The graphic novel Solestar isn't just a fun superhero story. Its plotline and proceeds go toward a cause, and its creator thanks people from the Upstate for their generous donations to help his vision become reality.
The story was thought up as a way to bring awareness about brain aneurysms. Its author, Siike Donnelly, who grew up in Greenville, knows that struggle personally.
Solestar is about a superman-like hero who knows he's dying from page one, but his mission is to turn the bad guys good.
Now, a year after the inception of this idea, the author says he's seen a lot of good.
Donnelly grew up in Greenville and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the comic book industry. Three years ago, he had a brain aneurysm and had to re-learn how to walk, talk and draw.
Since he couldn't sketch as he once could, more than 70 professional artists volunteered to draw the pictures for the story he created.
In January, Donnelly was using the website Kickstarter, and losing sleep along the way, worried about raising enough funds to get the graphic novel published.
"Once we hit our goal on that last day, I mean, it came down to the last hour, too. When we hit it, I was speechless. I definitely cried, and I got all emotional, and I just ... my belief was that there's enough good people in the world that would help us make this book, and it's good to see that I was right about that. That feeling hit me. That was more powerful than just, 'oh we're going to make the book,'" Donnelly said.
He said strangers came out of the woodwork to support the project, many from the Upstate who saw him on Fox Carolina.
He said that many wrote him stories of their own families' experiences with aneurysms and that they wanted to know more. Donnelly said they wanted a copy of the book, so they donated.
The donations added up to more than what he needed to publish the book. With its official release last week, Donnelly says the books are flying off the shelves. He said he's thrilled to put his passion toward educating and raising money for the Brain Aneurysm Foundation.
"Hopefully we can raise enough, sell enough of these books to maybe save a life. That's my goal," Donnelly said.
Donnelly is in town this weekend for Free Comic Book Day, which is tomorrow. He said folks at Richard's Comics in Greenville were such a huge support to him during his recovery and on this project, that he'll be at their shop Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. signing free artwork for anyone who stops by.
The Kickstarter only paid for an initial printing of the book, so Donnelly said there aren't enough for all the demand. The ones they have are being sold in about a dozen stores, ones that supported the Kickstarter project, which includes Richard's Comics.
Donnelly said he'll soon have a link on Amazon and hopefully a publishing deal, to get more books printed.
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