As many of you know, I’m from New Jersey. I was born here, still live here, and, much to the surprise of those who don’t live here (and probably many of those who do) I don’t ever want to leave. Unless you’ve been living under a rock - which would have been smart of you considering the weather lately - my home state (and its surrounding areas) was devastated by Hurricane Sandy a week and a half ago. Not, like, Katrina -level devastation - that was a once-in-a-lifetime devastation - but it was the worst storm we’ve ever had here. Most people lost power, many people lost their homes, some lost their lives. I’m one of the lucky ones - My greatest challenge was trying to read Marvel’s THE ESSENTIAL WARLOCK by candlelight for two days. I got halfway through it, by the way, which is really good considering I had three bored kids and a wife who kept asking when the power was going to come back on. There’s only so many different ways to answer “I don’t know.”
On Sunday, I drove down to southern Jersey with my dad, where he and mom have a summer home. Amy and I bring the kids down a couple of times a year so they can spend their summers the way I did as a kid, catching crabs, skipping stones off the lagoon in the backyard, playing on the boat, etc. The Garden State Parkway didn’t look very different along the way, but when we got off at our exit and headed into town, it got ugly. Branches and leaves everywhere, piles of debris on every front lawn. In my parents’ backyard, other people’s personal items, including photo albums that we were able to fish out of the water with a net so we can track down its proper owners, bobbed up and down in the water. And for the next couple of hours, we carried out just about everything that wasn’t on a high shelf, including dressers where we kept our clothes and the beds that we slept in many times, and made our own pile outside. The water where we catch crabs and skip stones on hot summer afternoons came up so high into the house during the storm that hardly anything was salvageable, down to the Scrabble and Monopoly boards.
But we were lucky. This is my parents’ summer home. A place they escape to on weekends. They have other beds to sleep in and tables to eat on. But those other people in town with piles on their lawns don’t. Those piles of debris were their lives.
As you can imagine, it’s been difficult for me to promote my Kickstarter after seeing what I’ve seen. I’m not giving up, but it’s very hard for me to ask people to pledge money to a comic book when there are so many people around me in need. Yeah, I know, people suffer every day all around the world, but this is personal for me. These are my neighbors. This is my home. That makes it a little bit harder to go on with business as usual when there are constant reminders. So if you know anyone who’d be interested in pledging to The Further Travels of Wyatt Earp, please encourage them to donate to Hurricane Sandy relief FIRST. I can always resubmit at another time if I have to, but my friends need help now.
This doesn’t mean The Further Travels of Wyatt Earp is going away. Not on your life! I love this project, I believe in this project and I’ve worked too hard on it to let anything take it away. And you’ve all shown too much love and support for me to let you down now that we’re nearly 50% funded. Like my home state, it’s going to make a comeback. Because this campaign - like my neighbors - is Jersey strong!