As promised back in June, Lea Hernandez announces the winners of her webcomicker grant on her blog:
Before September 6th, for me to say I understood the reach of the Internet would mean that I knew it was an end run around many obstacles facing artists who wanted to share their work with the world. It’s an end run I have been making since 1991, a decade and a half of dodging and weaving, and in that, a bit more than ten as a webcomicker, one of the first to make the print-to-web transition with Rumble Girls: Silky Warrior Tansie. I started Women Webcomicker Grant Nan because I was challenged to do something about the problems I saw with comics, instead of just talking about them. Inspired by Peter Laird’s Xeric Grant for self-publishers and Dr. Keith P. Taylor’s Modest Needs foundation, which gives small gifts to people to help pay emergency expenses, I realized it was within my grasp to do something, and even a “small” something was still something.
Anyone was says that a $100. grant isn’t big has never experienced choosing between two things equally needed for a creator; food and supplies, but I bet everyone knows the giddy thrill of twenty dollars at just the right time.. On September 6th, I had a house fire that gutted my home and killed nine of eleven pets. Word spread quickly over the Internet, thanks to pushing by Gail Simone, Lisa Jonte, Scott Kurtz, and Eisner-winning retailer Richard Neal of Zeus Comics, (and enough many others to make a phone book), and I was buried (in a good way) in over 3,000 emails, and many donations, small ones, that added up to enough for me to take care of my family until my house is rebuilt. I was aware, before September 6th, of the ability of the Internet to make and reach friends, but I had no idea it had the ability to turn my life into a crossover between “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street” and “Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.” As Bugs Bunny might say, “I didn’t know ya cared.”
Now it is seven weeks since September 6th, and my understanding of the reach of the Internet is the same, but better. In giving to take care of my material needs, or even just writing notes of encouragement, people have given me immaterial gifts: the strength to pick up and go on, the motivation to be a better person, and a new focus on my own work to honor the thousands of tiny kindnesses with something in return.
I sincerely hope my tiny kindness of the Grant NAN can do for four other women in some way what has been done for me. I wish for these recipients much creative happiness, long careers as cartoonists, and friends like mine.
WOMEN WEBCOMICKER GRANT NAN: 2006 Recipients
Circuit of Heaven, Julia Claire Begley (URL forthcoming)