Marcel Lamont Walker

Marcel Lamont Walker

is creating comic books, educating, and spreading joy!

21

patrons

$239

per month
''It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.'' - Theodore Roosevelt

I'm Marcel Lamont (M.L.) Walker, a graphic-prose creator specializing in social applications for comic books, and I need help to accomplish my mission of educating and spreading joy.



The History:
As an arts educator, I've worked with hundreds of students since the 1990s; as a creative professional, I've become involved with projects that allow me to apply my talents toward socially important causes. I'm happiest when these paths intersect, which happens often these days.

To date, I've worked with The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society on COMIC-TANIUM: The Super Materials of the Superheroes, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on their sensory friendly HEROES & INSPIRATIONS performance, The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on their VEGGIE HEROES promotion, and The Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit providing art for their 2019 event. I'm currently the Lead Artist and Project Coordinator of the educational comic-book series CHUTZ-POW! SUPERHEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST published by the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, which has proven to be the best job I've ever had.

I've had significant acknowledgement too: I've been the recipient of an Advancing Black Art in Pittsburgh Award, a BMe Community Genius Award, and in 2017 was voted the Best Local Cartoonist by readers of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

In 2016, I was asked to join the board of directors of The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh's Museum of the Comic and Cartoon Arts. Since Spring of 2018, I have served as the board president.

The Problem:
My issue is one of available time and resources. I've definitely gotten significant recognition locally the past few years but, to put it plainly, recognition alone doesn't pay the bills. My more-recent opportunities have been solid ones - including my part-time job working on CHUTZ-POW!, which I love and wouldn't trade for anything - but I'm still a freelance artist and writer. The remaining time I would normally dedicate to my art profession has been compromised by the responsibilities I've taken on.

The ToonSeum has brought me a significant challenge in being able to maintain a proper work/life balance. In the temporary absence of a full-time director, I'm typically called upon to fulfill that role, and the strain takes a toll on my time, energy, and finances. Comics and cartooning have saved my life and brought me through every personal challenge, so not saving The ToonSeum wasn't an option. I don't view it as a physical place but rather as a living mission to serve the community. That said, it's required a tremendous amount of volunteer work on my part, at the cost of a lot of sleep and developing my art practice, and I'm very tired.

There are other stressors too: I've dealt with four health-related setbacks during the past year which affected my finances. (I have insurance through my job, thank the Lord, but there are still a lot of costs involved, some of which are ongoing.) My mother is older with health issues of her own, and I'd like to have resources to assist her. I supported her and my sisters directly for years, but I have some anxiety about the lack of help I can provide right now. I've incurred some debt which I need to address. I've taken freelance work when I can to offset certain expenses, but that work is sporadic, and I haven't had as much energy to devote to it as I'm accustomed to. I rarely have true downtime to process, reflect, and significantly recharge. This is illustrated by the unread stacks of comics around me. I need a REAL vacation like crazy!

The Challenges:
My identity has been as someone who lives to serve and help family, friends, and community, so it's humbling to ask for assistance...but I'm at the point of needing support so I can get back to doing what I do best: Creating and advancing the comic arts in ways that address the broad need for social change, and advocating for others in this profession who haven't felt welcome due to their race, gender, orientation, disabilities, or background.



I'm deeply committed to guiding The ToonSeum toward reemergence and into its next phase of neighborhood involvement, including finding it a new permanent home. A sizable percent of my time will be devoted to The ToonSeum for at least the next 12-18 months, requiring me to be more positive, dedicated, and "on" than ever before. In order to do so, I have to approach my mission like a professional athlete of the arts...and it's always a long way from Opening Day to the playoffs.

Now I need you to help me continue to educate and spread joy with comics.

The Solution:
Your patronage will quell the outside distraction of finding the time to get all my bills paid while giving my best efforts to volunteer work that I'm uniquely qualified for and which make an immediate difference in the world.

I also LOVE working part-time at The Holocaust Center on CHUTZ-POW! (have I mentioned that already?) and have no desire to leave there. Having a regular, paying job getting comic-books with scholastic merit made is a special thing, plus I'm committed to the mission of this project and helping to grow its audience nationwide.

Right now, I need to be able to take a few breaths and spend time working on my artwork and writing without constantly worrying over where the other part of my living income is coming from month-to-month. Having sustainable income will allow me to use discretion with the additional projects that I take on, and make sure that they are carried through with focus and care.

Having additional sustainable income from patrons will mean I won't have to choose between taking on work and helping The ToonSeum come back to full life. You'll be sponsoring my ability to volunteer and not have to compromise this vital part of my community mission.

