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Tuesday, December 4, 2007

True Tales of Cool Stuff

Hero Board member, Defender of the Realm and all-around cool guy John Romita Sr. recently did four eBay auctions where fans could win lunch and a sketch from John. Auction winner Werner Graf wrote up his experience for Newsarama, and (*ahem*) maybe some of the other winners would be kind enough to share their experiences here as well.

Werner's bit at:

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, November 23, 2007

Giving Thanks, Indeed

I just wrote checks totaling $3000 for a creator who Hero just benefited. He wishes to remain anonymous, but our Disbursement Committee knows who he is. He lives in an area of the country, where the cost of living is moderately cheap, but still…he and his wife just rolled pennies to buy milk, and they luckily had a coupon for a free box of Cheerios. After the milk, they had $3 to their names.

The creator in question had cancer about a decade ago, and his wife was diagnosed with cancer a few years later. When she found she was going to lose her hair in treatment, she had it cut off and donated to the Locks of Love program. That's just the kind of folks they are. Her cancer is still an issue to this day. It took
six years for her to get government help, as with no under-18 children living in their home, they had to get below 200% under
the federal poverty guidelines before they could qualify.

Probably needless to say, due to health and mobility issues, finding work is difficult for these folks. The funny part is they're STILL plugging away, still writing and even self-publishing comics. Their spirit is indomitable. Some of the checks I wrote were to a landlord for rent and a propane company for heat. I spoke to said recipient today to tell him the checks went out and he remarked that "
The prospect of a warm winter with no bills facing disconnect is more than we hoped for."

And it hit me:
He had already resigned himself to the fate that the heat was probably going to get turned off for part of this winter.
It was just going to happen. Until us. And until you, reading this.

So there. Just a quick reminder that the work we do, yes, is indeed important. Thanks to all who have donated their money, time, effort, and energies.

And happy Thanksgiving weekend, huh?

Jim McLauchlin

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Two-fer-One Special!

I recently had the pleasure of hosting/co-hosting booths at not one but two great conventions to benefit Hero Initiative!

The first was Dragon*Con in lovely Atlanta, Georgia over the past Labor Day weekend. Chris Klamer (I bow to you) and I held down the fort with such amazing guests as Michael Avon Oeming (getting us hooked on Coffee Crisps), Terry Moore (a huge hit and a lovely person), Ethan Van Schiver (doing fantastic 3 minute sketches, and not minding when I forgot to keep time) and Whilce Portacio (I missed you, sorry!), with Arthur Suydam around the corner accepting donations from his prints to benefit Hero Initiative (and just being cool as only he can) and Brian Pulido down the way (with his legion of fans)! Michael Avon Oeming spent most of the show with us, showcasing his "Mice Templar" book -- which is a great read -- and raising filthy earth monies for the cause. Terry Moore made several fans very happy with sketches from "Strangers in Paradise" and made me happy by just being so darn sweet. Arthur Suydam generously donated proceeds from his Marvel Zombies prints to Hero Initiative and was placated with coffee and chicken. We all love chicken!

Chris and I with Terry Moore

Me with Arthur Suydam -- he is too cute!

Our booth superstar, Michael Avon Oeming

One of the best parts about holding down a booth for Hero? Tasty, tasty food with fantastic company!

Around the table: Helen Klamer, Chris Klamer, AJ Johnson (who got suckered into helping but did awesome), Arthur Suydam, Brian Pulido, and me!

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the Heroes Alliance, who often appear at conventions and always seem to make it to the Hero Initiative booth and spend some time posing for photos for donations. Here's Rogue and I:

And so no sooner did I unload my merch from Dragon*Con, it was time to get moving on the Orlando Comic-Con! A fangirl's work is never done.

