By Chris Sims

With six decades of work under his belt, Russ Heath is arguably one of the most important creators in comics. It was his art that was, to put it charitably, “adapted” by Roy Lichtenstein for the pop art pieces that made him famous. Of course, as is unfortunately so often the case for hard-working creators in comics, while Lichtenstein made millions lightboxing panels Heath had drawn in the pages of DC’s romance and war comics, Heath himself never saw a dime, despite continuing a career that saw him become one of the most respected elder statesmen of the industry.

Now, at the age of 84, Heath has written and drawn a short comic (with colors and lettering by Darwyn Cooke) about his experience not only with Lichtenstein, but with the Hero Initiative and how they’ve helped his life as well.


Featuring the first new Maxx story by Sam Kieth in nearly 20 years, the 2014 Hero Comics special is out today!

Along with a bevy of great new material from comic luminaries this special issue benefits The Hero Initiative, ( a service that creates a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work.

To show our support we’re offering free downloads of The Maxx: Maxximized Vol. 1 to those who donate to the service. Simply send us your receipt showing your contribution to and we’ll send you a code!

Join us in supporting this great cause!

The Hero Initiative is now auctioning this Dr Doom sketch I drew for Jack Kirby’s birthday a little while back.  The Hero Initiaitive is an amazing charity that helps comic creators in need of financial/medical help.  100% of the proceeds go to them.  Help out these artists that made all of that incredible work that inspired you as a kid.  Thanks guys!

Fantastic Four 100 Project

In the now-grand tradition of The Hero Initiative’s previous and wildly successful “100 Project” books, Marvel’s First Family now comes to the fore! All of Hero’s 100+ original covers to Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four #600 are on display in this great book, with art by Alan Davis, Mike Deodato Jr., Steve Epting, Dale Keown, Sam Kieth, Adam Kubert, Steve McNiven, George Pérez, Joe Sinnott, and more! Through special arrangement with Marvel Comics, there will be only one printing of this book ever! 

Available for $12.99 @MyComicShop


Help the Hero Initiative and bid on the AMAZING Blank Page Project right now:

In 2013 we partnered with The Hero Initiative to create The Blank Page Project a massive 10ft tall x12ft wide jam board to be drawn on at an event during Comic-Con International. By the end the giant canvas was filled with contributions from some of the comic industry’s best talents like Dave Gibbons, Walt Simonson, Amanda Conner and more all to benefit The Hero Initiative.

On This Flash Appreciation Day, Be a Hero and Support the Hero Initiative

On This #FlashAppreciationDay, Be a Hero and Support the @heroinitiative #comics

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On February 11, 2006 “Flash and Substance” debuted. It was the premiere episode of Justice League Unlimited and in it the Flash was honored for his heroism with a celebration dubbed “Flash Appreciation Day.” Every year since, fans of the Scarlet Speedster celebrate the day. On the tenth anniversary of this episode, ourselves and eight other websites are paying honor not just to the Flash, but…

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We are pleased to announce that this year at New York Comic Con 2013, Multiversity and Image Comics will be teaming up to host THE BIG NYCC PARTY to raise money for the Hero Initiative.

The Hero Initiative is a charity that raises money to help support creators in need and gives to those who have helped foster, develop and pioneer the medium we all love so much. At last year’s event, Image Comics and Multiversity raised over $3,000 dollars for the charity thanks to the many fans who came out and attended.

THE BIG NYCC Party will be held at Houndstooth Pub located on 8th Ave between 36th and 37th (a short 3-block walk from the Javits Center), from 8 PM to 12 AM in the Lower Level of the pub with a suggested $10 donation to the Hero Initiative to get in. In exchange for your donation, you will automatically be entered into a raffle to win one (1) copy of all of Image’s exclusives for NYCC 2013! It’s a 21+ event and will assuredly be a fun place for friends, fans and creators to meet, share a drink and mingle.

The party will also feature quite a few special Image Comics creators as guests, such as Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare (Rocket Girl), Kieron Gillen and Ryan Kelly (Three), Nick Dragotta (East of West), Ed Brisson (Sheltered), Tim Seeley (Revival), Jim McCann (Mind the Gap), Ales Kot and Michael Walsh (Zero), Joe Eisma (Morning Glories), Ryan Browne (Bedlam, God Hates Astronauts), Ron Marz (Witchblade), Michael Lark (Lazarus), Jimmie Robinson (Five Weapons), Michael Moreci and Steve Seeley (Hoax Hunters), and Wes Craig (Deadly Class).

