There are some people and entities whom, in a behind-the-scenes sense, have been critically important to Hero Initiative's success and ongoing mission. Dave Sim is one of those people. Paradise Comics in Toronto is one of those entities. Steve Gerber. A lawyer name'a Harris Miller. Others. Someday, I may get to those stories.
But today, it's Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's day to bask in some light. Black Phoenix is—my words here, they might choose others—a "boutique perfumery," a joint that does super-cool scents WAY outside the mainstream Chanel no. 5 norm. They've hit big in the comic market, and my gut says they'll only get bigger. They have a great following among the goth girl and anime chick markets. And they're also DAMN fine people to work with. One reason: They love giving something back.
So back in 2009, BPAL approached us about doing some sort of comic-themed scent. As George Pérez is on Hero's Board of Directors, and he and Peter David have all rights to Sachs and Violens, I threw that out as a possibility. They liked it, we planned a launch for Wizard World Chicago, and wheels were in motion.
My mind started getting blown mere minutes after the convention doors opened, and people starting herding to our booth, asking for Sachs and Violens. My guess was it would be a modest seller, a novelty at best. But BPAL's own devoted fans were there in full force. We'd say, "Oh, yes, we have it right here, and in fact, hey—here's George Pérez. He's the artist of Sachs and Violens and the co-creator of the property."
The answer usually came back, "Yeah, that's nice. Gimme the perfume, please. Here's your $25."
Mind-boggling. Pérez is a star of cosmic magnitude on the comic con circuit, but these people were BPAL fans first and foremost! Hell, we had even organized a crazy-cool speed dating party as part of the launch, and sold that event out. I saw firsthand the power of BPAL's devotees.
Sachs and Violens was such a hit that we went on to do Witchblade, Dawn, Heroine, and now Grendel. The BPAL folks have been delightful to be around, professional to a fault, and have provided a significant chunk of change for Hero's coffers. There's NO doubt in my mind that some people have a roof over their heads right now or a warm spot in their belly tonight because of the efforts of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and their amazing fans.
We thank them. And highly recommend you check them out. Hey, they've got an entire Neil Gaiman line as well!