Heroes Alliance Ohio

Superhero costuming has always been a fascination of mine. I started dressing up in superhero outfits when I was little, like six or seven at the oldest. And I was never happy with off-the-shelf, store bought costumes. I wanted accuracy. I made a few superhero costumes when I was a teenager, then abandoned them for close to a decade.

In 2011, I decided I was tired of being out of shape, and started work on a Superman costume, along with the support of people at The Superhero Costuming Forum. I wore that costume to San Diego Comic Con, and was instantly in love with the experience of being Superman, especially around children.

Through the SCF, I was made aware of a group called the Heroes Alliance, who did superhero charity appearances for charity fund-raising, visits to schools, hospitals, libraries and camps, and other community events. I was in love. I wanted in. But the problem was that the closest branch of the Heroes Alliance to me was in Tennessee.

Regardless, I applied for membership to the Heroes Alliance, and was delighted when I was invited by the Council to start a branch in Ohio. That was in December of 2011, and by April 2012, Heroes Alliance Ohio had our first team event at a 5K Charity Run for the Children’s Organ Transplant Association. In our first year, we completed over a dozen events, and we’re on track to do even more than that in 2013. Here’s where you can peruse the galleries and event reports from our past events. Hope you enjoy them!

Mom-Son Superhero Party

Every year, all across the country around Valentine’s Day, community centers have Father-Daughter Dances, which is great, but why should Dads and their little girls have all the fun? What about the moms and their boys?

With that in mind, the Delaware Community Center YMCA hosted the 2nd Annual Mom-Son Superhero Party, and the Heroes Alliance were honored to be invited out as a part of the event, along with several local real heroes in the form of Firefighters and Police Officers.

Batman, Batgirl, Captain America, Doctor Fate, Gambit, Rogue, Spider-Man, Supergirl and Superman were overjoyed to be on hand, meeting the kids and their moms, joining in on the dancing, playing superhero-themed games, and signing autographs.

Thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Carol Martin for out-of-costume support and photography!

This was the second year for the event, and over 200 moms and their sons turned out for the evening. The members of Heroes Alliance Ohio had a blast, and really hope to return next year.

To find out more about the Delaware Community Center YMCA, check out their website at http://www.ymcacolumbus.org/delaware

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org

Visit to the Childhood League Center

by Aaron Einhorn
The Childhood League Center is a preschool near Nationwide Childrens’ Hospital that provides preschool and special needs services to children from the ages of 18 months to 6 years old. Most of the enrolled children have special needs. Each year, a group of volunteers plan several activities throughout the year to enrich the students’ learning experience and provide respite for the caregivers. On Saturday, February 22, 2014, the volunteers offered a day of care for the children and to provide respite for the caregivers of these children. The members of the Heroes Alliance Ohio were invited out to take part in this day and to help brighten up the day for the children.

Batgirl, Captain America, Green Arrow, Green Lantern and Spider-Man were overjoyed to be able to go and visit with the children in their classrooms, getting to see the activities they were involved in, and to share hugs and high-fives with the kids.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Rick Merola for out-of-costume support and photography.

Founded in 1945 by a group of visionary women, The Childhood League champions educational opportunities for all children. The Childhood League Center, located in downtown Columbus across the street from Nationwide Children’s Hospital, provides a broad range of early childhood educational programs and therapeutic services for children from birth to age 6 in an inclusive environment.

With generous support from the League, individuals and companies in the community, the Center is committed to providing the best possible early learning opportunities for children with and without special needs through a combination of home-based and Center-based programming. To learn more about the Childhood League Center and the Childhood League, visit http://www.childhoodleague.org/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://heroesalliance.org

Jingle Bell Walk/Run For Arthritis 2013 (Columbus)

by Aaron Einhorn

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis is an annual, national event put on by the Arthritis Foundation, and for a second year in a row, the Heroes Alliance Ohio team was thrilled to be able to come and out support the event. Despite the well-below freezing temperatures and snow and ice on the ground, Batgirl, Dr. Fate, Iron Man, Supergirl, U.S. Agent and Wonder Girl came out to support the runners as they raised funds for arthritis care and research, and also to take part in the Snowflake Run with the children.

The event managed to raise over $190,000 in funds for the Arthritis Foundation.

Many thanks to Stephen Blanzaco for out-of-costume support, photography, and braving the cold temperatures!

The Arthritis Foundation is the largest national nonprofit organization that supports the more than 100 types of arthritis and related conditions. Founded in 1948, with headquarters in Atlanta, the Arthritis Foundation has multiple service points located throughout the country. We’re also the largest private, nonprofit contributor to arthritis research in the world, funding more than $450 million in research grants since 1948. The Foundation helps people take control of arthritis by providing public health education; pursuing public policy and legislation; and conducting evidence-based programs to improve the quality of life for those living with arthritis. Learn more at http://www.arthritis.org/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, check us out at http://www.heroesalliance.org

University of Dayton Dance Marathon

by Aaron Einhorn
For fifteen years, the students at the University of Dayton have participated in a 15-hour Dance Marathon to raise money for the worthy and needy children who are patients at Dayton Children’s Hospital. Students participate in a variety of fund-raising activities leading up to and during the Dance Marathon. Each hour of the marathon has a theme, and this year Heroes Alliance Ohio were invited to be a part of their “Pop Culture” hour.

