Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics isn't just selling comics — he's writing them.
He is writing a comic book biography of Harvey Milk, the first elected openly gay politician in America, assassinated in 1978. The book will take in a greater degree of LGBTQ history as well. It's also being approved by the Harvey Milk Foundation, with all earnings after printing and art costs, to be donated to charity through the LGBTQ organisation, the Imperial Court of the Rocky Mountain Empire.
Chuck described the page as:
"… part of the preamble to a very dark story about Harvey's first encounter with the police and institutional homophobia. This November will mark the 40th anniversary of Harvey's assassination in San Francisco's beautiful City Hall, so I am going there this morning to take photos for Thomas to use in his art, and will also travel to the site of Castro Camera, Harvey's small business and campaign headquarters. Knowing as much about Harvey's life as I do now, my pilgrimage this morning will definitely be a bittersweet journey."
As part of Chuck's research into writing the biography, he writes:
"While I am gratified by the progress that I have witnessed toward the elimination of hate crimes, I have to share with you that not all of my research into the history of LGBT movements has been pleasant. The hatred and bias that some people continue to express toward others is both painful and shocking to me. In large measure, that is why Thomas Buchanan and I decided to begin our graphic novel series with the story of what happened to the gays of Europe during the Holocaust. I have spent the past month reading horrific first-person accounts from the Holocaust that are so emotionally wrenching that I have oftentimes found myself in tears. The hardest part of my writing the first story arc of our book was constructing prose that could convey the horror of what was inflicted upon well over 100,000 people during the period of 1933-1945, while not being so horrific as to compel people to just drop our book, and walk away."
To this end, he has dedicated Mile High Comics' Free Comic Book Day charity fundraisers for 2018 to benefit the Matthew Shepard Foundation in memory of the victim of one of the more brutal anti-gay hate crimes in recent years.
Thousands of comic fans visit Mile High Comics on Free Comic Book Day, the first Saturday in May, and last year they raised over $8,000 for Feed Denver's Hungry. This year Matthew's parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, may be able to attend.
But for those who cannot get to stores, or who find their selection restricted, Mile High Comics will send a complete set of all 54 of this year's FCBD special editions in exchange for a $40 donation (plus shipping) to the Matthew Shepard Foundation. And Chuck is planning a special signed print of Matthew Shepard to be included in each set.
The sets will be sent out on the Monday after FCBD, which is the earliest stores can make financial transactions for Free Comic Book Day titles under the event's guidelines.
The good news is that my copy editors have told me that I succeeded in writing a fast-moving and engaging story that gets the important historical points across, without being my prose being either maudlin, or gratuitous. That kind feedback gives me hope that my story will both educate and engage our readers. My second story arc (which I am working on right now) will be about the evolution of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. After some very difficult initial elements, this second story arc has an extremely happy ending, as the laying of the keel for the USN HARVEY MILK is scheduled for early next year. It makes me particularly happy that this awesome ship being named for Harvey Milk is among the new John Lewis-class support ships being built for the Military Sealift Command, all of which have been named after prominent civil rights leaders. Progress when seeking to enhance people's civil rights is oftentimes slow, but this shows that steady resolve when seeking justice truly can pay off.
Expect for more publication details later in the year.