The creator supported grass-roots charity auctions that took place on Twitter in support of comic-book retailers whose businesses have been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic has netted more than $430,000 with proceeds going to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.
Using the Twitter hashtag #Creators4Comics, items such as comics, original art, and one-of-a-kind experiences were offered up by more than 100 contributors participated. The unique thing about the auction was that many comics creators contributed additional artwork or offered online in-person experiences to the second-highest bidders, which was a surprise, said Kami Garcia, a writer behind the effort.
The author Gwenda Bond, who was one of the original Creators 4 Comics organizers, said that the group chose the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, due to its past work with grants for emergency relief to booksellers. Bond continued saying because the foundation was also selected because of their ability to process aid rapidly and because individual employees, as well as small business owners, could apply for assistance.
Pamela French, executive director of the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, said in a recent interview that the organization had seen an increase in applications for assistance from the comic book community during the Twitter auctions. Ms. French said there are different criteria for aid to individuals and businesses. For individuals, household assistance is a top priority. “If someone’s rent were $1,000, they’d fall into a $1,200-and-under” grant, she said. As for stores, “they have to verify that they’ve lost 50 percent or more of their sales. They also need to confirm insufficient savings. But “our goal is not to turn anyone away,” she added.
John Robinson, the co-owner of Graham Crackers Comics, a chain of stores primarily located in Illinois, said he had had to furlough nearly all his employees, and when he read about the foundation, he encouraged workers to apply for aid. “One person told me that they helped with a mortgage payment,” he said, adding that the support had arrived within a week.
Robinson also mentioned that he has an application pending for the business. Assistance for retailers is expected to be distributed in mid-May. Robinson said that his 12 stores are in California, Illinois, and Wisconsin, which are under shelter-in-place rules but have been taking online orders. “It’s not enough to pay 12 stores’ rents, but it is enough to pay utilities and to make partial payments to make people happy.”
Robinson also mentioned that there are bright spots ahead. “This week, some comics are starting to return, as DC, the publisher of Superman, shipped comics that arrived on Monday… and customers are likely to wait until Friday when his Illinois shops will be able to offer curbside pickup.
NEWS WATCH: Creators4Comics Auction Raises $430,000 in Proceeds in Support of Comic Retailers
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