HERO INITIATIVE Readies 2012 Fundraising HERO COMICS
Hero Comics 2012 ($3.99 from IDW Publishing) features 32 full-color pages and benefits the Hero Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to helping comic artists who have fallen on hard times. The annual, set to hit comic stores on May 23, includes original stories by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, a new Red Star story by creator Christian Gossett, and an original Zombie vs. Robots strip by Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood. The comic also includes thought-provoking pieces from creators Tom Ziuko, Russ Heath, Alan Kupperberg and Robert Washington about how Hero Initiative has personally changed their lives.
Since its inception in early 2001, the Hero Initiative has provided over 50 comic book contributors with more than $500,000 in financial assistance. It is the first federally chartered non-profit corporation designed to help comic book creators in need, whether for emergency medical services or assistance getting back to work.
Zombies vs. Robots co-creator and IDW Publishing Editor-In-Chief Chris Ryall talked about the piece he and Ashley Wood created for Hero Comics 2012.
Veteran comic colorist Tom Ziuko, who contributed his own one-page story to Hero Comics 2012, is among the recipients of Hero’s help.
“I’ve had two brushes with death,” said Ziuko, “the first from kidney failure, the second from emergency surgery. They told me when they wheeled me in to surgery that one in five doesn’t make it off the operating table, and if they do, most need a colostomy bag. In my case, I didn’t have to have that, and I’m so grateful.”
Ziuko, who has worked on classics such as Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman has no health insurance and was unable to pay for basics such as rent and utilities, much less the mounting pile of hospital and medical bills.
Enter the Hero Initiative.
“My friends raised a couple thousand dollars for me, but it didn’t go very far. The Hero Initiative was there to take care of me. They paid my rent, they paid my utilities,” said Ziuko.
Ziuko described his ordeal in trying to get government assistance at a time when his primary focus should have been his health.
Hero Initiative has enabled Ziuko to remain in his home, and to get caught up on bills.
Ryall hopes readers will buy Hero Comics 2012 for the good comic stories and also appreciate the good service the Hero Initiative provides.
“There are a lot of people who contributed mightily to this industry who didn’t expect to fall on hard times,” said Ryall. “Hero Initiative does a great job of paying tribute to old heroes.”
Ziuko said he sees things differently now and tries to derive pleasure out of life every day.
“I don’t know where I’d be right now without the Hero Initiative. They literally saved my life,” said Ziuko.
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