15784822_10154438278429317_1233878870_oLast week I was celebrating the holidays with my wife and my family in Virginia, full of Christmas cheer and the joy that I feel when I’m with the ones I love. That meant I wasn’t around for my Tuesday night job in the comic shop, sorting, boarding and bagging, and taking care of the pull lists like I normally do every Tuesday. Luckily for me, my peeps at the comic store know me and know what I like. One sent me the picture to the right, and I didn’t care what comic it might be in, I had to have it, so they set one aside for me.

So I picked it up today, and the image is not in a comic per se. It’s actually an anthology entitled Love Is Love. It’s the culmination of a project that began with Marc Andreyko (comics writer), and it’s an “anthology to benefit the survivors of the Orlando Pulse shooting.” When you open the cover you see “In Memoriam” and the names of the 49 people who lost their lives that night because they just wanted to dance and be with the ones they loved.

img_6329-fullsizerenderI’ve not quite dealt with the feelings that that event stirred in me. I suspect that many of us buried those feelings just so we could make it through the day after. And the day after that, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam. But here, in this book, I find a sense of community. A sense of understanding and acknowledging of what the people in this community go through. And not just when a tragedy like this occurs, but on a daily basis. The pure hate that we encounter is something that no one should be subjected to, yet so many different populations are, not just the LBGTQA community.

This book is not about hate; it’s about love. It’s about letting people love who they want to without fear of physical or mental harm. It’s about people coming together for a cause. But it’s also about fighting against the hate. About getting up every single time img_6331-fullsizerenderyou are knocked down, knowing that one day you might not get up. One day you might break, like the 49 people in Orlando did that night: they broke. For them, there is no more fight. For them, there is only peace. For the ones they left behind, there is a void where that loved one use to be. There is disbelief that this could happen to a group of people who were just out for a night on the town. And finally, they are left with the ultimate question, why?

Every single comic fan should own this book. And in turn, they should buy it for people they know and love, who in turn should buy it for their loved ones, and so on until every single person owns a copy of this book. And when you get it, savor it, really read it. Look at the images, hear and see the messages that are in this anthology. And when you’ve gotten what you need out of the book, pass it on to a friend with instructions to do the same.

I wish I could have offered you so many more of the images that are in the book. But I want to leave you with this one. Heed it’s message and pass it on.