Friday, December 28, 2007

Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a Blue Hat can ...

My good friend Joel Meadows from Tripwire magazine (see numerous previous posts) was invited to the BBC yesterday to do an interview for the World Service. You can hear the interview above. Here's the story it related to ...

'He has fought against foes ranging from the Green Goblin to Doctor Octopus, but Spider-Man now faces an even more formidable challenge: improving the battered image of the United Nations. In a move reminiscent of storylines developed during World War II, the UN is joining forces with Marvel Comics, creators of Spiderman and the Incredible Hulk, to create a comic book showing the international body working with superheroes to solve bloody conflicts and rid the world of disease. The comic, initially to be distributed free to one million US schoolchildren, will be set in a war-torn fictional country and feature superheroes such as Spiderman working with UN agencies such as Unicef and the 'blue hats,' the UN peacekeepers.

Camilla Schippa, chief of office at the UN Office for Partnerships, told the Financial Times the script was being written now and the final storyline was due to be approved in February. The cartoonists are working for free. After publication in the US, the UN hopes to translate the comics into French and other languages and distribute them elsewhere, Schippa said.

The idea originally came from French film-maker, Romuald Sciora, who had been working on other UN projects and is making a DVD about the international organisation that will be distributed to schoolchildren along with the comic books. Although the UN did not come up with the initiative, the measure could help revive the body’s troubled image in the US, where relations have been strained, in particular during president Bush’s administration. John Bolton, the former US ambassador to the UN, once said that 'if the UN building in New York lost 10 storeys, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.'

The latest UN initiative is not the first time US comics have been used for political purposes. During World War II, superheroes were shown taking on Germany’s Nazi regime. Marvel’s Captain America, together with other characters such as Superman, were shown beating up Adolf Hitler.'

You can visit Joel's blog - Walls and Bridges - by clicking here.

Interview copyright (c) 2007 BBC World Service. Text of story copyright (C) 2007 Financial Times Ltd

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