Graham Crackers HERO Web Store

Thursday, December 23, 2010

LAST of the signed Stan's Soapboxes!

The signed-and-numbered edition of Stan's Soapbox: The Collection is almost gone!

We have only TWO left via our eBay store.

And for the budget-conscious among you, there are six left at HALF PRICE with a small corner ding from

Remember, there were only 250 of the hardcovers made, and only 100 of these are signed by BOTH Stan Lee and John Romita.

Last-second Christmas gifts, anyone?

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Darwyn Cooke's 12 Days o' Christmas!

Our ol' pal Darwyn Cooke is playing Santa this Christmas with 12 great goodies going up on eBay with proceeds benefiting Hero Initiative! Best to check his blog on a daily basis over the next fortnight or so for new items.

In the here-and-now: A killer page from Parker: The Outfit (see below)! Check it out! And thanks, Dar!

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Simonson before…and after!

Process junkies of the world unite!

The inimitable Walter Simonson was kind enough to send in scans of both his pencils and inks for his "100 Avengers" cover, and the results are seen here!

And fear not, art lovers: The "100 Avengers" book collecting all these lovely covers will be on sale in May, 2011. Auctions of the originals to start…oh, sooner or later. Let's say March, maybe.

Jim McLauchlin

Graham Crackers Hero Initiative Membership Party!

Big thanks to our pals at the mighty Graham Crackers Comics (did we mention nine Chicagoland locations?) and artist Angel Medina (above) for their help at the Hero Initiative membership party back on Nov. 12 at GC's Plainfield location. A splendid time was had by all, folks in attendance enjoyed 25% off EVERYTHING in the store, and Angel even did free sketches for folks who signed up for Silver level memberships.

And new 2011 members included folks such as Nicole McCue of Aurora, IL (below) and Noah Robinson of Plainfield, IL (below below).

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, December 3, 2010

Wizard #200 Jam cover now up for auction!

Our friends over at are now doing…auctions! And we're helping them launch with an über-cool piece from an all-star lineup of artists that can't be matched!

The artists who did the Wizard #200 cover generously decided to donate the cover to Hero Initiative rather than break out the scissors and chop it up among themselves. The piece features:

Joe Quesada, who penciled Wolverine and the "200"
Steve McNiven, who penciled Spider-Man
Bryan Hitch, who penciled the Thing
And Michael Turner, who penciled the Incredible Hulk

The whole sheebang was inked by Dangerous Danny Miki, and we thank EVERYBODY for their help and participation!

And you can bid on it NOW! Just truck over to And best of luck!

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, November 29, 2010

Final Unknown BPAL packages up for sale…now!

Get ’em while they're still here!

A mere 27—that's right, we said 27!—packages of BOOM! Studios' Unknown hardcover and Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Cat Allingham Unknown perfume are left, and they're for sale on Hero Initiative's eBay page!

Only 100 copies of this great combo that debuted at 2010's San Diego Comic-Con were created, and only a VERY few remain! Buy now and you get BOTH:

• A hardcover edition of The Unknown with an original bookplate illustrated by artist Minck Oosterveer and signed by Oosterveer and Mark Waid. Each copy is a signed-and-numbered edition of only 100 copies!

• A 5ml bottle of Cat Allingham from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab. The fragrance features distilled shadows, a bleak desert landscape at midnight: Myroswelia balsam, gaïac wood, obsidian musk, green cumin, patchouli, myrrh, Siamese benzoin, frankincense, champaca, and sand.

Only a few limited edition sets remain at $50! Did we mention it makes a great gift? Well, it does.

Get to Hero's eBay page QUICKLY! They'll likely be gone soon!

Jim McLauchlin

Mid-Ohio auctions for Hero Initiative!

Our pals over at the Mid-Ohio Con were gracious enough to get a buncha top-drawer artists to pony up some great art for Hero Initiative. And they've even gracious enough to auction ’em off via eBay! So check ’em out! Great stuff from Sergio Aragones (above), Matt Wagner (below), Billy Tucci, David Peterson, Todd Nauck, and the ever-popular "many, many more."

And did we mention next year's Mid-Ohio Con will be Oct. 22-23, 2011? Well, it will. Be there!

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tim Sale at Golden Apple's Hero Member Party!

The mighty Golden Apple on L.A.'s fabulous Melrose Ave. hosted a Hero Initiative membership party with the stellar Tim Sale on Nov. 12!
The first six lucky fans to sign up for a Silver-lever Hero membership even got a BONUS Tim Sale inkwash sketch for their $99, in addition to all their regular Hero goodies.
A splendid time was had by all. You can check out even more pics from the event at Hero Initiative's page at .

Jim McLauchlin

Mid-Ohio Charity Auction Coming Nov. 26!

The kind fellas at Mid-Ohio Con are having a post-con charity auction benefiting Hero Initiative set to launch the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 26.

