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When William Binderup looks at the comic book community in the greater Kansas City area, he doesn’t just see a collection of costumed consumers. The 49-year-old owner of Elite Comics sees the shop’s customers as a community with the potential to be a powerful force for good. This year the shop, under Binderup’s direction, has partnered with numerous local charities, including Kansas City Children’s Mercy Hospital, to deliver toys and raise money for children in need.
Elite Comics, which also organizes two annual comic book conventions in Kansas City, has a long history of charity and activism. In recent months, following the controversy over Mockingbird writer Chelsea Cain, the store has begun offering “Ask Me About My Feminist Agenda” t-shirts. The proceeds from the sale of the shirts go to support the Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City. Elite also released a set of “Eden’s Swag Rags”, which are donated to children undergoing treatment for cancer.
To encourage regular readers to donate, the shop is running a promotion where customers who bring in a new toy or make a five-dollar donation to the charity will receive a free copy of Marvel Comics’ Great Lakes Avengers #1. Binderup and Elite have also teamed with local Kansas City cosplayer Jessica “Elite Supergirl” Meditz-Porter to help raise awareness of the project, appearing on local news broadcasts and doing in-costume appearances at local hospitals.
Though the drive is still in its early days, Binderup has been pleased with the community’s response thus far.
The 2016 Elite Comics Children’s Mercy charity drive is ongoing, and is set to end sometime in mid-December. Donors can reach out via social media on Elite’s Facebook page, or visit the store at 119th St and Quivira Road in Overland Park.