While the Orlando Comic-Con was a small show, we made a big difference for Hero Initiative! Big hugs go out to Lenil Francis Yu for being an awesome booth buddy and doing two AMAZING sketches for two lucky fans (I'm serious. They were really cool!), to David Lloyd for great company, great sketches, and splitting a great bottle of wine, to Joshua Ortega for selling Death Dealers Sketch Variants to benefit Hero Initiative and not eating all my cookies (allowing me to sell them to benefit Hero Initiative instead), to Rob Granito for donating artwork and stamps and being super-sweet over dinner, to Javier Lugo for donating prints and lots of laughs at dinner, Tom Fleming for donating artwork and prints, to Mandy and TJ from Heroes Alliance for helping me out at the booth and bringing me along to dinner, to Bill for helping me unpack all the merch and getting it set up, to Julie for loaning me Bill, and to Lee the Batfan for being the kookiest, craziest person I have ever met and getting us lots of strange looks at Bennigans. Good times.

David Lloyd and I (I adore him - he is wonderful)

Lenil Francis Yu, our big draw for the show, you were awesome!

And what's a convention without a huge group of supporters showing up and eating lots of foods?

Next stop - MegaCon!

Hugs and Skittles for all!

Friday, September 21, 2007

More ’Ringo event art

The beat goes on with yet more cool art from the Mike Wieringo Tribute event. Above, Cyclops by Walter Simonson.

Below, the Hulk by Tom Raney:

And Psylocke by the inimitable Jae Lee:

Ah, you kids have been good, here's another shot: Tom Raney and Jae Lee in action.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mike Wieringo Event

By all accounts, Sept. 19th's Mike Wieringo tribute at Flatiron Joe's in Manhattan was a great time for all. In fact, here's one account from Marvel's Jim McCann:

"Joe Quesada and Todd Dezago gave some opening remarks, and then the artists got to work. The artists sketching included Jae Lee, Tom Raney, Dennis Calero, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Connor, Arthur Suydam, Paul Renaud, Rodney Ramos, Paolo Rivera, Joe Quesada (and his daughter Carly), and some guy named WALT SIMONSON!!!! MVP of the night had to be Walt, turning in close to 15 sketches for auction. Money raised thru auction, commissions and donations was in excess of $4,000 in just 2 hours!

"The entire bar was full as food, beer, and Mike stories flowed. It was loud, raucous, and filled with laughter. Because Mike would have wanted it that way.

"Thanks for letting me be a part! It was a night to remember!"

Our thanks to all who participated, ESPECIALLY the artists and Tony Tower, David Price, Steve Zegers and Ron Richards, who were Hero's volunteers on the spot. Money raised will be split between The Hero Initiative and the ASPCA, two of Mike's "pet" charities. Here's just a couple photos to whet the appetite, a LOT more to come from both Hero an tomorrow!

Jim McLauchlin

Immediate below, Walter Simonson, Amanda Connor, Jimmy Palmiotti and more showed up at Flatiron Joe's to do some sketches.

Below, Arthur "Red" Suydam showed up to do some damage.

Below, Joe Quesada and daughter Carly (Carly brought her crayons and sold a drawing for $50; she's a professional now!)

Below, Nick Lowe and Paolo Rivera.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Events, we gots events!

All the cool kids were at The Secret Headquarters on Labor Day weekend where The Hero Initiative rolled out The 3-minute Sketchbook (lookee here for more details: ). Our thanks to Brian Cunningham of Wizard, who helped put together the book, AND played Jimmy Olsen, snapping off these pics!

Immediate below, a close-up of the racks, showing work by Dick Ayers, Steve McNiven, Ernie Chan, Jim Cheung, Sal Buscema, Frank Cho and more!

Joltin' Joe Rubinstein was one of the many artists who showed up to do some ACTUAL 3-minute sketches in people's books. He's aided and abetted by Hero volunteer Erudite Elizabeth Thompson.

And just above, a close-up on some of the work Bongo Comics' Bill Morrison was doing.

