A Message from Karl Kesel

One of the most rewarding things about hosting The Karl Kesel Collection here at Blastoff has been watching the outpouring of generosity and support come in from all over the world as people have pitched in to buy some of Karl’s books and help out his family.

And what we didn’t expect was the groundswell of support from Reddit users at r/UpliftingNews, led by its moderator Razor Sheldon, who set up a fundraising campaign through CrowdTilt to buy as many of Karl’s books as they could and send them back to him, ultimately raising over $5600!

With the campaign completed, Karl asked if he could have a moment to express his gratitude, and we’re happy to oblige:



I could go on and on about the amazing people my wife Myrna and I have encountered along our road to adopt Isaac. The counselors and staff at Open Adoption and Family Services, the other waiting families (many of whom are now close friends), the birth mother and father who entrusted Isaac to us, the nurses and doctors who looked after Isaac (and us!) while he was in the hospital, everyone involved with Blastoff Comics— there are a lot of great people out there, all willing to go above and beyond.

But I never saw this one coming.

Wanting to adopt seemed natural to us. Paying for it by selling the heart of my comic collection was the only way we could afford it, and a sacrifice I was more than willing to make. Didn’t have to think twice. But actually, physically letting go of those comics— not easy. Not easy at all. I slowly sorted and re-bagged the comics, remembering how this one thrilled me, this one scared me, how hard I had to search to find that other one. It took a while. And then the stacked boxes sat in my studio for nearly two years. “I gotta sell these,” I kept thinking. But the time never seemed right. Not until Isaac was actually in our arms. Not only did I know it was time— I knew I was coming out way ahead in the deal.

Of course, the trick to paying for Isaac’s bills by selling my comics is that people have to buy those comics. Blastoff has done, quite frankly, a jaw-droppingly good job getting the word out. And people— because there are a lot of great people out there— responded.

But never in a million years would it have occurred to me that someone would buy my comics back for me. That they would actually give me money for my comics— money that I could use for Isaac— and then just give those comics back to me. I write and draw superhero stories for a living. I know all about selfless altruism. I know all about long odds and impossible goals and never giving up.

Looks like a lot of people do.

There honestly aren’t words to express how grateful I am for what Razor and company did for me. Because of them I’m able to get back some of the comics that, once gone, I found myself thinking about and missing. X-Men was my first favorite comic, and while I started reading with #49, the earlier Werner Roth issues have always been definitive to me— and I’ve always been a sucker for the Mimic— so it’s a joy to be able to snatch up a good number of them. I was also able to get all the issues of Thor with the Inhumans back-ups (but someone else beat me to the slightly earlier issue where Thor fought the Super-Skrull, darn it!), and the Kirby-drawn debut run of SHIELD in Strange Tales (added bonus: amazing Ditko Dr. Strange as the second feature!). I also scooped up some Steranko SHIELD comics, including #3, which scared me to death when I was a kid! But the high point for me is the return of many, many early issues of Daredevil. The prime reason for this can be summed up in two words: Mike Murdock. For those who don’t know: in order to protect his secret identity from being revealed, Matt Murdock claimed that he wasn’t Daredevil, his twin brother Mike was! It’s the most absurdly wonderful idea in the history of Silver Age Marvel and I love that character and storyline far more than any rational man should. And it was just a symptom of the disease: all the Daredevil stories from this period are just a little… odd. Daredevil disguises himself as Thor?! He’s thrown half a second out of sync with our timeline?!? He switches bodies with Dr. Doom?!?! All I can say is: they just don’t make comics like that any more. And I am thrilled to get a vary large amount of them back.

So thank you, Razor and the crowd who tilted at this windmill with him. There are a lot of great people out there— and that list starts with everyone who helped make this happen. Isaac is the greatest gift I have ever received. This is a very close second.

Karl Kesel

5 Responses to A Message from Karl Kesel

  1. David Toney October 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    To Karl: First, congratulations! As someone in the process of adopting, I know the feelings that you’re feeling. It’s a fantastic feeling, isn’t it? Second, I’ve enjoyed your work for a long time. Thank you for entertaining me.

    To everyone: If you want another way to help, I suggest contacting your Representative about the “Making Adoption Affordable Act” (H.R. 4373). This is a bipartisan bill that would give a REFUNDABLE tax credit of close to $13,000 to those adopting.

    Imagine the Kesel’s getting a tax refund of that amount. That would go a long way to offsetting the expense. This tax refund expired (in part) this year. We need to make this permanent. Five minutes in email or on the phone with your Congressperson will go a long way to getting this done.

    Here’s a link: http://adoptiontaxcredit.org/faqs/

    My apologies if, on the surface, this seems political. But, I can’t afford to give Mr. Kesel any direct contribution. But, if just a few of us can get the word out about this, we can directly help Mr. Kesel (and many others in similar situations).

  2. Dan September 11, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    I missed donating to the Reddit campaign and am not sure I can afford any of the comics, will there be any more fundraisers?

  3. RazorSheldon September 10, 2012 at 6:02 pm #

    It is almost always rewarding to read an uplifting and inspiring story of somebody doing something to help make the world a better place, but its even more rewarding to be able to reciprocate this good will.

    What began as a small gesture evolved into a groundswell of support, as hundreds of people were moved and inspired by your story to the point where they wanted to help out. Thanks for having the courage to share it, and thanks for helping us all remind each other that there are a lot of kind and compassionate people out there that care about each other.

  4. Meredith September 10, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

    I found your story on StumbleUpon. I only gave about $10, but I couldn’t imagine $10 better spent. Honestly, I’ve never cared much about comic books, but your story is so much bigger than that. While I don’t identify specifically with your stories about how individual comic books thrill you, I DO identify with a lovely soul who wanted to care for someone with so much of his heart (along with your lovely wife, of course) that he would sell a lifetime of his passion (SUCH a passion you would go on to do it for a living!) to pay outrageous hospital bills just to have that beautiful boy in his arms…yeah. Even now I’ve got tears trickling down my cheeks thinking about it.

    Congratulations to you, your wife, your beautiful son, and the lucky birth parents who picked you. Thanks for sharing your story, and proving that priorities are still in line for some people.

    So congratulations on your

Welcoming the Future, Treasuring the Past.