Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer and My Father

Editors Note: Dom Fonce will be taking some time away from writing for Sequart Organization as he and his family get through this difficult season. Please be thinking about him, and offer up your hopes and prayers to the Fonces during this tough time.

As this writer sits in his living room trying to think up a good news story for Sequart. He can’t. His father is dying from a mix of lymphoma, liver, and colon cancer. So as he continues sitting in his living room, he looks over to his younger sister Miranda (who is looking at her phone), he tries to block out his Aunt Chris, Grandpa Ron, and his Grandma Trish discussing outrage towards bus drivers being fired, and job outsourcing, in Chardon, Ohio. His mother, Debbie, sits in the middle of the room, above his father, Tony, as he sleeps on his in-home hospital bed. The Food Network plays some annoying cooking competition on the 50″, but this writer can stare only at his father, whose gaunt, jaundiced face seems masked with eternal nothingness. His father’s mouth hangs wide open, his neck shriveled up in loose skin, his eyes roll back, and the tendons in his neck resembling thick, metal cables.

So, this writer must go on a quest to find a connection to his current situation in life and comic books. And with a small amount of research, he found an interview with John Rogers of Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer with the Statesman Journal, and with complete love and approval, he progresses the story onward.

Late last April, the Statesman Journal sat down with comic book super-fan and blogger John Rogers. About four years ago, says Statesman Journal, Rogers became enamored with “The Walking Dead 100″ which was a series of comic book covers created by 100 different artist, that were sold at auction, and donated the money to help creators, writers, and artists in need. Under the name The Hero Initiative, the auctions raised a little over $100,000 with the help of some big name artists, says Rogers. He then admitted that he frequently blogged about his feelings toward “The Hero Initiative” and his general thoughts towards the comic book universe on his blog, Zanziber’s Point of View.

Within those past four years, Rogers refurbished The Hero Initiative’s idea to fight a cause near and dear to him—cancer—with Comic Book Covers 4 Cancer (CBC4C).  “It’s personal for me. I’ve been touched by cancer,” said Rogers. “I have been dealing with cancer in my family for a while. In the later ’90s, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia. My mother is also a survivor of two separate cancers.”

This writer takes a break from writing to indulge in one of his many stress-relieving smoke breaks of the day. As he exhales, he thinks of what an amazing man his father is. To what he could only describe as “superhuman dedication to his family”, this writer wants to cry, but doesn’t. He clenches his jaw and goes back to his story.

CBC4C’s goal is to raise as much money, if not more, than what “The Walking Dead 100″ made. Roger’s idea is for supporters to spend a small amount of money ($4 – $10) on what are called blank covers, which have original logos, titles, and artist names, but no artwork. Artists are to create whatever awesome covers they desire and then get in touch with Rogers on CBC4C’s Facebook or at comic conventions. Rogers then auctions off the cover art on Ebay and sends the proceeds to the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Rogers started his search for blank covers with his local shop, Tony’s Kingdom of Comics. “I reached out to Tony,” said Rogers. “and he gave me a deep discount (on covers). He’s the biggest supporter, when we started up he donated the covers free of charge.”

Tony Grove, the shop owner whose family has also dealt with cancer, also made a statement, “With John (Rogers), I used all my resources and connections to help him out. What he does is unique. Making a difference is infection to the right people.”

Rogers connects with many local artists as well. Check out the very lovely cover art from local artist AnnMare Grove, who works with Corrosive Comics:

But the highest earning cover was from TMNT co-creator Kevin Brooks Eastman. The piece went for $120. Check it out as well:

And then the hospice nurse walks in and tries to ask my dad if he’s in any pain. But, he can’t think or talk or do anything at all. It’s like he’s extremely drunk and slurring his words. He makes up stories from the images in his head—this writer can only hope that he is reliving happy memories. “Have you been dreaming a lot?” this writer asked his father, who said, “Yeah.”

“Have they been good dreams?”

“Yeah.” he replied under his slothful breath.

Cancer is one of the worst things in the world, but things can get better, things have to get better. And people like John Rogers are working hard to help find cures, which gives this writer hope for humanity. This writer knows his father loves him, and knows his son loves comics. This writer thinks his father would applaud John Rogers, Tony Grove, Kevin Brooks Eastman, AnnMare Grove, and so many more for putting their love into stopping such a horrible disease. Check out CBC4C, support, donate, help with art, and spread the word.

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Dom Fonce is an English Lit Major at Youngstown State University in Ohio. He is on the editorial staff for Jenny Magazine and Penguin Review, as well as a member of the SLAA (Student Literary Arts Association) of YSU. He particularly loves science fiction and graphic novels. He aspires to be the next Frank Miller or Alan Moore.

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