Thursday, January 28, 2016

"Tree of Life" at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

I am so excited to finally be sharing this with you – my new "Tree of Life," commissioned by Children's Hospital Los Angeles for their new chapel! It's 24" x 36" and it's chock-full – the most super heroes I've even put into one papercut.

I had the chance to see it in its new home for the first time today as the space was officially opened, and it looks fantastic. The whole space does – it's officially named the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation Interfaith Center, 2,400 square feet of "non-denominational indoor and outdoor space will serve as a place of emotional and spiritual respite for CHLA patients." (You can read more about it here.)

It is such an honor to have been asked to create a new papercut for this wonderful space – to be a part of CHLA's goals of "compassionate patient care, leading-edge education of the caregivers of tomorrow and innovative research efforts that impact children at our hospital and around the world." I hope that my "Tree of Life" inspires all who see it – patients, families, and the CHLA professionals – to be strong and to have hope.

"What do you see?" Kid Flash, Squirrel Girl, Green Lantern, Power Pack...
As regular readers of this blog probably know, we Jews call the Torah (known to others as the Bible or the Old Testament) the "tree of Life," and we say that all those who support it are happy. This tree represents our traditions of knowledge and learning, of hope and healing, of happiness and life.

This large and bountiful tree is filled with many different fruits, and features shapes of leaves from trees found throughout Los Angeles: oak, birch, madrone, and willow. Other references to Los Angeles abound.

It is filled with cut-up comics featuring super heroes — individuals who have devoted themselves to helping those who need it — as well as doctors and nurses tending to the sick. (Look for Doctor Strange, Doctor Fate, the Night Nurse, and many others.) Since it's for a Jewish prayer space, it's filled with Jewish heroes (like Kitty Pryde, Batwoman, and Ragman). The fruits are filled with younger super heroes, still learning to be their best selves. (Look for the young hero teams Power Pack, Teen Titans, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and more.) You'll find Bruce Wayne visiting a sick friend in the hospital, Beast Boy getting a checkup, Wiz Kid in his wheelchair working with the Young Avengers... and so much more.

"Tree of Life" is filled with doctors, nurses, and young heroes who strive to be strong and persevere!

It is my hope that all those who look at the tree will find within it their favorite super hero, and see themselves reflected in it as well.

This "Tree of Life" is also a tree of healing. As it happens, the shortest prayer in the Torah is one of healing — five words, eleven letters — when Moses calls upon God in Numbers/Bamidbar 12:13 to heal his sister, Miriam, with the words, “El Na R’fa Na La” – “God, Please, Heal Her Now.” This prayer is found in the trunk, along with words from the “Mi Shebeirach” healing prayer and multiple references to the Etz Chaim (the Tree of Life).

The trunk includes an LA skyline, texts on the "tree of life," and Moses' plaintive prayer to God for healing.

 So – how many super heroes? You wanna know? Here's the list (those with asterisks are young heroes, found in the fruits of the tree):
Aquaman (Arthur Curry)
Arsenic (Gertrude Yorkes)*
Atom (Ray Palmer)
Batgirl (Barbara Gordon)
Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Batwoman (Katherine Kane)
Beast Boy (Garfield Logan)*
Black Canary (Dinah Lance)
Braniac 2
Captain America (Steve Rogers)
Cyborg (Vic Stone)
Cyclops (Scott Summers)
Daredevil (Matt Murdock)
Dazzler (Alison Blaire)
Dr. Fate
Dr. Lamour*
Dr. Mid-Nite
Dr. Strange (Stephen Strange)
Energizer (Katie Power)*
Franklin Richards*
Green Arrow (Oliver Queen)
Green Lantern (Hal Jordan)
Green Lantern (John Stewart)
Hawkeye (Clint Barton)
The Hulk (Bruce Banner)
The Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
Iceman (Bobby Drake)
The Invisible Woman (Sue Storm)
Iron Man (Tony Stark)
Kid Flash (Wally West)
Lightning Lass*
Lucy in the Sky (Karolina Dean)*
Magik (Illyana Rasputin)
Marvel Girl/Phoenix (Jean Grey)
Ms. Marvel (Carol Danvers)
Night Nurse
Power PackRagman (Rory Regan)
Robin (Dick Grayson)*
Robin (Stephanie Brown)*
Rocket Raccoon
Shadowcat (Kitty Pryde)*
She-Hulk (Jen Walters)
Spider-Man (Peter Parker)
Squirrel Girl (Doreen Green)*
Sunspot (Roberto da Costa)*
Supergirl (Kara Zor-El)
Superman (Clark Kent)
The Thing (Ben Grimm)
Valeria Richards
Vickie Grant*
Wiz Kid (Taki Matsuya)
Wonder Girl (Cassie Sandsmark)*
Wonder Girl (Donna Troy)
Wonder Woman (Diana Prince)
Zero-G (Alex Power)*
The Eleventh Doctor

