March 16th, 20130 Comments »
Megacon 2013

Megacon 2013


It’s that time again.  And I’ve already begun meeting some of the most inspiring pros and heavy-hitters you may not have discovered just yet.

The "Giving Back to Fandom" Panel

The “Giving Back to Fandom” Panel

Siike Donnelly, a survivor of a brain aneurysm discusse Solestar with Kate Carleton and Rachel Pandich, discussing “Womantholgy” Also pictured: Bill McCray, Paul Barnes, R Wolf, and more!

Siike & Co.

Siike & Gene

Siike and Gene pictured above, and everyone I’ll be mentioning involved with the Hero Initiative (Twitter: @HeroInitiativ) yes it’s missing the ‘e’.today showcased the growing feminine talent.  Everyone was extremely cool, hands down, these are the socially conscientious that the word Hero inspire to emulate.  But they do it for real.  From one panelist’s experience as a cancer survivor, to Siike’s 12 week recovery from a brain aneurism, the entire “Giving Back to Fandom” panel was made up of altruistic men and women, of all colors, shapes and mentalities as diverse as their respective styles.

The big project is SoleStar, written by Siike Donnelly and drawn, colored, and lettered and edited (yes, editors are humans, too.  They want fans like everyone else.) by over 70 artists and disciplinarians of graphic story telling.

I want to point out the interesting viewpoints of not only the writers and artists, by the humble feminine members of the panel talked about the need to deliver a hero that could be accessible to anyone, regardless of age, gender, or identity.  Rachel Pandich (@RachelPandish ) and Kate Carleton (@KeelHaulKate ) talked about the polarized concepts between savage anti-heroes and “gore porn” comics, and flawless white, hetero-sexual male superheroes started by poor Jewish men.  The Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne/Hal Jordan lines.

And that’s not on trial here. , Rachel said all types of people grew up around her, and her around them.  One might need to learn foreign languages, but the human is unbounded by language, and Rachel’s readers have approached her from all ethnic backgrounds, thanking her for being a female creator without biased.

Kate Carleton has a non-profit known as “You and Who” clothing the needy in the Tampa Bay area, as Kate is the leader of that area’s chapter of the programs greater nation wide establishment.

But this isn’t charity work, this is about comics, don’t get lost yet.  This project is about creativity, and independence collaborate for Hero Initiative’s mission to create a better life for the story tellers who nourished our souls and inspired us to read and draw, write and paint, in short, create the spark of life and inspiration available to those in the industry today.  As Pandich put it, “…the 40’s through the 60’s you were a whole lot less likely to ever own your original work, the big two, the person who signed your checks, it didn’t matter.  Pros are negotiated contracts with benefits now.”

Now I’m paraphrasing Rachel but she brought up some interesting points.  Comic books don’t need to feel compelled to go outside the boundaries from macabre extreme to lawful good.  They can go ahead and be normal everyday people like the impoverished, the socially disadvantaged, middle class, billionaire.  Anyone has the potential to be a hero, so who’s actually sticking to the script and going out of the bounds doesn’t matter as much as witnessing a fictional project take on a very real-life effect on the life of another.

Rachel Pandish, Kate Carleton, Gene Hoyle, Siike Donnelly, R.Wolf.

Rachel Pandish, Kate Carleton, Gene Hoyle, Siike Donnelly, R.Wolf.

The white hetero hero isn’t the enemy here, but a single idea that is being absorbed into a greater idea of the hero, unbounded by color, language or anything else, other than the heart to guard and heal, fight for the rest of humanity who cannot fight for themselves.  Many of the panelists were involved with projects of varied range.  Paul Barnes mentioned Superheroes for Babies, R Wolf Spoke of the proceeds from a Voltron (reader favorite) project to benefit March of Dimes.

So there’s a greater movement here all together.  The benefit of giving back to the heroes who took care of us growing up, the writers and artists who need to pay their bills, medicare, and even helping to reinstate working status.

Kate Carleton, Rachel Pandish, and Paul Barnes

Kate Carleton, Rachel Pandish, and Paul Barnes

So check out the Hero Initiative, folks! We’ll be broadcasting live from Megacon 2013 tomorrow as well so come back and tell your friends!

Also, if you want to support the fight and educate innocent bystanders about a healthy brain AND be a contributor to a heroic cause by reading comic books, check out SoleStart (10 bucks, and get it signed by the team members over at booth Brown 6) by the team at Naive  and the 72 some odd artists who threw their blood sweat and tears into a work they did for no financial gain or prestige.

Siike Donnelly and SoleStar

Siike Donnelly and SoleStar






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About Jay

Jay was born July 8th 1986 and is an aspiring adult who is versed in several writing styles from poetry to short stories to hip-hop. He holds black belts in two different martial arts but has been self-trained to eat sleep and breathe comics and the people who make them. He started Inside Comic Books to get closer to the people in the comic book industry and find out if they're real or if they're all the result of his hyperactive imagination. He currently resides in Orlando, Florida. The O-Zone, if you will. If you're interested, you can email him at

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