KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The names of more than 700 American service members killed in Iraq will appear in a "Doonesbury" (search) comic strip during the Memorial Day weekend.
The comic will list chronologically the names of 702 soldiers killed through April 23, said Lee Salem, editor of the Kansas City-based Universal Press Syndicate (search), which distributes the strip.
The names were set in 6-point type to fit in the six panels for publication on Sunday, May 30. The Sunday version is prepared weeks in advance.
"The intent is to recognize those who died," Salem said.
The strip's author, Garry Trudeau (search), was not available to answer questions, his editor said.
As of Thursday, a total of 789 U.S. service members had died since the beginning of military operations in Iraq last year. Of those, 575 died as a result of hostile action and 214 died of non-hostile causes.
Last month, ABC's "Nightline" featured a recitation by anchor Ted Koppel (search) of the names and photos of Americans who had been killed in the war. The names and photos, presented without music or graphics, occupied the entire expanded 40-minute news show.
Koppel said during the April 30 broadcast that it was about the "men and women who have died in the war in Iraq."
"Doonesbury," a Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip, appears in 1,400 newspapers nationwide and has a history of tackling controversial issues.
At least two newspapers decided to pull the strip last month when football coach and soldier B.D. used an expletive when he learned he had lost a leg while fighting in Iraq. Salem said the syndicate had not received any reaction about the Memorial Day weekend strip from newspapers who publish "Doonesbury."