This combined effort from DC Entertainment and IDW was organized by Marc Andreyko.
IDW stated in their release that “All material has been kindly donated, from the creative to the production, with ALL PROCEEDS going to the victims, survivors and their families via EQUALITY FLORIDA.” This oversized comic, at $9.99, is actually more of a trade paperback. It is a fundraiser for Equality Florida, an organization which has been active in support of Florida for about 20 years. According to their website, their stated organizational objectives are “passing local LGBT protections at the municipal level, passing a statewide non-discrimination law, passing a statewide anti-bullying law, passing legislation to protect the transgender community, and changing public opinion in the state of Florida regarding LGBT individuals and families.”
This is an anthology of depth and diversity. Some pieces are single panels, some are multiple pages and display both plot and character development. Some involve known heroes and villains, and others are ‘slice of life’ pieces involving normal people. The common factor in all of them is recognition of the tragedy in Orlando, Florida.
For those unfamiliar, on June 12, 2016, Omar Mateen, went into the Pulse nightclub, a well-known and established bar/nightclub that served as a safe social haven for the local LGBTQ population. He killed 49 people and wounded another 53 people. Mateen has been identified by survivors and called a local TV station to claim responsibility for the attack. Why did he do it? Mateen self-identified variously as an Islamic Soldier, Mujahideen, and “Soldier of God,” and claimed to have been ‘triggered’ by an airstrike in Iraq that killed ISIS field commander Abu Wahib. The FBI investigated other possible motives, including an unsubstantiated rumor that Mateen was homosexual or bisexual himself. It is important to note that, although Mateen claimed to act on behalf of the Islamic State, the FBI is, at this time, conducting an ongoing investigation.
However individuals feel about Mateen’s motivations and the political ramifications thereof, his act was one of the worst mass killings in US history. This senseless killing was an act of terror against the LGBTQ community, not only in Orlando, but nation-wide.
The comics community, a group of diverse storytellers, common only in their ability to illustrate and elevate the human experience, has contributed their talents in an effort not only to raise funds for Equality Florida, but also to help raise awareness of the human rights issues underlying the tragedy.
Franchise character items include a Hack/Slash, Superman/Supergirl, Deathstroke, Batwoman, Batman, and others. One interesting piece includes an authorized quote from J.K. Rowling, creator of Harry Potter. She allowed a quote from Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: “Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.”
Organizer Marc Andreyko is a well-known writer. He first came to the attention of many readers with Torso, a six-issue true crime noir tour de force which earned him and collaborator Michael Bendis (whose work also appears in LOVE IS LOVE) critical acclaim. Andreyko wrote the Manhunter series for DC, creating the first female character to carry that title. He has written for Marvel, DC, Bang, CHAOS!, Boom, IDW, Wildstorm, and Dark Horse, among other labels.
Bringing these storytellers together and organizing this collection is an impressive accomplishment, particularly given that Andreyko is a writer, not an editor. Although it is doubtful that this was his intention, he has demonstrated that he has the skills to be an editor.
Looking at the collection, the range of styles of art, writing and content, from the gallows humor of an appalled Deathstroke giving up firearms and an impatient Poison Ivy forcing gay men to ‘flirt faster,’ to the sad tragedy of people mourning for the lost and a touching 2-page meditation on a changed father’s acceptance of his transsexual daughter-in-law, the work is uneven in form and content. From Archie and Jane’s World to the high drama of an agonized Batman simultaneously acknowledging that he can neither prevent these tragedies nor give up trying to do so, the only commonality in this book is the quality of the work.
Not only for the good that the funds raised by this book will do, but for the simple quality of the artwork and writing, ranging from Shakespeare and JK Rowling to Paige Braddock, G. Willow Wilson, and Gerry Duggan, it’s all top-notch.
Written & Illustrated by: Various