If you squint, you'll see my name in this list of over a hundred far better comic book creators contributing to Help! The Hero Initiative Anthology is a new graphic novel anthology created to benefit The Hero Initiative, courtesy of former Bleeding Cool editor-in-chief Hannah Means-Shannon and comics writer Omar Spahi. You can see a preview of some of the pages and stories here.
Serg Acuna, Ted Anderson, David Baillie, Nick Barber, Corinna Bechko, Steve Becker, John Bivens, David M. Booher, Conor Boyle, Lizzie Boyle, Nick Brokenshire, Mark Bouchard, Scott O. Brown, Erik Burnham, Caio Cacau, Dennis Calero, Jim Campbell, Mario Candelaria, Richard Case, Peejay Catacun, Michael W. Conrad, Gab Contreras, Joe Cooper, Joe Corallo, Alex Cormack, Jorge Corona, Marcelo Costa, CRANK!, Frank Cvetkovic, Nenad Cviticanin, Tony Donley, Siike Donnelly, Rich Douek, Dave Dwonch, Matt Emmons, Taylor Esposito, Scott Ewen, Eduardo Ferigato, Nick Filardi, Bob Fingerman, Tony Fleecs, Michael Jan Friedman, Antonio Fuso, Alfie Gallagher, Dillon Gemmill, Kieron Gillen, Sina Grace, Frank Gogol, Simon Gough, Mathew Groom, Gabriel Hardman, DC Hopkins, Matt Horak, Mike Isenberg, Van Jensen, Rich Johnston, Justin Jordan, Zack Kaplan, Joseph Keatinge. Gideon Kendall, Dearbhla Kelley, Lovern Kindzierski, D.J. Kirkbride, Adam P. Knave, Sean Konot, Piotr Kowalski, Ilias Kyriazis, Jonathan Lang, Christine Larsen, Janet Lee, John Lees, Fabian Lelay, Shawn Lee, Cath Lobo, Marissa Louise, Andrew MacLean, Andy MacDonald, James Maddox, Ariana Maher, Ryan Maniulit, Shaun Manning, Shanna Matuszak, Hannah Means-Shannon, Oliver Mertz, Joe Mulvey, Andrea Mutti, Micah Myers, Mike Norton, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, Eric Palicki, Chas! Pangburn, David Pepose, Cris Peter, Troy Peteri, Fred Pham Chuong, Curt Pires, Sebastian Piriz, Ahmed Raafat, Cardinal Rae, Livio Ramondelli, Frank Reynoso, Sean Rinehart, Rafer Roberts, Fabrice Sapolsky, Erika Schnatz, Tim Seeley, Dezi Sienty, Brad Simpson, Arune Singh, Omar Spahi, Mark Stafford, Dave Stoll, Dane Styler, Dave Swartz, Keana Taire, Bryan Talbot, Fred Van Lente, Magdalene Visaggio, Kelly Williams.
I tried to help it stand out a little. HELP: The Hero Initiative Anthology features one-page stories by over a hundred creators about what "help" means during the COVID-19 pandemic and is the first time The Hero initiative has involved itself with a Kickstarter benefit raising effort. The project started when lockdowns for COVID-19 began, forcing many comic shops to close and creating a ripple effect throughout the comic industry, resulting in widespread business and job loss, and book cancellations. HELP became a way for creators to donate their time and skills to tell one-page stories on the theme of helping others while ultimately serving to raise money for those in the community in need of help during the pandemic. Even as conditions improve and publishing schedules become more robust, many people in the comic book industry have been affected by business and job loss, and the impact of that loss will linger. The hope is that even after this initial Kickstarter campaign is complete, this project continues to encourage charitable giving to help support the comic community.
Spahi and Means-Shannon brought together comic creators from all across the industry, including writers and artists from DC, Marvel, and other high-profile publishers, while also giving a voice to many from within the indie comic community. All proceeds from the graphic novel's sales will go towards The Hero Initiative's mission of aiding comic professionals in "medical or financial need." This is the first time the Hero Initiative has been directly involved in a Kickstarter campaign, and the comics inside the anthology are described as "open-hearted" stories that examine "what it means to help and how we experience aid and value it in comics." Those who pledge $10 will receive a digital copy of HELP, those who pledge $25 will receive a softcover print copy, and those who pledge $55 will receive a hardcover copy. There are additional tiers up to $1,000, which offer original artwork from select creators as rewards.
Work on the anthology is already complete, and the book will be heading to the printer soon. The campaign has already raised ten times its goal after kissing off this morning and is currently at $7000 over a $500 initial goal. It also only ships to the USA, so I may not even see a copy… but I can at least watch the video!