IAVA, Marvel in Digital Comics Deal for Vets

Through wars hot and cold the comic book company whose pantheon of heroes has included Captain America for more than 70 years has always supported the country?s troops and veterans.

In that spirit Marvel Comics is giving away yearlong digital subscriptions to all its titles to 2,000 vets of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"We?ve been talking with Marvel for awhile now ? over a year ? to explore different ideas for partnering," said Katie VanLungen, director of strategic partnerships with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. In the end, the company whose characters also include Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk, decided to make another yearlong digital giveaway of its comics, but upping the number to 2,000 veterans instead of last year?s 1,000.

The offer is open to through Jan. 27 to IAVA members, though all it takes to join IAVA is to register and provide a copy of your DD-214.

Chris Tarbassian of Massachusetts, who in 2003 started Operation Comix Relief, a comic-books-for-troops drive that exploded in popularity and continues to operate, said servicemembers love taking a break with comics and that what Marvel was doing for veterans "is great news."

"Marvel has always been a generous company and has always helped us in getting comics to our deployed soldiers. I think this is just another reflection of that," he said.

Timothy Kudo, the senior member associate at IAVA and a longtime comic enthusiast and collector, said vets who signed up for the subscription will have access to all 400 complete Marvel titles, including about 9,000 back issues.

The digital archives mean those old, hard-to-find issues are there for the viewing and reading.

"It?s a great thing now to be able to go back and get these," said Kudo, a former Marine captain and executive officer with 1st Battalion, 8th Marines.

"I remember reading these things when I was a kid, and you were always desperate to get the back-story," Kudo said.

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