by Jarrod Jones. It’s virtually impossible to overstate the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the comic book industry. Comics—in the broadest sense, from top-tier publishers to independents, from creators to readers—has taken a tremendous hit from the COVID-19 outbreak, with comic shops receiving the full brunt once publishers were compelled to halt production of printed materials for the foreseeable future.

The comics industry has already begun its steady climb out of a distribution quagmire that began with statewide lockdown orders, with DC leading a shift in the print distribution paradigm in April. New comics are on the way. But retailers will still need help as we collectively watch these choppy waters subside, and while no one has a clear path out of this tempest DC’s Chief Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee has decided to use his immeasurable talents to point us towards true north.

Leave it to the publisher of Batman to do his part to save the day as best he can.

This is what Jim Lee has done. 60 sketches, one a day, every day, until the task is done. Each sketch is available at auction, which you can check out here. The winners of each auction are allowed to choose the DC subject for Lee’s next sketch, and the subsequent gallery that Lee has posted on his Twitter and Instagram pages have simply been incredible. Awe-inspiring.

All proceeds from these auctions go to a fund set up through the Book Industry Charitable Foundation (or BINC), which has been crucial for struggling retailers who have needed support during this storm.

Courtesy of DC, DoomRocket has your exclusive first look at the artist’s 39th sketch, a study of the, erm, coolest rogue out of all of Batman’s notorious nemeses, Dr. Victor Fries.

Image: DC

As you can see, Lee has been in beast mode during this initiative, zeroing in on details that add dimension, atmosphere, and character to each of his sketches. Here the spot coloring is clutch, twin splashes of crimson that evoke the Mike Mignola redesign for Batman: The Animated Series. Look closer, and you’ll find Mr. Freeze’s dark pursuer reflected from his chilly dome. The subtlety is staggering. Snow falls delicately around Batman’s quarry; as our hero’s shadow grows around Freeze the villain’s lips part, betraying a second of panic from the otherwise frozen visage of Freeze.

But my favorite detail? Lee’s own signature and sketch number for this latest masterwork, presented as a technical design curved around the apparatus which connects Victor to absolute zero, and life.

To bid on Lee’s latest, and support struggling retailers, click here.

To donate to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, click here.

To submit your store for emergency assistance via BINC, click here.