This past weekend at Dr Volts Comics in Salt Lake City, where I also happen to work, we had a comics signing with Valerie Finnigan. Valerie Finnigan has recently worked on an anthology book called "Untold Tales of Iraq and Afghanistan." This book is made up of a bunch of first hand accounts from soldiers that have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. I looked through the book while she was here and thought I should do an interview with her to try and get the word out on this book. There are lots of creators on this book, including some that have worked for Marvel and DC. All proceeds from this book will go to the USO, Wounded Warriors' Project, Soldiers' Angels, and Fisher House.
Androidika: Thanks for joining us Valerie, would you care to explain to our readers about Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan?
Valerie Finnigan: Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan represents the biggest ever undertaking by the comic book industry to support our troops. It is an anthology of true stories from members of our armed forces, adapted and illustrated by members of the comic book industry from new indie talents to longtime heavy-hitters from Marvel and DC. All proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the USO, Wounded Warriors' Project, Soldiers' Angels, and Fisher House.
Androidika: How you become involved in this project?
Valerie Finnigan: I was looking for an opportunity to keep writing while a collaborater was on a deployment. Clayton Murwin was looking for writers and artists to work on this at around the same time. I got involved originally to show my friend that while he was "over there" (and our own project was delayed), I still had his back. Clayton is the founder of Heroes Fallen Studios, by the way, as well as a penciller/inker on this project.
Androidika: About how many different stories are told in this anthology? And how closely did the writers and artists work with the soldiers whose stories are told?
Valerie Finnigan: We've got about 20 short stories or one page pinups in this, and the stories keep coming. We're working on vol. 2 as we speak.
We had to work directly with the troops who contributed. One of the first things that happened when a story was submitted was that the writers were put in contact with the troops. I did not submit a script without it being approved by the soldier and the airman on whose stories I worked.
Androidika: Has working with these soldiers and hearing their stories changed the way you view what is happening overseas? And do you think it will open some peoples eyes as to what our troops go through?
Valerie Finnigan: I became much less willing to play armchair general. The more I learned about what really goes on there, the less I discovered I knew. I think it will also educate people on what goes on there. It might not change anyone's opinion on the wars, but it will perhaps give their opinions a bit more grounding and nuance.
Androidika: Where can our readers find "Untold Stories of Iraq and Afghanistan" if they are interested in checking it out?
Valerie Finnigan: If it's not available at our friendly neighborhood comic book retailers, the book can be ordered through www.heroesfallenstudiosinc.webs.com .
Androidika: Ok, before we go do you have anything else in the pipeline that you are working on that you can talk about?
Valerie Finnigan: We recently got a good start on "Untold Stories from Ground Zero and Beyond" to benefit the firefighting and law enforcement agencies affected by 9-11. On a completely different note, I've also got some superhero and horror projects in the pipeline.
Androidika: Well I'm looking forward to hearing about those when you can talk about them more. Do you have any parting words for our readers as we wrap this up?
Valerie Finnigan: I've said this before, and I'll say it again. There are a few comic books I as a reader think really can stand the test of time and get better with rereading. Giant Sized X-Men #1. God Loves, Man Kills. And Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Androidika: Well thank you for talking to us today and we hope to hear from you soon.
Well there you go. I highly encourage you all to check out Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan if you get the chance. Dr Volts has a limited number of copies in the store, so if you live in the Salt Lake City are drop by and see if they have a copy. If not, you can get it straight from the publisher at www.heroesfallenstudiosinc.webs.com .