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Top Cow has announced that super-talented artist Phil Hester would be doing a special variant for The Darkness #7. Okay, sure, lots of comics get variant covers, but the fact that the proceeds for this particular cover benefit the Hero Initiative makes it even better in my book. Hit the jump for the full press release, and click the image above to see the variant in Expand-O-Scope.

LOS ANGELES, Calif., October 22, 2008 – Top Cow Productions, Inc. and The Hero Initiative proudly announced today a limited-edition variant cover for The Darkness #7 drawn by Phil Hester would be available for sale at Wizard World Texas, taking place November 7-9 at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas. 100% of the proceeds from the sale of the books will benefit The Hero Initiative.

The Hero Initiative is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to helping comic creators in need. It provides them with emergency medical care, funds for essentials in life and assistance to get back into paying work.

The Darkness, a long-running series from Top Cow that was adapted into a hit videogame in 2007, is the continuing saga of Jackie Estacado, a former mob hitman-turned-crime boss who inherited a curse that allows him to create and control nearly anything he can imagine as long as he’s in darkness. The series is currently written by Phil Hester (FireBreather, Green Arrow) and drawn by Michael Broussard (Unholy Union). For this issue, however, guest artist Jorge Lucas (Pilot Season: Ripclaw) gives Broussard a spell, but Hester happily agreed to donate his art skills to create a special variant cover.

“Phil Hester is not just an amazing writer and top-flight artist, but a heckuva nice guy,” beamed Jim McLauchlin, president of The Hero Initiative. “We’re very pleased that Top Cow has helped us out in creating this killer cover.”

“The Hero Initiative does a great service to the comics community by helping creators in need,” said Mel Caylo, Top Cow’s VP Marketing and Sales. “We are more than happy to help keep their mission going.”

The Darkness #7 variant issue will be available for sale exclusively at The Hero Initiative Booth at Wizard World Texas, taking place during the weekend of November 7-9 at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas. Hester is attending the event and will appear at the Hero booth, where he will be available to sign purchased copies of the special issue. “We’re beyond happy to host him at our convention booth for the weekend,” said McLauchlin.

Fans who are unable to attend the convention can purchase a very limited amount of the books after the show from the special Hero Initiative section on the Atomic Comics website at Regular copies of The Darkness #7 go on sale in comic shops Nov. 5.

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