William Messner-Loebs Appreciates his Industry’s Support
Michigan-based William Messner-Loebs has had a very difficult life since birth but he remains undaunted as he continues to write and draw comics. This year, he seemed to have hit rock bottom and the industry rallied to his support. Additionally, IDW republished his classic independent title, Journey, and he has found work after too many fallow years.
Michigan’s MLive blog recently provided an update on Messner-Loebs who clearly recognizes the generosity of his peers. Brad Meltzer and Geoff Johns led the current wave of industry support following previous waves of support, headed by Mark Waid and Tom Peyer.
"It’s so heartwarming. When this sort of thing happens you feel utterly alone and forgotten. To have people give us the help they have, and the really touching letters and e-mails that enabled us to go on, was a blessing," the 59 year old creator said.
Both Messner-Loebs and his wife Nadine have suffered numerous ailments requiring surgery and hospitalization that left them teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. They wound up living in homeless shelters as Messner-Loebs attempt to find temp work but felt he was never chosen given his status as a one-armed man.
When Waid became editor-in-chief at BOOM! Studios, he was in a position to do more than just send money or rally support. He gave the man work. "That’s less an indication of the kind of person I am and far more a measure of the kind of guy Bill is — a loyal and good man who has a way about him that everyone adores," said Waid. "In the quarter-century I’ve known Bill, I’ve never heard anyone express anything but affection for him. Never once."
His work at BOOM! can be found in Zombie Tales while he has also drawn " for Boom! Chicken Wings for the Beer Drinker’s Soul for Novi-based Com Publishing. Messner-Loebs also illustrates a monthly cartoon for the Livingston Parent Journal which will be turned into a line of greeting cards and a calendar.
"Humor is a subversive reflex. I’m not sure I could abandon it, even if I wanted to. Besides, the day we officially lost the house was Sept. 10, 2001. I had exactly 24 hours to feel like the unluckiest person on the planet. Then I grew up," he said.
"So many people have invested in me getting back on my feet; it’d be a betrayal of them if I didn’t keep going."
In 2006, the couple had been given enough cash to allow them to buy and live in a mobile home in Green Oak Township.
While working here and there, he continues to plan for a new volume in the adventures of Wolverine McAllister, the pioneer star of Journey. "I had been reading about the mountain men of the 1830s. Well, these were legendary guys and underused in a way that western gunslingers weren’t. The scruffiness and casualness of the ambiance was appealing to me. As I started (the) stories, I realized I’d be investing a huge amount of time just to figure out the basic topography, flora and fauna of California. If I moved the scene 20 years earlier those same trappers and pioneers would be in Michigan. I could do research by just looking out the window."