National Cartoonists Society to Hold Art Auction for Teen in Coma

Official Press Release

Cartoonists across America are drawing more than comic relief this week as they begin posting work online in an unprecedented eBay auction. Spearheaded by former Disney artists Tom Bancroft, director Tony Bancroft ("Mulan") and Chad Frye, auction funds will help support the family and finances of fellow cartoonist Tim Hodge whose son Matthew remains in a coma five months after his car was hit by a train. (Preview items at www.HelpTheHodges.com).

At 1 pm ET on Thursday, Jan. 21, the National Cartoonists Society Foundation (NCSF) 501(c)(3) launches their eBay fund-raising auction to benefit the Hodge family. The 165 lots include treasures such as: An original Charles Schulz "Charlie Brown" drawingAn illustration by famous movie poster artist Drew StruzanCharacter drawings by Disney supervising animators of characters from the new "The Princess and the Frog" feature filmIllustrations of "Po" from "Kung Fu Panda" character designer Nico Marlet.A drawing by the 2010 Golden Globe winning director of Pixar's "Up" Pete Docter signed by actor Ed Asner.

"Art has come in from artists all over the world," organizer Tom Bancroft said, amazed. "Almost every major animation film studio is represented."

"We will post about 50 items each week for three weeks. Each set of items will be up for ten days," Tony Bancroft explained. "We expect to conclude on February 14."

"The NCSF is accepting donations on behalf of the Hodge family," Chad Frye said. "It is just amazing to see the outpouring of support from the cartooning community, many of which have never even met the Hodges."

While many of the artists do not know Tim Hodge personally, the kinship of one of their own going through this difficult time resonates with every one of them. Jean Schulz, widow of "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz, said, "Please know my heart goes out to Matthew and his family and I wish them well on their road to recovery."

Matthew, the 17-year-old son of former Disney story artist and Big Idea Productions Director Tim Hodge, was driving across railroad tracks in his hometown of Franklin, TN when his car was struck by a train going 50 mph. Though Matt suffered neither broken bones nor internal organ damage, severe head trauma caused a coma. That was August 22, 2009. Today Matt-a high school senior, straight-A student, and a drummer in his state championship marching band-remains comatose.

As with many self-employed artists, Matt's father's short-term medical insurance falls short of long-term injury care. Compounding the Hodge's financial crisis and mounting medical bills, Matt's need for constant care limits Tim's ability to work full time.

The NCSF is the charitable arm of the National Cartoonists Society, the world's largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. It was formed in 2005 to continue the charitable and educational works that have been a hallmark of the NCS since its inception in 1946. The NCSF exists not only to help fund educational endeavors for cartooning but to help cartoonists in times of great hardship, like the Hodges.

Artists wishing to contribute a piece of art to the auction may do so by contacting Chad Frye at Chad@ChadFrye.com.

Outside the auction, donate to www.HelpTheHodges.com via a Paypal link.

The NCS Foundation website www.CartoonistFoundation.org.

Updates on Matthew's condition are at www.CaringBridge.org/visit/matthodge.

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