The last time I wrote for Bleeding Cool was just after WonderCon, going on about how fictional heroes have inspired me to do more good deeds – to try and be better. From donating to Hero Initiative and the Horn of Africa to volunteering time to feed the homeless here in the states, I’ve aimed to make it a mission to help people.
Since that article I decided to take a more proactive path in trying to help with a cause far more personal to me. As a writer, it’s easy to get caught up in spreading the word without following those words with action. So this is me, writing about the action I’m now taking. I’m leading a cause; one that doesn’t have many supporters raising awareness or funds. As a brain aneurysm survivor that was given a second chance when many in my shoes do not receive the same, I felt it my responsibility to help where I could. Being connected to the nerd world, knowing other amazing writers and artists, co-hosting a very fun radio show with my friends Gene Hoyle & Jack Graziano, it became clear to me that not only could I make a difference, but I was connected to many that have the talent to actually help me do so.
My life was saved, and it’s time to show the reason why. The Naïve Project is what I created, and through it we will publish a comic book called Solestar. It’s a 55 page story, of which I wrote, and I’m asking for each page to be donated by a different artist. Right now pages 1-11 are being worked on. Once those are done, I will begin, with whatever artists contact me, on pages 12-22.
Gene Hoyle and I are creating a monthly schedule, where artists pick their page and begin on the 25th of one month and have till the 18th of the following month to turn it in. We understand artists are donating so we aren’t strict on the due date, but we are trying to stay on schedule to have this printed just in time for Christmas of this year.
Once the art of the 55 pages are completed, they will be packaged in Graphic Novel format with an additional 45 pages of information about brain aneurysms, the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (who is sponsoring and supporting us), and a short story about our journey to make this project a reality, full of photos and unused artwork. The 100 page graphic novel will sell for $10, with all proceeds going to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation. You get a (hopefully) cool and unique “jam” style comic book, and a life like mine gets saved. It really doesn’t get more win/win than this.
To tell you a quick bit about Solestar himself; the story takes place close to the year 2099 (yes, a fanboy nod) and follows Isamu Takahashi, the world’s first superhero, created near the end of World War II. He’s been alive over 150 years and is literally living his final day on Earth when the story begins, and he knows it. Feeling his time near its end, Solestar embarks on a journey to leave the world in a better place than the one he woke up in after the horrors of Hiroshima.
It’s a bit sappy at points, but full of some really amazing action scenes, and powers that you haven’t seen used in such a way. Like Isamu, I’m not out to make history with this project. I am however, just trying to make some type of positive change in a world that seems consumed by the opposite. The first aneurysm I had took away my ability to draw, which no matter how hard I try, can’t seem to get back. The day will come when I will have another brain aneurysm. If my ability to write is taken from me, if I can’t relearn to walk or talk again, then I want this project around to remind people I did something when I had the chance; that I didn’t waste any time.
If you are an artist out there, please contact me. I’ll send out the final script to those who write me on July 22nd, 2012 and will post the first 22 pages of it on our website, www.nerdnation.co the week after Comic-Con so people can read for themselves just the type of story we’re aiming to tell. We’ll also share some of the finished pages on there and on our Facebook page if you’d like to keep up with our progress.
Once the artist picks a page, they have nearly 4 weeks to draw it before the due date, of which I will do my best to be flexible with if you need more time. It’s a charity so I will be extremely patient. A fraction of your talent will not only raise awareness for a foundation that needs help, and that the government has turned a deaf ear towards, but the funds raised will save more lives. A superhero that actually saves lives… I think it’s kind of cool.
In the United States alone, 6 million people are walking around today with an unruptured aneurysm, which could go at any second. That’s 1 in 50 people that will suddenly drop to the ground, with the worst pain in their head they’ve ever felt, with the chance of survival very slim. A ruptured aneurysm happens as often as every 18 minutes. Over 60% of survivors will have disabilities. All survivors will experience more than one brain aneurysm. My doctor actually told me, “Your aneurysm was the closest thing to an act of God I’ve seen.”
I don’t mean to frighten with these statistics, but merely educate. For more information on Brain Aneurysms and how you can prevent them, or what to do in the case of one, visit www.bafound.org when you can. It’s a serious issue that could affect any one of us at any time. The life we save with this project could be someone close to you; a mother, a father, significant other, or child. If you can’t donate a page, please help us spread the word.
I’ll also be at San Diego Comic-Con, walking down Artist’s Alley with information on this project, with the goal to hopefully recruit more talented artists to our cause. If I miss you at your table and you are interested, I’ll be signing my book, Heaven’s Echo, at the Arcana Booth on Sunday.
To the artists already helping me, I cannot thank you enough. To those who are interested in joining us, please give me a chance. Email me, read my script, and you will see this is not only a story worth bringing to life, but a story that will save lives as well.
Below is contact information for The Naïve Project and the best way to get a hold of me. Use our hashtags on Twitter when talking about us or when you do a good deed. Before I go, I will share a video from YouTube. This is Steve, the first brain aneurysm survivor I came across online while going through physical therapy. Having survived three aneurysms in his life, he became my first source of inspiration. He’s writing a book and believes all of us survivors should be out there, spreading the message and doing interesting projects like this to help save more lives. Though we’ve never talked, Steven’s message was received by The Naïve Project loud and clear. So here we are, spreading the message, aiming to save lives. Help us if you can.
If you’d like to hear more about my story and this project, get a free download of the Battle Drawn Radio Show’s Episode 6, where Gene and I talk about The Naïve Project, Solestar, and our mission at Nerd Nation.
Siike Donnelly is a published author, part time blogger, and nearly full time radio show co-host. He can be found walking his dog around Hollywood or helping out at his favorite comic book store, Golden Apple Comics. Follow him @explodingbullet and hit him up on Facebook if you like reading the daily rants of a nerd that tries to live on the optimistic side of life.
Art by Kate Carleton. Solestar Flyer art by Paul Barnes. Logo designed by Martin Dunn.