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How you can help Bill Messner-Loebs

Official Press Release

Hello, my name is Dirk Deppey, and I'm webmaster for The ComicsJournal (www.tcj.com), America's most reputable magazine of news andopinion on the comics medium.

Last Tuesday, we received word from William Messner-Loebs, creator ofthe acclaimed comic book series "Journey" and former writer for DCComics' "The Flash" that his home was in imminent danger offoreclosure on Friday the 14th due to the machinations of adouble-dealing bank. We immediately set out organizing a web-basedcampaign to find some rich benefactor to save him from this fate.

When the deadline came and went, we shifted gears and beganattempting to raise money amongst comics fans to help make Bill andhis wife Nadine's landing as soft as possible. To facilitate this,we've opened an unused forum on our online message board to serve asa clearing-house information, and for fans to advertise benefit eBayauctions and the like. The forum, entitled "Bill 'n' Nadine's OnlineRent Party," can be found here:

I realize this is an unweildy URL, so here's the "basic information" thread within that forum:

We are of course looking to spread the word about all of this as farand wide as possible -- which brings me to you. Could you help?Enclosed below are transcripts of a press release from theMessner-Loebs, which should provide you with all the basicinformation. We're encouraging people to send checks (made out to"William F. Loebs") to:

Bill & Nadine Messner-Loebs

PO Box 558

Pinckney, MI 48169

As the messages below make clear, there's a classic "nasty bankscrews poor, handicapped, aging comics creator" angle that shouldmake for interesting reading -- and Bill and Nadine need helpsomething fierce. Incidentally, they can be contacted via email at"billmloebs@aol.com".

Thank you in advance for any consideration you can spare.

- Dirk Deppey

dirk@fantagraphics.com

Webmaster, The Comics Journal

Press release begins:

Critically acclaimed, award-winning 27 year veteran writer/artistBill Messner-Loebs thought the comics industry had forgotten him. "Iwas working at Marvel Comics when that company hit hard times but wasassured by my editor that my job was secure. Little did he know thathe was soon to be fired along with most of Marvel's staff and talent.I didn't scramble for a job when the crisis first hit and when I waslet go, all the jobs were filled."

Subsequently, Bill and his wife, Nadine, went through a bad patchwhere they were unable to pay their mortgage. "We had enough money toredeem the house in September but the company holding the lienwouldn't talk to us. We didn't know what to do so we were sent to afriend, Catherine Reisterer, a real-estate attorney, who contactedthe lien-holder, Trott & Trott of Southfield, Michigan, on ourbehalf in November. She was assured that the company was willing towork with us. Consequently we stopped looking for alternatefinancing. We had a good down payment but, of course, our creditrating was terrible.

"For months she called and wrote but got no reply. On the very dayshe spoke to a representative who assured her everything was fine,we came home to find an eviction notice on our door. Ms. Reistererwas furious and we were completely terrified. As it is now, we needto find someone to buy our home for $84,000 from Trott & Trott andresell it to us on a land contract before June 15th, with our home assecurity," Nadine added. "We are desperate because due to the risingprices we cannot even afford to move into another house, even to rentone!"

Maggie Thompson, editor of the esteemed Comics Buyers Guide, thecomics industry newspaper, steered them toward A.C.T.O.R. (AllCommitted to Our Roots), a Hollywood-based relief fund for comicsindustry professionals. They came forward with living expenses forthe winter and additional funds to help redeem the home so theycould keep the down payment as a lump sum. The board of directorsalso began helping Bill find work, but the income from various jobswon't be enough to save our home in time.

Nadine pointed out that Bill has had to deal with unemployment aswell as a sudden downturn in his wife's health. She has lost 50percent of her hearing in one ear and 60 percent in the other. Shehad a bad fall in February, 2002 and the subsequent head injury hasleft her with double and blurred vision, unceasing headaches, nauseaand an uneven gait. She injured her lungs as well and has hadpneumonia, influenza and bronchitis since then, all resulting in veryserious breathing problems. In one eight-day period she had fivebreathing treatments. The lack of insurance has meant that she hasbeen unable to see the neurologist recommended by her doctor and hasapplied for McPherson Help, a program designed to help theuninsured. Still, the uncertainty over the home situation has nothelped her problems.

As handicapped senior citizens, Bill (who lost his right arm whenonly 13 days old) and Nadine did everything they could to take careof themselves without looking for outside assistance. Bill was anon-line entertainment editor for a dot.com company from January toMay in 2001 but only received five pay checks because the recessioncaused their major client to default on his payments. "We all keptworking because the guy kept saying he would make it up and we wereexpecting a big check. He never paid and the company went under. Thatwas the straw that broke the homeowner's back.

"Since then we've learned that the middle class is the largest groupdropping into homelessness. We're not on drugs or alcohol, involvedin crime or nefarious activities, we just couldn't get the money andthe projects lined up in the right order to keep the mortgage paid.We only owe one-third of what the property is worth. We feel as if weare in a Simon Legree melodrama and the bad guys are twirling theirmustaches to throw us out immediately. It's ironic that we have beenvolunteers for the Salvation Army R.E.A.C.H. program for the homelessand have helped raise monies and food for the needy now we are in thesame situation."

Bill appeared in the first alternative comic book published by PowerComics in Lansing, Michigan and in the second one, A+ Comics,published in Detroit. He is thus considered a comics pioneer."Michigan has been in the forefront of the comics industry, inproviding talent and inspiration. We have top letterers, pencilers,writers and cover artists actively working in this fascinatingindustry. I just feel fortunate that I was in it for so long and itlooks now that my friends are helping me to a comeback. You can't getany luckier than that!"

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