Gail Simone: JOHN OSTRANDER Update

Gail Simone: JOHN OSTRANDER Update

Hey, everyone!

Just doing a quick update on the situation regarding the John Ostrander benefit auctions, since so many people have donated so generously, and have been asking me for news about how things have gone so far.

First, the auction was held as planned at Chicago Comicon, with the help of Wizard Entertainment.  Some phenomenal pieces were sold, including art from Jim Lee, Paul Chadwick, Mike Grell, and many, many others.  John himself got up to speak at the end of the event and was incredibly moving.  As I’ve said before, I don’t think John was fully aware of the regard the industry and readership has for him.  I’ve heard so many stories since we began this effort about how a book or a story of John’s made someone a lifelong fan, I can’t even begin to recount them all.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go, but in the words of attendee Kevin T. Brown (who himself donated a Mike Grell piece from his collection that brought in $450 dollars!),  it was both a bit of a rowdy party and a meaningful event for everyone, especially John.  “Before John Ostrander had shown up at the convention, Mike Gold had mentioned to John that "some people" had donated "some artwork" for the auction.  It wasn't until John got there and saw everything at the booth that he fully knew how much was actually donated.  3 portfolio binders full of art, proofs, etc., as well as numerous signed trades and comics.  He tried to hide it, but he was nearly in tears.  He was also wishing he could bid on some of the items up for sale!

While John was standing there going through everything and trying to process it all, many many people came up to him while he was standing there.  He was almost embarrassed by all the attention, but extremely grateful for everything that people were saying and doing for him.

At the auction itself, it seemed like everyone who talked to him and shook his hand had a "great Ostrander story" to share with him.  He left an incredible impression a great many people....  and I don't think he fully realized it until yesterday.  If you had listened to the podcast, when he spoke at the end to thank everyone I'm sure you would have heard the emotion in his voice.  He was literally in tears and extremely thankfully to one and all.”

Thank you, Kevin, and thank you, everyone who donated or bid on the donations.  Mike Gold, one of the two folks (with the wonderful Adriane Nash), who started the whole Comix4Sight benefit, said that when he came up with the idea, he hoped that the auction might raise as much as five thousand dollars.

So far, through the website, the auction, and the booth at Chicago Comicon, Comix4Sight has managed to raise THIRTY THOUSAND dollars. $30,000. So far.

The auction was two hours long, and they were unable to even get close to auctioning off all the art that has been collected, so major, major pieces have yet to be offered. Pieces by artists like James Owen (whose astounding art is almost never made available for public purchase), Stephane Roux, the fabulous Tiny Titans artists, Aaron Lopresti, Eric Jones of Supergirl In the Eight Grade fame, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada, the UDON STUDIOS mini-gallery of sketches, and lots lots more.

 A lot of people have asked about this wonderful stuff, and it WILL all be auctioned off, but this time, these pieces will be made available to everyone to bid on, as those pieces will be auctioned off online.  We’ll let everyone know when and where (Right here at Newsarama)…it looks like the first online auctions will start around two weeks from now. Honestly, I plan on bidding on a lot of these pieces myself. Please take a look when they go up for bidding. It’s not just a great cause, they are some astoundingly beautiful pieces of art, as well.

It’s important to remember that John has insisted from the beginning that others benefit from this as well, other creators in a difficult situation.  For that reason, all the proceeds above John’s medical and related expenses goes straight to the Hero Initiative, run by one of my heroes, the great Jim McLauchlin, who not only helped with the event, but also purchased some pieces himself. Please consider sending them a donation…these people work hard for creators who need a hand and they do it tirelessly, all year long.

Other websites are covering the event itself in more detail, but some of the highlights seem to be Gene Ha adding a custom sketch to his already amazing donation of a SPIRIT cover, Katherine Keller as Zatanna doing the Price Is Right showgirl thing (as seen in the lead picture, courtesy ComicMix.com), the offering of a once-in-a-lifetime Miracle Man statue artist’s proof with Alan Moore’s approval and a certificate of authenticity signed specifically for the buy by Neil Gaiman, and the good-natured but apparently drunken ramblings of the open bar-loving crowd. 

Wish I could have seen it! The entire event was podcast live at getthepointradio.com and hopefully will be made available for repeat listening.

Because we are trying to help not just John, but other creators in a similar situation, donations are still very much in need.  If you can donate cash of any denomination, please do.  If you have original art to donate, please send it to the address listed at the bottom of the first page of the comix4sight.com address.

I’ve said it often since this started, but the generosity of the creators and readers is simply beyond my ability to grasp.  Just this past weekend, artists as diverse and wonderful as Colleen Coover, Joyce Chin, Tom Beland, Rob Liefeld and Ethan Van Sciver have contacted me to commit to sending art donations.

One of the loveliest things to happen in this entire effort occurred when an actual Golden Age artist, the great Fran Matera, contacted me through a  friend.  He had heard about the benefit and wanted to help.  He was one of the original artists for Quality Comics, including Dollman (one of my all-time favorite characters—you can see lots of Dollman Easter Eggs in my All-New Atom series), in the early 1940’s. He drew the Legend of Bruce Lee and Steve Roper strips.  When he asked what sort of sketch might be of the most interest, I said I couldn’t decide between Bruce Lee and Dollman.  So he told his friend, ‘no problem,’ and he’s sending one of each.

I am not really a tremendously sentimental person (okay, I am), but I just find this story very powerful. Here’s a guy who was there with the giants at the very beginnings of our industry, and he’s STILL doing kickass artwork, and he stood up to donate for a good cause, for a fellow creator,  all these decades later.  It’s a pretty wonderful example for today’s modern pros to follow, I think.  Thank you, Fran. Thank you EVERYONE who donated, bid, spread the word, helped organize this benefit, or collected art. And if you’ve been debating on donating, stop, take a second, and send in your paypal donation, check, or art.  You’ll be helping not just John, but others like him.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted the response this benefit has produced.  After this, I won’t ever be surprised at the comics world’s generosity again.

For More on the Ostrander Auction and a ton of sample art, see the first two stories Gail presented for us:

John Ostrander Needs Our Help

John Ostrander to Write Secret Six #15

And of course, visit Comix4Sight for more information, the donation page, and a ton more sample art.

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