So if you’d like to have a drink, groove to some music, share a chat and donate money to a great cause, please join us on Friday, October 11th for THE BIG NYCC PARTY. RSVP on Facebook and we look forward to seeing you there!

Be sure to visit the Image Comics booth in the main exhibitor floor of NYCC as well, and the Multiversity Comics booth in the Podcast Area of Artist Alley.

Huge thanks to Tim Daniel for designing the flyer, as well as Shane Davis for the use of his art!
On Flash Appreciation Day, please help comics creators in need

Help us raise money for a great cause: The Hero Initiative

Today marks the ten-year anniversary of the premiere of the Justice League Unlimited episode “Flash and Substance” (February 11, 2006). In that episode, the people of Central City honor the Flash …  

With the very gracious help of the scholar and gentleman lukeritson, I’ve finally managed to donate to the Hero Initiative!

According to their site, the organisation “creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ [comic] creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work.”

The original plan was to donate SG$1 for every copy of Tales From A Tiny Room sold at STGCC (as well as SG$1 for every print by Paul or any print related to the book). After all, it seemed fitting to give to a non-profit that helps the giants who built the comics medium – especially since I was launching my book at a comic convention.

The folks at BooksActually tell me that we managed to sell 114 copies. Of course, currency conversion and PayPal fees being what they are, I figured, screw the hassle of trying to work out the exact amount and just rounded it off to US$110 (which is about SG$130). While I haven’t got the exact figures yet, I’m pretty sure we sold about 15 of Paul’s and the Tales From A Tiny Room-related prints anyway, but if the total sales come up to more, I’ll make another donation. 

Once again, THANK YOU to everyone who picked up my book – and a special thank you to Luke for helping me work around all the nonsense of international donations. You, sir, can expect some complimentary swag in the mail soon.

#BCC2015 News: Hero Initiative Announces Baltimore Comic-Con 2015 Line-Up

#BCC2015 News: @heroinitiative Announces Baltimore Comic-Con 2015 Line-Up

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I love it when ‘cons do charitable stuff. And The Hero Initiative is a Good Thing: In late 2000, a consortium of comic publishers came up with the idea to create a financial safety net for comic creators, much in the same fashion that exists in almost any other trade from plumbing to pottery. By March of 2001, the federal government approved The Hero Initiative as a publicly supported…

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52 stories in 52 weeks

↳ Week 4: A story about three siblings

Summary: It’s Clint and Laura’s wedding anniversary and Natasha has offered to babysit for them, taking Bruce along to keep her company. Seeing Natasha with the kids stirs up some hard feelings for Bruce and he’s confronted with what it would like for him to have a family.

Keep reading on AO3 or below the cut

“Remind me again why we’re doing this?” Bruce asked as Natasha pulled up at the farmhouse.

“It’s my best friend’s wedding anniversary and they needed a sitter,” she replied, shutting the car off.

“Don’t they have a sitter they could pay to do this?”

“Sure, but I offered. It’s part of the friendship thing,” Natasha said, getting out of the car.

Keep reading


In honour of this year’s Flash Appreciation Day (today, February 11th), Flash Fans Dot Org has teamed up with Nothing But Comics to raise some awareness of the Hero Initiative. Although many of you may only know The Flash as a tv show, you know that the series’ roots can be found all the way back in the 1940’s in comic books. We spoke to Hero Initiative president Jim McLauchlin about his organisation and the work that they do within the comics industry and how you can get involved

For readers that may be unfamiliar with the Hero Initiative, can you tell us how the organization helps comics creators?

Long story short, we’re a medical and financial relief organization for comic book creators. We’ve literally kept people alive. There was a moment at the San Diego con a few years ago that was surreal for me. An artist that we benefited came up to me to thank me for the help we had given him. He was shaking my hand, with tears streaming down his cheeks. He had been living on about $90 a week, and was eating one meal a day. He didn’t know what to do, or where to turn, and he was ready to take his own life. He had literally written the suicide note when he stumbled upon us. We were able to get him back on his feet, and he’s alive today, doing much better.

