As Obama attempts to discuss health care this past week, and as the media decides to focus on other news instead, I find it sadly ironic that yet another artist's plight for covering expensive medical costs has found it way to internet awareness.
Joel Ostrander, well know author to comic books including Batman, Bishop, Blackhawk, Captain Atom, Catwoman, Deadshot, Doctor Who, Dynamo Joe, Elfquest, Eternal Warrior, Firestorm, GrimJack, Hawkman, Justice League, Heroes For Hire, The Kents, Legends, Magnus Robot Fighter, Martian Manhunter, Munden’s Bar, The Punisher, Quicksilver, Rai, Spectre, Starslayer, Star Wars, Suicide Squad, Warp, Wasteland, Wolverine, and X-Men suffers from Glaucoma. Recent surgeries to help save his eyesight have exceeded the coverage allotted to him from his insurance company.
The website comix4sight.com explains further:
John recently under went a surgical procedure called Glaucoma Filtration Surgery (trabeculectomy). The surgery is a treatment when medications cannot lower eye pressure enough. Excess interior fluid in the eye or pressure erodes the optic nerve – that's basically what glaucoma does. Over the past several decades, John had grown resistant or allergic to some of the meds he had been taking that have kept the pressure down. This site helps explain the procedure and this is a good general site about glaucoma itself.
As of now, the surgeries have been deemed a strong but tentative success for John. Unfortunately, like so many Americans, John’s rather expensive health insurance didn’t cover all the costs of saving his eyesight… not even near. The procedure was done in Boston and required two separate week-long trips to Boston, as well as repeated follow-up trips to track his progress and make adjustments.
John was aware that he could not afford the surgeries on his own; that’s when we, his friends and family in the comic book field, decided we had to do something to help. Too often in the comics world we find ourselves holding events after we’ve lost a creator who has given us so many years of joy. Now we have a chance to help one before its too late- after all it would be terribly hard for John to write dialog for pages he cannot see.
I know what you might be thinking. It's just glaucoma, it's just his eyesight, this isn't life or death. But as I sit here completely void of health insurance of any kind and like so many Americans struggling to pay the bills through my art form, I can't help but consider how incredibly shit out of luck I would be if I developed a medical condition of any kind, and how incredibly grateful I would feel if those who listened to my music pitched in and donated anything to help out should a medical condition of this large a scope be in my (unlucky) cards.
I think we can all agree America's health care system needs a major overhaul though we may disagree on how that should be done. Few of us have the pocketbook to just hand out money to those in need and I dare say most of us have opinions on who is worthy of such donations. I know I do. I don't give money to those begging on the subway or on the corner of my block. I don't sponsor a child in Africa and I have regrettably not participated in many friend's attempts to raise money for various cancer and related illnesses. I have no idea if I've ever actually read anything by John Ostrander, but as some who reads comic books in general, and as an artist struggling to make a living with my art, this cause struck me as one truly in need of my measly $5 . I can't help everyone and I know you can't either. I leave it up to you, without judgment, to decide if this is a cause worthy of your few dollars.
Many thanks to Gail Simone whose repeated Tweets regarding this fundraiser convinced me to put this cause in my "worthy" pile.