For those who don't know, The Hero Initiative is a wonderful charity organisation designed solely to help current or former comic book creators who find themselves ill and in need of medical help or in grave financial straights. As so often is the case these days, many people find themselves in trouble without a support net and the Hero Initiative try to be that support net for those in the comic book industry.
As Stan Lee has said "When you give whatever you can spare to HERO, you mustnt think of it as just a donation. Think of it, instead, as a small payback to talented and deserving comicbook creators, now down on their luck, who have brought all of us so much reading pleasure for so many years. Its far more than charity. Its a way for all of us to say — Thanks."
As an ardent reader of comics over the past few years I thought I would follow their blog in hopes of at some point finding a moment I could contribute. That moment arose last month when I saw this article and read about artist Josh Medors. He's battling a rare form of cancer in his spine and the treatment is incredibly expensive. In order to help pay for the treatment he, along with help from the Hero Initiative, made a limited amount of prints for a piece of art based on one of my favourite Spider-man moments of all time.
In Amazing Spider-Man #33 (released all the way back in 1965) he finds himself trapped underneath massive machinery as the building caves in because of his fight with Doctor Octopus. His aunt May is dangerously sick and being cared for by Dr. Connors but her only hope of survival is a canister of syrum just out of Spider-man's reach.
Exhausted and battered, he somehow finds the strength to carry on.
More than anything I've ever read of the character, this is the core of who Spider-man is. Yes, his origin lies intertwined with radioactive spiders and a tragic end to his uncle but that's how Peter Parker became Spider-man. But this is who he is. No matter how bad things get, he finds a way to keep going.
And this story couldn't be more appropriate for Josh to use as his inspiration. Because the cancer is affecting his spinal column he has suffered numbness in his extremeties and yet he has still managed to create this amazing interpretation of Steve Ditko's original cover (and betters it, in my opinion).
After a couple weeks waiting it finally arrive today! I'm so happy to be able to buy this signed print from Josh and it will take a proud place on my wall for many years to come. I hope to hear some good news about his condition some day and pray that things get better for him soon.
For more information on the good work The Hero Initiative does and to donate please visit http://heroinitiative.org/. We all get endless amounts of joy from comics so please give back a little to the folks who need it from us now.
And while I'm at it, go back and read Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's run on Spider-man in the 60s. It makes you remember why you got into comics in the first place.