A couple of weeks ago we wrote about William Messner-Loebs’ struggle with homelessness. You may remember him as the writer on The Flash during the late 1980s and early 1990s, who took over Wally West’s series and began a coming-of-age story that would play out over the next few years, as well as two years’ worth of Impulse stories later in the decade.
A gas leak at his home last year left it unlivable, and he and his wife have been living out of their car and in shelters since then. The comics industry has largely passed him by, so he’s been picking up odd jobs as a janitor and delivering food to pay off debt from health issues and to make ends meet.
His stories were infused with social awareness: Marginalized people like gay supervillains and (ironically) the homeless. Women scientists being gaslighted by their peers. Estranged families trying to reconnect. Big business dumping toxic waste in small towns. When Impulse’s hometown was threatened by a flood, all the local supervillains pitched in to help. Nobody stopped laying sandbags to attack each other.
There was a strong theme in all of his stories that people need to help each other, not turn a blind eye or tear each other down. And now it’s our chance to help him. The article last month linked to a crowdfunding campaign for the shelter they’ve been relying on. Now there’s a personal GoFundMe campaign that will go directly to Bill and Nadine Messner-Loebs. I’ve contributed, and I hope you will too.
William Messner-Loebs, the writer who set the tone for Wally West’s long journey to adulthood in his three-year run on The Flash back in 1988-1992, has fallen on hard times. The home he and his wife lived in was damaged by a gas leak last year and declared “unlivable,” and they’ve been living out of their car. He’s been doing odd jobs – janitor, Panera, etc. – trying to make ends meet.
Reporter Derek Kevra chronicles Bill Messner-Loebs’ heyday in comics during the 1980s and 1990s, then troubles in the early 2000s as work dried up just as illness and bills led to eviction. Help from the Hero Initiative and a fan campaign to get publishers to hire him again helped them get back on their feet, and they bought the home that they lived in until last year. Between interviews, Kevra dug out his old comic collection and found just how many of them had Messner-Loebs’ name on them.
The couple was recently approved for a housing voucher, and they’re looking for a new home. The Hero Initiative has gotten in touch as well. They’ve been relying on the Severe Weather Network this winter, as it’s the only emergency housing in the area. You can contribute to the SWN’s goFundMe page, or to help Bill and Nadine directly, you can contact Derek Kevra through fox2newsdesk at foxtv.com.
William Messner-Loebs, who wrote several years of The Flash in the late 1980s/early 1990s, is going though a rough patch (via Blog@Newsarama):
Hey, everyone! I seem only to get on with bad news. This has been a “Challenging” month. My wife, Nadine, will need heart surgery within the next year and some expensive treatments before that. Possibly eye surgery as well. After the carbon monoxide leak we’ve discovered some roof problems and serious flooring issues. And our stored furniture will probable be sold in a couple of weeks. So… this would be an excellent time for anyone who wants original artwork, pages drawn to order, Journey pages or anything else to get in touch! Also anyone out there who feels they may have screwed me or stolen from me in the past (a very small subset, but still…) this is an excellent time to get your conscience completely cleared at a steep discount. 25 cents on the dollar. These prices will not last!
And to top it off, today’s his birthday.
Messner-Loebs’ run on The Flash (#15-59) is available in re-issue for the first time as of last year, digitally on ComiXology. I don’t know what kind of royalties he gets from those, but I imagine it must help a little. If you’re into collecting original art, now’s a good time to buy some. Contact info is at the Blog@Newsarama article.
This week’s digital back issues at ComiXology include Flash #60-61 and Impulse #21-22. This means we’ve reached a milestone: for the first time in nearly two decades, the entire William Messner-Loebs/Greg LaRocque run on the Wally West series (Flash #15-61) is available to read without digging through the back-issue bins. Mark Waid gets a lot of credit for Wally West’s character arc, but all the groundwork is laid here, as Messner-Loebs shows Wally growing from the selfish jerk he is in the early issues to a someone more mature (if not entirely grown up).
Flash #60 follows up on the Icicle storyline as the Flash and his allies go up against a mercenary known as the Last Resort…who just happens to be Wally’s roommate Mason Trollbridge’s estranged son. Flash #61, Messner-Loebs’ farewell issue, features a surprise wedding as Wally West’s mother gets remarried. Naturally, her late husband shows up, with a date. And the minister gets delayed by a supervillain. You know, the usual.
In Impulse #21, the time-lost Legion of Super-Heroes visits the time-displaced Bart Allen, hoping he and the cosmic treadmill can send them home. In Impulse #22, Bart talks Jesse Quick into helping him find a missing Max Mercury.
As Speed Force marks its fourth birthday, we decided to take a look back at where each of the Fastest Men Alive were in the fourth year of their titles. Happy Speed Fourth!
Flash fans know a lot can change in four years, but Speed Force is still the place for Flash news, commentary and analysis. But what of the heroes throughout the history of Flash comics? Where were Jay Garrick, Barry Allen and Wally West exactly four years after their first solo titles launched? After the jump, we’ll take a look at comics out on and around their fourth anniversaries, and the stories and creators involved.
Longtime Flash artist Greg LaRocque needs little introduction for readers of this site. Hot on the heels of his return to the character in DC Retroactive: The Flash – The ’80s, we caught up with the man once again to talk about the story, his past and future work, as well as the apparent fate of Wally West.