During MegaCon Orlando a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Love is Love mixer, a fundraising auction event honoring the victims of the Pulse massacre that happened in June of last year.
The auction included comics and covers written and drawn by comic industry superstars and legends, all of which were original pieces created to inspire and unite. Some of the families and friends of the victims attended as well, a fact that many people were unaware of. I walked around the room, stopping to check out some of the exclusive comics; one in particular, which featured Supergirl, really spoke to me.
Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to turn away. Later, when I spoke to the artist, Matthew Clark, he told me: “I give the writers what they need. Not what they want.” He explained that Supergirl, upon seeing the Pulse headlines, had to fly into space because her grief was too great to experience on Earth.
I wanted to get a chance to speak with some of the other artists about their contributions to the fundraiser. I wanted to ask how their pieces reflected what they wanted to share with their audiences. Unfortunately, due to time constraints and artist obligations, I was unable to dig deep. The artists signed their cover photos while I sipped glasses of wine, lingering on the outside of the circle. I wandered and admired the artwork.
Towards the end of the evening, finishing off my last drink and subtly pilfering flowers from the crudite display to put in my hair, I sat down beside Jose-Luis Lopez-Garcia. I wished desperately at that point that I had brought my microphone or recorder. His eyes lit up and crinkled at the corners when he began speaking about his contribution. He told me that all superheroes have obstacles they need to overcome – so many iconic figures rose from the ashes of tragic pasts. Lopez-Garcia told me that we should never allow class or race or identity dictate us; that during this time of sadness everyone feels the insurmountable grief, even superheroes, and coming together to mourn should be a unifying factor.
Superheroes do, in fact, unite us. As of MegaCon, Love is Love is on its sixth edition and will remain in perpetual print. The sales from the comic alone have topped over $168,000. Every year, the proceeds from Love is Love will go to a different LGBT+ charity.
You can purchase the book directly from IDW Publishing or on Amazon. Be sure to check back on the Love is Love project and fundraiser to keep up to date on all LGBT+ charities receiving donations.
To quote the Equality Florida spokesperson: “We will not let this define Orlando.” And she’s right. We won’t let it define Orlando. We have love on our side.
Bekah has a B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Anderson University and is the Executive Assistant at Saga Event Planning. She is a frequent convention attendee and cosplayer and co-hosts The Geekiary webcast “The Bitching Dead”.
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