Marvel Comic for Troops

Marvel Comics is putting out a special edition Avengers book for free distribution to American troops around the world.

Marvel Comics is putting out a special edition Avengers book for free distribution to American troops around the world.

Superheroes soldier on in the Middle East (USA Today, p. 1D)

Photo: The New Avengers: The center spread voices support for the troops. Comic books and soldiers have been allies since the earliest days of World War II, when Superman and Captain America sold war bonds, promoted paper drives and battled Nazis at home and abroad. Now superheroes are going back to the front. On Thursday at the Pentagon, Marvel Comics will unveil a custom comic book to be distributed free in May to U.S. forces in Iraq and around the world. Featuring the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and other Marvel heroes, the comic will have a mammoth print run of 1 million copies. The first 150,000 will go to soldiers in the Middle East. “We’re not going to sell them. These are for the troops,†says Jeff Klein, a Marvel spokesman.

Both DC Comics and Marvel have published special issues before on topics such as drug abuse, land mines and the heroes of 9/11. This latest effort dwarfs those in size, and is in partnership with “America Supports You,†a Defense Department campaign that encourages private citizens, communities and businesses to reach out to troops and their families, “especially those serving in harm’s way.â€

Photo: Invitation to Pentagon unveiling of Maravel comic for troops. The comics will be available free at military exchanges. “That Marvel would create a comic book especially for the troops is really spectacular, highlighting how a company can go above and beyond,†says Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Allison Barber. “When you can sit down and read a comic book in the field, any touch of home makes a difference.â€

The book is a normal-sized edition of The New Avengers, written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Dan Jurgens and Sandu Florea. Virtually every major Marvel hero is involved in an encounter with an alien army. The ads are tailored for soldiers.

“I am a Vietnam vet, and our people in uniform can never get treated well enough,†says Marvel vice chairman Peter Cuneo. “Many are comic-book fans, and these are the heroes they grew up with. If you’re in a foxhole, it’s going to get passed around.â€

A great gesture on Marvel’s part.

For Desert Storm, Topps put out a special series of baseball cards that were distributed to troops on their way home which were a big hit. I suspect this will be similarly appreciated.

DefenseLink has more information, including a much larger version of the above invitation for the unveiling ceremony at the Pentagon for April 28 (in PDF format).

FILED UNDER: Comic Books, Military Affairs
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.