Spirit of Hope: the Comic Book Alliance fundraiser for Japan

On March 11 2011 Japan suffered an earthquake of enormous and devastating power. The effects of the quake were magnified by the tsunami that followed, killing thousands, displacing many more, and wiping out industrial, farming and fishing communities in the north-east of Japan’s main island, Honshu. Dealing with the aftermath, especially the impact on Japan’s nuclear reactors, will take years.

Spirit of Hope cover 1 by and © Jimmy Broxton

A couple of weeks before, on February 22 2011, New Zealand had experienced an earthquake around Christchurch, New Zealand‘s second-largest city. This quake was lower in intensity than one the previous September but caused far greater destruction. It occurred close to the surface at the city’s busiest time. Buildings collapsed, burying people and crushing two packed buses. Power and water supplies were cut off.   Despite being spared a tsunami, the city was devastated.

These two terrifying events, coming so close together, inspired Tim Pilcher of the Comic Book Alliance to put out a call to the comics community. “I’m sure, like me, you’ve been horrified at the devastating effects of the two enormous earthquakes in New Zealand and Japan” he said. “In order to do some good and help the thousands that have lost friends, family, their homes and entire communities, the Comic Book Alliance is putting together a fundraising comic.”

That was how Spirit of Hope began.

Around a hundred creators answered the CBA’s call. You can check out the full list and read more about the project over at Lew Stringer’s fine comics blog. Editor Alan Cowsill has overseen the book’s journey from beautiful idea to beautiful reality. The CBA started accepting advance orders at last weekend’s MCM Expo in London.

Many charities offer brochures or souvenir books to raise funds. They’re often insubstantial pieces whose only lasting value is the good intent behind them and the funds they raise. The most remarkable thing to me about the many projects to aid the survivors of 2011’s earthquakes and tsunami is the quality of the work. Spirit of Hope is no exception. To judge from all the material that has been made public so far, it’s a book with its own value, quite apart from the humane impulse that brought it into being.

Spirit of Hope cover 2 by and © Michael Allred

The people of Japan and New Zealand have shown great dignity and resilience in the face of destruction and personal tragedy. In their determination to rebuild their families and communities, they embody the truth that nature brings new life after destruction. Writers, artists and musicians from all  over the world have responded to the disaster with an outpouring of creativity, and Spirit of Hope is a beautiful, worthwhile part of that movement.

You should definitely get a copy for your own library, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you want two so that you can have both covers.

Each copy will cost you £14.99, plus £3 for postage and packing. The contributors have donated their work so that more money can go to help rebuilding and recovery in Japan and New Zealand.

You can choose which cover you prefer – when ordering, say whether you want Jimmy Broxton or Michael Allred. (Of course, you could always get both.) When the advance orders are sent out, the CBA hopes to include 3 small limited edition prints of the covers and an extra picture.

Send your order to The Comic Book Alliance, PO Box 165, Marple, Cheshire SK6 7BL. You can download an order form from the CBA website (and find out more about the CBA while you’re there.) Cheques & postal orders should be made out to ‘The Comic Book Alliance’. At the moment the CBA doesn’t offer electronic ordering and payment, but they hope to be able to do so very soon.

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