Check out the Mid-Ohio blog for a cool preview, and do your Christmas shopping from your computer come Black Friday!

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Go get you some Black Phoenix Heroine!

It's available to yon general public!

Heroine, the new scent crafted specifically for Hero Initiative and sporting the super-cool Adam Hughes label art seen here, is now available at the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab website! It make a wonderful gift, as do all the Black Phoenix scents.

Heroine features Nepalese amber, East African patchouli, dark musk, apple blossom, petitgrain, aged leather, skin musk, and rhubarb. And did we mention the super-cool Adam Hughes label art seen here?

$26 the bottle and a bargain at that!

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hero Initiative Original Archies, Week 4

Art lovers take note: Hero Initiative's original Archie #600 auctions continue right now on eBay! And did we mention it's the giving season? Wouldn't a Joe Jusko (above) look nice under the tree? Or a Jim Mahfood or Mark McKenna (below).

Don't do it for yourself. Do it for the loved ones in your life.

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, November 5, 2010

Hero Initiative 2011 Memberships…and parties!

Hero Initiative's 2011 Memberships are up and running! You can become a yearly member to fly your freak flag for Hero, and get some great goodies at the same time!

And for those of you in Chicago or Los Angeles…
The mighty Graham Crackers of Chicago will be hosting artist Angel Medina at their Plainfield location on Friday., November 12 at 7 PM. You can pick up your Hero membership, get 25% off EVERYTHING in the store, indulge yourself in food and drink, AND if you sign up at the $99 Silver level, get an original sketch from Angel as well!

L.A.'s legendary Golden Apple will host booze, food, and even Tim Sale on Friday., November 12 at 6 PM. The first six folks signing up at the $99 Silver level will also get an original sketch from Tim. And hey—as this deal is limited in nature, you may wanna check out Golden Apple's Web store to reserve your spot!

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hero Initiative Party at Long Beach!

My name’s Steve and I’m a 64-year-old fanboy (or fanman, I hope), and I’m here to tell you about the best part of Halloween weekend’s 2nd annual Long Beach Comic Con: The Hero Initiative’s Friday night meet-and-greet cocktail party!

I got to hang out with the Reverend Dave Johnson, comicdom’s funnest couple: Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner, the cool Tim Bradstreet and the hot (in my wife's opinion) Tom Jane. Trust me, there are no introverts in that group, and there were only 20 party attendees altogether, so it was easy to get one-on-one time with everyone.
I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much and heard as many cool inside-the-world-of-comics stories. A few of the things that happened won’t see print here, so you’ll just have to attend the next one, but the highlights for me were when I did a little cigar smoking outside with Tom Jane, after he rocked the house singing with the local guitar-wielding troubadour, Keith…and when Amanda gave everyone a signed print of their choosing (like I could pick anyone other than Power Girl!), and the Reverend Dave marrying several couples. No, wait, wait, I made that last one up.

In case you haven’t met the Hero guys in person, let me assure you that they’re dedicated and serious about what they do, but a heck of a lot of fun to be with. So keep watching their website for their next get-together event, and jump on it!

Original Archies, second week!

The hits just keep on comin'! The second week of Hero Initiative's original Archie #600 covers are now up on eBay! There are beauts such as Joseph Michael Linsner's, above...

Agnes Garbowska's right here, and Leonard Kirk's below!
Get you there!

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, November 1, 2010

More Heroine at Mid-Ohio!

Good news for the BPAL fans out there—and we know you're out there!

Heroine, the new scent from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab featuring the great new Adam Hughes label, will be available at Mid-Ohio Con, Nov. 6-7!

Heroine is the first scent created specifically for The Hero Initiative, and features Nepalese amber, East African patchouli, dark musk, apple blossom, petitgrain, aged leather, skin musk, and rhubarb.

Heroine will be available for $25 at Hero's booth at Mid-Ohio Con, and will be $26 when it goes live on the BPAL site in late November.

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hero Initiative Archie #600 original auctions start!

The Hero Initiative auctions for our original Archie #600 covers have started on eBay!

Every week, we'll auction off 5-10 covers ’til all 57 have found good homes! This week: Stan Goldberg and John Romita (pictured here) along with Bill Sienkiewicz, Chris Samnee and Cliff Chaing!

Each one is a unique, ORIGINAL work of art, so don't miss your chance!

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

’Tis the Season to Zombie!

Ah, Arthur Suydam, King of Zombies!

The Mighty Suyd has crafted a Long Beach Comic Con exclusive zombie print for sale at the con Oct. 29-31. It'll be available for sale at BOTH the Hero Initiative booth, #300, and Suydam's table in Artist Alley. Cost is $15 per, and proceeds benefit the Hero Initiative.

C'mon. What could be be more Halloween-y?

