Writer Bill Messner-Loebs – who once worked on The Flash and Wonder Woman, reinvented Johnny Quest, and made a million dollars writing dialog for The Maxx – is now homeless and working at various odd jobs, including a Panera and a janitor.
That’s from a story by Derek Kevra for Fox 2 in Michigan. It’s a long sad story for Loebs – who has one arm – and his wife, Nadine, who has multiple health issues.
Bill found a new house after that – a mobile home in a nice mobile home park where neighbors look out for each other. He and Nadine lived there for over 15 years until another disaster struck. While receiving the Bill Finger award at San Diego’s Comic Con (the super bowl of Comic Cons) Bill learned that a gas leak had sprouted at his house.
Upon arriving at the scene, the Fire Marshall declared that the premises were unlivable and Bill and Nadine agreed. There goes house #2.
So now Bill goes from church to church with his car as the placeholder in between. He works part time for Panera and just recently started picking up janitorial work at one of the churches.
He said he works about 16-20 hours a week, which is good, but when you sprinkle in the inconvenience of being homeless, it doesn’t leave him much time to draw. That sucks because damn, Bill is good.
That much is true, Loebs still appears at comic-cons – a writer told me he saw him just last week at a convention in Michigan – selling art and comics.
It’s a sad tragic story, but a long running one. The Hero Initiative has been called in to help the Messner-Loebses in the past, and I’m sure they’ll be called in again.
Messner-Loebs has written some of my favorite comics – Epicurus the Sage! – and made a million dollars in the industry. He’s still a homeless janitor as he nears 70. We need a stronger safety net for creators who don’t have pensions – not just in comics but other industries that are at will and don’t provide for workers when they are older. We’ll spend money on the police to get rid of homeless people, but won’t spend the money to make sure they aren’t homeless to begin with.
In the mean time, since we don’t have a safety net, it goes back to individuals. If you’d like to help Messner-Loabs, you can contact the writer of the profile at email@example.com.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.