Baltimore Comic-Con Wrap-up

The following from our own Kevin Brogan, who was on-site at Ye Olde Baltimore Comic-Con:

The Baltimore Comic-Con ( proved once again to be a great success for fans and dealers alike. With a cast of talent that rivals any other con, it is one of the largest independent shows based strictly on comic books and comic book art. The Hero Initiative has had a presence in Baltimore since its first show, adding to its attraction by bringing in some high-profile names, and special events. This year, our guests were Joe Kubert and sons, Adam and Andy, and John Romita Sr. and son, John Jr.—a Full House. Unfortunately, John Jr. was unable to make it due to last-minute travel problems. Hero’s big event this year was an auction of “three-minute” sketches, collected by Michael Finn and donated to Hero.

As some of you know, Baltimore is a two-day affair, so from early morning Saturday, we were hustling. Joe and his sons arrived right on time with a Hawkman piece ready for auction. Joe took his seat and began signing. He did not stop until the line diminished. Two schedule one-hour signings became an hour and a half each. An estimated 300 autographs patrons came in closer to 500, but Joe signed ’em all.

Since 3-minutes sketches were our theme, I thought Joe might do a quick sketch in one of his “How to Draw” books. And he did three books. Sunday he was to be busy with interviews and panels, but he still was willing to do another signing session while he waited for the interviewer. Finally, one of Hero’s traditions at Baltimore is to have our guests do a duet piece. Joe and John Romita were willing to do it, and Joe had the brilliant idea of videotaping it (video to come).

John, who always comes through for us at Baltimore, made the mistake of showing up early Saturday. I suggested that he rest, have his coffee, talk to fans, and start signing after Kuberts’ shift. He started immediately. Since he started early he was able to finish early, but then he agreed to do two sketches. I tried to limit his signing for the rest of the show, but he kept getting away from me, and did another shift, as well as a gang signing for The Ultimate Spider-Man #100 Project. His incredible effort has always been at the core of Baltimore’s success.

Finally, thanks to Adam and Andy and the three signing shifts they put in, and their sketching. Hero was able to keep the booth active when John and Joe needed a much deserve break. The 3-minute sketches auction closed out the show on a big bang. Hero auctioned off nearly 150 pieces in the closing hours of the show. It was a proper closing to a busy show.

But the high point of the show was the Harvey Awards, Saturday night where The Hero Initiative honored Joe Kubert with its Lifetime Achievement Awards, recognizing his incredible commitment to the profession and its professionals. I was privileged to be the presenter of such a prominent award to such a distinguished artist, teacher, and hero.

As a fan of 40 years, it was a great experience for me to work together with Joe Kubert and John Romita. Having Joe and John as Hero’s guest was a dream come true for me as a would-be artist, and as the booth coordinator. Along with Adam and Andy, the team surpassed all tasks, helping us raise one of the highest total funds of any Con. If you have not been to Baltimore Con you should seriously consider attending next year, September 27- 28, 2008, where we will have another fun-filled show.

Kevin Brogan

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Water Remains Wet, and Joe Kubert Still Kicks Ass

Joe Kubert is the winner of the Hero Initiative 2007 Lifetime Achievement Award. The award is a "legacy" award. Last year's co-winners, John Romita Sr. and George Pérez, chose Kubert as this year's recipient. For 2008, Joe will get to choose a recipient.

Any attempt to enumerate the lifetime achievements of Joe Kubert would be incomplete, I'm sure, so suffice to say that as a writer, an artist, an educator, and a great human being, Joe Kubert is all 31 flavors of deserving. He continues to inspire to this day. A more worthy recipient I cannot think of.

And hats off to the hyper-talented Tommy Allison of Mad Robot Studios. Tommy crafted this year's award, just as he did last year with Romita and Pérez. Heck, he even came up with the inscription on the back! A damn good guy, that Tommy fellow.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Better Late Than Never Chicago Recap

The topsy-turvy whoosh of Chicago is in the rear-view mirror and things went great for Hero. The Ultimate Spider-Man #100 Project book sold great guns, and Paul Jenkins shooting pool was quite the hit. Shouts goin’ out to the Westside:

• Massive thanks to our volunteer crew of Chris Klamer, Wendi Freeman, Mike Fleming, Stephen Olle, Dan Corbett, Chris Neseman, David Price, Ron Richards, David Fowlie, and I-pray-I’m-not-forgetting anyone.

