In comics, even established and popular creators can be left in a financial lurch when medical tragedy strikes.
After being struck by a drunk driver late last month, "Lenore" cartoonist Roman Dirge is on the mend and in good spirits, but covering the bills for a badly broken leg presents a new challenge beyond an already long recovery ahead. To help alleviate the bills, Dirge's family have set up a fund allowing fans to contribute via the Give Forward web portal.
In the meantime, Dirge's publisher Titan Comics forwarded this message to readers from the artist explaining his side of the incident with his characteristic deadpan humor:
I type this from my recovery bed, still in shock that this all happened. I was gonna stay in that night, but I had been putting in 18 hour days to finish the new Lenore issue, so I thought "Yeah, let's go out for a couple of drinks at the local pub. What could it hurt?"
My girlfriend and I left a bar called The Powerhouse at 2:00 am and started our walk home. Less than a block from our house, we waited for the green walk light and crossed the street. We were halfway across, when a black Mercedes SUV ran the light and headed towards us. Before we could react, the car accelerated and hit us full on. I got the brunt of it, which I'm thankful for because my girlfriend is like 3 feet tall and probably would have just exploded. The impact flung me about 10 feet forward, leaving one of my shoes where I stood. As my GF and I lay there in shock and screaming like girl children, the car just sat there for about 30 seconds. They then peeled out and fled into the distance. I hate them.
Amber had cuts and bruises and was in shock staring at my leg. Cause my leg is sexy, you ask? Possibly, but not on this night. I knew my leg was broken badly because it was going at an angle that just doesn't exist in nature. A Good Samaritan dragged me to the sidewalk and the police and paramedics arrived in a flash. It wasn't until they cut off my pants in the ambulance that I knew it was worse. By the way, hands down WORST day ever to have been free ballin' it. I digress.
Ultimately, the doctors had to rebuild my leg. I had been hit so hard, that large sections of my bones had powdered, and there was nothing left to mend. My foot was almost severed and was dangling from my leg by flesh and gunk. I spent only 4 days in the hospital and I'm in bed recovery for a month. Then I get to learn to walk again. Since I'm starting new, I'm leaning towards learning a pimp strut.
I'm a self employed artist and I do not have insurance. The bills will start arriving next week, which I assume will add up to the cost of a small private island. One of my good friends set up a donation page to help with this. Believe me, anything helps. I've been blown away by the outpouring of support from friends, fans and family. I thank everyone, from the bottom of my jerky-like heart, and I'm just so thankful of everything. That Amber and I are alive, that it wasn't my hand that got destroyed (shudder), that I am now part cyborg and that's just awesome, and to see that people are inherently decent and want to help.... Except for that @$#*% in the black SUV.
Titan added the following: "As a long time collaborator with Roman on his many exceptional projects, we at Titan Entertainment Group wish to offer him good health and a speedy recovery. We would also love to spread the word that Roman's friend's and family have set up a fund to help him with his medical bills as they will be exceedingly large.
"If you are a fan of Roman's work and would like to wish him all the best by making a contribution- please visit Give Forward."
Dirge's "Lenore" #8 is expected in comic shops at the end of the month. CBR wishes him and his girlfriend an easy and speedy recovery.