As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, members of the comics industry in the United States and abroad have launched a number of initiatives to support the Ukrainian people.
Mark Siegel, Editorial Director of First Second Books (also an author and artist in his own right) has set up a fundraiser on One-time fund to support Irbis Comics, a Ukrainian publisher of comics and graphic novels for young people. Irbis has donated Ukrainian-language comics to war-displaced children, but it’s a small publisher that needs help to stay in business and keep donating. As Siegel points out, “The Ukrainian publishing industry, along with its free press, was the target of Putin’s war machine long before the invasion. Supporting our comic colleagues and friends in Ukraine can contribute to the future of Ukraine, now in such a delicate balance.
Humanoids has announced that it will donate a portion of the proceeds from Makhno: Ukrainian freedom fighter, which they released this week under their Life Drawn imprint, to the Ukrainian nonprofit Rakom, which brings medical and humanitarian aid to people on the front line. The book is a graphic biography of Ukrainian revolutionary Nestor Makhno, who fought both Russians and Germans in the early 20th century.
Ukrainian artist Vlad Legostaev created variant covers for issues 13 and 14 of the Image series by Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville time before time; proceeds from these blankets will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
At the Bologna Book Fair, Ruslana Koropetska, editor-in-chief of Lviv-based UA Comix, discussed licensing deals and accepted well wishes from fellow attendees; she was only able to attend the fair because she was in the Netherlands when Russia invaded Ukraine. “My colleagues are mostly safe – or as safe and OK as they can be under the circumstances,” she said. The bookstore in an article published on March 22. “We have a lot of stock in the United States, but a lot of it is in a warehouse in Kyiv, which is safe as of now. But that could change tomorrow.
The CEOs of 12 Ukrainian comic publishers and the staff of two others have signed an open letter on the AU Geek website calling on the rest of the comics world to cut ties with Russia, refusing to allow their comics to be licensed or sold in Russia, work for Russian publishers, or participate in Russian events. The letter was also signed by over 100 writers, artists, editors and translators and 225 readers.
Besides, Weekly editors reports that the directors of the international book fairs of Bologna, Bogota, Brussels, Budapest, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Guadalajara, Jerusalem, Leipzig, Prague, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Taipei and Warsaw have signed a letter denouncing the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and pledging to cut ties with Russian state institutions and allow Ukrainian publishers to exhibit for free in their salons.