The Results:
The more focused I can remain on my job and at my volunteer work, the higher the quality of this work will be. I'll also be able to actively address:

- Paying off the debt (medical and personal) that's been keeping me stressed.

- Looking after my health in a more substantive way. (I'd like to join a gym or something.)

- Being available to help my family, and able to be proactive about my mother's care.

- Buying some new clothes. It's been a while, and you all deserve a better presentation!

- Getting back to producing HERO CORP, INT'L! (Yes, I know, it's been a long time!)

With your support for my artistic mission, I'll be able to keep educating - about the arts and our interconnected communities - and spreading joy better and farther than ever before.



I started on this journey when I was six years old, and have worked to spread the enthusiasm and understanding of comics with others ever since. THANK YOU for being part of my community and continued journey. We Are Family -- so let's knock this one out of the park!

*     *     *     *     *     *

This is a personal PATREON campaign and not part of either
The ToonSeum or The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.
Your separate support for both of these nonprofit institutions is highly encouraged!!
Tiers
MAGIC CLASS: Process Work Tier
$1 or more per month

THANK YOU for being a part of the magic! At this tier you'll get access to posts detailing process work for art and stories in development.

CAFETERIA CLASS: Lunchmate Tier
$5 or more per month

You obviously care enough about me to make sure I stay nourished and can eat a sandwich, and that's appreciated. With 30 friends like you, I'll have lunch covered for the month!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  Your name on my website as a CAFETERIA CLASS patron!

 •   Access to work-in-development blog content.

 •  As menus, and appetites allow, I'll post a meal that I indulge in and dedicate it in your honor.


*If you're vegetarian or vegan, let me know, and I'll try to post something appropriate.

**You CAN opt out of this if you'd like...but why would you?

CRYSTAL CLASS: Signed Work Tier
$9 or more per month

Thank you for making space on your wall or bookshelf for me!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •   Either a signed comic book or a signed print (depending on availability and which comes first) created by me.


*Just for the record, 9 is my lucky number. If you chose this tier, I see good things in your future!

DIAMOND CLASS: Mini-B&W Portrait Tier
$12 or more per month

Artwork is a patron's best friend, and this is where it starts to get personal!


At this tier, you'll be receiving:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  A custom, Black-&-White pen & ink mini-portrait. (Photo references required.) This could be a sketch of you, someone you know, or a character you like.


Treat yourself, or someone deserving, to a one-of-a-kind gift!

STRATOSPHERE CLASS: Mini-Color Portrait
$20 or more per month

This is where things really start to fly high!


At this tier, you'll be receiving:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  A custom, COLOR* pen & ink 5.5" x 8.5" mini-portrait. (Photo references required.) This could be a sketch of you, someone you know, or a character you like. The sky's the limit on what this could be!


*This would be INSTEAD OF the B&W drawing you'd receive at the Diamond Class level.

ORBITAL CLASS: Portrait or Lesson Tier
$40 or more per month only 9 left

This is so special, it's out of this world and in limited quantities!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  The previous benefits.*

 •   ONE of the following:

- A portrait of your own custom superhero (or fantasy or sci-fi character), based on you or someone you know! (Photo references required; *mini-portraits will be replaced by design roughs.)

- A personal, 2-hour beginner's drawing lesson! (Subject to location and scheduling; can be split into two 1-hour sessions.)

GALAXY CLASS: Creative Consultation Tier
$100 or more per month only 5 left

At this level, you'll discover my other incredible super-powers -- telling other folks what to do and being right!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  Previous benefits: Access to process work, thanks on website, signed print or comic book, and mini-color portrait.

 •  Review of your personal creative project (visual and/or literary) with personal consultation given back. This is meant to help you bring an art project (comic book, novel, etc.) to fruition and find an audience.


NOTE: Defined time spent on review and consultation will vary by project and communicated before proceeding.

UNIVERSAL CLASS: Best Friend Tier
$1,000 or more per month only 2 left

Hello, New Best Friend! Clearly we should have been spending more time together before now, but that's all about to change.


At this tier, you'll get:

  •  A drug-screening, to ensure you're not high.*

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  Individual, top-secret updates on what's happening with my projects (to the extent that I'll have top-secret info to share, but you catch my drift).

 •  I'll call you via Skype in November (or arrange a meet-up, if you're local) to give a personal thank you, since you're someone I'll be grateful for at Thanksgiving!

I'm limiting this to two recipients because I don't want the quality of our friendship to suffer by spreading myself too thin.


*The drug screening is a joke (kinda), but I do want to make sure you're not just high if you're giving me this much money! (Unless you're rich and high, in which case it's all good I suppose.)

