Graphic novel outlines raid to capture bin Laden
PHILADELPHIA: The daring secret mission to get Osama bin Laden by elite US forces will be told in the pages of a new graphic novel that aims to shed more light – with a bit of creative license – on the event.
Written by retired US Marine Capt. Dale Dye and Julia Dye, the 88-page hardcover ”Code Word: Geronimo” takes a look at the mission that is free from politics, a move the authors said was aimed at keeping the focus on those who planned, conducted and executed the raid. IDW Publishing said a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated to the American Veterans Center.
”People from all parties and from more than one administration made this all possible,” Julia Dye told The Associated Press. ”It’s an American celebration.”
It was also a quick process adapting the real-life event for the book, illustrated by artists Gerry Kissell and Amin Amat, and set for release Sept. 6, less than a week before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
IDW, a San Diego-based publisher known for its line of comics that include ”G.I. Joe,” ”Star Trek” and ”Doctor Who,” said the story about bin Laden’s capture would appeal to both new and established readers.
Tom Waltz, IDW’s editor and a Marine who was in the Gulf War, called the story a detailed account of the mission.
”I firmly believe you won’t get a more accurate account of this pivotal moment in history unless it is told by the SEAL team members themselves,” Waltz said.
Julia Dye called the work necessary for the nation, particularly having had to live ”within the shadow” of bin Laden for so long.
”We knew that at some point some great journalist or novelist or some great writer will get into this and produce the tell-all book, but that’s down the line,” said Dale Dye, who has written novels and advised film and TV productions ranging from ”Platoon” to the mini-series ”The Pacific” to ensure military accuracy.
”What we needed to do is to celebrate this thing. We got it right. We haven’t gotten in right before,” he said. ”I shudder to think of Desert One,” the failed effort to rescue the American hostages in Iran.
The story opens with a lone traveler on a dusty road in Pakistan, a rattled pick-up passing by. It quickly shifts back and forth to a US compound in Afghanistan to the White House to the house where bin Laden was hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
From there, the story unfolds with the helicopters lifting off, crossing into Pakistan and landing. The elements of the real raid are featured, too, including the helicopter that had to make a forced landing, the raid into the house and, finally, the two shots that took bin Laden down.
The book is drawn without gratuitous violence or gore, the artists said.
”This is a story about an historic mission; not a blood fest, with blood and guts everywhere,” the artists said in a statement emailed to the AP. ”What we will draw will be realistic, but no more than what one would come to expect from a true life combat story.”
The members of SEAL Team 6 are not identified by their real names, but the equipment, planning and training that resulted in the May 1 raid are.
”Due to entirely appropriate security concerns, there is some creative license in our script,” Dye said.
Dye drew on his experience in the Marines as well as contacts within the US military to ensure accuracy, but not to the point of being too detailed.
”I spent some time talking to some guys in the Navy special warfare group. I know some things that I can’t say,” he said. ”You don’t want to tell the other guys what your secrets for hitting homers are.”
In the course of the story, readers see the final approval from President Barack Obama to go with the helicopter raid instead of a missile strike. The one character whose name is real is the dog, Cairo.
”We were able to know most of what happened, to make a judgment what is appropriate for public consumption,” Julia said. ”I remember very early on saying ‘There was a dog! Cairo jumped! How fun it is!”’
Obama and other members of his administration are shown in the situation room, monitoring the mission, which unfolds tautly and with suspense and concludes with bin Laden being shot. There are also images of him being carried aboard the helicopter in a body bag and to the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson.
That is interspersed with Obama making his televised speech to the nation about the raid and ends with two of the team members from the raid clanking their beer cans in a toast.