By Jack Abramowitz
The New York Comic Con played host to many comics, many companies, and many creators, each of whom was noteworthy in their own right. In a group of its own, however, was America’s Army: The Comic based on the America’s Army videogame. The publisher of that comic is the U.S. Army. Series creator M. Zachary Sherman told CBG about America’s Army.
America’s Army, he said, is “a comic book that entertains and educates. It gives people an inside look at different facets of the army that they may not know exist.”
Erroneously perceived by some as a recruitment tool, Sherman clarified that “it’s an outreach program. What we’re trying to do is get our message across to the masses as much as we can.” And what is that message? “There are all sorts of different kinds of what we call MOSs — Military Occupational Specialties — which is the job that you can have in the military. There’s everything from veterinarian to dentist to intelligence specialist, all the way down to the riflemen in the field.” The primary goal, apart from its entertainment value, would appear to be for U.S. citizens to better understand their own Army.
Sherman is an ex-Marine. He previously worked at the special effects company Industrial Light and Magic but joined the military after the events of Sept. 11 in an effort to “step up and do (his) part.” No newcomer to comics, Sherman created SOCOM: SEAL Team Seven at Image. He went on to write for Marvel Comics Presents at Marvel and a Star Wars series at Dark Horse. Since his work focused on Navy SEALs, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the battle of Hoth, one must wonder about the military focus of his comics work. “That’s not intentional,” Sherman said, though it’s perhaps not surprising since “you draw from what you know.”
The America’s Army comic app is an interactive comic book that places issues they’ve published in a mobile medium that goes beyond a mere reader. Added animation, special effects, and an original score combine to make more of a reading experience. One can access the app through a Flash reader online or download it to a tablet in order to enjoy a fuller experience than simply reading the comic electronically or in hard copy. The app also boasts an “intel section,” featuring art by series artist Scott Brooks. This includes character profiles, information on gear and weapons, and other interactive aspects.
While the action occurs in the fictional country of Czervenia, occurrences are drawn from soldiers’ real-life situations. But don’t go looking for thinly veiled references to situations in Iraq or Afghanistan. “Where our story is going is completely different than what’s going on in current events,” Sherman said.
Find out more at www.americasarmy.com.