Jun 27th 2012 By: Andy Khouri
The comic book community was distressed to learn last week
that the late Robert Washington III
, best known as for co-writing the original appearances of the pioneering teen superhero Static
for Milestone Media and DC Comics, faced the possibility of being buried in an unmarked grave
site for indigent New Yorkers -- a consequence of the very dire financial circumstances he found himself in at the time of his death earlier in June
. A successful Hero Initiative campaign
was mounted to raise funds to give Washington a proper funeral, and he was laid to rest on Monday with his surviving family in attendance
Washington worked on such titles as Extreme Justice
, The Batman Chronicles
, JLA Secret Files
and Shadow Cabinet
in the 1990s, but the writer had fallen on hard times by the end of the decade. Robot 6
reported that Washington sometimes worked at a call center and catalogue warehouse, but that he found himself homeless several times. Consequently, when Washington died after multiple heart attacks earlier this month, he lacked the resources to pay for the memorial he and his family and fans would have preferred. Indeed, Washington's childhood friend Craig Hicks wrote
that he feared Washington may end up on New York's Hart Island
, where the dead are placed in unmarked pine boxes and stacked in trenches, and where no ceremonies are held to honor the deceased.
The comics community rallied in response to this tragic prospect. 365 people
donated funds to the Hero Initiative, the industry's non-profit group dedicated to helping professionals in financial and medical need. The funds covered not just the much more dignified service, but also the travel costs for Washington's mother and sisters.
Former Milestone and DC Comics editor and co-owner of New York's Verge Entertainment, Joe Illidge attended Washington's service and posted the following on the Hero Initiative website
On Monday, June 25th, a funeral service was held for Robert L. Washington III in the Bronx borough of New York City, with a second service to come in Detroit, Michigan. The service was attended by various comic book creators, classmates, and friends from Robert's various creative, work, and hobby circles.
Through the actions of Robert's friends from Milestone Media, Inc. and his classmates from The Roeper School, The Hero Initiative was able to use all of your donations to pay for the service and provide Robert's mother and two of his sisters with the means to travel from Detroit, Michigan to New York and give him a proper funeral.
Over three hundred people donated funds, and Robert's mother, Kathy Washington, gives her thanks to all of you for your generosity and kind words.
We list the names of all the donors below, and apologize in advance if there are any typos. There were, after all, 365 donors in all.
To all of the fans, friends, journalists, and supporters who offered their time, money, and sentiment for Robert and his family, you are the heroes. Thank you for helping The Hero Initiative create a happy ending to the story of Robert L. Washington III.
The writer's last work was for the recently released edition of the Hero Initiative's annual Hero Comics anthology, in which he detailed his deeply unfortunate circumstances and the need to support the organization
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