We’ve literally paid back rent when people were 48 hours from being evicted, paid electric bills when people were 24 hours from having utilities shut off, and paid for desperately needed operations that weren’t covered by medical insurance as well.

How can people help the Hero Initiative?  Besides financial contributions, are there any resources or activities that might be helpful to the organization?

I always tell people, “Five bucks.” Is the easiest and best thing people can do. People can donate via the “What Can I Do?” page on our website [here]. We also need volunteers for events and conventions to help us staff these events. Folks can find information on the same page.

I spoke to some comic creators about the Hero Initiative and how they contribute

“I do a lot of fundraising for HERO. I have a HERO tip jar at my table at most conventions. I sketch at the HERO table for free will offerings. I participate in most of their 100 Cover promotions. I also do a Jack Kirby birthday celebration marathon where I do a sketch for every year since Jack’s birth– all proceeds to the HERO Initiative. I’m a believer.” commented Phil Hester.  

This was followed on by Eric Gapstur who added; “Every year Phil does a sketch marathon that he calls the 98 Kirbys, the number being how old Jack would be that year, and then takes that many requests for sketches and donations that go to the Hero Initiative.  Last year was his second year of doing it, and he took on some inking help from myself and Bruce McCorkindale.  We holed up in a hotel and jammed out a ton of sketches, it was a really fun time for a good cause." 

Brett Booth also has a tip jar on his table at conventions for people to make donations

Since it’s Flash Appreciation Day, the Hero Initiative board of directors and some friends of Flash Fans Dot Org expressed who their favourite Flash is. Here’s what they had to say

Mark Waid, former writer Flash:
How could it not be Wally West? Here’s my resume: Jay was stately, Barry was solid. But Wally was fun.
George Pérez, former Teen Titans writer, artist:
Barry was always MY  Flash. He’s the one I grew up with and there is something a bit poignant about being the artist who “killed” him back in the ’80s. Since I was drawing Wally as a member of the New Teen Titans, he will always be Kid Flash to me.
Walt Simonson, Ragnarok writer/artist:
Tossup between Jay Garrick and Barry Allen, giving Barry a slight edge.  He’s the character I read when I was young, so he’ll always be the Flash to me.  However, I was around when Jay Garrick was reintroduced into the DCU, and I have to say that as a kid reading the books,  I thought it very cool that a second mature Flash with gray temples had appeared.
Jim Valentino, Image Comics co-founder:
Jay Garrick. I read Flash #123 when I was about 10 and just loved the character. Simple, homespun. Everything from his personality on down to his costume–a red jersey, dungarees and doughboy hat with wings. It looked homemade, like something anyone could wear without getting embarrassed. The most likable character in the JSA, the heart of the team.
Dennis O’Neil, longtime comics writer and editor:
I guess I’d go with Barry, but I confess to a warm spot in my heart for Jay because he was one of the first superheroes I encountered.  (Hey, I was really, really young. Really!)
Brett Booth, former artist Flash:
Wally West will always be my favorite Flash. I think has to do with him trying, and failing, and trying again, to live up to Barry’s legend.
Phil Hester, artist The Flash: Season Zero:
I have to go with Mark Waid era Wally. A Flash annual with Mark was my first assignment at DC, which excited me to no end as I was a fan of the book already. I just loved Mark’s grasp of both Wally’s personality and the science of speed.
Eric Gapstur, artist The Flash: Season Zero:
My favorite Flash is the comic book version of the tv show based on the comic book - Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen!  It was my first ongoing series to work on at DC, and my first penciling gig, so it will always hold a special place in my heart
Van Jensen, writer Flash:
Barry Allen is my favorite Flash, for all the reasons that others often knock him. Barry has been called boring, and he was seen as so completely noble that, within DC, he was called "Saint Barry” decades back. He doesn’t have the edginess of Wally or Bart. He’s just an un-showy guy, a lunchpail hero if ever there was one. But there’s a steadiness that I always respected, a dependability and deep code of honor. Barry is the one true Midwesterner among DC’s catalog of characters. And as a Midwesterner myself, I looked to Barry Allen as a role model. To have the chance to write him, well, that has been a bigger honor than I can ever say

You can find out more about the Hero Initiative by visiting or by following them on Twitter @heroinitiative