By Christian Holub
April 24, 2020 at 11:21 AM EDT
Ron Phillips/Warner Bros.

It's a difficult time for the comics industry. The spread of coronavirus and the widespread lockdowns accompanying it have put pressure on every element of society. Comic books in particular are mostly sold from comic shops, which rely heavily on foot traffic, browsing, and word-of-mouth to get books into readers' hands. Without anyone physically able to come to stores, and with the main distributor of comics currently shut down, comic shops are hurting. In response, iconic comic creators and publishers are stepping up with innovative ways to raise money for struggling shops. Jim Lee, the legendary comic artist who co-founded Image Comics in the '90s before more recently becoming publisher of DC Comics, has been auctioning off 60 new sketches in 60 days with all proceeds going to the Comicbook United Fund, a special relief effort designed to help struggling comic book retailers. EW can exclusively debut a first look at Lee's 22nd sketch, featuring the Batman supervillain Bane.

Each sketch is available to bid on for three days, with the winner naming the next DC character Lee draws. There will be no duplicates though, so any Bane superfans out there better put their bids in now at the eBay page that hosts Lee's sketches for this initiative. Lee has also recruited fellow artists like Ivan Reis and J. Scott Campbell to make their own contributions — Reis' Aquaman and Campbell's Zatanna are still available for bids as of this writing.

To date, Lee has raised more than $170,000 for the Comicbook United Fund, which is run by the Book Industry Charitable Foundation. The same organization was the recipient of funds raised last week in the Creators4Comics initiative, in which other big-name comic creators auctioned off various sketches, paraphernalia, and their own expertise. Lee plans to keep drawing new sketches through May, and DC will donate an additional $250,000 to the fund.

Check out Lee's Bane below.

Jim Lee

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