As a kid growing up in the midwest, tornadoes were always a threat to be feared. When I was 9, a tornado touched down very close to our house, late one summer night. I can remember my mom frantically pulling me out of bed to drag me to the basement. The sirens had just started to wail, the wind was screaming as if a freight train had been routed through our backyard and the long, dark green curtains that hung next to my window were flapping madly against the ceiling. It was horrifying.
So when an EF-5 tornado leveled a huge chunk of Joplin, Missouri last month, it was easy to empathize with the city’s residents, but it was difficult to comprehend the destruction. Thirty percent of the city was just gone, replaced by an unidentifiable mass of twisted metal and splintered timber. Ten of the town’s 18 schools were destroyed or significantly damaged. Thousands of families had lost everything they owned, but escaped with their lives. One hundred and fifty-five were not as lucky. Everyone in this town of fifty thousand was profoundly affected by this incomprehensible disaster.
The outpouring of assistance was immediate and generous, a reaffirming example of humanity’s caring for one another. Yet, it will be years before the city can return to anything resembling a normal life and, while parents can immerse themselves in work to distract themselves, kids have a long and idle summer ahead of them.
More than two dozen cartoonists, writers, editors and designers who used to work for Nickelodeon Magazine have decided to do something about that. They’ve begun work on Comics Express, a comic book packed with great stories, cool art and activities to keep kids occupied. They are donating their talents and time to get this book complete, but they need help getting it printed and shipped to Joplin.
Using IndieGoGo, a service similar to Kickstarter, they’ve created a page to raise the funds needed to complete this project. While there are different levels of support, they are asking that dads donate $20 to Comic Express. In return, you’ll receive a copy of the book and pay for 16 kids in Joplin to receive a copy, too. They are already more than halfway to their goal and any extra money raised will go to the Joplin Adopt-A-Classroom fund. So please visit the Comics Express page and donate today.