By Will Grant
Next week at Comic-Con International, the first in a series of Blackwater illustrated graphic comic books by artist Billy Tucci will be released. The first installment, called Roll Hard, is a depiction of the Blackwater Mamba Team in Baghdad. Through on-the-ground reporting and an eye for detail, Tucci presents one of the most accurate accounts of Blackwater in Iraq.
“Like most people, all I had heard or read concerning Private Security Contractors was that they were reckless cowboys whose actions in Iraq and Afghanistan where nothing short of criminal. Then I read the amazing firsthand experiences in Robert Young Pelton’s book ‘Licensed To Kill.’ Pelton lived, rode and flew under fire with Blackwater and other PSC’s on their daily missions. His book and the men he introduced me too provide incredible insight to whom these men truly are and the sacrifices they made,” Tucci said in a press release.
The final editions of Tucci’s work will cover nearly every aspect of Blackwater and its serivces. From aviation to cooperation with the Central Intelligence Agency, Tucci left no Blackwater stone unturned when producing his novels.
“Our book will look deep into the psyche of these men and find out just why they do what they do,” according to Tucci. “Nothing will be left out, from the front page controversies to their daily silent heroics. It is the most challenging work of my career, but I’m tackling it with a vengeance, as I’ve gained a great respect for these men who live a daily life of danger, and their stories must be told.”
Tucci’s chronicles are based in large part on Pelton’s book about private security contracting. Pelton, who spent a month on Route Irish with the Blackwater Mamba Team, opened Tucci’s eyes to the innerworkings of life as a security contractor. He also introduced Tucci to the men who made Roll Hard possible.
“Billy goes beyond being a gifted writer and artist, he immerses himself in the story to painstakingly create a work of art that is both important statement and a lasting classic.” says Pelton.
Although Tucci’s best-known work is probably his book Shi, which sold more than 3 million comic books and grossed over 25 million dollars worldwide, he first received the attention of the military when he published Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion. Through extensive research and interviews, Tucci captured the American experience in Europe during World War II. And he did it so well that the US Army flew a flag in Tucci’s honor over Camp Victory in Iraq.
Tucci’s Blackwater works promise to convey the nature of the company, its work, and the men who served in a previously unseen way. Tucci and the new Blackwater preview will be at booth #1801 at Comic-Con International in San Diego from July 11, to July 15. Tucci will be signing selected copies and greeting fans.
Only 1,000 posters and only 1,000 San Diego Comic Con Convention “Blackwater” previews will be published and only 200 copies of both the poster and Preview book will be given out during the event.