Jim McLauchlin

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

BPAL "Heroine" perfume debuts at Long Beach Comic Con!

The Long Beach Comic Con will be held October 29-31, 2010, at the Long Beach Convention Center, and our pals at Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have cooked up something new: Heroine!

Heroine is the first scent created specifically for The Hero Initiative, and the label art is by the fabulous Adam Hughes!

The scent features Nepalese amber, East African patchouli, dark musk, apple blossom, petitgrain, aged leather, skin musk, and rhubarb.

The Hero Initiative will be selling Heroine, as well as the Dawn, Witchblade, Sachs and Violens, and Unknown scents at Long Beach Comic Con, booth #300. Wicked Goddess herself from BPAL will be volunteering at the booth on Saturday and Sunday to help you with your BPAL needs.

Heroine will be available for $25 at the booth, and will be $26 when it goes live on the BPAL site in late November.

Jim McLauchlin

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hero Halloween Costume Party! Prizes!

The Hero Initiative is hosting a Costume Party in conjunction with the Long Beach Comic Con! Look for it at…

• Rock Bottom Brewery, corner of Pine and Ocean, ONE block from the con!
• Saturday, October 30, at 8:00 PM!

Prizes will be awarded in different categories - best superhero, best villain, best IDW character, best BOOM! character, most creative, best Zombie and more! Start planning your costume now for this awesome event.

It's going to be incredible fun, and your $10 admission benefits the Hero Initiative, the non-profit organization that helps creators in the comic book industry in medical or financial need. It also gets you a beer. Seriously—your admission ticket also gets you one free drink!

Tickets will be sold at the Hero Initiative booth, #300, at the Long Beach Comic Con.

C'mon. It's Halloween weekend. You're gonna be dressed up already…

Jim McLauchlin

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Lunch With Joe Quesada

My Lunch with Joe Quesada
By Greg Pelkofski

Yes, I am the fan who spent $536.51 to have lunch with Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada. Yes, it was one of the best experiences of my short twenty-one years on this planet. Yes, it was a “dream come true.” (And I’ve had some pretty strange dreams. No joke, the night before the lunch, I had a dream where Spider-Girl was fighting the Joker in a burning building. Crazy, right?) However, this meeting was even more meaningful as I am a college student looking to break into the comic book industry after graduation.

Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to work in comic books. Well, I actually wanted to be Spider-Man, but by middle school I started to realize that even if a radioactive spider did bite me, it would probably kill me, not make me stronger. In college, I started tailoring my course work to becoming a comic book editor. I even got an editorial internship at AARP The Magazine in Washington D.C., after my repeated applications for Marvel met with failure.

In 2009, during a Friday night happy hour (so many of my family’s stories start this way) my parents impulsively decided to take me to the San Diego Comic Con for my birthday. There I attended Marvel’s “Breaking Into the House of Ideas” panel. I listened as writers, artists, and editors all told their unique stories of how they got a job at Marvel. One of the panelists made the point that each person needs to find their own path into comics, and once someone blazes that path, that trail goes cold forever. I knew I needed to find my own path into comics.

Jump ahead to October 1st of this year, again during happy hour, when I told my dad about how I saw Joe Quesada post on his Twitter page an auction for The Hero Initiative. The prize was lunch with Joe at the New York Comic Con. I mentioned it would be such a great opportunity if I could make it there the next week. Maybe it was the alcohol or maybe it was his parental desire to see me happy and successful (probably the alcohol), but he told me if I paid for the auction, then he would pay for my train ticket and hotel room in NYC.

Anyway, I won the auction. The next Friday morning, Oct. 8, came around quickly. But strangely, I did not feel nervous. I felt confident that the lunch would go well. Armed only with my knowledge of comics that comes from owning and reading over 3,700 of them, and with a pocket full of business cards, I set out to meet Joe Quesada at Five Napkin Burger in Hell’s Kitchen.

My first thought while waiting at the restaurant was “if this is Hell’s Kitchen, where’s Daredevil’s Japanese fortress?” No sign of the fortress, but shortly after noon Joe Quesada came in, escorted by fellow Hero Initiative Executive/Fund Raising Board member, Jim McLauchlin. Now, only seconds away from shaking Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief’s hand, the man who led my favorite comic book company through some of it’s best stories and made me want to work in comics even more, I was suddenly nervous. But I put on a smile and stuck out my hand, and with a firm shake introduced myself to one of my role models.

Almost immediately, Joe began asking me questions about myself and I was able to explain my desire to be a comic book editor. With an attentive ear, he patiently listened to me speak of my college studies and my experience as an intern at AARP. He explained how tough it is to actually break into comics, especially in today’s job market, but he also told of how rewarding the work is. We discussed editorial work in comics and what a typical day at Marvel is like, and I found myself wanting to work there now more than ever. (Also, finding out that I wouldn’t have to wear a suit and tie to work was a huge bonus.)

