NEW YORK – Move over, Spider-Man — here come New York's Finest and Bravest.
Inspired by the courage of those who put their lives on the line Sept. 11, Marvel Comics is launching a new series about the city's own everyday superheroes — the NYPD, FDNY and EMS.
"A lot of the guys are very excited. It's a nice thing," said Lt. Richard Smith of Engine Co. 228.
Smith is serving as a technical adviser for the new series, titled Call of Duty: The Brotherhood, which focuses on the Fire Department. Smith had good reason to want to get involved — his son Brian is an editor of the comic.
The Brotherhood, which goes on sale Wednesday, will be followed by two other series, one based on the NYPD, called The Precinct, and one about EMS workers, called The Wagon.
The three comics will lead into one ongoing series that focuses on a cop, a firefighter and a paramedic. Writer Chuck Austen said the comic will be like a cross between NYPD Blue and The X-Files.
"After Sept. 11, [Marvel] wasn't sure if it was a good idea, but then they figured if we did it fairly and honestly," it would be something to be proud of, Austen said.
To research the project, Austen went with Smith to his firehouse, across the East River from where the Twin Towers once stood.
"It was an incredible experience, and one I'll never forget," Austen said. "They're a great bunch of guys."
Marvel's chief operating officer, Bill Jemas, said the comics are meant "to pay tribute to America's heroes." He said he's hopeful the new characters will offer something that such Marvel mainstays as Spider-Man and Captain America can't, and "capture the excitement of real people dealing with dangerous situations."
Smith said he appreciates that firefighters are finally getting their due.
"It came at a large price," he said. "I'd rather have my 343 brother firefighters back than recognition."