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Top Comics Creators Team Up On Ukraine Benefit Anthology

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at January 1, 1970

Like many people over the last few months, Scott Dunbier watched the scenes unfolding in the aftermath of Russia’s assault on Ukraine with horror, wishing there was something he could do to help the civilians and refugees whose lives have been upended by war. Eventually, he found Operation USA, a highly-rated non-profit undertaking an emergency relief effort on behalf of Ukrainians who have fled to neighboring countries. And he didn’t just open his wallet. Dunbier, a respected senior editor at IDW Publishing, opened his rolodex of contacts with many of today’s top comics creators, with the goal of creating an anthology book whose full proceeds would benefit the organization.

Today Dunbier and more than three dozen comic book writers and artists announced the launch of the new project, Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds, a 96-page full color collection of new stories and art, available to supporters of a crowdfunding campaign going live today on the Zoop platform.

“The comic-book community is full of good and caring people who have stepped up to say, ‘I stand with Ukraine,’ and to contribute to this book,” said Dunbier.

According to the announcement, Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds features “an incredible roster of comics talent united under the mission of providing relief to the war-torn Ukraine, which has suffered attacks from neighboring Russia since late February. There will be multiple versions available, a hardcover with a painted cover by Alex Ross, and softcover versions by Arthur Adams, Dave Johnson, and Bill Sienkiewicz. At press time, stories will be created by a virtual who’s who of writers and artists, including Brent Anderson, Sergio Aragones, June Brigman, Kurt Busiek, Howard Chaykin, Joshua Dysart, Mark Evanier, Emil Ferris, Dave Gibbons, Rob Guillory, John Layman, Gabriel Rodriguez, Stan Sakai, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Chris Sprouse, Jill Thompson, Matt Wagner, Mark Waid, and more. For a full list of creators, including colorists, letterers, and designers, please visit the campaign page.”

Dunbier says many of creators are coming forward with new or unseen stories of their signature characters, including a new Astro City story by Busiek and Anderson, a Groo the Wanderer adventure by Aragones and Evanier, an American Flagg story from Chaykin, a new Chew story from Layman and Guillory, and many more.

He said the inspiration for the title came from a video captured in the early days of the war, when a Ukranian woman offered sunflower seeds (the national flower of Ukraine) to a Russian solder to put in his pocket, explaining that when he died, at least something good would grow from it. His vision helped bring in the wide slate of contributors from different corners of the comics industry.

“The thing I saw right after Scott Dunbier explained that he was attempting to marshal support for the Ukrainian people from within the comics world was a news story about a woman writing her family name and information on her child’s back,” said Emil Ferris, Eisner Award-winning author of My Favorite Thing is Monsters, who is contributing a story to the collection. “She was doing this labeling in case she was killed and her child therefore might be located by relatives. I imagined myself doing this onto my daughter and I thought, I must help in any way I can. I do not want that mother to think that the world watches your despair and can bother to find no support to offer you.”

All profits exclusive of printing, credit card and marketing costs will go directly to the refugee relief efforts of OpUSA.

“We at OpUSA are so grateful for the support of Mr. Dunbier and all artists and writers involved with this project” says Mary Dolan, Director of Communications. “Operation USA is entirely privately funded, so projects such as Comics for Ukraine: Sunflower Seeds play a vital role in building our capacity to provide critical relief where needed most. Proceeds from this project will have a direct impact on the lives of those deeply affected by the ongoing war—improving conditions for Ukrainian refugees in Poland and other nearby countries via the provision of emergency grants and in-kind material aid. We thank all those involved in this meaningful project.”

Here is a partial list of contents:

Astro City Kurt Busiek (writer), Brent Anderson (penciler), Wade Von Grawbadger (inker), Comicraft (letterer)

Hardrada Dave Gibbons (writer), Chris Sprouse (penciler), Kevin Nowlan (inker), Laura Martin (colorist)

Scary Godmother (Jill Thompson)

Star Slammers Walter Simonson (writer/artist), Laura Martin (colorist), John Workman (letterer)

Usagi Yojimbo (Stan Sakai)

American Flagg (Howard Chaykin)

Groo – Mark Evanier (writer), Sergio Aragones (artist), Stan Sakai (letterer)

Chew John Layman (writer/letterer), Rob Gilroy (artist)

Grendel: Hunter Rose Matt Wagner (writer/artist), Brennan Wagner (colorist)

Untitled Louise Simonson (writer) June Brigman (artist)

Untitled Mark Waid (writer) Gabriel Rodriguez (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), Todd Klein (letterer)

Portfolio – Peter Kuper

Political Cartoon – Pia Guerra

Madman pinup – Mike Allred

Editorial on Ukrainian cartoonists – Josh Dysart

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