Sina Grace’s run on “Iceman” mixes mutant drama with a coming-out story that explores the various nuances of not just sharing your sexuality with the world, but navigating that new life and world. He’s now partnered with Represent to design a t-shirt with proceeds going to Rainbow Railroad, a charity that works to help LGBTQ+ persons facing violence and persecution in their home countries to get to safety.
Sina talked with us about how he learned about Rainbow Railroad, the choice of design for the shirt, and its unifying message. The design – – which is available on a T-shirt, hoodie, and coffee mug – – launched last week on Represent.com and will be available for purchase until December 27th.
As an added bonus, if you buy a shirt and send a receipt to sinagracewebsite(at)gmail(dot)com, Sina will send you a postcard with a sketch on it. How cool is that?
Sina Grace: I found out about Rainbow Railroad at New York Comic-Con this year, and the minute I learned about their mission to help LGBTQI+ folks in countries with state-enabled violence and persecution… it all became clear: I am going to help this organization out. I’ve done a lot of work for local charities and whatnot, but I wanted to end the year looking outside of my periphery and make a sincere difference.
Represent was an awesome platform to not only raise funds, but to also raise awareness for Rainbow Railroad. The challenge then became, how do I liaise the modest following I’ve gained from my varied comics work into t-shirt sales? All of my creator-owned stuff was too specific for a design that some random person on Twitter would wanna buy, and clearing an Iceman image was a headache none of us were interested in going through… even vague nods to Marvel or Iceman weren’t “IT” in terms of a charity design. I had gotten advice that whatever I land on should be personal/ something my peeps would associate with me.
My friend Rob Wilson really got me to land the plane in terms of what to do. Rob is one of the most elegant designers I’ve had the pleasure of knowing, and he took me to a line dancing cowboy bar in Dallas. He rules. After some back and forth, Rob was kind of like, “When in doubt: dogs.” And that’s when it all clicked. First, I thought it would just be my dog Henry holding a comic in his mouth, but then my cat literally jumped on my lap as I was sketching it, and the image suddenly had a message.
After a year where our industry has felt more and more divided by warring groups, I wanted to represent what comics and comic stores had meant to me as a kid: a place to connect and bond with others over fantasies. Utilizing a more simple art style that evoked my icons Marjane Satrapi and Keith Haring, “It’s Reading Cats and Dogs” turned into a simple-but-effective image that accomplished all of my goals. Having Henry bring Amelia a copy of IceMouse was what really made me feel like I’d landed on “IT” in terms of nailing the design.
Ultimately, I just wanted to make some money for Rainbow Railroad and put it on more people’s radars. If I can get my dog and cat to sit on my lap together while I read comics, then I feel confident that my efforts will help Rainbow Railroad.
Remember, the shirt is only for sale until the 27th, so order now, and make sure to email Sina your receipt for a sketch!