28 October 2013

Veterans, Artists Seek to Print Books on Forgotten War

A group of comic-book artists, veterans, and military supporters have launched a crowd-funding effort to make two graphic novels commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War available to the public. Originally created on behalf of the U.S. Department of Defense for a June 27, 2013 commemoration, the graphic novels were never printed—possibly due to budget sequestration.

Coincidentally, the Korean War is sometimes called "The Forgotten War," because of the lack of public attention it received during and after the conflict.

The project fund-raising page is here.

Clayton Murwin, founder of Heroes Fallen Studios Inc., is the comic-book impresario who spearheaded the project. "These stories need to be told, they need to be put out there for the public, so that they'll be a lasting legacy," he says in a 7-minute fund-raising video recently posted on Kickstarter.

Since copyright has been returned to the artists, Murwin and his fellow creators are seeking just $2,500 to help prepare the two finished, 50-page volumes for publication via a print-on-demand service. Depending on final production costs, says Murwin, the volumes should retail between $15 and $25 each. The fund-raising campaign ends 12 noon Eastern Standard Time, Sat., Nov. 16, 2013.

Participants contributing $5 or more will receive a copy of the 72-page comic "Untold Stories From Iraq & Afghanistan," a collection of veterans' war stories and pin-ups published by Heroes Fallen in 2011.

Contributors to the Korean War volumes include: Jerry Bingham, Valierie Finnigan, Fletcher Horton, Levi EricksonScott Lee, Richard Meyer, Travis MillerClayton MurwinDan MonroeTom Orzechowski, Brian Shearer, Le Beau L. Underwood, and Eric White. A number of contributors are military veterans themselves.

Murwin recommends the books for most ages—the graphic novels aren't too graphic—although he cautions parents to preview the works before handing them off to younger children. After all, one can't accurately depict war without depicting a certain amount of violence. "[The project is] not so much about the violence," Murwin says, however, "it's about the sacrifice and dedication these veterans put through their service."

"Korean War, Vol. 1" tells stories centered around the Battle of the Chosin Reservoir, which occurred in November and December 1950. The book is written and illustrated by Richard C. Meyer, colored by Eric White, and lettered by Tom Orzechowski. Meyer is a U.S. veteran of the Iraq War, having served in the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment from 2000 to 2004. He served in the U.S. Army from 2006 to 2010, and deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. He previously wrote and illustrated the 2008 comic "No Enemy, but Peace," which tells the story how U.S. Marine Sgt. Marco Martinez earned the Silver Star at the 2003 Battle of At-Tarmiyah, Iraq.

Meyer's Chosin Reservoir narrative moves from the ground war to that of Lt. j.g. Jesse Brown, the U.S. Navy's first African-American aviator, as well as his squadron-mate Lt. Thomas Hunter. Flying carrier-based F4U "Corsairs," Brown and Hunter were providing air-support to U.S. forces encircled at Chosin Reservoir when Brown's aircraft was hit by enemy fire. Hudner deliberately crash-landed to aid Brown, who was trapped in his cockpit. Hudner was later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his actions, while Brown was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

"Korean War, Vol. II" comprises four stories derived from interviews with Korean War veterans conducted by Gulf War veteran and PTSD-awareness activist Scott Lee. Those stories include:
  • "Valor," a story of U.S. Army Cpl. Rodolfo "Rudy" Hernandez, who was once declared dead after the defense of Hill 420, about 15 miles south of the current border. During that action, Hernandez fixed his bayonet and charged, killing six enemy fighters before losing consciousness from grenade, bayonet and bullet wounds. He is a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.
For more information about Heroes Fallen Studios Inc., click here. Or visit the organization's blog here.

For the Heroes Fallen Inc. Facebook page, click here.

For the Korean War project's Kickstarter page, click here. For a fund-raising video, see below:

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