Make an Impact: ComicBooks for Kids In Hospitals

ComicBooks for Kids is a new initiative whose mission is to provide child friendly comic books to children in hospitals, cancer centers and medical facilities across the Unites States.  In almost every case, these come as new comics from the many publishers who support the program. So far, several publishers have assisted founder and president Mark Weiss in his mission. 

Making an Impact: ComicBooks for Kids Follow-up -- Read How They're Making a Difference!

Founder and President Mark Weiss

Check out the Q&A with Mark!


What is ComicBooks For Kids! ?  

ComicBooks For Kids! is a charitable organization that provides comic books to kids (from 6 to 21+) in hospitals, cancer centers and medical facilities all across the U.S.

Is ComicBooks For Kids an IRS approved charity?

Absolutely! All donations to ComicBooks For Kids are tax deductible. Our document certifying our charitable 501(C) 3 status is also posted on our website.

Why comic books for hospitals (instead of toys, etc.)?

If you look on our web site, we have a COMMUNITY tab where we provide feedback from hospitals and individuals. One of the items on that page shows a "giving tree" or a special closet which is often the place in a Children’s Hospital where they keep the toys to give to the "kids." But if you look at that closet, and while you see wonderful toys, you do not see comic books. And as we spoke to the Child Life departments in the many hospitals we have contacted, every single one of them have asked us for comics and many have contacted us for more.

But perhaps the best answer, again on our COMMUNITY tab is a letter we received from Cincinnati Children's. It states, "Your donation of 50 comic books allows our patients to forget, if only for a moment, where they are, and focus on just being a kid. Your gift works with our care providers, lifting spirits as medical treatments take effect."

And that is what it is all about. We are giving smiles, escapism and the ability for a child, at least for a period of time to lose themselves in the magic of the creative artistry that is a comic book.

What specifically does your organization do?

We work with the Child Life and volunteer departments in hospitals across the United States to understand each hospitals requirements. Most hospitals have infectious disease policies so we adhere to those in every case. We then work closely with the wonderful people in this industry including the publishing and distribution sides of the business to provide the “kids’ in these hospitals with child friendly comic books.

You mentioned "Child Friendly" comic books. Are there other requirements that hospitals have?

Due to infectious disease policies, comics that have been “used” or handled can cause concerns. Again, we work with the hospitals to specifically understand their requirements. For example, warehouse overstock, even something that is many years old can still be considered a “new” comic book if it has been in storage.  Still other facilities are thrilled to receive gently used comics. Think of the many times you have been in a doctor’s office and you see community magazines and books. We help sort through that.

How do these comic books make their way to the hospitals?

Once we have contacted the hospital and have documented their requirements, we collate the comics specific to the hospital’s needs. Some hospitals ask for very young comics, still others for tween and others for the older reader. Thanks to the very generous donations of the many publishers who are supporting us, we match the requirements of the hospital to the comics that have been donated and we then ship them to the address the hospital provides us. We also maintain this information so that follow on shipments are easily matched to the requirements of the hospital. Since May and as reflected on our web site, we have delivered over 1500 comic books to over 40 hospitals and some hospitals have already received second shipments!

How can customers at comic shops potentially get involved?

Customers, collectors and individuals make a difference. They can friend us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Donations mean a lot to us. We have a wall of heroes that reflects those who make a contribution of a certain amount. But even the smallest of contributions supports our shipping materials and costs. For example, even a $25 donation pays for the materials and shipping costs to three hospitals! There is no limit to what can be done which is why my phone number and email are on the web site. I am completely available for any and all questions, comments and recommendations.

Any closing thoughts?

Just a thank you to the many people who have allowed us to get here with their kind support. The Publishers have been amazing including IDW, Dark Horse, BOOM, Archie, Lion Forge, Oni Press, Image and Marvel. DC even gave us a onetime contribution. The team at Diamond have been superb. Finally, Heroes & Fantasies in San Antonio, TX has been the role model for how a comic store can work with us.

For those who want to contact me, I can be reached at mark@comicbooksforkids.org or at 630 659-6087.