In the recent “Heroes” charity book published by Marvel Comics fans saw a number of tributes by comic artists and writers to the heroes of the September 11th tragedies. One such piece was written by CBR contributor Gail Simone which originally appeared here at CBR.
Titled “They Missed,” Simone’s piece was reprinted in “Heroes” over untitled artwork by Doreen Mulryan, a staffer at Marvel Comics working in their production department. Unfortunately, much of Mulryan’s artwork was obscured by the text and couldn’t be seen clearly, so we got in touch with Doreen and Marvel to bring you the story behind the artwork.
Mulryan’s contribution to “Heroes” was motivated not just by wishing to pay tribute to those lost in the attack, but also due to a personal connection to the tragedy.
“My Dad is a retired Captain from the FDNY, and I have two Uncles who are retired from the FDNY as well, they lost a lot of friends, one of them a close friend of my family, Lieutenant John Ginley,” Mulryan told CBR News. “The number 40 on the helmet in my painting is the number of John Ginley’s company in Lincoln Center, Engine 40. He lost his life September 11th. So this piece is dedicated to him and his family.”
“When I first showed the painting to my father he was in tears, he was very happy with it, he always wanted me to do a drawing of a fireman when I was little, so this is for him as well.”
While the experience of painting this piece may have been cathartic for Mulryan, it’s also made her a bit uneasy.
“This is my first published work,” Mulryan told CBR News, “and I’m glad that it is going towards a good cause, however, I feel a little weird that I’m getting attention for it. I was just doing it to help out. After 9/11 I had a lot of feelings of guilt about everything. I felt guilty about doing anything when other people were suffering…and I couldn’t draw and paint either, I felt guilty about that too, until I realized I could help out by drawing and painting. So I decided to do the painting, and if I didn’t get into the ‘Heroes’ book that was fine with me, I would give the painting to my father or the Ginley family, who would be more than happy to have it.
“When I finished it, I brought the piece to [Marvel Editor] Mike Raicht and…then I found out it got into the ‘Heroes’ book and I couldn’t believe it! Here I am just out of college with not a lot of money to donate, but I was able to help out as an artist by painting something, and the project has already made a large amount of money. I’m glad I was able to help in some way.”
Marvel Comics plans to auction the artwork collected in “Heroes” at a later date and Mulryan’s piece will be included in that auction. All money raised by the auction will benefit September 11th related charities.
Mulryan isn’t certain where she’ll go next with her art, but she plans on investigating a number of different directions.
“I’m interested in so many things from character design, to spot illustrations, and children’s books, to comic work, so I really want to focus on one thing at a time and see where I can
go from there.”
The most recent printing of “Heroes” from Marvel Comics can be found in comic stores nation wide.
Thanks to Michael Marts at Marvel and Gail Simone for their assistance with this story.