The Hero Initiative
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.
Writer Robert L. Washington III, who with Dwayne McDuffie and John Paul Leon introduced Static in 1993, passed away Wednesday at Mount Sinai Queens in New York City after suffering multiple heart attacks. He was 47.
Although perhaps best known for co-writing the first 18 issue of Static, he also worked on Shadow Cabinet for Milestone Comics, Extreme Justice for DC Comics, Timewalker for Valiant, and Ninjak for Acclaim.
However, Washington, like many other creators, had difficulty finding work in the industry following the mid-1990s comics implosion. He’d lately been employed sporadically by a call center and catalog warehouse.
Washington had been homeless a few times, and had received assistance from The Hero Initiative with rent and food, which he recounted in his final work — a one-page autobiographical strip he contributed to Hero Comics 2012 (below), the charity comic released last week to help raise money for the group.
Organizations | Tom Spurgeon reports that The Hero Initiative has now received close to $3,000 so far due to campaigns asking those people who watch Marvel’s The Avengers to donate money to the organization. The Jack Kirby Museum, meanwhile, reports it has received $1,300 from Avengers-related giving. [The Comics Reporter, The Kirby Museum]
Conventions | Chris Butcher, co-founder and director of the Toronto Comics Art Festival, reports that about 18,000 people attended this year’s TCAF-related events: “TCAF 2012 was the most ambitious festival yet, and my most ambitious personal undertaking. With more off-site and lead-up events than ever before, more partnerships than in previous years, an additional day of programming, and more than 20 featured guests, I worried in the weeks leading up to the show that perhaps we’d bit off a bit more than we could chew. Luckily through the talent and support of some wonderful folks we had varying levels of success on every front, and as always, lessons were learned and we think 2013 will be even stronger.” [Comics212]
Passings | The Comics Journal collects tributes to Maurice Sendak, the legendary children’s book author and illustrator who passed away Tuesday at age 83. Philip Nel, director of Kansas State University’s Program in Children’s Literature, also writes an obituary for the influential creator of Where the Wild Things Are. [TCJ.com]
Publishing | In an interview with the retail news and analysis site ICv2, IDW Publishing President and CEO Ted Adams says that while digital sales are at 10 percent of print sales, both are going up: “There’s just no question at this point that selling comics digitally is definitively not impacting [print] comic book sales. If anything you could make the argument that the success of digital is driving more print comic book sales. The correlation at this point is that increased digital has resulted in increased print. Whether or not that is a direct correlation, I don’t know how you would figure that out. I can say with no uncertainty that our increased digital revenue has come at a time when we’ve had increased comic book sales.” [ICv2]
Here’s some good news for The Hero Initiative: according to Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter, the organization has received about $1,100 so far due to campaigns like this one that asked people to donate money to the organization if they go see The Avengers.
“You’re probably going to go see The Avengers and, judging by the early reviews, you’ll probably enjoy it. How about — as a thank you to the creators who brought you these characters in the first place, who gave you something to enjoy so much — you match your ticket price as a donation to The Hero Initiative?” cartoonist Jon Morris wrote on his blog before the film’s release.
Spurgeon points out that these funds were raised without any effort on the Hero Initiative’s part, making them “bonus” money the organization wasn’t expecting or planning for. He also reached out to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, another charity mentioned as a possible recipient, but they haven’t seen a notable increase.
There’s no deadline for donating, so if you saw the film, or even if you haven’t and just want to support comics creators, head over to The Hero Initiative site to do so. You can also help them out by buying the upcoming Hero Comics 2012, their annual anthology by creators like Russ Heath and Darwyn Cooke (whose strip I included to the left), Kevin Eastman (who does a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story), Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood, Richard Starkings and Dave Sim, and many more. Wait, Dave Sim is drawing an Elephantman story? That’s probably worth a look just for curiosity’s sake alone.
Earlier this week we spotlighted Jon Morris’ call for comics fans who’ll file into theaters this weekend to watch Marvel’s The Avengers to match their ticket price with a donation to The Hero Initiative as a “thank you” to the people who created those characters in the first place.
It’s a fantastic suggestion, of course, which led me to think of a few other options for showing some financial appreciation. Think of it as the comics version of trickle-down economics, or something:
A Buck For Jack: Launched last year by cartoonist Nat Gertler, this campaign encourages fans to donate $1 for each of the movies they’ve watched that features characters co-created by Jack Kirby. “If we could get just 1% of the people who see a Kirby-inspired movie to throw in that buck — and yes, 1%, as small as that sounds, would be a huge and unlikely success, I admit — that would be hundreds of thousands of dollars per movie going to the Kirby legacy,” he writes. The money collected through the Buck For Jack website goes to the Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center, although Gertler notes that, “if I ever find a way to give it to the Jack Kirby heirs instead, I will start directing the money there.”
