The Hero Initiative
Paolo Rivera has debuted his stunning contribution The Hero Initiative’s latest “100 Project,” in which 100 artists draw their own covers for the milestone 100th issue of The Walking Dead. The covers, by the likes of Charlie Adlard, Kevin Eastman, Dan Brereton, Mark dos Santos and, yes, Robert Kirkman, will be collected in a book (for sale sometime this year), with the originals auctioned off to benefit The Hero Initiative.
In his blog post, Rivera also reveals he’ll be doing his very first work for DC Comics: a variant cover for Action Comics #18.
Steve Niles points us to the website of Matt Houk and Nico Zepeda, who are selling Josh Medors Memorial T-shirts honoring the artist who passed away Nov. 28 after a long battle with spinal cancer.
“The only way we could think to honor him is to put out a memorial shirt with his art work,” Houk writes. “He gave this art to my old comic shop as a gift so not many people have seen it. It was a no-brainer that this art needed to get out.”
The shirts are available for preorder for $25 from the Fall of the Sparrow website. All profits will go to benefit Help for Heroes, the comics industry cancer organization founded by Medors in partnership with The Hero Initiative, and to help his family with any expenses they may have. The 36-year-old Medors is survived by his wife Charlotte and their son Garth.
Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and other things we’ve been perusing of late. Our guest today is Tyler James (@tylerjamescomic), the publisher of ComixTribe, which is both an online resources for comic creators and a new creator-owned imprint. Tyler is also the writer of the superhero murder mystery The Red Ten, which goes on sale Dec. 19, and the organizer of the annual 30 Characters Challenge, in which writers and artists attempt to create 30 characters in just 30 days, one for every day in November (it’s under way now at 30characters.com).
Here’s what Tyler and the Robot 6 crew are reading this week:
Writer and publisher Chris Roberson, who’s emerged over the past six months as a vocal advocate for creators’ rights, announced this morning that his Monkeybrain Comics will donate all of its income from November to The Hero Initiative, the industry organization dedicated to helping creators in need.
While creators releasing comics through Monkeybrain’s recently launched digital-comics initiative will still receive their portion of profits, the publisher’s cut will go to the charity.
“There are far too many stories of well-respected, talented writers and artists who created successful and beloved comics in previous decades, and who now are living in reduced means — unable to afford health care, unable to find paying work, some even homeless,” Roberson, who co-founded Monkeybrain in 2001 with his wife Allison Baker, wrote in an open letter. “At the same time, characters created and co-created by many of these same creators have gone on to appear in major motion pictures, on television, and in toy aisles. The American comic book industry was built on selling morality tales to young readers, stories of men and women who fought for justice and stood up for what was right. And the writers, artists, and others who created those stories deserve better than they have received. Thankfully, they have the Hero Initiative in their corner.”
Monkeybrain’s digital lineup includes Bandette by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover, Edison Rex by Roberson and Dennis Culver, Thoughts on a Winter Morning by Kurt Busiek and Steve Lieber, and Aesop’s Ark by J. Torres and Jennifer L. Meyer. The comics can be purchased on the publisher’s website, or on comiXology.
Read Roberson’s full letter below:
“As simple as it sounds, it’s the simple fact that we’re helping people and having immediate positive impact in their lives. I hear crying a lot. I really do. And I mean that in a good way. I think it’s just the breaking of a dam sometimes, and an emotional release. I can’t tell you how often I’ll be speaking to someone on the phone after the disbursement committee has decided what to do, and I’ll tell Artist X, ‘Yeah, no problem. Gimme the address and an account number, and we can pay off that hospital bill. Give me your landlord’s name and number, we’ll take care of the back rent, and get you paid off for next month as well. And we’re sending a check to you so you can get some groceries.’ People just break down and start crying. I think it’s the stress of all these things ending, the cracking of that ice … it’s an emotional moment. The mind, the body, something … it doesn’t know what to do. So it cries. It’s odd, but I’ve come to not look at a full-grown adult crying as anything bad. In fact, it’s good. For so many people, it’s the end of a long and painful road.”
– Jim McLauchlin, president and co-founder of The Hero Initiative, explaining why he loves his job.
Since its founding in 2000, the organization has given more than $500,000 to comics creators in need.
