Comic book writer Marc Andreyko was hit hard by the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Fla., so he decided to do something about it, reaching out to mastermind what became the new 144-page all-star comic book anthology “Love Is Love.”
“As a gay man, I lived through the AIDS crisis, and when something this horrible happened, it brought back a lot of those feelings,” Andreyko told KPCC. “I’m a child of the ’80s; I’m a child of ‘We Are The World’ and ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas;’ and my reflex was, the comics community needs to do something. We as artists need to do something about this. And by 7 o’clock that night, the Sunday, the day after the massacre, I had 75 different people — big name artists and writers and publishers and publicists and printers all saying, ‘We’re on board.'”
The proceeds from the project go to Equality Florida to help the families of those who were killed and survivors of the Pulse massacre. The materials and work put into the book were all donated.
“Everybody wanted to be a part of this book, and it wasn’t a matter of pulling teeth at all,” Andreyko said. “It was a matter of making sure I returned as many phone calls as possible
The project features one- to two-page stories about love from a who’s who of comic book creators, along with non-comics names like comedian Patton Oswalt and former “Saturday Night Live” star Taran Killam.
One of the biggest names: J.K. Rowling, who gave her blessing to allow a quote from her work to be used with a new image of her characters, drawn by comic book great Jim Lee.
“We reached out to J.K. Rowling because of one of the kids who was killed in Orlando worked at the theme park ride at Universal,” Andreyko said.
Andreyko got choked up talking about the project and the impact it could have on readers. He hopes readers find it both distressing and hopeful.
“I’m hoping that it upsets them, because horrible things like this shouldn’t be compartmentalized and forgotten,” Andreyko said. “Things like this are supposed to hurt for a long time, because they should never happen again. I hope people realize, like the title says, love is love.”
Andreyko wrote an homage to the 1950s romance comic “Falling In Love,” with a happy couple walking through a park and seeing straight, gay and transgender couples of all ages, illustrated by legendary comics artist George Perez.
Andreyko said he was inspired and overwhelmed by how everyone came together on the book, with companies even granting permission to use characters from Superman to Archie.
“If it’s the last thing I’m known for, or the only thing I’m known for in my obituary, I’m good with that,” Andreyko said. “The fact that this book might make a teenager in Oklahoma’s life a little bit easier and give them hope — I mean, what’s not to like about that?”
“Love Is Love” is in stores now.