Aurora Rise: Local Comics Store Teams with Fraction, Niles and Image to Benefit Victims
All C's Collectibles is the only comic book store in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people were killed and dozens more were injured when a masked gunman opened fire during a midnight screening of the new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. As has been noted here and elsewhere, the tragedy has affected the comic book and related geek communities directly, as the victims were hardcore midnight movie goers and Batman fans in particular. Some of them, or their friends and loved ones, were All C's customers. As such, manager Jason Farnsworth has initiated Aurora Rise, a special event to help raise money for the victims and help heal the local community in the aftermath of the tragedy.
In-store signings, auctions, giveaways and other events are in the works, with creators Matt Fraction (Invincible Iron Man, Casanova) and Steve Niles (30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre) already pledged to appear in support of the cause. Aurora Rise will take place from August 25-26, and it's our hope that this post will help get the word out to more publishers, creators and readers who may wish to participate."As the sole comic and collectible store in Aurora we have been directly impacted by the tragic event on July 20th, as several of our customers, friends, employees, and families were involved in the tragedy," wrote Farnsworth on the Aurora Rise Facebook page. "The mission of Aurora Rise is simple -- we are going to do everything in our power to assist and aid the victims and victim's families."
The need for such aid has been made painfully clear in the days since the shooting. Among the victims is Caleb Medley, who along with his pregnant wife Katie were in the theater when the gunman attacked. Katie made it out uninjured and subsequently gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but Caleb was shot in the eye and remains in critical condition. The uninsured young couple could face healthcare costs as high as $2 million. Fortunately a robust campaign has helped raised nearly half a million dollars to help the Medleys, but they're not alone.
The Aurora Rise Facebook page is updating constantly new items that will be available for sale or auction including signed books, limited edition prints and other artwork, almost all of which have been pledged by comics professionals. Fraction and Niles have taken the extra step of committing to appear at All C's Collectibles to meet with fans and help bring more attention to the event.
"I was in a theater at 12:01 am, too, the night of July 20th, watching The Dark Knight Rises, just like the folks in Aurora, and just like many of the folks reading this," Fraction told ComicsAlliance. "I love comics, and I love movies, and it seems to me that as someone fortunate enough to have found meaningful employment in these fields I love that it was literally the very least I could do to try and raise awareness and financial assistance for the people that have suffered through and survived this nightmare."
Niles agreed, telling CA, "Reaching out and helping is the least I can do. I'm looking forward to attending the event, meeting the fans of Aurora and raising some money for those affected by the shooting.
"The comics community has a chance to show the world what it's made of and respond directly to the firestorm of unjustified criticism. I hope we can all come together and pitch in to help those affected by the tragedy."
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"I got an email on Tuesday from Jason Farnsworth in Aurora, CO, and it immediately spoke to something that I couldn't avoid thinking about since Friday, July 20th," deLaine told ComicsAlliance. "And that was basically this: if the shooting had been at any one of the midnight showings of that film in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would almost certainly have known people in that theater. In his email, Jason spoke of how his employees, friends, customers, and family -- a whole community of 'hard-working, all around good people' that were all connected by their love of reading comics -- had all been so disproportionately affected. Of course the entire city of Aurora, the state of Colorado, and the entire nation for that matter, was horrified by the tragedy, but this one small shop, the one and only comic shop in Aurora, was already looking to do something to help their community heal.
"This really made me think once again about just how important my local comic shop has been to me, not only as a safe place where everyone can just revel in their love of the culture and medium of comics, but also as a network of friends. I'm lucky to have been part of such a community here. And I believe that, for the most part, the comics community at large is just as generous and supportive as my local comics community has been to me. For instance, the people at All C's Collectibles in Aurora are still reeling from this, dealing with all the insensitive and opportunistic press attention, trying to process the events, and yet they're already trying to take care of their own local comics community.
"I've already spoken to some very kind people in our industry that stepped up to lend a hand to All C's in whatever way they can. In fact, as soon as I got that first email from Jason, everyone at the Image office immediately agreed that we would do whatever we could to help. I started by spreading the word to the creators that we work with, and they've all been so incredibly generous so far, donating original art, assistance in organizing, etc. I've also gathered up books, art, and merchandise donations (much of it signed) from Image and our imprints that All C's Collectibles can auction. That said, there's obviously much more that can and should be done to help the Aurora community heal."
We'll have more on Aurora Rise as the event continues to organize. Professionals and other parties wishing to contribute should contact Jason Farnsworth at the Aurora Rise Facebook event page.