And you know I always make a list of the comics I use in my pieces – this is a LONG list:
Adventure Comics #507 (Jan 2010)
Adventure Comics Presents Dial H for Hero
#481 (May 1981)
All Star Western #3 (Jan 2012)
Aquaman #35 (Dec 2014)
Avengers #7 (Jan 2011)
Batgirl Special #1 (1988)
Batman #500 (Oct 1993)
Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight
#4 (Feb 1990)
Batwoman #3 (Jan 2012)
Claws #3 (Dec 2006)
Convergence: Green Lantern Corps #2 (Jul 2015)
Daredevil #29 (Sep 2013), #294 (Jul 1991)
Doctor Fate #31 (Aug 1991)
Doctor Strange #65 (Jun 1984)
Doctor Who FCBD (2015)
Green Lantern #41 (Aug 2015), #108 (Sep 1978)
Green Lantern: Mosaic #1 (Jun 1992)
Green Lantern: New Guardians #35 (Dec 2014)
Elektra #1 (Jun 2014)
Excalibur #1 (Oct 1988)
Fantastic Four #156 (Mar 1974)
FF #23 (Dec 2012)
Incredible Hulk #28 (Jul 2001)
Infinity Inc. #3 (Jan 2008)
Justice #1 (Oct 2005), #12 (Aug 2007)
Justice League of America #75 (Nov 1969)
Legion ’91 #34 (Dec 1991)
Legion of Super-Heroes #16 (Mar 2013)
Magik #1 (Dec 1983), #4 (Mar 1984)
The New Mutants #87 (Mar 1990)
The New Teen Titans #1 (Aug 1984)
Night Nurse #1 (Jul 2015)
Power Pack #1 (Aug 1984), #12 (Jul 1985),
#21 (Apr 1986), #19 (Feb 1986),
#25 (Aug 1986)
Ragman #1 (Aug 1993)
Runaways #16 (Jul 2006), #19 (Oct 2006),
#7 (Oct 2005)
S.H.I.E.L.D. #4 (May 2015)
Showcase ’93 #7 (Jul 1993)
Siege: Loki #1 (Jun 2010)
Starman #23 (Jun 1990)
Superboy #18 (May 2013), #8 (Aug 2011), Annual #1 (Mar 2013), #5 (May 2011)
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #27 (Apr 2007)
Superman: Peace on Earth (Jan 1999)
Swamp Thing #22 (Feb 2006)
Tales of the Green Lantern Corps #3 (Jul 1981)
Tales of the Teen Titans #57 (Sep 1985)
Tales of the Thing #1 (May 2005)
Teen Titans #4 (Dec 2003), #23.2 (Nov 2013), #13 (Sep 2004)
The Thing #2 (Feb 2006)
Thor #616 (Dec 2010), #621 (May 2011),
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7 (Sep 2015)
Wonder Girl #1 (Nov 2007)
X-Men: First Class #4 (Feb 2007)
X-Static #21 (Jun 2004)
X-Terminators #3 (Dec 1988)

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