The Jack Kirby Museum & Research Center: If you’d prefer, you can donate directly to the Jack Kirby Museum. Established in 2005, it still only exists online, but the trustees are working to change that. The organization, whose mission is “to promote and encourage the study, understanding, preservation and appreciation of the work of Jack Kirby,” has established a Brick & Mortar Fund in hopes of finding a temporary “pop-up” location for the museum in New York City, preferably near the Lower East Side neighborhood where Kirby grew up, with an eye toward of a permanent home.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund: Familiar to creators, retailers and fans alike, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is dedicated to the protection of First Amendment rights of the comics art form and community. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, advice and representation, and frequently joins in opposition against legislation that poses a threat to free speech.
Many comics fans are struggling right now to find a workable position to take on the issue of creators’ rights. On one end of the spectrum are folks who have no problem boycotting everything Marvel and DC Comics do until past and present creators are treated fairly. On the other end are those who simply don’t give a crap and are all for corporations doing whatever they’re legally entitled to. Somewhere in between though are those of us who are torn between wanting to see creators treated fairly and being really super-excited to watch The Avengers. What are we to do about that?
My insistence on seeing a film seems really freaking petty when Chris Roberson is willing to give up work over these issues, but at the end of the day, I know I’m gonna go see that damned movie. My not seeing it won’t make a bit of difference to Jack Kirby’s family — and besides, what did Robert Downey Jr. ever do to me, anyway? And yet … Chris Roberson.
Fortunately, Jon Morris has an awesome solution. “So how about this?” he writes. “You’re probably going to go see The Avengers and, judging by the early reviews, you’ll probably enjoy it. How about — as a thank you to the creators who brought you these characters in the first place, who gave you something to enjoy so much — you match your ticket price as a donation to The Hero Initiative?”
Morris is a genius, and we should do what he says. I know I will, and not just my ticket price, but that of my wife and son, who are big fans of the Marvel movies. If you can afford to, maybe consider doubling your ticket price for a donation, just to cover someone else who doesn’t know about the creators’ rights issue or hasn’t heard of The Hero Initiative. The point is, if you care about creator rights, but don’t think that boycotting is the answer for you, donating however much you’re comfortable with to the support of those creators is an excellent idea.
Emerald City Comicon kicks off today and continues through Sunday at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle.
Scheduled guests include Bryan Lee O’Malley, Robert Kirkman, Brandon Graham, Don Rosa, Bill Sienkiewicz, Greg Rucka, Jhonen Vasquez, Matt Fraction, Gail Simone, Ed Brubaker, Jim Valentino, Bill Willingham, Erik Larsen, Marc Silvestri, Jim Woodring, Brian Wood, Tim Sale, Mike Allred, Kurt Busiek, Darick Robertson, Greg Capullo, Dan Slott, Steve Lieber, Rick Remender, Steve Niles, Phil Hester, Joëlle Jones, Nate Powell, Chris Roberson, Tony Moore, Ben Templesmith, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Scott Wegener, Shannon Wheeler, Brian Churilla, David Petersen, Colleen Coover, Nathan Edmondson, Joe Casey, Paul Tobin, Francis Manapul, Ryan North, Jeff Parker, Ryan Ottley, Jamie S. Rich, Tim Seeley, Nick Spencer, Matt Wagner, Thom Zahler, Scott Kurtz, Joe Keatinge, Daryl Gregory and many more.
You can find the complete programming schedule on the ECCC site, and here’s a round-up of various things you can do, buy and expect to find out about at the show …
If buying an entire comic shop on eBay is out of your price range, this might be more your speed: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is auctioning off his art studio, with some of the proceeds going to benefit the Hero Initiative.
Technically it’s not his whole studio, as that’s attached to his house, but it is all of the contents contained therein. That includes his drawing table and chair, 600 DVDs, original art, action figures, rare T-shirts and a whole bunch more. Check out the video up top to see him give a tour of the studio. Eastman will also make an appearance at Meltdown Comics in Los Angeles on Jan. 4 to count down the end of the auction.
Right now the bidding is at just over $4,000, with eight days still to go.
Sales | The comic book market was up more than 19 percent in November when compared with the same period last year, with comics up 23 percent and graphic novels up 12 percent. So far this year the comics and graphics novel market is up 1.87 percent versus the first 11 months of 2010. If December cooperates, this could be the first up year for the market since 2008.
DC Comics was once again the top company in terms of market share. The company took six of the top 10 spots on Diamond’s Top 100 Comics list, with Justice League #3, Batman #3, Action Comics #3, Green Lantern #3 and Marvel’s Point One #1 making up the top five comics of the month. Batman: Noel took the No. 1 spot on the Top 100 Graphic Novels list. [The Comichron]
Publishing | IDW Publishing has promoted Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein to president, with a focus on new markets and acquisitions. He joined the company in 2008 from Upper Deck. [ICv2.com]
Darwyn Cooke is coming to Long Beach Comic Con this weekend to premiere Parker: The Martini Edition, a deluxe, slipcased set of his two graphic novels Parker: The Hunter and Parker: The Outfit. Both are based on the novels of Richard Stark (actually Donald Westlake, writing under a pseudonym), and are drawn in a style reminiscent of the period in which they’re set, the early 1960s (when the 5’0s were just fading a bit and the Swinging Sixties had not yet begun), and Cooke won a fistful of Harvey and Eisner awards this year for Parker: The Outfit. He talked to me about The Martini Edition earlier this year at Boston Comic Con: