It's the ultimate geek dad gesture. Karl Kesel, a longtime comic book writer and inker who helped created the new Superboy character for DC in the 1990s, is selling off his valuable collection of rare comics to pay for the adoption of his son Isaac. Kesel and his wife Myrna recently adopted the infant, who was born addicted to heroin. The double-whammy of doctor bills and adoption costs took their toll. After weeks of difficult detox, little Isaac is home and happy with his parents in Oregon. But now the bills are due, and Kesel made the decision to sell his treasure to stay afloat.
Photo by Thomas Boyd/The Oregonian.
Kesel has worked in the comics industry for three decades, inking and writing for everything from Superman to Fantastic Four (he wrote the storyline where Thing reveals that he's Jewish). What's particularly moving about this story is that the Kesels chose to arrange their adoption through an agency where the parents of the child are allowed to pick the family that will adopt their baby. And the couple who gave birth to Isaac chose the Kasels because, according to Oregon Live's Steve Duin:
They also appreciated that Karl Kesel has spent the past 30 years scripting and inking comics.
That reminded the birth father "of his dad and the fun he had growing up," Myrna says. "He really liked the idea of their son running around like Superman at a comics convention."
That's enough to make even the Man of Steel's x-ray vision get blurry with tears.
Kesel is trying to raise $25,000 for Isaac's adoption fees, but the Kesels are also facing a $67,000 medical bill for Isaac's recovery (hopefully most of it will be paid by insurance). If you'd like to help, you can buy comics from Kesel's collection online at Blastoff, or donate to the newly-created Indie Go-Go campaign, "Save Karl's Comics," which would allow the couple to keep the comics to share with Isaac when he grows up.
Adds Oregon Live:
Karl bought many of those comics at The Sweet Shop in Victor, N.Y. The stories frame his childhood and brought him to the drawing board.
"It's so touching to me that he's willing to sacrifice something he loves so much to help us have a family," Myrna says. "It's a big deal, to let all those comics go."
It's a fair trade, Karl thinks. An investment in the miracle that continues to unfold, and the baby who screeches with delight each time his father sings to him.
"He makes his pterodactyl noises," Karl says.
"When he's happy," Myrna adds. "He's found his voice."
It's hard to imagine a more worthy cause to sell a collection.
(Thanks for the tip, Michael Hails!)