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Eric: Lea Hernandez Needs Our Help. Seriously.

Lea Hernandez, author and artist of the epic and wonderful Rumble Girls books, a former Transmetropolitan artist, as well as the former editor of Girlamatic, has suffered a terrible house fire. Her family is safe, though they lost some of their pets (two dogs and four cats). They have also lost an incredible number of the necessities of life and of Lea's business. They have lost most of their clothes. They have lost shelter. They have lost almost all of their media collection. They do not yet know how much of Lea's original art is gone.

Lea is an incredible person, a firebrand in comics (in Gail Simone's words, which I agree with), possessed of an iron will and a kind heart. And right now she is in great need, both on her behalf and on behalf of her own family.

I am going to repost what Gail Simone posted, via The Beat, the Talkaboutcomics blog, and other places. We ask everyone who reads this be as generous as possible. Lea has meant a great deal to the webcomics world, the print comics world, the world of graphic novels, the world of art... you name it, she's had an impact. Let's show her how wide that impact is.

Early this morning, the Texas home of award-winning writer/artist Lea Hernandez, my friend and co-creator of the graphic novel Killer Princesses, caught fire and burned. Half her house is now gone, and the rest is smoke-damaged. In addition, she lost at least six of her family’s beloved pets, two dogs and four cats. If you knew Lea, you’d know how devastating that is.

She’s lost a great deal of her family’s possessions, including irreplaceable art. She doesn’t yet know the full accounting of what’s been lost at this time.

Most know Lea as the brilliant creator of such works as Rumble Girls and Cathedral Child. She drew the Marvel Mangaverse PUNISHER book, and has drawn for TRANSMETROPOLITAN, among many other accomplishments. She is also the co-founder and original editor for GIRL-A-MATIC, one of the most important venues for female-friendly comics created to date.

She’s also my friend, and it’s entirely possible I wouldn’t have a career in comics if she hadn’t asked me to write Killer Princesses for her to draw.

And finally, Lea is one of the last great firebrand hellraisers in comics.

Lea has two (wonderful, amazing) special needs children and right now they need a place to stay and some clothes to wear. More than that, they need some help, and fast, in the form of donations to her paypal account. Lea’s a proud person so I’m going to ask FOR her. This is important, and a great chance to do a wonderful thing for a creator who has consistently enriched this industry we all love so much. Please, take a moment and send WHATEVER YOU CAN to Lea’s paypal account and help make this time a little bit less painful for someone who would do the same for you if the positions were reversed.

If you’re a retailer, I ask that you set up a donations jar. If you’re a creator, I ask you to think of how devastating this would be to your career and donate what you can. If you’re a reader, I’m asking you to take a moment and hit the paypal link. You’ll be doing something heroic and you’ll feel great about it, I promise.

Read what Lea had to post on a neighbor’s computer while wearing her pajamas at: Livejournal.com/users/divalea

Donate (PLEASE) to her paypal account at: REVISED: divalea@gmail.com

Finally, if I understand the story correctly (as told to me by Lea’s good friend and current Girl-a-matic editor), it was Lea’s daughter hearing the smoke alarm that allowed the family to get out in time, so for God’s sake, do everyone you love a favor and CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS.

> Thank you so much for helping. Really, any amount you can send will make a difference. That’s all I can say.

Sincerely and gratefully,

Gail Simone

Posted by Eric Burns-White at September 6, 2006 1:59 PM


Comment from: John Fiala [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 6, 2006 2:18 PM

Hear Hear!

I've already sent off a little cash, and urge everyone who can to donate a little. Lea is one of the good guys.

Comment from: Ike [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 6, 2006 4:04 PM

I don't have a paypall account, and I was wondering if there's any other way to donate. I'd gladly just send cash in an enveope if I had a mailing address... Is anything like that possible?

Comment from: Shaenon [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 6, 2006 4:19 PM

I'm in shock. Lea is a friend of mine who's always been one of my biggest supporters and cheerleaders in the comics world--to my continuing amazement, since I'm utterly in awe of her work as a cartoonist. She's just a phenomenal presence in comics.

I am now selling original Narbonic strips for $25 each to raise money for the Hernandezes. For any strip you buy during the month of September, the proceeds will go to Lea and her family. If you're interested, email me at narbonic@sbcglobal.net to let me know which strip you want. Please keep in mind that some strips have been sold over the years, so you may want to choose a few possibilities.


Comment from: Christopher B. Wright [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 6, 2006 4:42 PM

The winter before I met my wife for the first time her apartment burned to the ground, and she lost everything. When I met her almost everything she had was donated from friends and concerned neighbors.

My PayPal account mostly just sits there not doing anything, so I reckon taking $20 out of it isn't going to affect my bottom line.

Comment from: Dorkboy [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 7, 2006 12:55 AM

I wish to send my best well wishes, and unfortunately I am dirt broke ($0.74 in my checking account right now).

Hopefully this will be a lesson to all of us to pay for INSURANCE.

Hopefully we as a community will be able to right this wrong...but for our own safety, you and i may not be as fortunate if our things get trashed.


Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 7, 2006 3:18 AM

DB -- she has insurance. Unfortunately, with a major house reconstruction needed, it's likely not going to cover this kind of thing.

Comment from: Eric Burns [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 7, 2006 3:20 AM

Er, rather, not cover everything.

Comment from: B. Durbin [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 7, 2006 9:32 PM

More to the point, insurance is not as immediate as donations. Even the best companies have a several-day turnaround, and it's incredibly difficult to not be able to get hold of someone because of, say, conflicting schedules, and having the check come a little late because of a holiday weekend, or because the paperwork got lost, or whatever...

At the moment, I can only send my best wishes for the future, and hope that there are enough people in the chain of her business who have backups or her work and files for her to rebuild quickly.

Comment from: Persolo [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 10, 2006 8:37 PM

I, after having had no money for a while, just recently ended up employed again, and got a bursar refund (yay).

I donated. I've been out of comics for a while, to the degree that I only read webcomics now (Something*Positive, which brought me here, and Narbonic, which I see that Shaenon posted above), so unfortunately, I don't think I've seen any of Lea's work.

It wasn't as much as I wish I could have donated, but it was a little bit, and I'm hoping that all the people who have been able to donate have.

Does anyone have any way that we can get an update on how things are? If insurance is helping, if our donations have helped, any word that we are making a difference?

Take care, and I'll be trying to keep up with this.

Comment from: Stevie Wilson [TypeKey Profile Page] posted at September 11, 2006 12:10 PM

For any one who is interested, Lea has had limited internet access and has been making fire updates to her livejournal.

She also has a flickr account for photos of the damage, some of it is hard to look at so be warned.

Any help you can give is not only appreciated but has been helping the family emotionally.

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