Musician and writer Jonathan Diener is no stranger to comics or to the struggles of his hometown of Flint, Michigan. But following his DIY roots, he's brought together both for shot at aiding a deserving cause in the city still racked by a lead-poisoned water supply.
Tomorrow, Diener and publisher Source Point Press will unveil HOPE: A Comic For Flint at a live-streamed concert in Flint. The anthology issue combines the might of local creators to raise money for The Compass, a program of Michigan Community Services Inc. aiding adults with developmental disabilities. Diener (best known as the drummer for punk band The Swellers) shared a first look inside his story with artist Craig Horky with CBR.
"I’ve been wanting to make a jump from music to comics for years, especially after seeing my peers like Max Bemis of the band Say Anything and former record label owner Matthew Rosenberg both writing for Marvel and making a big name for themselves,” said Diener. “My band, Baggage, has been raising money for the city of Flint through our releases, so it only made sense to do good for our city with my favorite medium: comics."
The collective of creators decided to contribute their proceeds to The Compass after they saw a tangled web surrounding many of the higher profile charities and startups surrounding the ongoing water crisis. "The Flint Water Crisis is something everyone has heard about, but we have yet to see a resolution," Diener said. "When we realized the millions of dollars being pumped into Flint from donations around the world were not necessarily going where it was supposed to, we decided to focus on underfunded nonprofits that could make a difference. We see what happens the second we hand over a check and that’s why working with The Compass was a no-brainer."
Diener and Horky's story focuses on the reality of explaining the world to kids in the wake of tragedy. The HOPE comic also includes work from writers El Whitcombe, Sam Moore, Robb Anthony and Carl Mizell, as well as artists Emily Woodruff, Kadee Spangler, Michelle Lukezic and Miranda Ireland. "I asked everyone to be a part of this comic because I loved their work, I knew they were driven and I wanted them to get a signal boost in something that can finally showcase their hard work," Diener told CBR. "It’s expensive and time-consuming to make a comic from scratch, but for a good cause, we all had the motivation to make it happen. It wasn’t about us anymore. It was about Flint."