It wasn’t too long ago that the men and women who gave their blood, sweat and tears to make comic books for you and me weren’t compensated all that well for their time and effort. Aside from a rather stingy page rate, the vast majority of creators had no health insurance, no 401k plan, little to no rights to the work they created, basically no benefits at all. Today it’s a lot better, mostly for those that are lucky enough to work for major publishers. But the truth remains – the artist’s life and the freelancer’s life are risky ones in any industry.
The Hero Initiative, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, works to help creators who have fallen on hard times and need some help, whether that be with making rent or covering medical costs. One of their creative fundraising efforts is to work with a publisher to reprint a recently popular comic book with a variant blank cover, and then have comic book artists create one-of-a-kind covers to be auctioned off. An art book of all of the cover sketches is later published. 100% of sales goes to the Hero Initiative to help them maintain safety nets for creators in need.
The awesome image above by Cliff Chiang depicting Archie and the gang as a high school garage band is one of the sketch covers for Archie #600 from Archie Comics. The original version of the issue was published over a year ago as the start of the much-discussed story line by Michael Uslan and Stan Goldberg where Archie finally decides between Betty and Veronica.
To take a look at all 50 covers (they’re all great!), visit HeroInitiative.org. To buy the original artwork and help a good cause, check out the Hero Initiative’s eBay auctions that launched yesterday. Archie Covers: Fifty Times an American Icon collecting and reprinting all 50 covers will be published later in the year.