A bright light from a Dark Knight as Heritage Auctions hosts the hero initiative's "Batman 100 Project"

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A bright light from a Dark Knight as Heritage Auctions hosts the hero initiative's "Batman 100 Project"
Bill Sienkiewicz, Batman 75. Wraparound Sketch. Sketch Cover Joker Variant. Original Art.

DALLAS, TX.- Heritage Auctions is partnering with The Hero Initiative to offer The Batman 100 Project, which features more than 100 original Dark Knight covers drawn by some of the comics industry’s best and best-known names. The sale of these one-of-a-kind pieces, which adorn blank-covered editions of Batman No. 75, will benefit the 20-year-old nonprofit that provides medical and monetary assistance to veteran comics creators in need of a helping hand.

Bidding opens Sept. 13 exclusively at HA.com. A live online auction will follow on Sept. 19 – Batman Day -- beginning at 1 p.m. CT.

The 100 Project kicked off in 2006 with Spider-Man as the featured hero, and in the past these one-of-a-kind covers were auctioned during conventions and through comics shops. But because of the global pandemic, DC Comics and The Hero Initiative are making The Batman 100 Project available exclusively through the Dallas-based auction house. This means that for the first time in the 100 Project’s history, which has included Captain America and The Walking Dead and Wonder Woman, all 100-plus original pieces of art are being offered simultaneously to a worldwide audience.

“We are honored to be part of such an extraordinary and long-running effort to provide care for the comics creators who helped shape our favorite characters and created countless indelible memories,” says Heritage Auctions Co-Chairman Jim Halperin. “The Hero Initiative is doing heroic work, and we’re thrilled to bring it to our more than 1.25 million registered online bidders.”

Among the talents involved in The Batman 100 Project are: The Dark Knight Returns writer-illustrator Frank Miller, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, All-Star Superman and Batman and Robin artist Frank Quitely, DC Comics Creative Officer and Publisher Jim Lee, Eisner Award-winning Batman: The Long Halloween artist Tim Sale, Batman: The Animated Series character designer Kevin Nowlan, Grendel creator Matt Wagner and The Sandman artist Jill Thompson.

Also onboard are such comics greats as George Pérez, Bill Sienkiewicz, Jerry Ordway, Walt Simonson, Mike Grell, Dan Jurgens, Joe Staton, Fred Hembeck and DC Comics Style Guide creator José Luis García-López.

And a number of modern-day favorites also contributed to this charity event. A short look at that very long list includes Adam Kubert, Eisner-nominated Tony Parker, Nicola Scott, Ivan Reis, Tony Daniel, Arthur Adams and Liam Sharp.

CGC is grading all of the comics in advance, and they will be shipped slabbed and graded to the winning bidders.

Since 2000, The Hero Initiative has provided assistance to more than 100 comic book creators, writers and artists who might otherwise have been unable to pay for rent or food or cover hospital bills. It has kept roofs over their heads, and allowed them to visit doctors without worrying about the mounting expenses.

The nonprofit covered medical and living expenses for Howard the Duck creator Steve Gerber, who battled pulmonary fibrosis and was awaiting a lung transplant when he died in February 2008. It has provided $775 a month to colorist Tom Ziuko, whose career has taken him from Archie to Hellblazer and has spent years dealing with myriad debilitating health issues that left him unable to work.

And most famously, The Hero Initiative contributed more than $60,000 toward the living and medical expenses endured by Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Famer Gene Colan. “If there was not a Hero Initiative, I probably would have gone under. Hero picked up the slack and made sure I didn’t drown,” Colan said before his death in 2011.

The comic-book industry, like most, has been roiled by the impacts of Covid-19 -related comic-shop shutdowns and delivery slowdowns. Now, more than ever, The Hero Initiative provides a vital lifeline for artists and writers impacted what its president Jim McLauchlin calls “fear and uncertainty in the coronavirus world.”

“I’ve come to the realization that there is ministering to the pocketbook and ministering to the soul,” McLauchlin says. “Many of the problems we’re dealing with are solved by writing a check, but at the same time there is also a comforting voice on the other end of the phone – someone you can take a problem to, who will listen to you and help you fix it. That’s as important as writing the check.”

And you can start by buying a one-of-a-kind comic book cover on Sept. 19.

The Batman 100 Project opens for bidding on Sept. 13.

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