By Michele Brittany, a West Coast Bleeding Cool Correspondent
For the third year, Emerald Knights Comics and Games of Burbank, California is holding a month long series of charity events to raise funds for the Shriners Hospitals for Children. "It was a perfect fit for the type of store we are," according to Morgan Perry, Public Relations Coordinator, who added, "we are constantly prepping for it throughout the year even though it only takes place during the month of May."
Jason Weymouth, co-owner of Emerald Knights picked the children's hospital to support for a number of reasons: "My grandparents have been involved with the Shriners for a very long time and my parents who own Dark Delicacies were raising money and taking item donations to them for years before we [Emerald Knights] opened. After I took my first walk through the hospital, I knew we had picked a great organization to support."
Perry asked several industry people to come spend the afternoon of Saturday, May 10 for an in-store signing that included writers Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Monster & Madman and Frankenstein, Alive, Alive), Joshua Fialkov (The Bunker, Echoes and I, Vampire) and Marc Andreyko (Fairest and The Illegitimates). In addition, artists and illustrators Karl Altstaetter, Jamie Gambell, Lak Lim, Jordan Gorence, Kevin Gemser, and Courtney Camacho rounded out the group.
Supporting this event was personal for illustrator Kevin Gemser, whose mother is a nurse. He believes that kids need all the help they can get and Gemser was excited participate in the signing and to complete a sketch cover for the silent auction, one of the other events the store has planned. He completed a Batman & Robin sketch on a Batman Li'l Gotham blank cover. Gemser summarizes his support, "comics and children: a win-win situation."
Courtney Camacho, fellow illustrator and comic book artist, is Gemser's colleague and partner. They worked together on comic series in Sanity, AZ (2012) about a town established by former insane asylum residents in which Camacho stated is a "place you don't want to stop in." She completed a My Little Pony sketch for the silent auction.
"The signing went well," Perry said. "We were able to raise additional funds for the charity, and everyone who was able to attend really seemed to have a good time."
Weymouth said, "one important thing I didn't know was that when a child is accepted, they receive medical until they are 18 years old." All the more reason the fundraising Emerald Knights is doing this month is needed.
Although still in the planning stages, Perry said "we're hoping to continue the tradition of delivering the check to the hospital with a group of cosplayers who usually come dressed as well-known superheroes and take pictures with the kids."
The silent auction is being held all month at Emerald Knights website, however the store also has specially bundled comic book collections and other items for sale (cash only) during the month as part of their fundraising efforts. Or, one can simply donate money at the counter.
All accompanying photographs were taken by Michele Brittany.
Michele Brittany is an independent popular culture scholar and semi-professional photographer currently editing an upcoming anthology on the influence of James Bond on popular culture. She regularly posts reviews and analysis on the spy/espionage genre on her blog, Spyfi & Superspies.