Daredevil, Kate Beaton, J.H. Williams III, Jim Henson’s Tale Of Sand and Walt Simonson’s The Mighty Thor Artist’s Edition took home multiple honors at the 2012 Harvey Awards, held tonight in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con. Named for the late Harvey Kurtzman, the awards are selected by comics professionals, who offer nominations and vote on the winners.
Also during the ceremony, Kevin Brogan presented the Hero Initiative‘s Dick Giordano Humanitarian of The Year Award to the late Joe Kubert, while Stan Lee and John Romita Sr. presented the Hero Initiative’s Lifetime Achievement Award to John Romita Jr.
You can find a list of all the nominees with the winners in bold below.
Chris Eliopoulos, Fear Itself, Marvel Comics
Laura Lee Gulledge, Page By Paige, Amulet Books
Todd Klein, S.H.I.E.L.D.: Architects Of Forever, Marvel Comics
David Lanphear, Secret Avengers, Marvel Comics
Jason Shiga, Empire State: A Love Story (or Not), Abrams ComicArts
Jack Kirby would have been 95 today, and celebrations are breaking out all over the comics blogosphere. Here’s a quick guide; feel free to post more links in comments.
• Today’s a good day to buy yourself some comics: Kirby’s granddaughter Jillian Kirby has started the Kirby4Heroes campaign, in which comics stores donate a percentage of their sales from today to The Hero Initiative.
Organizations | Jillian Kirby, the 16-year-old granddaughter of Jack Kirby, makes a pitch for Kirby4Heroes, a campaign to encourage donations to The Hero Initiative on Aug. 28, which would have been the legendary creator’s 95th birthday. [Los Angeles Times]
Comics | Roger Rautio, who’s spearheading an effort to establish a physical Comic Book Hall of Fame, said he’s received responses from officials in four cities — Chicago, Cleveland, New York City and San Jose — and he may meet with a Chicago city council member as early as next month. [North Country Now]
Creators | Cartoonist Reinhard Kleist discusses his graphic novel The Boxer, the true story of Polish Jew Harry Haft, who had to fight other prisoners at Auschwitz for the entertainment of the Nazi soldiers. [Deutsche Welle]
Artist Mike Wieringo and Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald passed away more than a decade apart, but both of them died on Aug. 12–now known as “M Day.” To celebrate the lives of both men, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort has set up a fundraiser on Razoo.com for the Hero Initiative.
“This year, we’d like the celebrate the spirit of generosity and camaraderie amongst the comic book community that both of these creators embodied by encouraging their friends and fans to make a donation to the Hero Initiative,” Brevoort wrote. “The Hero Initiative is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping out those members of the comic book creative community who have fallen on hard times financially. Assistance from the Hero Initiative has made a difference in the lives and situations of many great practitioners of our art. This is something that we believe both Mark and Mike would be behind.”
Head on over to Razoo.com to support the fundraiser.
More than a month after being struck by a car in a hit and run, Lobo co-creator Roger Slifer remains comatose and unable to breathe on his own. Police in Santa Monica, California, have not located a suspect.
The Hero Initiative reports Slifer was moved Friday from Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center to Barlow Respiratory Hospital, which specializes in respiratory problems. The hope is that he will be able to breathe on his own in three to six weeks, and be ready for rehabilitation in three to six months. According to his
cousin sister-in-law Emma Slifer, he couldn’t be transferred earlier to Barlow — it’s a long-term acute care hospital — because, “for the past couple weeks Roger’s brain was relentlessly plagued by seizures for which he required high doses of sedatives and anti-seizure meds.”
The 57-year-old Slifer was crossing the street in the early hours of June 23 when he was hit by an older white sedan, breaking his collar bone, shoulder and a number of ribs. He was placed in a medically induced coma, and a portion of his skull was removed to relieve pressure on his brain.
A member of the CPL Gang alongside such future creators as Roger Stern, Bob Layton, John Byrne, Tony Isabella and Steven Grant, Slifer began working for Marvel in the mid-1970s as a writer and assistant editor before moving to DC Comics in 1981 as its first sales manager for the direct market. He also wrote Omega Men, for which he created the alien mercenary Lobo with Keith Giffen. He later moved into animation, working for Sunbow Entertainment as a producer, story editor and writer on such series as Jem and the Holograms, Transformers and G.I. Joe Extreme. According to his friend Barry Dennis, Slifer was working on a new project before the hit and run.
The Hero Initiative is accepting donations for Lobo co-creator Roger Slifer, who remains in an induced coma after a hit-and-run incident last month.
