Art Community Steps Up for Member Who Lost Wife to Cancer

Evan 'Doc' Shaner's original art to "Adventures of Superman #12"
Credit: DC Comics
Credit: Image Comics

Although most comic creators work in relative solitude from their homes or home studios, there’s a unique community formed over Skype, e-mail and infrequent convention appearances – and that community is getting together for a good cause.

Comic artists have bandied together in in recent days to raise money for a fellow artist under the headline of #TorresBenefit. The benefit is for Wilfredo Torres, artist of the forthcoming Jupiter’s Circle series with Mark Millar at Image, whose wife Monica passed away recently after a long fight with cancer.

“I never imagined it would snowball into what it has,” Torres tells Newsarama. “I’m overwhelmed by the response and I have no idea what to say. I’m incredibly grateful to everyone involved and I know Monica would have thought it was amazing.”

Brent Schoonover, who is organizing #TorresBenefit, said that the idea for it came up during Emerald City Comic-Con when he and fellow creators were sharing in the sadness of their colleague’s recent loss. Torres had shared the news of his wife’s passing earlier in the week on Facebook, but wasn’t seeking any publicity from it – so much so that some of his friends and industry didn’t know about it until ECCC.

“I have gotten to know Wilfredo through social media over the past few years and he’s just a great guy who loves his family,” Schoonover says. “I knew how hard he was working on comics while his wife and family was going through all of this. When we got to Seattle for ECCC with friends, we got talking about how sorry we were. He didn’t post much about it so some didn’t even know. It just quickly grew out of a conversation that we should all try and help him and I was more than happy to organize it.”

Credit: Image Comics

After talking with Torres about his plans and getting his approval, Schoonover went into action.

“So pretty quickly we had the ball rolling about doing a benefit for him once we got back from the con,” says Schoonover. “I put out a few emails to people I knew would jump in right away and help a friend. On Wednesday I published the blog post and put up my auction to get the ball rolling. It quickly spread throughout the comic community with the #TorresBenefit hashtag. I cannot thank everyone enough for their retweets and spreading of the word. It’s been huge. We got it trending on Twitter for most of Wednesday. And to speak of the artists contributing work, it’s amazing what has been offered up.”

So far, over $5,000 has been raised from commissions and eBay auctions, with the money going directly to Torres. Comic artists such as Chris Samnee, Gabriel Hardman, Phil Hester, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire have sold commissions with all proceeds going to #TorresBenefit. One of the biggest fundraisers has been Frank Quitely, whose original art for Jupiter’s Circle #1 cover sold for $2075 on eBay earlier in the week. You can discover more commission and original art opportunities by searching for the hashtag #TorresBenefit on Twitter and other major social media.

The goal is, simply stated, to “help Wilfredo out” says Schoonover.

“He’s a freelancer whose wife has been battling this deadly disease for eight years. He has young children to continue to support,” Schoonover explains. “I have never asked about his funds for anything like Chemo or anything, I just know that they are probably a family that needs a little help right now, and he’s been a great friend to many people in comics, so we are all happy to help out.”

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