Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Please Help John Ostrander

Back in 1998, I worked on a comic book called Quicksilver, for Marvel Comics. One of the writers on the book was a man named John Ostrander. John is a fantastic guy, and always treated me with respect. He's a terribly nice man, and deserves nothing but the best. Unfortunately, he's now going through some difficult times. John has glaucoma, which is an awful eye disease. My own grandfather had it, and as a result of it (and a few other complications) lost his eyesight. He was fortunate to regain it in one of his eyes, but the damage was permanent in his left eye (incidentally, this was the same grandfather who died of melanoma, the same disease my wife has. Sad coincidence).

In order to save John's eyesight, something that is necessary for him to maintain and continue his career as a comic book writer, he will need an operation. John's insurance will only cover a small percentage of the cost of the operation, so some of his industry friends are trying to raise money to help defray the cost. My family are no strangers to the high cost of medical bills, and we've received a lot of help from people and organizations within the industry. It's only right for me to try to help someone else in difficult circumstances too. To that end, I'm going to be donating some of my original art to try to help the cause. I'd like to ask anyone reading this to give a little something too, if possible. I'm sure any donation would help. For more information, you can click here. Heidi MacDonald also linked to this, but I thought you might like to see the comments section on her post on The Beat, to see what other industry people have to say about John.

So many of you have been so generous to us. I hope you'll do the same for John Ostrander. Thanks.


Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bittersweet Harvey Nominee

Earlier today (or technically, yesterday, as I'm writing this somewhat after midnight), the Harvey Awards, one of two of the more prestigious awards in the comics industry, announced this year's nominees. Shockingly, I was among them, in the Best Inker category, for my work on Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule. I've been working in this industry for over fifteen years, and this is the first time I've ever been in the running for any award, much less one of the most respected in the business. One would think that today would have been a particularly proud one for me, and any other year it would have been. However, as I sit here in my bed typing this on my laptop, my wife Traci is beside me, in a hospital bed. She signed herself out of hospice yesterday, in one last ditch effort to prolong her life.

Many of you who know me, or who have been reading my posts here, know that Traci is battling metastatic melanoma. It is well documented on this blog, as well as other places online, how tough a disease this is to beat. Traci was diagnosed in August of last year, in fact, a year later, to the very day that I discovered my good friend Mike Wieringo had died. Less than a year later, the doctors have told us that she needs to prepare for the end of her life. We don't know how much longer that might be, but time is certainly short.

So, dear friends, while it is indeed a great honor to be nominated, this is not something I can enjoy or savor. Not right now anyway. I hold no illusions that I might win, with such distinguished talent in my category. However, I do recognize how incredible it is to be in such esteemed company. I would like to wish all the luck in the world to all the nominees. I would also like to thank all of you have written or called to congratulate me.

For my part though, I don't deserve any award. That honor belongs to my wife. If anyone should get an award it is Traci, for her tenacity, courage, and grace in the face of the disease that will soon take her life. For that reason, I'd like to do something completely unconventional. I know many people who win awards dedicate them to someone, but even if I were to win, I'm not certain if Traci will be here to see it. So, I'd like to dedicate this nomination to my beautiful, brave bride. Nobody should have to go through what she's dealing with, and the least I can do is allow her one more moment in the spotlight.

Trace, I love you with all my heart, and this one goes out to you, PMK.

All my love,