20090128Karen Ellis, creator of the webcomic PLANET KAREN, is the latest comics creator to face the disaster of a devastating fire, according to a widely circulated letter:

Karen Ellis, creator of diary comic Planet Karen, lost nearly everything in a fire this weekend.

The apartment above her own caught fire on Sunday night, and while firefighters fought the blaze for three hours, tragically, the occupant was killed. Karen is physically fine, but most of her possessions, including books, clothes and drawing supplies, are ruined beyond repair. The apartment itself has suffered so much structural
damage that she’s also been made effectively homeless. (See this comic for an account in her own words.)

Karen is a valuable part of the webcomics community. If you can, please consider making a contribution via the donation button at Planet Karen to help out. Every donation, whatever its size, really counts!

Girl-Wonder.org, the organisation that hosts Planet Karen, is also planning a fundraising auction on Karen’s behalf. If you have items you think you’d like to donate, please contact Karen Healey at [email protected] for details.


  1. This sort of thing terrifies me. And reminds me to check the smoke detector battery tonight. Fortunately, we have a variety of easy escape routes from our house for both human and animal, but I’d probably lose my mind if I lost all my art, student films, photos, etc.

    If she were here in the US, I’d have a bunch of extra art supplies I could send (I admit it, I hoard pretty paper and fancy pens and end up with way more than I can ever use), but a donation/something for an auction is probably more practical.

  2. Here’s a note I received from Karen earlier today:

    Hey Tom,

    Thanks for caring. I’d say the best way to help right now is money, but that seems to be well under way. I can’t think very far ahead, but fingers crossed I may have a lead on another flat near my old one, and thanks to donations I now know that I’ll be able to go out and buy bedding, cutlery, and whatever other basics you don’t think about until you don’t have them anymore. Right now there’s nothing else that would be much use to me because I wouldn’t have anywhere to put it. I mean a notebook computer with scanner and drawing tablet would be lovely, but I couldn’t really claim that was essential. Doing comics seems so important to me right now because when I have nothing else, I still have that.

    Life is a little traumatic, but I’ve been talking to Lea and that’s helped immensely, although my computer access is very limited right now. So if you could tell people that if they send me notes to express sympathy I’m probably not going to be able to reply to them. I’ve had over 100 emails in the last 24 hours and it’s great people care but I have no idea what to say to them.


  3. Right after Carla and Lance Hoffman escaped the Tea Fire (which is why there are references to them in it) I wrote “When You’re Not in a Fire, But Someone You Know Is”:

    It’s to help people who don’t know what to do help their friends/people who’ve been in a disaster. It sucks to want to say something, or want to help, but don’t how to start.

  4. It seems like everybody is being plagued by fires. Here in australia more than 200 people have been killed in the bush fires that have been sweeping victoria, and thousands of people have been left homeless.

    Although it is a terrible thing to happen, I’m sure Karen is just very happy to have escaped with her life. I wish her the best.