I’m back on my feet (if a bit wobbly), so Inside Out will shortly return to regularly scheduled programming.
Every once in a while, you get a chance to see first-hand how awesome people can be. I’ve had plenty in the last couple months, but none so incredible as organizing the Girl-Wonder Art Et Cetera Auction.
Girl-Wonder.org is a labor of love. The admins cover most of the operating expenses out of pocket, and everything we do, from site building and maintenance, to forum moderation, to columns, to convention presence, is done on donated time.
We’ve grown exponentially in both size and scope over the past year: what began as a small fan campaign dedicated to a single character is becoming a nexus for the feminist comics community. We’re dreaming big, too, making plans for projects far beyond anything we could have imagined a year ago. Eighteen months ago, we weren’t much more than a live-journal community; now, we’re about to incorporate as a nonprofit organization.
Which brings me to the story behind the auction.
When we started looking into incorporation, we were floored at how much it would cost. Girl-Wonder is a nickel-and-dime business: our operating budget-most of which goes to cover band width-pretty much consists of what admins can scrounge out of their pockets. This stuff was on a scale we could hardly conceive.
Around the same time, we got an email from Supergirl artist Renato Guedes. He was contacting us, Renato explained, to express his gratitude for the support for his work that he’d seen on the G-W forums and to ask if he could do a drawing for us, which he suggested that we might auction as a fund raiser.
We did some cursory planning and began to solicit donations from everyone we knew, on the forums, on blogs, at conventions. Our starting goal was to raise enough money to cover incorporation costs, although we were pretty sure that we’d still be paying a hefty chunk out-of-pocket.
The response floored us.
Artists, writers, and fans came out of the woodwork to offer support. Many sent items to auction; many others shared time and connections to help us publicize our drive. As the auction has grown, so have our plans: as the line-up currently stands, if every item gets at least one bid, we’ll have enough not only to cover incorporation costs but to start an actual operating budget for future projects like scholarships, convention travel, and publications. The auction has also been the seed of a slew of ideas, from a Girl-Wonder calendar, to ongoing partnerships with craftspeople in the Girl-Wonder community, to a million and six other projects that we’ll soon have the capacity and capital to dive into.
But the most important thing we’ve gotten from organizing the auction is a sense of just how much support there really is for Girl-Wonder and our mission. The dialogues with both fans and professionals that have been born out of this give me a newfound sense of hope in the future of comics, and in the fact that, however slowly, we’re actually accomplishing something.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the artists and artisans who have donated items to the Art Et Cetera auction:
The fans and community members who’ve dug into their personal collections:
Melanie (whose last name I don’t know)
And finally, special thanks are due to Joshua Dysart, who has been instrumental in contacting artists, publishers, and other comics professionals on our behalf as well as helping us to publicize the auction.
The auction itself will take place from October 7-14. In the meantime, keep checking the preview page-there are still a few more items to be posted!
You can discuss this column-and the Art Et Cetera Auction-here.