobiographical comics so popular. Haspiel’s comic narrated the already inherently absurd scenario of playing a thug in a friend’s film being chased by a costumed superhero an the equally absurd but downright serious impact of being mistaken for a real thief and being mown down by a would-be vigilante on set. Haspiel’s “DUMBO” focused on the psychological shock and mental processes handling the bizarre, and all too physically real situation.
Fingerman’s script handled his experiences working for a “rag” magazine in semi-autobiographical fashion through his avatar “Rob”, with an ear for frank and surprising dialogue between Rob and former co-workers on the subject of a bad review of his comics issued by a replacement writer in Rob’s own former column on the magazine. Through Rob’s dialogue, the audience could hear the character’s increasing fixation and personal struggle with the affront, while other characters commented irreverently on his overblown reactions. The emotions of the situation were powerful, even while comedic in tone.
Gulledge’s selection from WILL and WHIT used limited but realistic dialogue between friends to tease out the tensions in young adult conversations, anxiety in public performances (in this case a puppet show) and the supportive, but complicated role of group friendships. While Haspiel and Fingerman handled subject matter that may have been unfamiliar to many readers, but connected on the level of universal reactions to antagonizing situations, Gulledge presented a universal situation and explored it through the lens of different personality types.
Young’s performance dealt with two major universal themes, family pressures and romantic relationships, but introduced the complicating factor of cultural divides as his character (also named Ethan) engaged in “blunt” conversations with his mother, translated from Cantonese into English, about whether dating a Chinese-American girlfriend was really the right thing for him. Each comics artist preserved a kernel of universal human experience in their works while bringing intricate detail of personal experience into the narrative to render it unique, compelling, and even more visceral. Experiencing the comics as performance, read by their creators, brought an added dimension of reality to the stories. Autobio comics readers often become fans of the “voice” of the cartoonist and feel that they almost know the author/artist personally, but this was a rare chance to hear the comic audibly and experience the comic visually with creator participation.
Christopher Irving took the opportunity to play readers advocate and encourage the panelists to explain how autobiography maps out the gray areas between art and life, asking what the relationship is, exactly, between these creators and their comic avatars. Gulledge explained that her characters are often “different variations” of sides of her personality, and in one of the most memorable phrases from the evening explained that portraying versions of herself in comics encourages her to take risks in expression, making her willing to “drop the baby” being thrown at her if necessary. The allusion was to a situation wherein street urchins might attempt to pick your pocket by throwing a doll at you, pretending it’s a real baby, in the hopes that you’ll be distracted enough to attempt to catch it. “Drop the baby” made for an excellent metaphor for autobiographical cartooning when the creator has to realize the difference between art and real life and take greater risks based on that truth.
Fingerman commented, to the audience’s amusement, that he would “gladly drop a baby”. His reasons for using an avatar named “Rob” rather than his own name, Bob, in MAXIMUM MINUMUM WAGE involved shying away from direct “narcissism” while keeping a certain “weight” of truth alongside the “latitude” for some fictionalization. Like Stephen Colbert’s concept of “truthiness”, he said, his comics get closer to the truth by allowing more freedom of expression than strict autobiography. He also added that after ten years of reflection on MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE and working on the new hardcover edition from Image , however, he’s “seriously thinking of coming back to the series and starting it up again”, which provoked a round of enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Haspiel’s own feelings about the difference between autobiographical and semi-autobiographical comics, two genres he has worked with extensively, pivot on his concern that autobiographical comics only allow the reader to act as “voyeur” in someone else’s life. Like Fingerman, Haspiel reflected on the fact that semi-autobiographical narratives enable the creator to zero-in on “emotional truths” that they might not be able to emphasize as fully when sticking purely to facts. His advice to autobiographical or semi-autobiographical cartoonists, generally, is to “get outside” and experience life, making sure you “show up to the party” that is life and take part in order to create compelling stories. Gulledge chimed in that she agreed with Haspiel and Fingerman, that even autobiographical comics are not about the cartoonists life in terms of their purpose, but are about “helping” the reader understand themselves by engaging with real-life situations.
[Image from STREETCODE's "Dumbo" by Haspiel]
Young explained that he feels that his life can, in some ways, seem stereotypical, including his Asian-American heritage, emphasis on city narratives, his real-life situation of quitting college, and even being “self-indulgent” in writing stories designed to “get even” with an ex-girlfriend. But having a relatable life is certainly not a hindrance in autobiographical comics, especially when you capture the “romance” you see in the ordinary. Young hopes to “capture” some truths from his life in a memorable way, such as “living really broke” and “being single in New York”, experiences many readers might share. The most problematic thing Young has faced, he said, about working in autobiographical comics, is that readers equate the Ethan of his comics with Ethan in real life and feel free to tell him that he’s an “asshole” on a regular basis. He’s also been questioned for bringing “fantastic elements” into his works despite their overtly “realistic” tone, and like Haspiel and Fingerman, Young thinks a “metaphorical” element helps him “comment on how interconnected we are with our creations”. It seemed part and parcel of artistic freedom to branch from autobiography into metaphor for several of the panelists.
The discussion between comics artists on the panel was often freeform and interactive during the event, and they chatted about the increasing role of images online, the freedom the internet offers in terms of self-publication, and the impact that it has had on autobiographical comic production. Haspiel commented on the ways that social media has become a form of autobiographical expression, leading him further down the road of embracing metaphor rather than strict biography in his work. Even Gulledge expressed her movement toward “boiling down” life experiences to get to what life is “really about” due to the comparison between unedited and immediate self-expression on social platforms. Haspiel also noted, however, that social media opens up publicity options for web-based work, as in the case of ACTIVATEcomix, which he founded in 2006, and his currently curated multimedia arts site TRIP CITY. The very same technology that raises questions about autobiography by presenting human experience in an unfiltered way can serve as the platform for promoting the more focused works of art that reflect on life’s truths. One of the final topics of the evening focused on advice for cartoonists about funding and publishing their autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works. Now, more than ever, Haspiel argued for the need to be “be part of a community”, whether seeking crowd-funding or readership.
It was clear from hearing the panelists in discussion that they do form their own community of creators supporting many of the same goals in comics, and that each of them has a specific commitment to their readership in creating their work. The fact that the event spotlighting “the cartoonist in comics” not only benefited the comics community by exploring the role of biography and providing insights into creative process, but also raised funds for a worthy local charity emphasized the reciprocal role of community in supporting artwork about the significant truths hidden in everyday life and improving “real life” for those in need. The event was live-streamed by Housing Works and may be available in video format soon.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.
Included in the CBLDF release is news of their expanded efforts with retailer members and a very successful fundraising drive at the recent ComicsPRO meeting. All good news, as the CBLDF does a fantastic job of keeping free speech issues at the forefront of comics.