Back in 2008, I was living in Harvey, LA right outside of New Orleans. I was doing work to help directly and indirectly with the recovery post Katrina. I had been there since late 2006. One day, after being gone all day to a strawberry festival with some extended family, we came home to find our apartment complex a pile of smoking rubble and fire fighters everywhere. They were tearing down the rest of the building that had not burned. Turns out that our apartment, which was on the first floor didn’t burn either but was just torn down. We lost everything, my wife who was pregnant at the time cried as we lost things that were irreplaceable like wedding gifts, photos etc. However, we had renters insurance so other things we could and did replace eventually. The Red Cross put us up in hotel and then from there we stayed with family until everything went through with our insurance and we got back on our feet.
During that time, I used to frequent the now defunct IDW Publishing forums. I was always there discussing Transformers comics. During that time, I was just venting about losing everything and of course, that included my comic book collection. This post was seen by Chris Ryall, IDW’s current Editor-in-Chief and he commented on the thread and said, "Let me know when you get on your feet and we’ll see what we can do." I imagine he knew I was not faking, as I had posted a link to the local news report showing the fire and I’d been a regular of the forums for quite a while. A few weeks went by, so I messaged Mr. Ryall and told him I was straight and he asked for my address. A week or so later I got a box in the mail with about $200 bucks worth of comic trades. Mr. Ryall stated that he rounded up every book that was physically at the office and sent it.
I had a number of people in my life who helped me out at the time with generous acts of kindness and financial support. My grandfather’s church back in Alabama helped us out and a local church had adopted me and helped us out. It all meant a lot to me and my family. Yet, IDW was an up and coming major player in the comic book publishing scene, and their taking the time to gather these trades together as a gift meant a lot to me as well. I mean how many companies small or otherwise would take it upon themselves to do that? Not many if any, so I’ll always be grateful for that. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy everything IDW does because I don’t want to be broke and of course quality of books with any company goes up and down. I do think their current series, Transformers Lost Light, is great (I wrote about it here). However, it is important to know that this experience with IDW is not influencing future reviews in any way. There have been things I haven’t enjoyed and I’ll say that just in case anyone is wondering. I guess I am essentially reviewing the generosity shown to me back in 2008 and that was an A+ classic level event which most them probably don’t even think about. Some actions people may view as small things can be big to others, and make a huge impact. I know I’ll never forget what they did for me. Don’t let anyone tell you people don’t do nice things or that strangers can’t care.