• Big Ups, as the kids might say, to our talented writers and artists who helped with signings and sketchings including Phil Hester, Gene Ha, Tim Seeley, David Michael Beck, Arthur Suydam, Brian Pulido, Gordon Purcell, Tim Vigil, Joe Benitez, J. Scott Campbell, Michael Golden, Francis Manapul, Alex Saviuk, Jim Starlin, Jim Valentino, Matt Wagner, and I-pray-I’m-not-forgetting anyone.

• Kudos to Joe Quesada and Mark Millar, who showed up to shoot some stick (HEY! Mind outta the gutter!) against The Mighty Jenks.

• Salutations to Maggie Thompson, Steve Borock, and the CGC Forum crew, and especially a brave/foolish man named Kenny Sanderson. At the CGC Forum dinner, Kenny offered to eat and entire BOWL of sour cream if all Forum members ponied up $5 each for Hero. They did, and $270 later, Kenny increased his caloric intake by about 2000.

• Warmest regards to the Wizard World crew and the denizens of the Great Midwest. BELIEVE me when I tell you this: I go to a lot of these things, and I observe. Even more, I count the cashbox at the end. The Wizard World Chicago crowd is a buying crowd. They love comics. They get it. And they’re not afraid to reach for their wallets. The San Diego audience, to a large extent, thinks it’s Halloween. They get a giant bag, and they want you to fill it up with candy. I spent half of Wednesday at San Diego running halfway down an aisle saying to people, “Sorry, Mac. That’s not free, it’s $5.” Not so at Chicago.

• The greatest thanks are reserved for Paul Jenkins, who worked his balls (billiard balls, that is) off all weekend, and Michael Turner. Turner, sporting what he calls his “stylish new walk,” showed up to challenge Jenkins to a best-of-9 9-ball tournament on Sunday and gamely hung with the master. Final was 5-3, and you could see the flopsweat marshalling on Jenkins’ brow. Turner’s right leg ain’t what it used to be, but he can still play. It was great to see Mike get out and have a little fun shooting some stick, and I hope he enjoyed it as much as we enjoyed having him there.

Okay, I lied. The GREATEST thanks of all, as always, are for Lou Malnati’s, the finest pizza in Chicago (and that’s sayin’ sumpthin’!). Did you know—DID YOU KNOW—that Lou’s has a pizza that has a crust made of sausage? I’ll say that again: A CRUST MADE OF SAUSAGE! It’s not crust! It’s sausage!

No, actually…it’s heaven.

Jim McLauchlin

Paul Jenkins vs. Joe Quesada (Billiards Thunderdome)

Below you will find a link to my You Tube site and you will find Jenkins vs. Quesada, Jenkins vs. Millar, Jenkins trick shot and the Ultimate 100 signing that we have all decided was the worlds fastest signing with 10 artists in attendance.


Monday, August 13, 2007

Paul Jenkins has completed his sacking of Chicago

Final tally:

Paul: 107

Everyone else: 7

The kid can shoot.

Jim McLauchlin

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Paul Jenkins is invincible

Through three days, Paul is 77-5.
Geez, the kid is good.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Paul Jenkins, Day One

Paul went 9-0 shooting pool, including one guy he beat SHOOTING BEHIND HIS BACK. He's tough.

The stakes for the Jenkins/Joe Quesada match are official:
* If Paul wins, Joe will do a cover for any one of Paul's books AND Joe will write a letter on Marvel stationery to Peyton Manning apologizing for every bad thing he's ever said about him (Paul's a HUGE Colts fan, and Joe has a mad-on for Manning.
* If Joe wins, Paul has to wash Joe's car. Shirtless. And Joe gets to take pictures in what he calls "a sexy photo shoot."

