How Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four Warn Kids Against Substance Abuse Every Year
Sure, today may be “Avengers Vs. X-Men Day” in celebration of tonight’s release of the first issue of Marvel’s latest event book, but in the widely-circulated PSA comic Hard Choices, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four are dealing with a less tactile problem in our world: underage drinking.Continuing a long history of Spider-Man PSA books (So long that Marvel even released a collection of some previous efforts last year), the comic Hard Choices teams Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four to raise awareness about the consequences of alcohol abuse. According to the publisher, more than 600,000 copies of the book, created by Marvel in partnership with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics and the Elks National Drug Awareness Program, were distributed to elementary and middle schools across the U.S. last month.
Despite the publicity for the comic this year, Hard Choices has been around since 2006, re-released annually as part of an ongoing program aimed at fourth through eighth grade students from Marvel and the Elks, with Marc Sumerak and Marcio Takara’s story already available as a digital comic for some time. John Dokes, Marvel’s SVP of Integrated Sales and Marketing, said that the company is “proud to continue our work with the Elks to publicize the dangers of substance abuse, and are excited to have Siemens involved with the Elks project this year.”
In addition to the March release of the comic, Marvel, Siemens and the Elks are promoting the program by featuring messages and characters from the special comic on an electronic super sign in New York’s Time Square for the next two weeks. It might not be as glamorous as, say, Avengers Vs. X-Men‘s hot superhero-on-superhero action, but it’s nonetheless an important effort.