The following an open letter from Marvel President & COO Bill Jemas regarding Marvel's April-debuting 3-issue anthology 411. It's been reprinted in it's entirety.
After reading on-line comic community reactions - positive and negative - to Marvel's 411 announcement, I wanted to share with all of you, the foreword to the first book.
than when he lays down his life for a friend."
Creators from many different countries and very diverse backgrounds contributed the stories you are about to read. Marvel did not seek to control the content of these books. We just asked for "the 411 on peace."
Yet, as story after story came in from creators, one common theme shone through: Your enemy, even your mortal enemy, is a member of the family of man…a member of your own family. 411 is about people who live by this principle. 411 is about peacemakers: people who make sacrifices in the name of humanity. These are people willing to die to keep all of us - on all sides - alive.
Stories about peacemakers are particularly difficult to tell with America on the brink of war. The part about self-sacrifice is easily understood, because self-sacrifice is, after all, the essence of being a soldier: a Christian soldier sacrificing his life in battle is a hero, just as a Muslim soldier giving his life in battle is a hero. An Iraqi soldier dying for his country is a hero to his people just as an American soldier dying in the name of freedom is a hero to his.
But the theme of sacrifice for the sake of peace, for the sake of all of humanity, is hard for many Americans to accept right now, with the hearts and minds of the body politic rising in a patriotic furor. You see, for any nation to engage in war, the most inhumane human enterprise, its people must believe that their enemy has given up the right to be treated as human beings - in short, that they deserve to die. In wartime, looking for the humanity in your enemy can't help but be seen - by patriots - as unpatriotic.
I hope that you will read this book in the spirit that the comic creative community intended it. These stories are neither anti-America nor anti-Iraqi, not anti-French nor anti Israeli. 411 is pro-human. It is a tribute to peacemakers, to people who turn the other cheek in the face of violence; people who refuse to lose sight of the fact that their enemies are part of their own community.
Bill Jemas, 3/6/03