That's FRIDAY at the Hero booth, #140 at Chicago. Be there.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Everyone loves a Big Dirty!

Everyone wants to know what The Big Dirty is. Can’t say I blame ’em.

At The Hero Initiative Booth, #140 at Wizard World Chicago, you can challenge Paul Jenkins to pocket billiards and win great prizes such as original art and CGC-graded books. That’s a mere $30.

But ONCE a day, Paul will take a $500 challenge for a $1000+ prize package known as The Big Dirty! Said Dirty is:

• A $500 Dynamic Forces shopping spree for signed material (value: $500)
• An Ultimate Spider-Man #100 Project hardcover (limited edition of 1000) autographed by Stan Lee! (value: $75)
• A Marvel Then and Now DVD autographed by Stan Lee! (value: $75)
• An 11-by-14 Joseph Michael Linsner one-character commission drawing (value: $200)
• A CGC 9.6 or higher Crisis on Infinite Earths #1 autographed by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez (value: $75)
• The Fantastic Art of Arthur Suydam hardcover book with an original sketch inside front cover by Suydam (value: $75)
• A Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon lithograph autographed by Terry Moore, Matt Wagner AND Marv Wolfman (value: $50)

Good luck, Willie Mosconi.

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, July 23, 2007

Chicago is the new San Diego

San Diego, I scoff at thee! In this beyond-instant gratification world, the only thing left is to declare things over before they've even started. Kinda like that Leif Garret kid's career once was. So let's just gloss over SD and assume we all had a great time. Our feet hurt, but a great time.

So. Paul Jenkins will be the Man of the Hour for Mighty Hero at Wizard World Chicago, and The Hero Initiative will have a pool table at our booth.

That's right. A pool table at our booth. Paul will take on all comers in the manly arts of 8-ball and 9-ball, and in addition, special matches are being set up, to wit:

• THE BIG DIRTY! Instead of getting in at $30, a fan can challenge Paul to a single game for $500, and possibly with a $1000+ prize package! We'll do this once a day. If your name is "Minnesota Fats," you might be interested in this.
• THUNDERDOME (Two men enter, Paul Jenkins leaves!) A few other assorted comics pros have already challenged Jenkins to grudge matches for crazy stakes. Mark Millar and Joe Quesada are already in. Paul will shoot BEHIND HIS BACK against Quesada to even things up. Stakes are still being finalized, but may involve the surrender of beloved football jerseys to winners, and the washing of cars in Speedos. It is to cringe.

Get thee to The City of Broad Shoulders! Meat-packer to the Republic! Chicago! Tix info via:

Jim McLauchlin

Softblog, part I'm not counting anymore

Marvel has ALREADY taken an early 1-0 lead on the strength of these kickass Stan Lee- and Chris Berman-approved nicknames provide by team captain Mike Pascuillo. Seriously, unless DC steps up, I might gift Marvel a run to start the game.

Axel “The Agile” Alonso

Reilly “You’re A Good Man Charlie” Brown

Peter “Do or Die” David

John “Different Strokes For Different” Dokes

Paul “How Similar to Cricket Is This” Jenkins

Charles “Have You Had E” Knauf

Logan “Don’t Call Me Wolverine” Lubera

Damon “I Never Take A” Nee

Khoi “Bam Bam” Pham

Mike “Don’t Try To Pronounce It” Pasciullo

Joe “Let’s Play Two” Quesada

Humberto “Lefty” Ramos

Esad “The Babe” Ribic

Johnny “The Rocket” Romita Jr.

