Always busy Jim McLauchlin is going fulltime with the Hero Initiative in order to expand the organization’s activities in ways that could benefit a lot of people. (Had has recently been EIC at Platinum.) The Hero Initiative has already made a difference for many people, and it sounds like that was just the beginning.

The Hero Initiative, the 501 (c) 3 charitable organization dedicated to helping veteran comic creators in medical or financial need, is expanding its lineup, and its reach.

A massive expansion of its initial agenda will include financial planning for creators, mainstream education, Hero-branded products, and an eventual professional guild arrangement in which creators could obtain access to group health insurance and related services. The expansion will be facilitated the hiring of a second Hero employee, organization co-founder Jim McLauchlin. In his new capacity, McLauchlin will devote full-time energies to bringing all of Hero’s long-range plans to fruition.

“There would be no Hero Initiative without Jim McLauchlin,” said Marvel Comics editor-in-chief and Hero Board member Joe Quesada. “Hero is an incredibly important and much-needed addition to the comic community. We at Marvel have been proud to work with Hero in the past and look forward to the new heights Jim will bring to the organization. Over the years he has worked tirelessly and has done great things through the charity, all volunteer and all of it in his spare time. Having Jim come on board in a full time capacity will only strengthen what Hero does.”

The move is fueled by a call from within the comics community to expand services. McLauchlin has 14 years of experience in comics, which will allow Hero’s other employee, Development Director Janine Bielski, to concentrate her efforts on more “main street” initiatives outside the comics world.

Hero’s core mission of providing relief to comic creators in need—a mission that has aided over 40 creators and their families with over $240,000 in funds—will continue at the core of the organization. New Hero initiatives—pun unintentional—will include:

* Financial planning and tax seminars at conventions that will aid today’s creators as well, and allow them to better plan for their financial well-being.

* Movement into educational and mainstream awareness arenas that will aid comics recognition and revenue across the board.

* Creation of additional Hero-generated product, such as last year’s ACTOR Comics Presents book and the current Marvel Then & Now DVD, which can result in both paying work and increased recognition for creators, and value for retailers and consumers.

* An eventual professional guild arrangement in which creators could obtain group access to health insurance and related services.

Some of the new Hero wheels are already turning, with announcements soon to come of partnerships with major multimedia organizations.

“We have a truly massive slate of projects to work on,” McLauchlin said. “We are going to move cautiously, one add-on at a time. I’d rather do one thing completely than six things by half-measures. But within a couple years, I think Hero can be a great and well-rounded service organization for the entire comic industry.”

Apologies to Jim for misspelling his name!