Comix4Sight: Eye on the Greater Good

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Comic book creators have a reputation of looking after their own. Professional organisations such as The Hero Initiative and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund operate around the clock to come to the rescue of creators in need.

In some cases, the industry also launches special charities and donation drives focusing on a specific case requiring our attention and support. The best time to launch such a charity is during con season. It’s been like that forever, and 2009 is no different.

This summer, Adriane Nash and Mike Gold started Comix4Sight, a donation drive to support long-time comics scribe John Ostrander. Ostrander, most popular for his work on countless of titles such as The Spectre, Martian Manhunter, Grimjack and Star Wars, suffers from glaucoma and needs help covering the costs of the medical procedure he recently underwent in Boston. In case results aren’t what they should be, Ostrander will require further treatment to prevent him from going blind. Further treatment means more bills; bills Ostrander won’t be able to foot. 

That’s where Comix4Sight comes in.

Started by Adriane Nash and Mike Gold, Comix4Sight wants to raise funds for Ostrander’s glaucoma treatment, with the high point being a special auction held at the 2009 Chicaco Comic-Con on August 8th in association with Wizard Entertainment.

Launched a few weeks ago, Comix4Sight hasn’t wasted any time fighting the good fight, making a splash at the just-concluded San Diego Comic-Con. “Comic-Con was amazingly successful in getting donation of both funds and art.” Nash said. “The artists were so very generous. We got some great pieces, including a Jim Lee sketch of Batman AND Wolverine, Terry Moore gave a cover to Echo and Francis Manapul donated an awesome Wonder Woman cover. We will be posting pics of the artwork on our site this week.

“I can also tell you that we have raised over $10K on donations through the Paypal button.”

Someone who’s also doing everything she can to raise awareness for Ostrander’s cause is Wonder Woman and Secret Six writer Gail Simone. The reason for her pushing Comix4Sight as much as she’s doing is simple. “Loss of vision is the nightmare of many in the visual arts, and has affected some really important creators in our industry,” Simone said. “We have an opportunity to help one of the all-time great writers in our business before it becomes something tragic. Who wouldn't want to help in that situation?

“And really, all the credit has to go to Adriane Nash and Mike Gold who started this ball rolling, and to the dozens and dozens of talented creators and readers who donated money and art.  I just did a lot of the necessary yapping, which is like the one thing I'm actually good at.”

What’s beautiful about Simone’s involvement is that she’s pushing Comix4Sight because it’s a good cause, not because the relationship between the two writers goes back a long way. In fact, a month ago, Simone hadn’t even met Ostrander in the flesh. “I just met him for the first time in June, at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois.” she says.

“He was tremendously fun and inspiring to be around.  Before that, certainly, he was a big influence. He and his wife Kim Yale (now sadly deceased) created the Oracle persona for Barbara Gordon, who was such a major part of the Birds of Prey book I was fortunate enough to work on, and it was his Deadshot and Suicide Squad that inspired my own Secret Six, certainly. 

“But in that, I'm just one of many, many writers who were inspired by John's work. That was one of the coolest things about the donation effort – I kept running into established creators who had worked with him, or been inspired by him. And uniformly, I couldn't find anyone who had a bad word to say about the guy. So many people said he was the reason they got into comics, or that he'd worked with them and been really encouraging.  That's an impressive legacy.”

Certainly, Simone’s public endorsement has helped land some extra donations. “I shamelessly took horrendous advantage of the many people who inexplicably remain my friends despite my horrid personality, and I was willing to harass them mercilessly. I helped get the word out, basically.  But it's John they are doing this for, no question.

“The list of people who donated is astounding.  Nearly every single person I approached donated something, everything from signed sketchbooks to sketch cards, all the way up to double page spreads and paintings and covers.  And the list of names of people who donated is ridiculous. 

“Studios like Boom and Udon and Periscope contributed multiple pieces.  And people like Jim Lee, Gene Ha, Francis Manapul, Neal Adams, the Kubert Family, Paul Chadwick, Scott Morse, Sergio Aragones, Kevin Smith, David Lloyd, Philip Tan, Nicola Scott, Aaron Lopresti, Terry Moore, Terry Dodson, James Owen, Jamal Igle, Billy Tucci, Bernard Chang, I mean, that's just the start. It got completely crazy. There are many, many more names but I'm still brain-dead from the convention and playing deadline catch-up.

“And not a single person asked about getting credit for their donation.  We're going to list all the creators that donated on the website. It's going to be a one-of-a-kind event.  I have to say that I found the generosity of these talented people completely overwhelming.”

Hopefully, the Comix4Sight donation drive will gather enough funds for Ostrander to cover the bills of his recently completed – and possible future – eye treatments. In case of an excessive success, all of the unused funds will be donated to The Hero Initiative to the benefit of other creators in need.

So, if you’re attending Chicago Comic-Con the weekend of August 6-9, make sure to stop by the Comix4Sight auction event held on Saturday. If you can’t make it, or if bidding on a piece of art is out of your league financially, consider making a small Paypal donation on the Comix4Sight website.


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  • BriGuy

    BriGuy Aug 1, 2009 at 12:00pm

    Another way to help is to buy trade paperbacks written by John Ostrander. That way he should get some royalty payments.

    I intend to check out the post-WWChicago auction items and if I don't get anything there I'll be making a donation. Ostrander is a terrific guy. I met him once and he couldn't have been nicer.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 2, 2009 at 2:19pm

    John has given me so much reading pleasure over the years so it's wonderful to see the level of support he's getting from the larger comics community. It's about time DC collected both his stunning THE SPECTRE series and the magnificent SUICIDE SQUAD.

  • BriGuy

    BriGuy Aug 2, 2009 at 2:57pm

    Not to mention his MARTIAN MANHUNTER run. Now would be the perfect time to capitalize off of J'onn's current spotlight in "Blackest Night". I'd gladly get trades of his FIRESTORM run as well.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Aug 3, 2009 at 2:41pm

    HAWKWORLD was really good as well. And MANHUNTER. And DEADSHOT. And THE KENTS. And... ah you get the picture I guess...

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