Yes, the blog’s been very quiet lately. Life’s been anything but, and one of the things keeping me busiest over the past several months has been work on another graphic novel.
It was at last year’s Salt Lake Comic Con when Pam Sawyer, the daughter of the late Air Force Maj. Gen. David Sawyer, had seen the copies of Untold Stories from Iraq and Afghanistan and Korean War on my table, and requested that I give similar treatment to her father’s journal from his service in Operation: Desert Shield and Desert Storm. I was impressed to hear that her father had commanded the 23rd Tactical Fighter Wing- The Flying Tigers- and jumped at the chance to write this book.
Then I got to work. Being a person on the ground and a civilian, I had to do what I did when writing the account of Boots Blesse for Korean War. I had to admit I didn’t know a thing, research very heavily, and rely on the vast pool of talent and knowledge that is my brain trust to help where even the most thorough research could fail me. Making matters more complicated was the fact that the late Maj. Gen. Sawyer was… well… unable to take my questions. I believe I did his stories due justice, though.
The aircraft themselves also proved a bit of a challenge. Appearance counts for a lot in a visual medium like comics, which is probably why A-10 Warthogs such as those flown by the 23rd TFW don’t appear often in comics. The civilian public wouldn’t line up by the hundreds or thousands to see them in an air show like they would for much prettier F-18 Hornets. While Warthogs are maneuverable enough to do their jobs, they look ugly and sound downright obnoxious.
Get to know them though, and you just may fall in love as much as anyone can with aircraft. In talking with veterans who served on the ground as well as in the air, I learned why the Warthogs are so feared by enemy forces and strongly beloved by our troops. This is why I’m glad to have Korean War penciller Dan Monroe on board doing pencils and inks. His ten years in the Army helped him learn a healthy appreciation of good close air support such as the Warthogs provide.
Also working with us are a couple more Korean War teammates, Eric White on colors and Tom Orzechowski doing the lettering. With the talent on board as well as everyone helping me properly research, the challenges of making sure this book will be awesome seem quite manageable.
There’s just one more big challenge in store- covering the production, printing, and distribution expenses, and this is where everyone can help!