Mark Weiss writes,
Like most fairy tales start, they begin simply enough. And this wondrous tale is no different. Now as president and founder of ComicBooks For Kids!, I simply started out as a passionate lover of comic books. Working in the technology field and blending my love of comic books, I along with a good friend created the Collector Connection in 1992. Collector Connection you say? What was that?
Well back in the day (and yeah, I know I sound old…) the collector connection was one of the first online full screen bulletin boards dedicated to comic books where collectors could choose their favorite characters, read articles and reviews and oh yeah…buy and sell comic books. We were written up in the papers, had contracts with comic stores and were in negotiation with publishers to advertise with us. Wait, did you say buy and sell comic books? You mean like e-bay?
Yup, exactly like eBay.
But alas, not every tale has a happy ending right away and this one ended with a publisher who was about to become a sponsor being purchased by another company. Without corporate sponsorship, the Collector Collection became a footnote in the annals of comic book history and then three years later, in 1995, that small online tool called ebay came into be.
But this is a fairy tale and this fairy tale has a great finish! In May of this year, along with help from my son Michael and Adam Conley from Heroes and Fantasies, we started ComicBooks For Kids!, a charitable organization dedicated to proving comic books for kinds in hospitals, cancer centers and medical facilities. With an initial goal in 2017 of working with two publishers, delivering to 20 hospitals and providing 1,000 "kids" with comic books, we have blown through these numbers in just 90 days. Thanks to the support of Marvel, Dark Horse, Archie, Image, Lion Forge, Oni Press, IDW and BOOM Studios! as well as the amazing team at Diamond(who announced their relationship with us at SDCC), ComicBooks For Kids has delivered to 50 hospitals and as of this writing has just exceeded delivering 2,000 comic books into the hands of kids in hospitals across the United States. And while this is not our main mission, we received a phone call last week asking if we could not only help the children in a domestic army hospital but perhaps contribute some comics to the Special Forces supporting our country overseas. We will be shipping those comics out later this week.
The best news is that YOU can participate. ComicBooks For Kids! draws no salary and 100% of donated funds goes to providing these kids with comic books. But we need the help of retailers and collectors to continue to make this a happy ending for everyone.
On our web site are documented ways that collectors and retailers can help. Adam Conley in the San Antonio Heroes and Fantasies store conducts events to provide funding for ComicBooks For Kids! And for those collectors who want to contribute a certain dollar amount, there is a WALL OF HEROES where collectors or shops can put their name as a hero on the site below the image of their favorite character (with again thanks to the respective publishers for their permission). So PLEASE ask your favorite LCS to get involved and tell everyone to friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
August finishes our funding drive for ComicBooks For Kids! As of this writing, we are already 75% of our target goal. Everyone can help but more, everyone can make a difference!
As seen on the community tab of the web site, a little kindness goes a long way. And for those companies who would like to be corporate sponsors, my contact information is on the web site and I am always thrilled to talk with anyone.
Alas dreams can come true and some fairy tales have a happy ending. And for now, there are over 2,000 "kids" in hospitals who for a short period of timing are fighting dragons, battling super villains and defeating injustice everywhere! And come October when Halloween ComicFest comes around, each hospital will receive packets of the mini comics and perhaps more comics for their kids if they want them.
ComicBooks For Kids! is the industry's first collective give back to kids in hospitals, cancer centers and medical facilities.
On a personal note, my very sincere thanks to the many in the industry who have helped make this a success for the kids. And to the rest of you who haven't yet, please join us any way that you want. There are many more dragons to fight and together working with us, you can help these kids fight them all.