The Book Industry Charitable (Binc) Foundation will be making a distribution from the newly created Comicbook United Fund on May 12th to comic book store owners. An enormous community effort led by Creators 4 Comics, Jim Lee, DC, and Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group raised over $950,000 to help struggling retailers who have temporarily shuttered their doors due to the ongoing national health emergency.
Binc will be distributing funds ranging from $800 – $2400 to 637 verified and qualified comic book shops across the U.S. and U.S. territories.
Executive Director Pam French commented, “Everyone's collective effort means that hundreds upon hundreds of comic shops across the country will be receiving emergency store assistance that they would not have otherwise been able to obtain. This undeniable message of support and solidarity from individuals and every sector of the comic industry demonstrates how deeply people value their local comic shops and the valued roles they continue to hold in their communities.
“We have been overwhelmed by the number of people from across the comic industry who are rallying around their local stores and employees during these uncertain times. We are proud to be a part of helping comic retailers, but the real heroes in this story are the comic shop owners themselves who are facing an unprecedented challenge and are continuing to work tirelessly to reinvent themselves and continue to serve their communities. We are grateful to be part of the solution in helping these shops continue to do the work they love.”
“Comic book stores have supported us for years, now is the time for us to support them,” said Sam Humphries, comic book writer, television host, and co-organizer of Creators4Comics with Kami Garcia and Gwenda Bond. “Comic book creators and fans recognized the need immediately, and powered our campaign to over $430,000 in five days. Binc's experience with donations and distribution was crucial— without them, our community would not have been able to respond with such overwhelming support.”
Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group Chairman David Steward II said, “In these most trying of times, helping our industry brethren is of the utmost importance to Oni-Lion Forge, and we’re inspired by so many others who share this sentiment and have acted on it. The comic industry is as vibrant, strong-willed and resilient as any, and will thrive beyond this pandemic. But for now, these assistance measures are needed, and we’re happy donations from all who have participated are being put to use immediately.”
“DC is so proud to be a contributor to Binc and the Comicbook United Fund as well as part of this grass roots movement that is bringing fans and readers and creators and comic shops together to fight for our artform and our industry,” said Jim Lee, DC Chief Creative Officer and Publisher. “Thanks also to the fans for supporting my sketch campaign, I’m halfway through the 60-day challenge and hope to continue to grow this campaign and find some extra gas in the tank for the final stretch!”
In addition to accepting applications for emergency store assistance related to the pandemic (this application period is now closed), Binc continues to steward donor funds according to its core mission of helping individual store employees with emergency household assistance.
The average grant the Binc Foundation distributed last year to individuals for household assistance and to stores for natural disaster assistance was $2300. Binc has always been one piece of the solution for individuals and stores who have undergone hardship or emergency circumstances. Because of each person who made a contribution to help stores over the past month, the amount Binc will be able to distribute to each store, given the extraordinary number who qualified for assistance, will be so much more than would have been possible without the support of this community.
In addition to the $950,000+ Binc is distributing to comic stores next week, so far $174,786 has been distributed to 156 comic retail employees and owners helping them to pay for personal expenses including rent, mortgage, utilities, food and other necessities during this pandemic. After receiving this household assistance one retailer told Binc, “Creators and Binc came forth with such strength to help the comic book industry through the workers, the shops, and beyond. This was a huge gesture from all that we want to continue seeing the life blood of the industry for decades to come. Thanks to this incredible movement, I was able to help my home- and shop-life through these changing times. I am incredibly grateful to still be working in this industry.”