This column often looks at superheroes, overcoming great odds, horrible danger and destruction of property to save the day.
Here in Oklahoma this week, we were exposed to danger on a scale that called for real heroes.
My comic book shop in Norman, Speeding Bullet Comics, is just a few miles away from the destruction. Though we lost a window in last year's tornado, we came out unscathed this time. But I've already heard from customers who weren't so lucky. Some have lost their houses and possessions in the disaster.
Thinking of these men and women, who I see reading the adventures of Superman or Daredevil, behaving like heroes as they protect their families and overcome obstacles, makes me proud of the Oklahoma community.
Several in the comics community have contacted me this week, sharing ways that they are helping, or looking for ways that they can help. I'm sure even more will come forward as the needs continue.
Brian Berlin of New World Comics, 6219 N Meridian, called me to say he would like to offer comics and costumed characters to anyone victimized by Monday's storm. He said he could organize an appearance of characters to help kids facing medical care or time away from their homes. He's willing to visit hospitals or other shelter locations. If someone can put these items to use, Berlin said he can be reached at 249-9214. Berlin is also collecting toys at New World to distribute during the character visits.
Artist Paul Milligan, of Norman, is part of Space-Gun studios, based in Dallas. The studio is selling five print packages via its website and sending all proceeds to tornado relief (minus shipping).
“Growing up in tornado alley you learn quickly how fast severe weather can change your entire life,” it says at the studio's page at http://spacegun.bigcartel.com/product/moore-ok-relief-grab-bag.
Brian Winkeler and Robert Wilson IV, creators of the comic “Knuckleheads,” will donate their proceeds from this week's second digital issue to tornado relief. Winkeler is from Yukon; Wilson is formerly of Oklahoma City.
“Robert and I decided to donate all of our profits to tornado relief,” Winkeler said in an email. “We won't actually get sales figures and money for a couple of months, but we figure the need isn't going to go away in a couple of weeks so as money comes in from sales of the issue we'll put it all towards the effort.”
This is just one of hundreds of ways people are reaching out to help their neighbors.
National comics figures are reaching out as well.
Artist Francisco Francavilla offered a Batman sketch for auction on his site http://francesco-francavilla.blogspot.com/, with the proceeds going to tornado relief.
Writers Jan Van Meter and Greg Rucka are also contributing, through the hash tag #TwitterYardSaleOK.
Follow Van Meter at @HopelessJen on twitter and send her a picture of your Red Cross donation; by so doing, you'll receive comics from Van Meter and Rucka.
Greg Pak, writer of the upcoming “Batman/Superman,” encouraged Red Cross donations.
“I've been horrified by the news coming out of Oklahoma. So here's a little something in hopes of encouraging folks to donate to relief efforts for the people suffering in the wake of the tornadoes,” he wrote at http://www.gregpak.com/entries/002399.shtml. “If you give to the Red Cross or other relief organization of your choosing to help the folks in Oklahoma, I'll send some ‘Code Monkey Save World' stickers to your U.S. mailing address.”
Kevin Stark, curator of the Toy and Action Figure Museum, shared his concerns for those affected. The Toy & Action Figure Museum, 111 S Chickasaw in Pauls Valley, is organizing a toy drive to help those displaced by the tornado. For more info, call the museum at (405) 238-6300.
“It's all real important,” Stark said. “A lot of children will be effected by this and have nothing to play with. They lost the things they love, and we'd like to help them replace that.”