Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving thanks, vol. 2

Last year right ’bout this time, we wrote of a specific Hero Initiative instance where we helped out a certain comic creator. The story rather resonated with folks, and tho’ it’s a year in the past by now, it still has a poignant ring to it, especially so in the “comments” section. Check it out right now if ya want.

I had resolved several months ago to revisit that bit for this year, but play the flip side. I ended that column by thanking, “all who have donated their money, time, effort and energies.” Now we’re perpetually thankful to our board members, our many volunteers, and the myriad stores and convention staffs that help us out. But these are a few other folks who have given of time, effort, and energies above and beyond the call, expecting nothing in return. Hell, they’re not even expecting this li’l shout-out, so forgive them if they blush.

In no particular order:

Graham Crackers Comics (did we mention nine convenient Chicagoland locations?): Convention center drayage is a bitch. Most fans don’t know, but most convention centers charge “drayage fees” for shipping something direct to the convention center. It’s a handling charge The Local Municipality Memorial Center With Or Without Corporate Sponsor tacks on, ’cause you’re using their loading dock and, well…you need your stuff. These fees can easily reach thousands of dollars.
Walk the stuff in yourself, however, and drayage is zero. For Wizard World Chicago, probably our biggest and most profitable fundraising venue, the crew at Graham Crackers Comics has always been kind enough to be our shipping point. We send them the stuff, they store it, they bring it to the con…and they save us perhaps thousands of bucks. It’s added work, but they do it with a smile. When you speak of them, speak well of them.

Lauren Becker at Warp 9 Comics: Shipping is a bitch. Seriously, you can go freakin’ broke on freight if you’re not careful. And shipping companies don’t much care if they’re hauling alternators for Toyotas or medicine to New Orleans after Katrina—it’s all just weight to them. Again, unchecked, this can be a massive expense.
It just so happened that many of the cons Hero did in 2008 were the same as those attended by Warp 9 Comics of Clawson, MI. Lauren Becker of Warp 9 gallantly offered to haul much Hero product between stops so that we wouldn’t have to pay for shipping, and in the process, saved us a lot of bucks. Much appreciated.

Adam Beechen: You might know him as the writer of Countdown, Teen Titans or Robin at DC Comics. I know him as the guy who made Big Sunday big for Hero in 2008.
“Big Sunday” is a citywide community service event in Los Angeles, where over 50,000 people might cook meals at a homeless shelter, lay sod to create a park for kids to play in, or bathe basset hounds at a dog rescue facility to help prep puppies for adoption. Adam ran donation jars to comic stores all over L.A., and helped drum up donations for The Hero Initiative. He did this all on his own; wasn’t even asked. He didn’t pick up the ball and run with it. He created the ball. And he turned an any ol’ Sunday into a great day for us.

Peter Dixon of Paradise Comics: Peter owns a store in Toronto, Paradise Comics, and runs the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon every year. You might see him on the con circuit in the US, as he’s always on the move, buying and selling books and drumming up guests for his convention. He also contributes generously to Hero, and not just in dough (tho’ he kicks in a lotta that, too). Peter is one of the friendliest faces you’ll ever find, and whenever the booth staff needs a concessions run, Peter’s there with hot dogs and Cokes. When there’s a minor mountain of crap to be packed up at the end of a show, you’ll turn around, and there’s Peter with a tape gun. No matter what need pops up, he’s seemingly always there to fill it, and does so with a smile on his face every time.

Bill Cox, he of the kickass ComicArtFans.com: Hero’s Website hosting happens at a cost to us of zero. In going through cost line-items (see: drayage, shipping, etc.) the more you can eliminate, the more you have left for genuine “program services.” Bill takes care of our Web needs, with ZERO problems, delays, or tech fubars of any sort, and allows us instant and worldwide communication at the low, low price of “free.”

The secret Marvel triumvirate of Tim Dillon, Jon Ennis and Mike Pasciullo: A lot—lot, lot, lot, lot, LOT—of the nickels we’ve been able to put in the coffers over that last year have been generated through programs with Marvel Comics. No matter if it’s The Hulk 100 Project, the Mike Wieringo What If? book, or a Marvel Apes variant cover, there are print dates to hit, shipping to manage, approvals to be met and paperwork to be completed. And the stealth crew who help us with this at Marvel are Dillon, Ennis and Pasciullo. Their names don’t scream at you from the credits of your favorite comics, and I’ve never—thankfully—seen them in spandex, but trust me: They’re the unseen glue that holds a lot together at Marvel, and their work is much appreciated.

A couple things occur to me as I quickly review this list. First, I now understand “The Stan Lee Answer.” You know how it is: Someone will ask Stan who his favorite artist to work with was, and he’ll say to the effect of “Oh, they’re all my favorites.” It’s tough to single out anyone, and you ALWAYS run the risk of forgetting someone you shoulda mentioned. As I’ve probably done here. So hey—if you’re reading and I’ve neglected to mention you, all apologies. You’re all my favorites, okay?

Secondly, as I do some (almost) year-end accounting, it looks like we’ve been able to disburse another $81,000+ to a number of comic creators in medical or financial need so far in 2008…and the year ain’t over yet. Some, such as Gene Colan, Josh Medors, or Scott Rosema, you’ve very likely heard about. Others wish to keep their private business private, and we respect those wishes. But I know they’re ALL thankful.

And that itself is something to be thankful for.

Jim McLauchlin

1 comment:

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