‘9/11 First responders are the real Superheroes’: Marvel honors the brave with a new comic

Marvel creators John Romita Jr. and Joe Quesada wanted to pay tribute to the victims and the heroes of 9/11 in a special way.

So they did just that–with a brand-new comics story, starring Spider-Man, Captain America, and heroes across the nation.

Artist John Romita Jr. is responsible for the simple, yet powerful imagery in the story, titled The Four Fives. Writer Joe Quesada worked alongside Romita to tell a story of remembrance, honor, and sorrow, though with more bell tolls than words.

Credit: Marvel

“When we first started speaking to John [Romita] about what he wanted to work on upon his return to Marvel, crafting a story honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 was very important to him,” says Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski.

Cebulski says the team surrounding the new comic story is comprised of people from the Big Apple.

“As New Yorkers who were all here that fateful day,” he explained, “we’re proud to present The Four Fives and do our part to help memorialize the men and women who sacrificed their lives two decades ago in a way only our comics can.”

And Cebulski is right; the comic strip captures the heartbreak of that day, coupled with the pride our nation felt in those who served as the courageous first responders who braved the two burning towers to help save the lives of people they didn’t even know.

Because of their heroism, many of those first responders became victims of the malicious attacks as well; 412 in all.

The lives of 343 firefighters were lost.

The lives of 37 Port Authority officers were lost.

The lives of 23 New York Police Department officers were lost.

The lives of 8 EMTs and paramedics were lost.

The lives of 3 New York State Court officers were lost.

The life of 1 New York Fire Patrolman was lost.

In all, 75 firehouses mourned the loss of one or more of its team on September 11.

Map of firehouses that responded to the attacks on 9/11. The rose-colored dots indicate a firehouse that lost at least one responder in the attacks. Credit: New York Times

“This was the right thing to do,” says Marvel comic artist John Romita Jr. “The firefighters, police, military, medical first responders, and the fallen are the true superheroes.”

“When C.B. asked if I’d be interested in writing a story commemorating the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I initially turned it down. I just didn’t think I had it in me to do a deep dive and relive that day again, nor an idea that could do it justice,” reflects Marvel comic artist Joe Quesada. “But, as soon as we hung up, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the souls lost.”

Quesada couldn’t stop thinking about that day, and then he had a thought that would bring the entire story of the comic to fruition.

“I thought about the yearly tolling of the Bell of Hope at Trinity Church,” he explains. “I called C.B. back to tell him that I had an idea.”

You can read the powerful story here on Marvel’s website.


About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!