Bill Messner-Loebs has done work for almost every major comic publisher. Publishers like Aardvark-Vanheim, BOOM!, Comico, Dark Horse, DC Comics, Eclipse, Fantagraphics, IDW Publishing, Marvel, and more have all featured his talent.
After losing his arm to a cancerous tumor as a kid, Messner-Loebs began his career in comics began in 1983 where he writes and draws with his left hand. That alone is an amazing story of talent. Messner-Loebs has worked for high-profile publishers and on characters such as Jonny Quest, The Flash, Hawkman, Thor, The Maxx, and wrote Wonder Woman starting in 1992.
His tale is one that no matter how high-profile the characters you work on or the publisher you work with, the life of a freelance worker is one of financial perilousness.
Following years of limited freelance work and health-related financial setbacks for his family, Messner-Loebs’ financial situation became dire resulting in the loss of his home and resulting in a benefit auction and tribute book. 18 years later, he still struggles financially forcing him to work two part-time positions and his living out of his car.
Despite his initial setback, Bill found a new home, but that was lost due to a gas leak. He learned of that while receiving the Bill Finger Award at San Diego Comic Con. He had lost house number two. Ever since, for shelter he has gone from church to church while also living out of his card working 16-20 hours a week to survive.
You’d know Bill’s work which lasts to this day. He relaunched Pied Piper as gay in 1991 (groundbreaking for the time) and developed Artemis for the world of Wonder Woman. He has had a lasting impact on comics.
Things are turning around for Bill as he’s been approved for a housing choice voucher so he and his wife can find a place to live. But, his tale is one that’s all too common in the comic industry where wages are low and safety nets are few and far between. All of this while publishers rake in millions and their parent companies make billions off of character created by talent such as Bill Messner-Loebs. Organizations like The Hero Initiative attempt to step in to help, but they can only do so much and need the support of fans and other creators.
Bill’s is a story that’s heart wrenching and sadly there so many more creators whose stories are just as devastating.
Bill and his wife have been helped by the Severe Weather Network. There are currently no county-run homeless shelters in Livingston County, making the program the only emergency housing option in the area. You can donate to help through their GoFundMe.
If you’re able and willing to offer some assistance to Bill, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org who originally broke the story.
(via Fox 2 Detroit)