Superman, Batman, Wolverine, Iron Man and Rogue all came out to meet some of the patients of the hospital and to support the dancing students in their endeavors. And ended up getting pulled out onto the Dance Floor as well!

This was, without a doubt, one of the more unusual events the team has ever done. There were very few kids there, and most of our hour of attendance involved seeing us dance. And to be honest, it’s not bad that I play Superman, because I dance like a white boy from Kansas.

Still, through the efforts of the students, over $55,000 were raised for the hospital, and the team was more than happy to have been able to support them.

Special thanks to Wiccy and Manuella Galvan for photography and out-of-costume support.

To learn more about the UD Dance Marathon, visit http://uddancemarathon.kintera.org/

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, check out our web page at http://heroesalliance.org

The Super Fun Run: A 5K For Heroes

by Aaron Einhorn
Vito Nocero was a community activist, a good friend to many, and a huge fan of superheroes. He wanted to help kids learn to read, and to be happy. He died unexpectedly last year at the far too young age of 26. I didn’t know Vito, but I have a lot of friends in Columbus who did.

Vito’s mother, along with members of the community, organized the first “The Super Fun Run: A 5K For Heroes” this past Saturday in memory of Vito, and to raise money and awareness for Marburn Academy, a school with an emphasis on high-functioning students with ADHD and Dyslexia, which Vito had attended. The members of Heroes Alliance Ohio were only too overjoyed to be able to be a part of the event, and turned out in force with nine heroes present. Marburn is a great school, and one that Christina and I had actually considered for Cordy.

Superman, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, Catwoman, Green Lantern, Doctor Fate, Rogue and Thor were in attendance on behalf of the Heroes Alliance, and were joined there by a visiting Iron Man. We also saw a ton of costumes on the kids there, along with several adults who got in on the fun.

Despite the freezing temperatures, the event was well attended, and a great deal of fun was had by all.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco for photography and out of costume support.

Marburn Academy has been built on the belief that a school program could be designed which would enable bright students with learning differences such as dyslexia and ADHD to attain their full potential in academic, social, and affective development. The goals of Marburn’s school programs are to develop the students’ academic and cognitive skills, to build strong work habits, to teach the values of persistence and courage in overcoming challenges, to build effective social interaction and problem solving patterns, and to strengthen their self-image so they may successfully return to their local schools, prepare for college or other post-secondary schooling, and pursue rewarding careers. To learn more about Marburn Academy, visit their website at: http://www.marburnacademy.org/

To find out more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org

Columbus Walk Now For Autism Speaks 2013

by Aaron Einhorn
Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the United States, and with that in mind, Heroes Alliance Ohio was only too happy to join Autism Speaks at the 2013 Columbus Walk Now For Autism Speaks this past weekend. Speaking on an entirely personal level, my oldest daughter is on the Autism Spectrum, so of all the charities that we’re able to support, this is the one that probably means the most to me. Similarly, I know that our new Thor also has a family member on the spectrum.

Superman, Supergirl, Thor and Wonder Woman were on hand to support children with autism and their families as Autism Speaks raised money to research treatments for autism. The event drew over 20,000 people, mostly children with Autism and their families, and in addition to the team of the Heroes Alliance (working alongside the Ohio 501st and other costumed characters), the event contained a massive resource fair to provide information about services to Autism Families, arts, crafts, food, drink and entertainment.

The Walk took place at Huntington Park in Columbus, Ohio, and raised just shy of a million dollars to support the cause.

Special Thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Christina McMenemy for out-of-costume support and picture taking. You’ll notice that Christina also brought the girls out to the event – appropriately, since Cordy is the entire reason I am aware of Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders, to funding research into the causes, prevention and treatments for autism, and to advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. To learn more about Autism Speaks, please visit www.autismspeaks.org.

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, visit

Why I Take What The Heroes Alliance Does Seriously

HAlogoby Aaron Einhorn
In recent days, the Heroes Alliance Ohio branch has had a lot of discussion as we’ve been doing some internal reviews about some of the rules that the organization has in it’s Standard Operating Procedures. These discussions have focused mainly on conduct during events and on quality of costumes, and it’s led to some hurt feelings.

One person said to me “You’re a cool guy, but you’re taking this free group a little too serious for me.”

This hurt. A lot. It left me wondering if maybe I was making a mistake. Maybe I shouldn’t be taking this seriously. Maybe I’m the wrong guy to be the Branch Leader. I’m not married to the position – I was happy to get the group started, but I’d be happy to step aside.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that he was wrong.

