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Roger Ash

by Roger Ash

Something I feel very strongly about is giving to charity. I’m not the richest guy in the world (far from it), but I feel a portion of my money should be given to causes I believe in. There are a couple of worthy charities related to comics as well, The Comic book legal defense Fund (CBLDF) and The Hero Initiative. While these two charities do get talked about in passing quite a lot, I want to take this time to intentionally focus on them.

CBLDF liberty annual 2012

According to their website, the “Comic book legal defense Fund is a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the first Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community of retailers, creators, publishers, librarians, and readers. The CBLDF provides legal referrals, representation, advice, assistance, and education in furtherance of these goals.”

If someone is arrested for comics they read, create, or sell; or if someone wants to censor material presented in a comic, the CBDLF may be able to help. A recent case they were involved in dealt with a young man who was arrested and jailed for comics he had on his computer when he crossed an international border. You can read more about it here.

As a reader, I’m happy the CBLDF is around. working for a retailer, I’m even more thankful the CBLDF is there have been cases brought against retailers in the past and there probably will be in the future as well.

They also do things such as produce videos and have panels at conventions that talk about the work they do as well as the history of censorship in comics. You can find information on their past cases here.

Fantastic four 100 Project

The Hero initiative writes on their website that they are “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.”

The Hero initiative started life as A.C.T.O.R. (A commitment To Our Roots) and has done much for comic creators who need some help. For example, many comic creators work freelance and may not have medical insurance and can end up with major medical bills. Hero may be able to help with that. I think this is a terrific way to give back to creators whose work has meant so much to me. Recently, Hero has helped with medical bills incurred by Roger Slifer after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver. You can read more about that here. some of the others they have helped, with some comments from those creators, can be found here. They also produce some informative videos as well.

An outstanding Beta Ray bill drawing by Walter Simonson which I purchased at The Hero initiative booth at the Baltimore Comic-Con in 2007.

“How can I help?” you ask. There are many ways. You can donate money to or become a member of each organization. They both publish books that are done as benefits such as Hero’s 100 project books which collect 100 original covers to a book (New Avengers, Wolverine, wonderful Four, etc.) and the CBLDF liberty Annual, a yearly anthology that collects stories from some of comic’s top creators. They also have special premiums you can buy and occasional eBay auctions.  If you happen to be visiting a comic convention, both CBLDF and The Hero initiative will typically have booths where – for a donation – you can get sketches, get comics signed, and find special products. and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Gene Ha drew this terrific Howard the Duck piece for me for a donation at the CBLDF booth at Wizard world Chicago in 2008.

I do believe in donating to charity. I think that if I can, it’s something I ought to do. Plus, it honestly feels good to help. As a member of the comics community, I feel that both the CBLDF and The Hero initiative are organizations worth supporting and I have in various ways over the years. If you don’t already, I ask you to consider supporting them as well. You’ll be happy you did.

Now, go read a comic!