Batman, Archie, and Harry Potter are appearing in a comic together for the best reasons.

Comic book author Marc Andreyko was just going to bed late Saturday, June 11, 2016, when he heard there had been a shooting at a nightclub in Orlando.

When he woke up the next morning, he was crushed by the news. 49 people were dead, and dozens more had been injured in an attack on Florida's LGBTQ community.

A candlelight vigil in Orlando, Florida. Photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images.


"I was horrified and sickened," says Andreyko over email. "As a gay man who was a teen during the AIDS crisis, I have seen far too much death and hatred and ambivalence toward it. Orlando hit me hard and I was flooded with the feelings of powerlessness I felt back then."

An accomplished comic book writer and seasoned storyteller, Andreyko knew that with his great power came the great responsibility to channel his feelings into something productive. Within eight hours, he announced on Facebook that he would be embarking on a new project in remembrance of the victims.

Together with dozens of artists, he put together a massive comic anthology about a single subject: love.

The book, appropriately titled "Love Is Love," is a massive collaboration between comic book writers, artists, and familiar faces, from Patton Oswalt to J.K. Rowling to comic book legends like artist Jim Lee.

Each contributed a single page of artwork, story, or dedication to the 144-page tome, and all sale proceeds will go to Equality Florida, an organization that supports the LGBTQ community in Florida.

The project even brought together competing publishers so that characters like Superman, Harry Potter, and the cast of Archie could appear in the book together despite exclusive contracts — all in the name of charity and goodwill.

"I think art can always make a difference," Andreyko says.

He knows that artists and storytellers have an important part to play in fostering conversations and a unique ability to reach people.

Comic books in particular have played a key role in media representation. Dozens of famous and recognizable characters have had LGBTQ storylines in recent years, including Batwoman, who's been openly gay since 2006 and whom Andreyko wrote for in 2013.

DC Comics also featured the first ever lesbian engagement in a comic when Batwoman proposed to her partner Maggie Sawyer. Image via DC Entertainment/YouTube.

"[Art] can make the tough and political more human and emotionally connected, and with the metaphors of genre, it can make people see things in a new way," Andreyko says.

Compiling the anthology was a long and arduous process, but Andreyko says that seeing the artwork every day kept him motivated.

"When things got emotionally tough or frustrating, all the art, the hard work, the expressions of love from so many busy, talented and generous folks, well, that was all I needed to keep moving forward," Andreyko says.

To purchase the "Love Is Love" anthology, check out IDW Publishing's website, and for more information on Equality Florida, visit their website.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less

This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."