‘Hawkeye’ #7 cover by David Aja

In January, Marvel will release a special issue of their best-selling book ‘Hawkeye’ as a tribute to the many inspiring acts of real-world heroism on display since Super Storm Sandy ravaged much of the East Coast.  Matt Fraction, the writer of the ongoing series, promises to donate all of his royalties from the issue to the hurricane relief efforts by the American Red Cross.  This is just the latest example of a charitable cause championed by the comics industry in recent years.

‘Hawkeye,’ a commercial and critical hit since its debut in August, follows archer and Avenger Clint Barton and his protégé Kate Bishop as they protect and interact with the regular folks of the Marvel U in grounded, small-scale stories.  For this reason, the book was a natural avenue to explore how the tragedy of Hurricane Sandy brought out the best of many East Coast citizens.  In ‘Hawkeye’ #7, Clint and Kate are on opposite sides of the New York/New Jersey area when a super storm hits.  Said Fraction in an interview with marvel.com, “it’s a book about a regular guy doing superhuman things, you know? And what better way can you describe the heroes of [Super Storm Sandy]? You didn’t need eye-lasers or capes or giant robots to tell a story about this kind of heroism.”

Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded, formed in late October and caused upwards of $70 billion in damage.  More than 250 people were killed by the storm in the United States and other countries.  In the weeks since the hurricane struck the East Coast, media outlets have covered countless stories of heroism and sacrifice by people in the cities and towns that were hit the hardest.

Those stories, Fraction says, were what inspired him to present the project idea to his ‘Hawkeye’ editor, Steve Wacker.  Fraction and Wacker decided to halve the issue into two stories—one involving Clint Barton, the other with Kate Bishop—and split the art duties between Steve Leiber and Jesse Hamm.  David Aja provided the cover art.

‘Hawkeye’ scribe Matt Fraction

Fraction’s donation is not the only instance of charity started by the comics industry.

Similar to Fraction’s project with ‘Hawkeye,’ Japan Comic Aid recently sold a comic called “The Mystery Boys” at the MCM Expo in London to benefit the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief Fund.

DC Entertainment has spearheaded a project called We Can Be Heroes.  Teaming up with Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps, DC Entertainment’s program raises funds to combat the devastating hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa that has left 8 million people in need of assistance.

Fleming, New Jersey and Portland, Oregon annually hold Wonder Woman Day during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.  Since 1995, WWD has raised over $135 thousand for local shelters and charities related to domestic violence awareness and support.

The Hero Initiative may be the most well-known charity among comic fans.  Their website says, “The Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. Since inception, the Hero Initiative has been fortunate enough to benefit over 50 creators and their families with over $500,000 worth of much-needed aid, fueled by your contributions! It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.”

Famed comic book scribe and novelist Neil Gaiman (‘The Sandman,’ ‘American Gods,’ ‘Coraline’) runs a charitable organization called the Gaiman Foundation, which very recently donated $60,000 to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.  Gaiman previously ran a charitable foundation known as Marvels and Miracles.

Operation Comix Relief is a program that sends comic books to soldiers protecting our country overseas.

Dark Horse Comics partners with The Comic Book Project to create after-school programs and initiatives for children to pursue literacy and art.  The program focuses on social and cultural awareness and publishes the children’s work to share with their community and the world.

An auction featuring rare ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘The Man of Steel’ memorabilia recently raised funds to help research efforts to find a cure for arthritis.  The “Commitment to a Cure” Awards Gala was sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation.

Last month at New York Comic Con, Steve Borock was the auctioneer for NYCC’s Annual Charity Art Auction.  Proceeds from the yearly event benefit the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

To get involved with some of these charities, follow these links:

www.wecanbeheroes.org

www.womenofwonderday.com/wowday2012.html

www.heroinitiative.org

cbldf.org

www.operationcomixrelief.org

comicbookproject.org

‘Hawkeye’ #7 will be available in January and will be published by Marvel Entertainment.

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