Tomorrow night I'll be helping out at this event at my favorite LA comic store, Golden Apple. Sloshed out of my mind on my usual half a beer, I will be vulnerable to sketching you a free Batman or Ninja Turtle head.
It used to be (and largely still is, although this is changing) that comic artists, and commercial artists in general, worked under freelance work-for-hire contracts with no health or retirement benefits. Which meant you could design half the X-Men team and still end up near-penniless and crippled by medical debt in your later years. The HERO initiative exists to help out artists in that type of situation, and that's who the event is raising money for.