Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Man of Vision

With the San Diego Comic Con coming up later this week, my first thought was to beg our con-going friends to drop Robin's name to various publishers and editors, as he's been available to work for some months now. But we've cut back on any luxuries and are pretty much getting by okay for now on my salary and savings.

So I want to talk about something really important that SDCC attendees can do. Y'all can spread the word about helping my friend and colleague John Ostrander.

I've known John for around two decades, starting back when his late wife Kim Yale was one of the founding rabble-rousers in Friends of Lulu. Kim was, plain and simple, my hero, and I also derived a lot of pleasure out of the comics work that she and John did. Her dedication to industry equality for women, as creators and readers and vendors and production people and so on, is the main reason I still support FoL. And John was right there with her every step of her private and public fights.

After Kim's passing, John donated a goodly amount of money to the organization's newly-established Kim Yale Fund, earmarked for those interested in putting in "sweat equity" to the cause but who couldn't afford the (at the time) $25 annual membership fee. John didn't have to do this; it was just the kind of person he is.

And now John needs our help, and few deserve it more. To quote from Colleen Doran:

John "recently underwent eye surgery to help with his glaucoma. I spent several days with him at the Superman Celebration in Illinois a couple weeks ago, and he was just a complete pleasure to be around the whole time, and never once complained about his eyes, though they did seem to be obviously causing him some discomfort. He spent the entire weekend being amazingly generous to both the fans and the other creators, giving advice to both aspiring and working writers, and free comics to little kids. As I’m sure we all know, there’s no feeling quite like meeting someone you have idolized and finding out that they’re a wonderful person on top of everything else.

"John’s very expensive health insurance isn’t completely covering his surgeries, his recuperation time in Boston, or his follow-ups. Thus, his friends at the Chicago Comic-Con and Wizard Entertainment are endeavoring to raise some money to help, bless ‘em, through both cash donations and an auction to be held Saturday, August 8th. All the information right is right here at Comix4sight.

"This is all those guys, I have nothing to do with it, I’m just passing along notice of their good works. They put it more simply and powerfully than I could – if he loses this battle, he loses his sight.

"All of us have enjoyed John’s brilliant work, most of us have been inspired by what he’s created or improved, and more than a few of us, like myself, have shamelessly been swimming in his wake for some time now. Please take a moment and donate what you can in cash, and also consider adding an item to the auction that these wonderful people are putting on.

"This is one of the really, really good guys in the industry, one of the best writers we’ve ever had. Please help these people lend him a hand in his complete recuperation. John has asked that any monies raised over his medical expenses be given to the Hero Initiative, so whatever you donate is going to a worthy comics cause no matter what."

Having John as a colleague during my ComicMix stint was one of the best things about that gig. Although we had the same "job" (weekly columnist) I don't think I'll ever think of us on any sort of equal footing, but I'm very honored to be his friend. Of course, Robin will be donating some pages to the auction (guess which ones). Wish we could afford to go to Chicago to help out more. But the beauty of a blog is that now y'all can help too! That website again is Comix4sight. Thanks in advance!