In a very real sense, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles catapulted me into the comics industry.  My very first comics work as an adult was funded by a grant from the Xeric Foundation, the non-profit organization that Turtles co-creator Peter Laird started.  Because of Xeric backing, I was able to get into the Diamond Previews catalog and onto the shelves of comic bookstores all over.  I got to experience the creation, publication, and distribution of a comic book without ever having to worry about money.  I got to know the comics industry from inside out.

I love the Xeric Foundation.  I mention them to aspiring comic book creators every chance I get.

Recently, Peter Laird has announced that the Xeric Foundation will be giving out one last round of grants to self-published cartoonists before ending the program.  They will continue to fund charitable organizations in the Northampton area.

To aspiring cartoonists, I say: Hurry up and get your comic done!  The deadline for that last round of grants is May 12, 2012!

And to Mr. Laird and the Xeric Foundation, I say:  THANK YOU.  That self-publishing experience not only taught me about comics, it put me in touch with many cartoonists who are now among my closest friends.  You’ve made a world of difference in my life.