This month Britain's Comic Book Alliance will be joining with the 'Support Our Soldiers' charity to send thousands of comic books and graphic novels to troops stationed around the world and many miles from home.
The CBA spoke to troops before Christmas and were told that one of the biggest problems facing service personnel was boredom when they are not deployed in the field. Comic books have always been a favourite with the troops because they are light, entertaining; easy to carry, share and read.
Passing on that information on to its members, the CBA were instantly inundated with offers from publishers and retailers wishing to help. "There were so many offers that it was impossible to arrange for shipments before Christmas," says CBA spokesperson and co-founder GM Jordan. "Plus, the CBA simply did not have the expertise to send out the parcels themselves.
"Thankfully the problem was solved when Support Our Soldiers, who have been sending goodwill parcels to members of the armed forces since 2003, agreed to take the donations to ensure they reached the people who needed them the most.'
With the S.O.S partnership in place there was a further complication: the donors were spread out across the UK. The comics needed to be collected and then delivered to a central point for distribution and with time running out; it looked like they were in danger of failing to meet their March deadline.
Luckily the Post Office was at hand and, thanks to their logistical skills, they were able to collect all the donations into a central depot in the South East before shipping them north to be delivered to S.O.S.
"We owe a great deal of thanks to the Post Office, when we explained the difficulties facing us the managers and staff understood the difficulties involved and found the right solution to help us. Without the Post Office we would have been in serious trouble," GM Jordan explained.
The CBA is especially grateful to help from independent comics publisher Markosia Enterprises and comics retail chain Forbidden Planet, who were amongst the first to pledge their support and been a great supporters of the CBA.
Titles distributed to the troops include Markosia's King Kong of Skull Island, Starship Troopers, Harker and the critically acclaimed Hope Falls by Tony Lee.
“Thank you for doing a great job on our behalf and we wish you well” said Harry Markos, head of Markosia, before adding, "If our small token goes any way towards cheering up the troops then we are all very happy."
The CBA was founded in 2009 to represent the comic book industry in the UK, working with retailers, publishers, creators, educators and fans to ensure a bright future for the industry.
• Comic Book Alliance: www.comicbookalliance.org.uk
• Support Our Soldiers: www.supportoursoldiers.co.uk
• Markosia Enterprises: www.markosia.com
• Forbidden Planet: www.forbiddenplanet.co.uk
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