Bill Morrison Goes Bowling for Boobies

Simpsons Comics’ main man on one of his favorite charities.

By , Columnist

For the better part of two decades now, Bill Morrison has steered the good ship Bongo Comics through seas calm and stormy to real prosperity and acclaim.

Under Morrison’s guidance, Bongo has won numerous awards, and established itself as a mainstay of both the comic shop and book store marketplaces. Today, the company’s books are renowned for delivering a steady supply of original, laugh-out-loud funny comics featuring the antics and adventures of the characters inhabiting the worlds of The Simpsons and Futurama.

It’s a career that’s served the gifted cartoonist/writer/creative director well, and rewarded him accordingly. Grateful for his success, Morrison gives back to his community in a variety of ways.

Still, once having learned of his participation, it was impossible to resist asking Morrison a few questions about his reasons for getting involved with the charity Bowling for Boobies, what his participation entails, and why we should think about getting involved, too.

Bill Morrison's Speed Demons posed pic.jpg

Okay, I’ll bite. What exactly is Bowling for Boobies…and am I going to need a lawyer after we publish this?

[Laughs] I really doubt it. I think it’s one of those names that grabs your attention, because the minute you see the word “boobies” you go, “Oh, well, I’ve got to find out what this is about!”

Which is great, because it’s a really, really worthy charity that started here, in Los Angeles, a few years ago. It’s very much a grass roots charity that is designed to raise money for women who are currently fighting breast cancer and find they need financial assistance as a result of their ongoing treatment. Sometimes it’s just to help them put food on the table, or to pay their bills, to pay their rent, car insurance or whatever.

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And it’s really cool because the money goes directly to these women; there’s no overhead, there’s no bureaucracy. We just raise money ever year, and then there’s an organization, which is called the Busted Foundation, they just disperse the funds to women they have identified as having a need through the applications submitted.

The bowling part of this really doesn’t have anything to do with the fundraising. The whole fundraising process sort of culminates with this bowling event where we have teams competing at a really cool, trendy bowling alley up at Universal City Walk, here in Los Angeles. We have a few celebrity bowlers, and basically what happens is people organize teams and raise money throughout the year.

And then, at the bowling event, it’s kind of like a big party where we all bowl, and fans of the participating celebrities, like Jane Wiedlin of the Go-Gos, and Tom Lennon from Reno 911, come to watch us bowl, and to have fun attending the silent auctions, and raffles, and prizes, and things like that which are all part of this annual party.

Bill Morrison's Speed Demons candid pic.jpg

But the main thing is just about raising the money ahead of time. And there’s a little bit of competition involved in that, where some of the top fundraisers are always running neck and neck, and trying to raise even more money to beat out the other one. So there is a little aspect of competitive sportsmanship to it, but mainly the bowling thing is just a lot of fun. It gives us a chance to blow off steam at the end of all the fundraising.

Well, when and where is this big blowout taking place this year?

The event is actually October 23. It takes place at Jillian’s, which is a bowling alley on Universal City Walk, here in Los Angeles.

Is there a website with more info about the event and the various ways our readers can participate themselves or otherwise help the cause?

Yeah. You’d go to Bowling for Boobies. It can give you information about the event, how to donate. Anybody who wants to donate specifically to me, I have my own fundraising page. And I’m proud to say that I’m actually currently the top fundraiser of our event.

So how is the donation amount set? Is it based on your bowling score, or…?

No, that’s the funny thing. Like I say, the bowling really has nothing to do with fundraising. It’s all just a fun way to kind of blow off steam and actually raise a little more money at the very end through the raffles, silent auctions and things that we do.

But the donation is all just based on what the individual giver can afford to give. And like I say, there’s a little competition among us as bowlers, and that’s why we all have our own fundraising pages where we can see our tallies go up and compete with each other.

Jane W and footsie friend pic.jpg

What would you say to someone reading this who's still unsure if they should donate their time or money to this cause?

I’ve actually had to do that with a few people, because some people really don’t like to give to organizations where they don’t know where the money’s going. A lot of these charities have such huge overhead and big bureaucracies that only a small percentage of the money actually goes to helping people.

And that’s one of the reasons I’m really drawn to this charity. Like I say, it’s one of those grass roots organizations that doesn’t have any overhead—everything that we raise goes directly to the people who need it.

I know there are other organizations like that, and those are kind of the ones that I tend to search out when I’m thinking about charitable giving, because that’s important to me. I like to know that the money that I give is going to help people, and not going to buy copy paper or pay the salaries of people who work the phones and things like that.

Or to pay for somebody’s expensive office chair when the old one isn’t broken.

Right, exactly.

That’s important, especially these days. If you’re going to give, you want your money to be used in a responsible, effective, and positive way, too.


How’d you get started giving to this charity, anyway?

The way I got involved in this whole thing is Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Gos started doing this from the beginning.

Edith Speed.jpg

I think this all goes back six or seven years now. Jane had a friend who has since passed away who was battling breast cancer, a very dear friend who was named Edith Speed. And Edith was one of these women who was badly in need of financial assistance while she was battling breast cancer, and basically her friends came up with this idea to have this bowling event around which they would raise money to help pay for some of her bills. So they did that the first year, and it was so successful that they kept doing it, and every year it’s grown bigger and bigger. And it’s just helping more and more women every year to just get through life.

If you go to the Bowling for Boobies website, there’s a button you can click on to read testimonials from the women who the charity has helped. It’s really heartwarming because there are these letters from women who say basically “I was in despair, I didn’t know how I was going to pay my rent” or “buy food for my kids, because all my money was going to this terrible fight against breast cancer that I was dealing with. And then your check showed up in the mail, and I can’t tell you not only what it means to be able to pay some of these bills, but also to know that somebody cares.”

You know, that personal touch, knowing that people care what you’re going through, can mean so much.

And the fact that it’s being done out of sheer good will, with no strings attached, that makes it mean even more, I’d imagine.

Yeah, that’s it exactly.

Anything else you’d like to add before I let you go?

One thing I will mention is, if you do go to the website, the Stay Classy fundraising site, it’s extremely easy to donate. It’s basically just a click, you put in how much money you want to donate, and it’s done through PayPal. It’s very easy.

Is there a minimum amount required for a donation?

There’s no minimum, there’s no maximum.

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That’s great. So if someone is able to only donate a buck or 50 cents, you’ll happily take it, then?

I think so. If you go to the box where you put in your amount, there is a dollar sign there. But I think if you put in point fifty, it would register.

Okay. But readers could give as little as dollar to the cause.

Yeah, whatever you can afford.

And if you and 9,999 other people can only give a buck, it still adds up to $1000.00.

Exactly, Bill. There are a lot of my friends who have given just small amounts, but they add up.

That’s how it always works, doesn’t it?


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A veteran journalist who has covered the comics medium since 1998, Bill Baker is also the author of Icons: The DC Comics and WildStorm Art of Jim Lee and seven previous books featuring his extended interviews with Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman and other notable creators. You can learn more about Bill’s work…

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