''It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.'' - Theodore Roosevelt

I'm Marcel Lamont (M.L.) Walker, a graphic-prose creator specializing in social applications for comic books, and I need help to accomplish my mission of educating and spreading joy.



The History:
As an arts educator, I've worked with hundreds of students since the 1990s; as a creative professional, I've become involved with projects that allow me to apply my talents toward socially important causes. I'm happiest when these paths intersect, which happens often these days.

To date, I've worked with The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society on COMIC-TANIUM: The Super Materials of the Superheroes, The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra on their sensory friendly HEROES & INSPIRATIONS performance, The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank on their VEGGIE HEROES promotion, and The Pittsburgh Racial Justice Summit providing art for their 2019 event. I'm currently the Lead Artist and Project Coordinator of the educational comic-book series CHUTZ-POW! SUPERHEROES OF THE HOLOCAUST published by the Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh, which has proven to be the best job I've ever had.

I've had significant acknowledgement too: I've been the recipient of an Advancing Black Art in Pittsburgh Award, a BMe Community Genius Award, and in 2017 was voted the Best Local Cartoonist by readers of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

In 2016, I was asked to join the board of directors of The ToonSeum, Pittsburgh's Museum of the Comic and Cartoon Arts. Since Spring of 2018, I have served as the board president.

The Problem:
My issue is one of available time and resources. I've definitely gotten significant recognition locally the past few years but, to put it plainly, recognition alone doesn't pay the bills. My more-recent opportunities have been solid ones - including my part-time job working on CHUTZ-POW!, which I love and wouldn't trade for anything - but I'm still a freelance artist and writer. The remaining time I would normally dedicate to my art profession has been compromised by the responsibilities I've taken on.

The ToonSeum has brought me a significant challenge in being able to maintain a proper work/life balance. In the temporary absence of a full-time director, I'm typically called upon to fulfill that role, and the strain takes a toll on my time, energy, and finances. Comics and cartooning have saved my life and brought me through every personal challenge, so not saving The ToonSeum wasn't an option. I don't view it as a physical place but rather as a living mission to serve the community. That said, it's required a tremendous amount of volunteer work on my part, at the cost of a lot of sleep and developing my art practice, and I'm very tired.

There are other stressors too: I've dealt with four health-related setbacks during the past year which affected my finances. (I have insurance through my job, thank the Lord, but there are still a lot of costs involved, some of which are ongoing.) My mother is older with health issues of her own, and I'd like to have resources to assist her. I supported her and my sisters directly for years, but I have some anxiety about the lack of help I can provide right now. I've incurred some debt which I need to address. I've taken freelance work when I can to offset certain expenses, but that work is sporadic, and I haven't had as much energy to devote to it as I'm accustomed to. I rarely have true downtime to process, reflect, and significantly recharge. This is illustrated by the unread stacks of comics around me. I need a REAL vacation like crazy!

The Challenges:
My identity has been as someone who lives to serve and help family, friends, and community, so it's humbling to ask for assistance...but I'm at the point of needing support so I can get back to doing what I do best: Creating and advancing the comic arts in ways that address the broad need for social change, and advocating for others in this profession who haven't felt welcome due to their race, gender, orientation, disabilities, or background.



I'm deeply committed to guiding The ToonSeum toward reemergence and into its next phase of neighborhood involvement, including finding it a new permanent home. A sizable percent of my time will be devoted to The ToonSeum for at least the next 12-18 months, requiring me to be more positive, dedicated, and "on" than ever before. In order to do so, I have to approach my mission like a professional athlete of the arts...and it's always a long way from Opening Day to the playoffs.

Now I need you to help me continue to educate and spread joy with comics.

The Solution:
Your patronage will quell the outside distraction of finding the time to get all my bills paid while giving my best efforts to volunteer work that I'm uniquely qualified for and which make an immediate difference in the world.

I also LOVE working part-time at The Holocaust Center on CHUTZ-POW! (have I mentioned that already?) and have no desire to leave there. Having a regular, paying job getting comic-books with scholastic merit made is a special thing, plus I'm committed to the mission of this project and helping to grow its audience nationwide.

Right now, I need to be able to take a few breaths and spend time working on my artwork and writing without constantly worrying over where the other part of my living income is coming from month-to-month. Having sustainable income will allow me to use discretion with the additional projects that I take on, and make sure that they are carried through with focus and care.

Having additional sustainable income from patrons will mean I won't have to choose between taking on work and helping The ToonSeum come back to full life. You'll be sponsoring my ability to volunteer and not have to compromise this vital part of my community mission.

The Results:
The more focused I can remain on my job and at my volunteer work, the higher the quality of this work will be. I'll also be able to actively address:

- Paying off the debt (medical and personal) that's been keeping me stressed.

