Hero Foundry Piggybacks on 24 Hour Comic Day

First, a 24-hour comic was an artistic challenge, a way to push yourself to see what you could create in a limited period of time. Then it became a scheduled event, a group gathering for encouragement and competition. Now a new charity is trying to turn it into a fundraiser.

The Hero Foundry (NOT to be confused with the Hero Initiative, and site link no longer available) has sent out the following:

On October 20, 2007, hundreds of artists and writers across the globe will take up pencil and pen and work for 24 straight hours to produce a complete 24 page comic book. Thousands of fans have participated throughout the years. Some have finished, many have not.

Last year a handful of participants were looking for a little extra incentive to get them through the late hours so they devised a plan to collect pledges for every page completed and donate the money to The Hero Foundry, a nonprofit charity whose mission is putting comic books into schools, libraries, and hospitals and with these comics inspire the youth of today to be the heroes of tomorrow. Together the volunteers earned a little more than a thousand dollars. This money went to endowments of graphic novels and comics to several libraries across the United States. [...]

This year The Hero Foundry is hoping to more than double the amount from last year and is asking that any artists or comic fans that are participating in this year’s 24 Hour Comic Book Day to collect pledges for every page they complete.

“Last year during the event we saw people from all over the states, all walks of life, and who were not just comic book fans pledging to The Hero Foundry’s cause. It was refreshing to see the community outside of the comic book world becoming involved with the idea of using comics as an inspirational medium,” said Lance Shankles, The Hero Foundry Vice President.

As an incentive and reward for their dedication and creative spirit every artist and creator who participates and collects $50 will receive a Hero Foundry button, $100 a Hero Foundry T-shirt, $250 a 1 day pass to Wizard World Texas, and $500 a full weekend pass to Wizard World Texas (November 16-18, 2007).

Look! You can do a 24-hour comic and win a pass to a Wizard convention!

Maybe it’s just my unfamiliarity with this group, but this leaves a bad taste in my mouth. At their site, they say they want to “provide comic books, graphic novels and similar literature to children through libraries, schools, hospitals, and other organizations that lack the financial resources to supply these materials”, but three things raise a red flag:

1. “Over the next year we are taking the first of many steps to begin spreading the joy of comics to children.” Plans are cheap. What have they really done? Which libraries, specifically, have they donated to, and to what extent? What have they accomplished that any comic reader couldn’t do on their own?

2. They ask for PayPal donations multiple times. On one page, they provide an address “[i]f you have gently used comic books and/or graphic novels you wish to donate”, but on their FAQ, they indicate the opposite, that they just want the money:

We do accept trade paperbacks and graphic novels but ask that you limit them to all age items and email us at first before shipping them to make sure we can use them and currently have a place for them. The Hero Foundry would love to take new or gently used comic book donations but we do not have the staff or space to store them at this time. The best way to help us would be to sell or auction the comics online or through other venues and donate the funds raised to The Hero Foundry through the methods listed above.

3. Their press release says this:

“The thought of the good that comes from The Hero Foundry’s work coupled with the fear of letting down those who pledged money to see me finish was more than enough to pull through the sleep deprivation and creative lulls,” said Edward Priddy, who participated last year at Titan Comics in Dallas, Texas.

But they don’t bother identifying Priddy as the group’s Public Relations Director, as listed on the website.

In short, they look to me to be money-hungry without much proof that the funds are either being used for their intended purpose or are going to help others. I hope that I’m wrong and that they’re trying to do good things in creative ways, but there have been cases of jerks abusing the name of a charitable organization to enrich themselves, so I’m skeptical until shown otherwise.


3 Responses to “Hero Foundry Piggybacks on 24 Hour Comic Day”

  1. Bill Galvan Says:

    Those that are interested in a non-profit that currently does provide new comic books for children free of charge should check out The Diversity Foundation at http://www.smilesfordiversity.org. Since 2003, we have given out over 70,000 of the Scrapyard Detectives comic books free of charge to schools and libraries across the nation. We even have free lesson plans with each issue.

  2. Andrew Foley Says:

    I hope the red flags the PR raised for you turn out to be the result of poor communication and the Hero Foundry’s doing as much good as they claim.

    But this does make me kind of glad I’m attempting my next 24 hour comic as part of a fundraiser at Edmonton’s Happy Harbor Comics on Oct. 20, where I’m 100% certain all money raised will be going to a local literacy program.

    A

  3. Hero Foundry Followup » Comics Worth Reading Says:

    [...] up on my distrust of Hero Foundry, I have received a nice note from Edward Priddy, the group’s Public Relations Director, [...]

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