An entry from my old Marvel blog, interrupting questions about the then thrice-monthly AMAZING SPIDER-MAN to talk about a current issue.
Became swamped with stuff this week, so I haven’t had a chance to compose the last Spidey Answers piece, dealing with some of the threat responses—maybe tomorrow.
But I did want to take a moment to toot our own horn just a little bit—especially given that I had virtually nothing to do with the issue in question.
I’m very proud of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #574, on sale this week, and the job that creators Marc Guggenheim and Barry Kitson (along with editorial team Stephen Wacker and Tom Brennan) did in dramatizing Flash Thompson’s experiences while being stationed in Iraq. I think it’s one of those issues that people will remember for years to come. This was a difficult and sensitive topic to try to handle in a comic book, but these guys handled it well, and delivered a story that really packs a punch. Special thanks is also due to Jeff Guerin, the soldier who acted as a consultant on the issue, and whose personal tale of service to his country is related on the letters page.
I’m sure that Steve may be running the following missive on the letters page of a future issue as well, but I don’t care—whenever we hear a story like this, I want to share it with the world:
I just finished reading Amazing Spider-Man #574, and I wanted to thank you for your story. I think I knew what had happened to Flash as soon as I saw the words “Landstuhl Regional Medical Center”, and I almost had to put the book down right there. I decided to keep going though, and I was very impressed with the realism of the story. I was thinking to myself, these guys got it right for once, meaning, a realistic interpretation of being in combat, and doing anything for your fellow Soldier. I knew there had to be more to it, and sure enough I saw a real American Hero smiling at me from the Letters Page. We wish Jeff Guerin the best, and pray for his speedy recovery. I can empathize with Jeff, and with Flash Thompson. I grew up reading all the comics my meager allowance would afford, and I would have done anything to have the ability to help people like Spider-Man does. After I graduated high school, I got out of comics for a little while. It wasn’t until I was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that I found myself picking them up again. When you’re in a hospital bed for awhile, you obviously have a lot of free time. This story just hit so close to home for me, because I woke up just like Flash did in Germany. I lost my right leg above the knee, and my left leg below the knee to an IED in 2004, while serving with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force in Iraq. I just wanted to think you for telling our story, and thank you to Jeff for his input, and courage to be a hero in the real world. Some people might think Flash will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, I used to think that too. I have a challenge for Flash though, I stood up thirty days after I was blown up. I walked out of the hospital 4 months after that. All it took was the strength and willingness to do so. Now, I even have a set of legs I can run with. I hope you can tell the rest of Flash’s story at some point. Thank you for honoring those that have served in the War on Terror, especially those that lost their lives, and those of us that left part of us there. That was one of the best comics I’ve ever read in my entire life.
Robbie, thank you for your letter, and for the heroism that you’ve displayed, I’m glad we could give back at least a little bit to someone who’s clearly contributed and made a difference in the world a lot more substantively than we have.