- Looking after my health in a more substantive way. (I'd like to join a gym or something.)

- Being available to help my family, and able to be proactive about my mother's care.

- Buying some new clothes. It's been a while, and you all deserve a better presentation!

- Getting back to producing HERO CORP, INT'L! (Yes, I know, it's been a long time!)

With your support for my artistic mission, I'll be able to keep educating - about the arts and our interconnected communities - and spreading joy better and farther than ever before.



I started on this journey when I was six years old, and have worked to spread the enthusiasm and understanding of comics with others ever since. THANK YOU for being part of my community and continued journey. We Are Family -- so let's knock this one out of the park!

*     *     *     *     *     *

This is a personal PATREON campaign and not part of either
The ToonSeum or The Holocaust Center of Pittsburgh.
Your separate support for both of these nonprofit institutions is highly encouraged!!

Recent posts by Marcel Lamont Walker

Tiers
MAGIC CLASS: Process Work Tier
$1 or more per month

THANK YOU for being a part of the magic! At this tier you'll get access to posts detailing process work for art and stories in development.

CAFETERIA CLASS: Lunchmate Tier
$5 or more per month

You obviously care enough about me to make sure I stay nourished and can eat a sandwich, and that's appreciated. With 30 friends like you, I'll have lunch covered for the month!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  Your name on my website as a CAFETERIA CLASS patron!

 •   Access to work-in-development blog content.

 •  As menus, and appetites allow, I'll post a meal that I indulge in and dedicate it in your honor.


*If you're vegetarian or vegan, let me know, and I'll try to post something appropriate.

**You CAN opt out of this if you'd like...but why would you?

CRYSTAL CLASS: Signed Work Tier
$9 or more per month

Thank you for making space on your wall or bookshelf for me!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •   Either a signed comic book or a signed print (depending on availability and which comes first) created by me.


*Just for the record, 9 is my lucky number. If you chose this tier, I see good things in your future!

DIAMOND CLASS: Mini-B&W Portrait Tier
$12 or more per month

Artwork is a patron's best friend, and this is where it starts to get personal!


At this tier, you'll be receiving:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  A custom, Black-&-White pen & ink mini-portrait. (Photo references required.) This could be a sketch of you, someone you know, or a character you like.


Treat yourself, or someone deserving, to a one-of-a-kind gift!

STRATOSPHERE CLASS: Mini-Color Portrait
$20 or more per month

This is where things really start to fly high!


At this tier, you'll be receiving:

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  A custom, COLOR* pen & ink 5.5" x 8.5" mini-portrait. (Photo references required.) This could be a sketch of you, someone you know, or a character you like. The sky's the limit on what this could be!


*This would be INSTEAD OF the B&W drawing you'd receive at the Diamond Class level.

ORBITAL CLASS: Portrait or Lesson Tier
$40 or more per month only 9 left

This is so special, it's out of this world and in limited quantities!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  The previous benefits.*

 •   ONE of the following:

- A portrait of your own custom superhero (or fantasy or sci-fi character), based on you or someone you know! (Photo references required; *mini-portraits will be replaced by design roughs.)

- A personal, 2-hour beginner's drawing lesson! (Subject to location and scheduling; can be split into two 1-hour sessions.)

GALAXY CLASS: Creative Consultation Tier
$100 or more per month only 5 left

At this level, you'll discover my other incredible super-powers -- telling other folks what to do and being right!


At this tier, you'll get:

 •  Previous benefits: Access to process work, thanks on website, signed print or comic book, and mini-color portrait.

 •  Review of your personal creative project (visual and/or literary) with personal consultation given back. This is meant to help you bring an art project (comic book, novel, etc.) to fruition and find an audience.


NOTE: Defined time spent on review and consultation will vary by project and communicated before proceeding.

UNIVERSAL CLASS: Best Friend Tier
$1,000 or more per month only 2 left

Hello, New Best Friend! Clearly we should have been spending more time together before now, but that's all about to change.


At this tier, you'll get:

  •  A drug-screening, to ensure you're not high.*

 •  The previous benefits.

 •  Individual, top-secret updates on what's happening with my projects (to the extent that I'll have top-secret info to share, but you catch my drift).

 •  I'll call you via Skype in November (or arrange a meet-up, if you're local) to give a personal thank you, since you're someone I'll be grateful for at Thanksgiving!

I'm limiting this to two recipients because I don't want the quality of our friendship to suffer by spreading myself too thin.


*The drug screening is a joke (kinda), but I do want to make sure you're not just high if you're giving me this much money! (Unless you're rich and high, in which case it's all good I suppose.)