The biggest damage from my ailment was to my wallet. Even with the health insurance provided by my 9 to 5 gig, I was still on the hook for a little north of $2,000. An amount that more or less equates a single issue of Nix Comics Quarterly.
I came away from the experience realizing how lucky I am. I have a good job that gives me health insurance. My job also has a short term leave policy in place, so my two week stay at home after being released from the hospital wasn’t a job or finance killer. I had already socked away enough money to pay my bills, albeit the money was tabbed for something else.
Realizing how lucky I am, made me think of how unlucky many of my peers are in these terms.
How many of my fellow comic creators are contract workers who can’t afford insurance? Or struggle through with day jobs that don’t provide insurance or medical leave? I (maybe have) lost one publication from my 2014 slate. A lot of peers faced with the same situation I was in could lose years of their craft. What a thought! And what happened to me was fairly minor. What about the guys who have some as devastating as diabetes. Or (god forbid) cancer!?
It all really made me think and think hard. There’s no reason for me to sit on my good luck when I can try and spread it around. To that end, I’ve decided to take a more active role in promoting the Hero Initiative.
What’s the heck is the Hero Initiative? They can state their mission better than I Could:
“The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays' creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It's a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.”
In the past I’ve kicked in to comics that give part of their sales to the Hero Initiative, and made donations at conventions where they had booths. Now I’ll do my best to start making unsolicited donations as I can. What’s in my means… $10 here. $20 there. I’ll also make periodic pleas for you to do the same.
Tom Spurgeon (The Comic Reporter) has been promoting donating $9.60 in honor of the late Jack Kirby’s 96th birthday this Wednesday. I think that’s a good place to start and within the means of a lot of folks. Hey… If you’re a little better off, maybe consider $50 in honor of the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have A Dream Speech” in honor of his fight for class and financial equality. The amount and any attached personal symbolism is up to you. Personally I did a flat $10 this month.
My only point is that if you love comic creators and empathize with the fact that they are often on the receiving end of our society’s inherent inequities, donating to the Hero Initiative is something you should consider doing.