Thursday, September 15, 2011

Comics for Causes: Untold Stories from Ground Zero and Beyond

September 11, 2001 tested American mettle like nothing since the bombing of Pearl Harbor or even since the Civil War. Everyone with a television could see the gravity, the scope of need so suddenly thrust upon those directly affected, and the rush from all over the nation or even the world to help made me dare hope our society would emerge from the ashes permanently transformed, and for the better.

The comic book industry responded by churning out no less than six books to support a variety of charities, all but one of them anthologies that represented the cumulative efforts of hundreds of creators. Dark Horse, Image, and Chaos! brought us 9-11: Artists Respond, Volume 1. DC published the second volume, with proceeds from both to go to the World Trade Center Relief Fund, the Twin Towers Fund, the September 11 Fund, and Survivors Fund. Marvel gave us Heroes and A Moment of Silence to benefit the Twin Towers Fund. Alternative Comics put forth 9-11: Emergency Relief and Joe Linsner did I Love New York Benefit Book to support the American Red Cross.

Just after the tenth anniversary of 9-11, it seems that most Americans haven't suffered from 9-11 beyond holdups at airports. If they even talk about the ongoing war that's resulted, it's to complain about how long it's taking and how much money it's costing. A lot of charities established in memory of 9-11 victims or to support those still suffering as a result of 9-11 have even closed their doors, including most of the ones the aforementioned books have supported.

Yet the need continues. Men and women who've worked rescue and recovery missions at Ground Zero are coming down with cancer at alarming rates. Fire departments all over have to step up training on reporting or responding to terrorist incidents and how to avoid being attacked themselves. Most of our nation's fire departments, like that of Shanksville, Pennsylvania are staffed by volunteers and get by with help from their communities, from donations, and sometimes even from charging their members dues. Even bigger fire departments that can afford paid personel cannot afford to meet all the needs their personel and the communities they serve may have. Too many firefighters still have to make do with old equipment and radios that too often prove ineffective. And as recently happened, when first responders are injured or sickened in the line of duty and ask for help with their medical bills, even if they take the matter all the way up to the federal government, they're too often out of luck.

Still, those who can run often keep at it and keep putting their lives on the line for us. Some of them still fall in the line of duty. Mercifully, many organizations remain to help out our firefighters, EMT's, police officers, and their families in their times of need. The comic book industry has not forgotten them either.

Heroes Fallen Studios, which brought us Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan to support veterans and their families, is also directing their attention to our heroes on the home front. Work has already started on Untold Stories from Ground Zero and Beyond to benefit the law enforcement, fire, and emergency services of New York City, Washington DC, and Shanksville. The stories come from all over and, rather than just rehash the attacks, focus also on how people have chosen to remember, how lives were changed, and how people have coped over the years. Those confirmed to be working on this book include some familiar folks from all over the industry who worked on Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan such as Peter Palmiotti, Richard O'Hara, Tom Orzechowski and Valerie Finnigan. Other notable volunteers include Paty Cockrum, who, besides having worked in the Marvel bullpen of old, also served as a volunteer firefighter in upstate New York. I will help provide updates as the work progresses. Until then, here's a reminder- just because ten years have gone by doesn't mean people aren't affected, aren't still hurting, and don't still need help. We still need to do all we can, especially to honor those who'd given all for us.

No comments:

Post a Comment