IGN spoke with DC CCO and Publisher Jim Lee, who’s been heavily involved in DC’s USO efforts this year. Back in May, Lee released a video diary of his visit to Kuwait, where he, Batman writer Tom King and actresses Danielle Panabaker, Candice Patton and Nafessa Williams visited with the troops at five different bases. Lee even coached a group on the art of drawing Batman.
But as Lee explained, DC wanted to do something to thank the various servicemen and women stationed elsewhere across the globe, particularly those who may not have access to amenities like Wi-Fi.
“It started with the visit over to the Kuwaiti bases in May of this year,” Lee said. “But now we’re actually doing something to reach some of the members of the military that are in more remote locations around the world. These are places that often don’t have even Wi-Fi or Internet connections.”
Lee continued, “The intent of all this is to really give something back and obviously provide some diversion from the missions that they have to deal with. This is something that is very meaningful for us. It’s been a really incredible gift to be able to work with the USO and to help the servicemen and women.”
Check out Lee’s video diary from Kuwait below:
Lee told us the visit to Kuwait helped provide inspiration in terms of what to include in the care packages. As he explained, the goal is to foster a sense of connection with loved ones back home and the characters and stories who inspire them. It’s one thing for service members stationed at large bases who have access to the Internet and networked computers, but maintaining that sense of connection in more remote areas can be challenging.
“They definitely talked about how much value that had to them, because it’s a connection to home,” Lee explained. “They’re out there literally in the middle of the desert. All they have is their fellow servicemen and women and having connections to their favorite characters. [They want] access to their favorite forms of entertainment or a reminder of their home life. I think that informed the kind of content we wanted to send out to them and stuff that could be consumed without having a connection to the Internet.”
In that sense, Lee said, that made Batman the perfect character around which to frame this entire USO campaign. “He’s a character that was born out of tragedy but has basically dedicated his life to making sure bad things don’t happen up to anyone else. And I think that is a mission that certainly our military engages in.”
“While we were in Kuwait talked about how they were big fans of the character from the comic books and how the stories inspired them,” Lee said. “There’s definitely a component of that in what we do. Obviously we’re creating stories to entertain, but there is a story there, there is a narrative that’s about a commitment, a dedication to ideals and to a higher purpose. Our service men and women definitely fit the bill when it comes to that.”
For more on Batman’s 80th anniversary, find out how DC is celebrating this year’s Batman Day, check out our review of Detective Comics #1000 and see the 20 Detective Comics stories that reshaped the Batman franchise.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.