The Xeric Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation based in Northampton, Massachusetts, which awards self-publishing grants to comic book creators, as well as qualified charitable and nonprofit organizations. The Xeric Foundation was established by Peter Laird, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Planet Racers.


Laird founded the Xeric Foundation in 1992[1], the name "originat[ing] out of a Scrabble game with [Laird's] brother Don," "Xeric" simply being "a word [he] like[d]," ostensibly meaning "dry and desertlike" — but which ultimately "has absolutely no direct connection with the foundation."[2]

As far as the Foundation's projected lifespan, Laird stated in 1993 that:

. . . knock on wood, God willing, and the creek don't rise, if we go on for another couple of decades, and I'm able to put more money into the basic funding of the Xeric Foundation, then the amount of money that can be given out can really be raised significantly.[2]

He hoped that ultimately the figure can be raised from "thousands of dollars" to "hundreds of thousands of dollars," to support an increasing number of large and small projects.[2]

The Foundation has awarded in excess of $1,885,000 since its first grant cycle in September 1992.[3]

Mission and operation

Laird founded the Foundation after considerable thought, as "an appropriate way to give back something extra to the comics world," by providing grants for self-publishers.[2] Laird has stated that the Xeric Foundation is "actually two foundations in one. One half of it is for charitable organizations, and the other half is for creators who want to self-publish their comics."[2] That later half is perhaps what the foundation is best known for, working much the same as any benevolent fund, involving an application process detailing how much money is being applied for and why.[2]

The Foundation tends to support work of an alternative or non-"mainstream" nature, reasoning that if a comic has strong commercial appeal, it would be picked up by one of the major publishers. Therefore, it is an extremely valuable supporter of "art for art's sake" comics, and has helped launch the careers of a number of "literary" cartoonists.

The Foundation assists comic book creators with some of the costs in self-publishing their work; it is not the Foundation's intention to fully support an artist/writer through the entire process of self-publishing, but rather to encourage creators to experience the learning process involved in working towards such a goal.

The creative side of the Foundation involves the usual application process, but in addition, the Foundation began with "an advisory committee made up of three . . . people working in the industry" whose input is sought on how best to proceed with each application.[2] Submissions are evaluated prior to Laird's involvement, and then he makes the ultimate decisions based on their recommendations.[2]

Notable Xeric Award recipients

Notable past winners of the Xeric Grant include Megan Kelso (1993), David Lasky (1993), Jason Lutes (1993), Adrian Tomine (1993), Tom Hart (1994), Jessica Abel (1995), James Sturm (1996), Ellen Forney (1997), Jim Ottaviani (1997), Gene Yang (1997), Jason Little (1998), David Choe (1999), Nick Bertozzi (1999), Jason Shiga (1999), Farel Dalrymple (2000), Anders Nilsen (2000), Leland Purvis (2000), Jordan Crane (2001), Brian Ralph (2001), Hans Rickheit (2001), Donna Barr (2002), Derek Kirk Kim (2002), Lauren Weinstein (2002), Josh Neufeld (2004), Karl Stevens (2004), and David Heatley (2005).

See also


  1. "Newswatch: Laird Starts Artist-Aid Foundation," The Comics Journal #151 (July 1992), p. 21.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 Wiater, Stanley & Bissette, Stephen R. (ed.s) Comic Book Rebels: Conversations with the Creators of the New Comics (Donald I. Fine, Inc. 1993) ISBN 1-55611-355-2.
  3. Xeric Foundation website. Retrieved July 26, 2008.

External links

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