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Support needed for Jason Coffee’s last wish: Warhawks

Friends remember Jason Coffee (C98) as a passionate sci-fi fan who had dreams of writing a story that might one day change how people viewed science fiction.

He wouldn’t get that chance. In 2008, the winner of the T. Stephen May Scriptwriting Award from the School of Communication’s Creative Writing for the Media Program died suddenly after complications following surgery to remove a brain tumor. He left behind seven unproduced screenplays and a number of short stories, and a missive to his mother: make sure his voice was heard.

Now, friends and family are looking for a way to keep Coffee’s stories alive by turning one of his unmade screenplays into a comic book. One of his friends, Amy Liu (C97), said the group closest to Coffee decided on his work, Warhawks, a screenplay about a multi-racial cast of cyborg superheroes.

“It is a blockbuster that manages to be deeply personal,” she said. “Too massive to produce as a feature film, our group realized that it would work perfectly in Jason’s other beloved medium—comic books. ”

Marvel Comics artist Billy Tan signed on to draw the cover of issue one. Production up until now has been financed by Coffee’s friends, including Department of Radio/Television/Film alumni Liu, Wade Carney (C97), Douglas Cohen (C97), Steve Cook (C97), Greg Schwartz (C98), and Anna Siri (C98). Others helping include Jennifer Carney (WCAS94), Todd Carney (J94), Aldore Collier (WCAS77, GJ78), Jason Kaifesh (J96), and, of course, Jason’s mother, Gertha Coffee (WCAS75).

But the group knew they needed more help to spread the word and share Coffee’s voice with a wider audience. They’re looking to crowd-funding.

The Warhawks Kickstarter project is to raise $21,000 to complete, print, and distribute the first issue of Warhawks. The campaign, which can be reached at www.kickstarter.com/projects/1549164927/jason-coffees-warhawks, ends April 18.

Cohen said that they want to honor Coffee’s spirit.

“We will never know what Jason would think about this,” said Cohen. “We think he would like that we are doing this, but he would have strong opinions about all the creative choices. Part of what made Jason so special was that he couldn’t contain his passionate opinions about movies and television shows. All of his friends have fond memories of debating the latest blockbusters with him… [With this project] we want people to remember Jason’s heart, his intellect, his creative talent, his immunity to peer pressure, and his unmistakable laugh.”

To find out more about Warhawks, visit www.warhawkscomic.com.

Story by Cara Lockwood