Soon, my inner nerd broke loose and I had to ask some questions about the comics that I enjoy so much. I listened as Joe explained his reasoning behind “annulling” Peter Parker’s marriage to Mary Jane (also the name of my cat), after which I completely understood why he made that decision. I also got some insight into the timeline of the Marvel Universe that appeared in a two-page spread in Avengers #5.

Throughout lunch, Joe and Jim told some funny stories of their experience in comics. Their stories just made me want to work with these people who sounded so similar to myself and with whom I felt a common geeky connection. Though, I seemed to have the last laugh when I said that I paid for the auction with my profits as an investor after Disney bought Marvel.

Nearly 90 minutes and one big-ass burger later, it was time for Joe and Jim to move on to their next scheduled events. Both were surprised when I said that I did not have a NYCC pass and came up only for the lunch. Jim let me borrow his pass for the afternoon so I could get into the convention and Joe introduced me to a few of Marvel’s staff. Joe and I got our picture taken together at the Marvel booth. It was an unexpected bonus in an incredible day.

While I realize I face great odds at being hired by Marvel straight out of college, I do believe this was one of the best opportunities I’ve had to help realize my dream of becoming an editor. More importantly, I had a great time and got to support the Hero Initiative, which helps the comic book creators who have provided me and countless others so much joy over the years. So, thank you Hero Initiative and Jim McLauchlin for setting up the auction in the first place. Thank you Joe Quesada for meeting me and listening to my little dream of being an editor. Thank you mom and dad for supporting me and my dream by paying my way to New York. And thanks to the comic creators for the heroes they made.

Greg Pelkofski

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Seafood! Booze! Comic creators!

Those of you attending the Long Beach Comic Con or residing in the Los Angeles area should absolutely check out, RIGHT NOW, what is bound to be the combination seafood-social event of the season!

Hero Initiative is hosting a private party on FRI., 29 OCT at 5 PM where you can enjoy booze, banter, and stuff that used to swim in the ocean at Gladstone's, just a few blocks away from the Long Beach Convention Center. Now take it from a man with a gut: I have eaten many a finny critter in my time, and Gladstone's serves up about the best!

In addition to writer/artist Jimmy Palmiotti, pictured above, you also get to hand-and-bang with:
Power Girl artist Amanda Conner!

Occasional comic writer and star of the new TV series Hung, Tom Jane!

The Right Rev. Dave Johnson who's both an artist and an ordained minister. He can marry you and stuff!

And Tim Bradstreet, another amazing artist whose Punisher and Hellblazer covers have blown us all away!

So check it out on eBay right now! You'll be glad ya did!

Jim McLauchlin

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Ford runs Hero Initiative donation to $10,000!

Because some ideas are so good, you just have to repeat them…

The great folks at Ford Motor Co. donated another $5000 to Hero Initiative at the recently completed New York Comic Con in support of the launch of the new Ford Fiesta. This is in addition to the $5000 they already ponied up at Baltimore Comic Con. And for this, we thank them tremendously. Those of you checking the weather have probably noticed party cloudy with a chance of job loss and budget-tightening, so the Hero coffers have been tapped into at a slightly more rapid pace these days. We just finished dashing off a few smallish checks to Gene Colan, Ed Hannigan, and a few other guys, with, I'm sure, more down the pike.

The kindness and generosity Ford has shown us, and the comics world as a whole, in an outta-the-blue way is truly remarkable. Makes me wanna throw away my Acura. But I gotta drive it today. And special props to Brian K. Vaughan for pointing them in our direction in the first place.

Up top: Ford's check presentation at New York con. Ugly dude on the left is me, followed by Patrick Dorrington, Marketing Development Manager of Ford, and of course, the inimitable Mark Waid, writer of Irredeemable, Amazing Spider-Man, and every other comic you love.

As always, you can check out the new Fiesta at and catch them a-Twittering as well.

Jim McLauchlin

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hero Member wins custom John Romita Art!

And the winner of Hero's 2010 Membership Photo Contest is…Roch Vaillancourt of Orlando, FL. For nothin' more than being a Hero member and sending us a photo, Roch scored this custom Black Widow art from comic legend John Romita Sr.!

Keep yer eyes peeled, folks. Info on Hero's 2011 Membership program will be coming SOON. Like, say, late October-ish.

Jim McLauchlin

Monday, September 13, 2010

Membership has its privileges!

And the winner of Hero Initiative's 2009 Membership prize thingee is…Chad Bonin of Woodstock, GA and!

Chad won the right to have Joe Quesada do a one-character drawing of his choice, and Chad chose Iron Patriot, and Joe knocked it outta the park!

Be advised: Info on Hero memberships for 2011 will be coming SOON, and you should pay attention. You could win super-cool stuff like this!

Jim McLauchlin