SANTA MONICA, CA – NerdyShirts is thrilled to announce the brand new Limited Edition T-shirt designed by American comic book artist Dean Haspiel. The Emmy Award-winning artist (Bored To Death), who is also known for collaborations with writer Harvey Pekar on his American Splendor series as well as the graphic novel The Quitter, has joined forces with NerdyShirts to create the very first certified t-shirt from his Eisner Award nominated comic Billy Dogma.
The collaboration is one of two debuts for NerdyShirts’ The Rule of Thirds philanthropic partnerships, which divides profits evenly between the company, the artist, and a charity of the artist’s choice—in this case Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
In a recent interview, Haspiel explained his close connection with the disease and his motivation to help fight it: “At the age of nine my brother, Michael, discovered he had Juvenile Diabetes, which greatly altered the quality of his life and our family. He had a tough time with it and died from complications of the disease in his late 30’s. While he was alive, I dedicated The Quitter to Mike and he was overjoyed. Now, with his passing and my first sanctioned Billy Dogma t-shirt, I want some of the proceeds to help find a cure for Diabetes and continue to honor my brother.”
While the energetic t-shirt design seems inspired by the Golden Age artists, Haspiel clarified, “Golden Age artists who were defining the Silver Age of comics—the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, and C.C Beck . . . and my favorite era of comic art and story.” He added, “I hope everyone will feel good about supporting a worthy cause that helps educate people and saves lives while wearing a cool looking shirt that aims to SLAM Diabetes!”
Here is the full interview with Dean Haspiel, conducted by NerdyShirts -
NS: You want part of the profits from your shirt design to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Why is this disease one you want to help fight against?
How has it affected your life or the people in your life?
Dean: At the age of nine, my brother, Michael Haspiel, discovered he had Juvenile Diabetes. Having to instantly become strictly aware of his diet and take insulin injections 2-3 times per day greatly altered the quality of his life and our family. Suddenly desserts were a thing of the past and candy was a sin. However, changing what you eat when you eat and how you eat was only the tip of the iceberg. Having any disease challenges your attitude about life and every decision you make and it's not easy to control no matter how disciplined you are. Hell, people can get Diabetes by sitting around and gaining weight.
Luckily, medicine and education has come a long way since my brother was nine and we have better ideas of how to be healthy in order to prevent the onset of certain forms of Diabetes.
Alas, my brother had a tough time with it and he died from complications of Juvenile Diabetes in his late 30's. While he was alive, I dedicated THE QUITTER [my graphic novel collaboration with the late Harvey Pekar] to Mike and he was overjoyed.
Now, with his passing and my first sanctioned BILLY DOGMA t-shirt, I want some of the proceeds to help find a cure for Diabetes and continue to honor my brother, Mike.
NS: Your design for Nerdy Shirts has a great energy to it and feels inspired by the Golden Age of Comics. I think that could be said about a lot of your personal work.
What role did that era play in your decision to become an artist and story teller?
How much does that style inspire you today?
Dean: I started reading Marvel and DC comic books in the late 1970s and a bunch of those comics would reprint classic stories from the 1960s where I discovered the likes of Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko, John Romita, and C.C Beck. Arguably, Golden Age artists who were defining the Silver Age of comics, my favorite era of comics art and story. And, because a lot of those Silver Age artists informed the stories I read, they naturally inspired my comix art. Come 1985, senior year of high school, I had the great fortune of assisting and being mentored by Bill Sienkiewicz, Howard Chaykin, and Walter Simonson, who taught me how to make comic books.
NS: Of all the books and series you have worked on what are the three you are most proud of?
Dean: CUBA: MY REVOLUTION, because I was able to collaborate with Inverna Lockpez, a very important artist and woman in my life, to tell her incredibly personal, poignant, and sacrificing story.
THE ALCOHOLIC, because I got the rare chance to collaborate with Jonathan Ames, a dear friend of mine and one of the very best contemporary writers in America today.
BILLY DOGMA, because it's my continuing, no permissions/no apologies, love letter to the insanity of love: Click here to explore BILLY DOGMA
NS: What are three books or series inspiring you today that people should check out?
Dean: SCALPED by Jason Aaron & RM Guera. The best written and drawn monthly series of the past five years. It's as shockingly brutal and emotionally honest as it is heart-breaking.
DAREDEVIL by Mark Waid & Marcos Martin & Paolo Rivera. The way comics used to be when I was a kid only smarter, faster, and better.
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN by Grant Morrison & Frank Quitely. A classic collection that champions the genre and teaches the powers of the medium while entertaining you.
NS: What are you currently working on that we can look forward to seeing?
Dean: GODZILLA LEGENDS #5, written by Bobby Curnow, and published by IDW [due end of March, 2012]. I was challenged to draw the story of a retired daredevil that is hired to climb Godzilla. How could I say no? Otherwise, I'm writing new weekly prose, essays, profiles and comix, while curating content for my multimedia literary-arts salon; TripCity.net
NS What do you hope people will get out of your support for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and involvement with Nerdy Shirts' Featured Artist Program?
Dean I hope people will feel good about supporting a worthy cause that helps educate people and saves lives while wearing a cool looking shirt that aims to SLAM Diabetes!
About the Artist: Dean has drawn many great superhero and semi-autobiographical comic books published by Marvel, DC/Vertigo, Dark Horse, IDW, Image, Scholastic Graphix, Toon Books, Top Shelf, Playboy, The New York Times, and Tor.com—including critically acclaimed collaborations with Harvey Pekar (American Splendor, The Quitter), Jonathan Ames (The Alcoholic), Jonathan Lethem (Cousin Corinne’s Reminder), Tim Hall (The Last Mortician), and Inverna Lockpez on the Harvey Award winning, CUBA: My Revolution. Dean illustrates the Super Ray art for HBO’s Bored To Death, for which he also won an Emmy award for his work on the opening title sequence. For more info about Dean visit: deanhaspiel.com
The Limited Edition T-shirt is now available here:
To read about the other exciting The Rule of Thirds debut, which was designed by Oliver Barrett, click HERE.
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Discuss creating a NerdyShirts design to support a cause you are passionate about: gary[at]nerdyshirts.com