Portland, Ore. celebrated its 4th annual Wonder Woman Day at Excalibur Comics
over the weekend, with more than 400 people showing up to honor the famous DC Comics superheroine -- and support local organizations that deal with domestic violence.
Founded in 2006 by Andy Mangels, a longtime fan with one of the largest collections of Wonder Woman memorabilia in the country, Wonder Woman Day has raised over $69,000 for charity. Mangels calls Wonder Woman "a character that represents peace, strength, and compassion... I thought [she] would be a perfect fit" to raise both funds and awareness for domestic violence issues.
This year Wonder Woman Day also became official, thanks to a proclamation by Portland Mayor Sam Adams
, and featured guests included indie legends Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez ("Love & Rockets"), Paul Gulacy ("Catwoman"), "Wonder Woman" artists Aaron Lopresti and Ron Randall, and the "Wonder Woman" writer herself, Gail Simone. Over 160 pieces of original Wonder Woman art were donated by creators for the annual silent auction, and were displayed at a downtown art gallery in the weeks leading up the event.
Mangels says he chose Excalibur Comics as the location not only for its square footage, but also its accessibility and character. "It's partially owned by a woman. It was a store that was both friendly and large enough, and very clearly was not just a boy's store. I really wanted a place where everyone coming in to it would feel very comfortable, even if they were a newcomer to the world of comics."
The strategy appears to have worked, as the crowd included not only regulars and long-time comic book readers, but also plenty of newcomers -- both men and women -- and even entire families. Little girls in Wonder Woman outfits wandered down the aisles next to fans in comics tees browsing back issues bins, an unusual sight in almost any comic shop.
While this year's event inspired more media attention, donations of art, and attendance than ever before, proceeds from the event totaled $12,500, a marked decrease from previous years. "We're in an economic recession, which had a huge impact on the amount of money raised," said Mangels. "We still raised $12,500 in just one day with comics art and sketches, though, and that's pretty good." A second Wonder Woman event in New Jersey added another $5,000 to the total.
If you were unable to attend the event, but are interested in making a donation, keep an eye on the event page
, where Mangels will soon be adding a donation button. One of the 19 original prints created for the event -- including the Jaime Hernandez Wonder Woman above -- will be offered as a free gift to anyone who donates more than $25.