Marvel Comics may create fantastical superheroes on the page, but they’re also committed to honoring the superheroes of real life. Since 2005, Marvel Custom Solutions, in partnership with the Army & Air Force Exchange Service (the Exchange), has released 14 special edition comics, available exclusively (and free of charge) to U.S. servicemen and servicewomen.
“We are thrilled that the Exchange and Marvel continue to work together to provide these complimentary comics to military members serving our country at home and abroad,” says the Exchange’s Senior Enlisted Advisor, Chief Master Sergeant Tony Pearson.
Captain John Pellerito serves in the Army and is stationed at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. “I’ve been a comic book fan since I was a kid,” says Pellerito, “and I have every issue of this series. The stories have been getting better and better with each issue. My kids and I both enjoy them immensely. I think it is awesome that the Exchange and Marvel provide these for free. That is on point.”
The most recent issue, “Double Vision,” features the Avengers in a new adventure, battling HYDRA for the safety and freedom of America.
Disney Dads spoke with Marvel Comics editor Bill Rosemann about the continuing partnership with the Exchange.
DD: Where did the initial idea for making comics especially for troops come from?
BR: Our friends at the Exchange, realizing how many Marvel fans are active service members, and knowing how many of them have family member that are also fans, approached us in 2005 about creating all-new stories that would show the soldiers how much we appreciate their sacrifices. Best of all, each issue has a one million print run and they are given away free via on-base Exchange stores around the world, so all of our real-life heroes have access to these special issues.
DD: Is there a 15th installment in the works already?
BR: We are happy to announce that yes, the call has once again come in for the Marvel Super Heroes to roll out into active duty … and a certain armored Avenger just might be leading the charge.
DD: Have all of the issues feature the Avengers?
BR: While the Exchange comics have predominantly starred the Avengers, both as a team and in individual solo stories, they’ve also featured fan-favorite heroes including the Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider, the Punisher and the Fantastic Four. The Avengers hail from many different backgrounds, locations, and, in Captain America’s (who happens to be a service member) case, even different eras. However, they all know that teamwork is essential to completing their missions, and that they all must rely on each other’s strengths to get the job done…traits that the men and women in the U.S. military demonstrate every day.
DD: Will these issues be made available to the general public at some point?
BR: For now, they remain a unique collectible for military members serving our country at home and abroad. After all, with all that they do for us, don’t they deserve something just for themselves and their families?
Image at top © MARVEL.