The organization will be helping out with medical and financial assistance. You can donate money through PayPal to the Hero Initiative via the “Donate” button at the top of their site or through Network for Good. They’ll also be at booth #5003 at the San Diego Comic-Con next week.
The 57-year-old comics and animation writer was hit by a car as he crossed the street June 23 in Santa Monica, Calif. Editor Jim Salicrup continues to provide updates on his Facebook page, while a “hub” for information, S.L.I.F.E.R. Needs You, has been set up.
I mentioned in April that a musical group was planning to set one of Roger Langridge’s Fred the Clown stories to music and do a live performance of it as a part of a TEDx event. That performance, by FourPlay String Quartet, is now up on YouTube (watch it below).
And speaking of Langridge, he mentioned earlier this month his plans to raise money for The Hero Initiative by charging for sketches of Marvel and DC characters at HeroesCon. He posted on his blog this week that he raised $360 for the charity. You can see the sketches he drew on his blog.
The Hero Initiative has provided Robot 6 with Joe Illidge’s report on the memorial service held Monday night in New York City for original Static co-writer Robert L. Washington III, who passed away June 6 at age 47. His funeral was paid for through a fund-raising campaign spearheaded by the organization, which had assisted Washington with rent and food, and his former classmates and colleagues:
On Monday, June 25th, a funeral service was held for Robert L. Washington III in the Bronx borough of New York City, with a second service to come in Detroit, Michigan. The service was attended by various comic book creators, classmates, and friends from Robert’s various creative, work, and hobby circles.
Through the actions of Robert’s friends from Milestone Media, Inc. and his classmates from The Roeper School, The Hero Initiative was able to use all of your donations to pay for the service and provide Robert’s mother and two of his sisters with the means to travel from Detroit, Michigan to New York and give him a proper funeral.
Over three hundred people donated funds, and Robert’s mother, Kathy Washington, gives her thanks to all of you for your generosity and kind words.
We list the names of all the donors below, and apologize in advance if there are any typos. There were, after all, 365 donors in all.
To all of the fans, friends, journalists, and supporters who offered their time, money and sentiment for Robert and his family, you are the heroes. Thank you for helping The Hero Initiative create a happy ending to the story of Robert L. Washington III.
The list of donors can be found below. As Washington’s former classmate Craig Hicks noted on Sunday, donations can still be made in Washington’s memory to The Hero Initiative to help other creators in need.
A memorial service will be held Monday evening in New York City for original Static co-writer Robert L. Washington III, who passed away June 6 at age 47.
Upon learning that Washington, who had been homeless a few times and only sporadically employed in recent years, faced indigent burial in an unmarked grave on Hart Island, former classmates and colleagues joined with The Hero Initiative to raise money for a funeral and interment. According to Craig Hicks, who attended school with Washington from fifth through eighth grades and helped to spearhead the fund-raising campaign, that goal has been reached.
“Thanks to the efforts of many generous fans and friends — and loads of support from the Hero Initiative — Robert Washington’s remains will now get a proper burial,” Hicks wrote last night in a comment on Robot 6.
Fans, friends and colleagues are invited to the memorial service Monday at 7 p.m. at Ross-Roden Funeral Home, 725 E. Gun Hill Road, Bronx, New York City. Those unable to attend can sign the guest book, or send flowers or sympathy cards, through the funeral home’s website.
Comic Book Resources last week published Washington’s final interview, in which the writer discussed his comics work, receiving assistance from The Hero Initiative, and contributing a story to the organization’s 2012 anthology.
“I was faced with a dilemma: should I just refuse to do them? Should I do them for free and annoy my neighbours, who would be charging? Or should I take the money and leave myself open to charges of hypocrisy and other malarkey? My elegant solution is to do Marvel and DC character sketches as usual, but to donate the proceeds from drawing those characters to the Hero Initiative. I’ve been in touch with the organisation about this and they’re keen, and have helpfully supplied me with official logos and so forth, so that’s what’s happening. In short: from the point of view of you, the attendee wanting a sketch of Thor, it’ll be business as usual. Plus, you’ll be helping a good cause. Everybody wins!”
– Roger Langridge, on whether he should do sketches of Marvel and DC Comics characters this weekend at HeroesCon 2012 after he said he would no longer work for either company because of concerns about the way they treat creators. So instead of keeping the money he’ll get for drawing them, he’ll be donating it — a very classy move that doesn’t leave his fans disappointed.