Andy “Don’t Give Me Any” Schmidt

Steve “I Didn’t Want to Play on the Losing Team Again So I Work At Marvel Now” Wacker

Daniel “Let Me Show You The” Way

Jim McLauchlin

Sunday, July 22, 2007

The San Diego booth, she is ready

The Beast Men Call San Diego is upon us. Hero is teaming up with the titans of GameTap at San Diego booth #s 3848 and #3850. Swing by on us there, and you can also swing by on these swingin' creators:

630-730: Scott Koblish

1200-200: Arthur Suydam
200-300: Chris Gage
300-400: Kevin Eastman
345-445: Terry Moore
500-600: Andy Kuhn
600-700: Ron Marz and Greg Tocchini

1000-1100: Keith Champagne and Andy Smith
1100-1230: Darwyn Cooke
1230-130: Lee Moder
130-230: J.H. Williams
230-330: Matt Haley
330-400: Brian Pulido
500-600: Joe Quesada

1100-1200: Michael Stackpole
1200-100: Dan Jurgens
100-200: Jim Valentino
200-230: Peter Chung
300-400: Joe Benitez
400-500: Francis Manapul
500-600: John Romita Jr.
600-700: Phil Hester

1000-1100: Bill Tucci and Mark Sparacio
1100-1200: Cully Hamner
1200-100: Roy Thomas
100-145: Dan Slott
200-300: Brian Pulido
300-430: Arthur Suydam

And is anyone else pissed that a 6-9 PM "Preview Night" on WED really cuts into drinking time? I know I am.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Softblog, part 5 (pronounce: "cinco")

Marvel has come large in offering a free New Avengers #31 sketch variant to the first 40 ticket-buyers who belly up to the bar at:

DC has come large in offering up four rare RRP books to their ringer at:

And in the interest of fair play, ladies and germs, a DC team photo!

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, July 16, 2007

Softblog, part four (pronounce: "4")

Oh, yes. You can now win a chance to play on the Marvel or DC team and get all the blisters and sliding strawberries you can eat. Check out:

Best of luck. Ability to hit a slow-pitched softball a plus.

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, July 13, 2007

Softblog, part trés (pronounce: "tray")

As threatened, Hero will ferry your happy ass to the Marvel v. DC Softball Game. And it ain't no bus, neither! It's a luxury motorcoach! Luxury motorcoach, I say!

Tix at:

And the first 40 orders will get a free New Avengers #31 Sketch Cover variant as well. Those closed on the Zurich commodities market for, like, $1600 an ounce yesterday. I think.

Jim McLauchlin

Softblog, part deux (pronounce: doo)

Ah, memories. The 2006 Marvel Team. The shirtless guy with the beer is Esad Ribic. He went 0-2 at the plate, and had a smoke dangling outta his mouth at each at-bat.

More soon.

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Softblog, part un (pronounce: "ooon.")

So. Nobody's doin' nuthin' at San Diego on Thursday the 26th, right? Then you should hustle your happy ass to Morley Field to see the second annual Hero Initiative Marvel v. DC softball game! Luxury motorcoach round-trip transportation will be provided by Hero for a mere pittance, details coming soon. Buses (oh, I'm sorry—make that "luxury motorcoaches") will board at the Hyatt, a mere two doors down from the convention center. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Just a SMALL sampling of players playing, with MORE being added every day:

Marvelous Mike Pascuillo takes his Marvel Excelsior!s into battle with Paul Jenkins, John Romita Jr., Humberto Ramos and more.

Mighty Mike Marts leads his DC Bullets into the fray with Dan Jurgens, Adam Hughes and Billy Tucci.

That's right—the biggest off-season acquisition in sports, Billy Tucci, has swapped sides from Marvel to DC, and softball pundits are all a-twitter! Tucci was last year's MVP, as Marvel spanked DC, 22-11. He'll see if he can repeat his MVPerformance, and bring the coveted Stan Lee Cup (see above!) to the Distinguished Competition.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I'm Derek Thorson, one of the guys behind The Hero Initiative website. Jim, president of Hero, asked me to look into creating a blog for Hero, so here I am. I have no idea if this is the ultimate place we'll end up, but it's the one I like the most. This post is mainly just to get it kick started so I can format the blog for Hero.