Yes, I do take the Heroes Alliance very seriously. I am very concerned with making sure that the organization is seen in the best possible light and that we are doing the most possible good in our communities.

I take a lot of pride when I see mission reports from any of the teams across the country, and it makes me feel really good to see all of the “Likes” and comments on Facebook.

The last thing I ever want to do is make it not fun for our team members – we’re all volunteers, after all. But do I take it seriously? Yeah, I do. And here’s why.

Iron-Man.1-200x269In 2012, I was lucky enough to be able to attend the press conference for Iron Man 3 at SDCC. In the crowd there was a young kid in a Tony Stark Cosplay (like, 7 or 8 years old, with eyeliner-pencil goatee).

Near the middle of the Q&A with the press, Robert Downey Jr. stopped to say “Ok, I want to know when we get to hear from the young Tony Stark,” to which the moderator assured that they would get to him. The Q&A continued, and then it was time for the last question. “Well, then, it has to go to the kid,” Robert said.

The moderator laughed, and said, “Ok, well, this pretty much better be the best question in history. Go ahead,” and the mic was given to the child.

“This question is for Robert,” the kid said, “I want to know what it’s like to be a hero.”

The room went silent until the moderator laughed and said, “Well, Robert, this pretty much better be the answer in history.” This broke the tension for all of us, but Robert took a moment to actually think about his answer.

Robert took a moment and said “I think I speak for any of us who get to live in this world. There was just one of these photo things with a bunch of kids where they dressed up as Iron Man. There were a couple of War Machines, too. There’s something about it that’s just … wow, a great opportunity. It’s an odd thing. I take this as seriously as Shakespeare.”

Most kids will never get to meet Robert Downey Jr., or Chris Evans, or Chris Hemsworth or Henry Cavil, or Andrew Garfield, or Ben Affleck. So when kids at the Walk For Wishes, or Give Kids the World, or at Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital get to meet the members of the Heroes Alliance, that is their opportunity to meet Iron Man or Captain America or Thor or Superman or Spider-Man or Batman.

If Robert Downey Jr. takes it as seriously as Shakespeare, how can we possibly do any less?

Superhero Day at Books & Co.

by Aaron Einhorn
One of the greatest gifts we can give to children is the gift of reading, and with that in mind, Heroes Alliance Ohio was overjoyed to come out to Books & Company in Beavercreek, Ohio for their Superhero Day in conjunction with their LEGO club.

Superman, Batman, Thor and Ms. Marvel were on hand to help pass out LEGO starter kits to the kids, assist them in building their creations, and to encourage them to read. The store expected roughly 75 kids, but were overwhelmed with over 100 children and their parents.

Special thanks to Andrew Merola for out-of-costume support and picture taking.

To find out more about Books & Company and the special events they have at their location, check out http://www.booksandco.com/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, visit http://www.heroesalliance.org/

Heroes Alliance Ohio at Wizard World Ohio Comic Con

by Aaron Einhorn
Heroes Alliance Ohio was once again on-hand at Wizard World’s Ohio Comic Con to meet the excited children attending the convention and to help raise money for the Hero Initiative. Through the course of the weekend, Captain America, U.S. Agent, Wonder Woman, Rogue, Iron Man, Spider-Man and Superman all appeared at the Heroes Alliance table.

Hundreds of children were met with, most of who were overjoyed to meet the heroes, and after a very full three days, close to $100 in donations were taken in to provide to the Hero Initiative.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Christina McMenemy for providing out-of-costume support.

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero creates a financial safety net for yesterdays’ creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment. Since its inception, The Hero Initiative (Formerly known as A.C.T.O.R., A Commitment To Our Roots) has had the good fortune to grant over $500,000 to over 50 comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. More information can be found at http://www.heroinitiative.org/

To learn more about the Heroes Alliance, please visit HeroesAlliance.org




2013 Walk For Wishes Columbus – Heroes Alliance Ohio Event Report

Heroes Alliance Ohio returned once more to Huntington Park to help out for the 2013 Columbus Walk For Wishes on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Captain America, Catwoman, Spider-Man, Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna were on hand to meet and cheer on the friends and families of children who had been recipients of a Wish from Make-A-Wish, along with those who helped raise money for them.

The heroes met with many of the wish families, cheered walkers on as the walk began, and greeted and congratulated them upon their return. This is the team’s fourth time supporting Make-A-Wish with one of their Walk for Wishes, and it will certainly not be the last.

Special thanks to Stephen Blanzaco and Tom Bolenbaugh for out-of-costume support and for picture taking for the event.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation exists to grant the wishes of children with life threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Last year, over 850 wishes were granted by the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana offices. The Foundation is supported through local donations from individuals, corporations, small businesses, civic organizations, churches, schools, social and service clubs, fund-raising events, memorial contributions, foundations, and pay-roll deduction programs as well as their own special events. You can learn more about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at http://www.makeawishohio.org/