Last week started off really well for comic artist and writer Reilly Brown. He began the week with the birth of his son, then was featured on the Comic Book Club talk radio show and got to see Deadpool (and Hydra Bob, who he created) brought to life on the big screen after drawing the character for Marvel in various books.
Things took a turn on Saturday, though, when a fire broke out in an apartment a few buildings down from where he and his family live. Now he's turning to his fans in hopes of covering some of the expense of rebuilding his life.
Brown recounted the spread of the fire on his blog:
On Saturday night in Hoboken, a fire started a few buildings down the street from us, and quickly spread. My wife Shawna and I grabbed the baby and got out of the house, and watched from across the street as the fire moved from one building to the next, and came roaring out of the windows of the apartment directly next to ours. When smoke started coming from the roof of our building, we left for my grandmother’s house in Montclair.
Thankfully, the fire was contained before it could spread to Brown's apartment, thanks in part to the landlord having installed a firewall between the buildings. There was a significant amount of smoke and water damage, however, and it will take months of renovations to repair the apartment and make it habitable again. To make matters worse, the smoke and water caused significant damage to items such as the family's clothes and books. Everything that had been purchased for the baby will have to be replaced as well, since the smoke residue could be harmful to the newborn.
Almost all of our belongings were saturated in smoke, and although some things can be cleaned, a lot of things can’t be, like most of our clothes, books, and anything that belongs to the baby. It’s not healthy to have a newborn in contact with that kind of third-hand smoke.
Honestly, when I saw the fire burning only feet away from our own apartment, I’d written the whole place off, so anything that we can recover I count as a blessing. Shawna and Will are safe, and that’s the most important thing.
To help cover the cost of replacing everything, Brown asked fans to check out his art dealer's site to see if they're interested in buying some of his original comic art. Pages in his gallery include selections from his work on Cable & Deadpool, Deadpool: The Gauntlet, Amazing Spider-Man, Hulk vs. Hercules and Lobo, some of which is signed by the artist. Prices range from $65 to $2,000 for original comic art, and a signed book collecting a number of his pieces is also available for $20. He also plans to attend a number of conventions this year, and encourages fans to contact him through his website (ReillyBrownArt.com) to arrange commissions for pickup at various shows.
Brown has been at the forefront of the movement to transition comics from print to digital, working on digital-only titles for both Marvel and DC as well as developing creator-owned titles for the ComiXology platform. He has also created a digital store selling PDF copies of both the art book found on his dealer's site and a second volume containing even more of his work. The downloads have a pay-what-you-want price in place, giving fans another option to help support him if they aren't in the market for original art or commissions.
If there's a positive to this story, Brown reported that everyone in the affected buildings made it out unharmed. That certainly stands out as a bright point on an event that has had such a negative impact on Brown and his neighbors. Hopefully some of his fans will rally around him to help get him through this tough time - while scoring themselves some awesome original art or collected books.
Source: Reilly Brown