Late last week, the comics industry took notice when an Oregon newspaper story detailed the situation of veteran writer/artist Karl Kesel, who recently adopted a 15-week-old baby from drug-addicted parents.
Kesel's history in comics was part of why he was chosen, as the adoption agency that facilitated the transfer of custody is one that allows the birth parents to have a say in who takes their child and the birth father said he liked the idea of the kid growing up around conventions and the like, and all the fun that could be. It's also something that's providing for the infant's substantial medical care, as Kesel is selling his decades-old collection of Silver Age superhero comic books to help offset the incredible expense of adopting a child with special health needs.
Among the comics is a near-mint Avengers #4 and dozens more of '60s Marvel titles that helped shape Kesel's youth and drew him into comics as a profession as an adult; his wife expressed in the article that parting with the collection isn't easy for Kesel, but that she was glad he was willing to do it for their new son Isaac.
As often happens when one of these inspirational stories hits the Internet, though, an uninvolved third party has decided to take matters into their own hands a bit. A Reddit user named R.B. Shelton has started a Crowdtilt fundraiser aimed at getting donors to chip in a few dollars here and there, with the hope of buying some of Kesel's comics from the auction site he's using to raise funds...and ship them back to the creator.
"Why not start a fundraising campaign to buy as many of his comics as we could so we could give them right back to him?" Asked Sheldon in the listing. "I have no lofty expectations for this endeavor, but I thought even purchasing one comic would send the right message that there are people out there that are grateful that people like Karl and his wife Myrna exist to make this world a better place."
The Crowdtilt fundraiser won't come close to raising all of the money needed for Kesel to keep all of his comics, but Sheldon says he's been in contact with friends of Kesel's who will help "shop" for him:
"In logistics news, I have been in contact with Steve Duin, who wrote the excellent piece in the Oregonian and who is an avid comic collector himself. He was very pleased that his story was making the rounds, and is glad to hear that it moved strangers around the globe to want to help.
"I have also had some great conversations with Amy of the “I Love Comics” store located in Vancouver, WA. Amy is one of Karl’s personal friends, and is hosting their annual Summer Hullabaloo for an extra day to help raise money for the Kesel family. Here is the FB event page with relevant details if anybody in the greater Portland area wants to participate.
"More importantly, Amy has offered her expertise and personal knowledge of Karl to ensure we buy the right comics that are still available once the fundraiser is over. This way, we can all be assured we aren’t sending him back comics he was happy to get rid of, or are buying random issues that have no cohesion."
The fundraiser ends Friday, and Sheldon will reach out to his helpers to start buying up comics come Monday.