Tennessee high school Senior Matthew Hodge hit by train still in coma after five months
Cartoonists across America will draw more than comic relief for the next three weeks as they post their work on eBay in an unprecedented online fundraiser. Spearheaded by former Disney artists Tom Bancroft, director Tony Bancroft (“Mulan”) and Chad Frye, auction funds will help support the family and finances of fellow cartoonist Tim Hodge. Hodge’s son Matthew remains in a coma five months after his car collided with a train.
At 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 21, the NCSF 501(c)(3) launches the eBay fundraiser to benefit the Hodge family. Some 165 treasures from 115 artists feature:
• An original Charles Schulz “Charlie Brown” drawing
• An illustration by famous movie poster artist Drew Struzan
• Character drawings by Disney supervising animators of characters from the new “The
Princess and the Frog” feature film
• Illustrations of “Po” from “Kung Fu Panda” character designer Nico Marlet.
• A drawing by the 2010 Golden Globe winning director of Pixar’s “Up” Pete Docter signed by
actor Ed Asner.
“Art’s coming from all over the country and beyond,” organizer Tom Bancroft said, amazed. “Almost every major animation film studio is represented.”
How does the auction work? “For three weeks—on Jan. 21 and 28, and Feb. 4—starting at 1 p.m. ET , we’ll post about 55 new items throughout the day, the lots appearing in seven-minute intervals,” Tony Bancroft explained. “Each ‘lot’ or set of items will stay up for 10 days (with some overlap) and will clearly post the NCFS logo. And each item has its own URL.”
“The NCSF is accepting donations on behalf of the Hodge family,” Chad Frye said. “It is just amazing to see the outpouring of support from the cartooning community, many of which have never even met the Hodges.” High bidders as well as those making cash donations receive a tax write-off.
While many of the artists do not know Tim Hodge personally, the kinship of one of their own going through this difficult time resonates with every one of them. Jean Schulz, widow of “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz, said, “Please know my heart goes out to Matthew and his family and I wish them well on their road to recovery.”
On August 22, 2009, Matthew, the 17-year-old son of former Disney story artist and Big Idea Productions Director Tim Hodge, was driving across railroad tracks in his hometown of Franklin TN when his car was struck by a train going 50 mph. Though Matt suffered neither broken bones nor internal organ damage, severe head trauma caused a coma. Today Matt—a high school senior, straight-A student, and a drummer in his state championship marching band—remains comatose.
As with many self-employed artists, Matt’s father has short-term medical insurance that falls short of long-term injury care. Compounding the Hodges’ financial crisis and mounting medical bills, Matt’s need for constant care affects Tim’s ability to work full time.
The NCSF (www.CartoonistFoundation.org) is the charitable arm of the National Cartoonists Society, the world’s largest and most prestigious organization of professional cartoonists. It was formed in 2005 to continue the charitable and educational works that have been a hallmark of the NCS since its inception in 1946. The NCSF exists not only to help fund educational endeavors for cartooning but to help cartoonists in times of great hardship, like the Hodges.
Artists wishing to contribute a piece of art to the auction may do so by contacting Chad Frye at Chad@ChadFrye.com.
Outside the auction, donate to www.HelpTheHodges.com via a Paypal link.
Updates on Matthew’s condition are at www.CaringBridge.org/visit/matthodge.
Photos courtesy of Lovell-Fairchild Communications