After the deadliest mass shooting in United States history on June 12 at Pulse nightclub, which targeted the LGBT community, and especially victimized those of Latin heritage, many opportunities to support the queer community in Orlando arose. A successful GoFundMe campaign was launched, as well as many other efforts to benefit those affected. Even the comics community has stepped up.
Margins Publishing is currently putting out two digital zines to benefit The Center, the largest LGBT resource center in Orlando titled Our Hearts Still Beat. These zines will include positive stories with queer characters by queer talent and allies. This idea was initially championed by prolific comic book writer of titles such as Vampire Emmy and The Garbage Girl with Margins Publishing and staunch ally Pat Shand, who will also be tabling at Geeks OUT's upcoming Flame Con August 20 and 21. The zines were then organized and executed by Zora Gilbert.
At first, Pat Shand put feelers out in the days after the tragic events in Orlando to see if the comics community would have any interest in doing a benefit zine. Partnering with Margins Publishing, who had previously put out works including the successfully Kickstarted Dates! An Anthology of Queer Historical Fiction, Pat quickly found that there was interest.
Only days after Pat Shand's initial inquires, Margins Publishing put out guidelines for submissions. The demand to contribute to help this cause was so high that Margins Publishing had to divide its digital benefit zine into two issues. The first issue of which is already available now and the second issue has just become available as of July 24. The suggested price point is $2 with the option to pay what you can.
What makes this particular comics project unique is that the publisher is offering 100% of the proceeds to charity. That is very rarely the case for many reasons. Margins Publishing is putting such an important cause as benefiting the Orlando LGBT community above their own profits.
A company like Margins Publishing is very small. Only a couple people at most are involved in the day to day operations of a publisher this size including editor Zora Gilbert. To dedicate this much time and effort to a cause that will generate no revenue for them is all but unheard of. That makes the fact they are doing this all the more important.
Please consider purchasing a copy of both issues 1 and 2 of Our Hearts Still Beat available here. It's incredible that a small publisher would take on a project like this, and we should encourage and support this endeavor by helping to make this as successful as possible. So please, pick up these comics made by creators that donated their time to a good cause to bring positive queer comics to people for the greater good, and spread the word.