Holy International Diplomacy, Batman!

Photo from <a href="http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Spiderman_and_child.jpg" target="_blank">Wikimedia Commons</Cartoon heroes are being "called upon to rescue the battered image of a very real-world institution -- the United Nations," reports Simon Usborne. The UN is partnering with Marvel Comics on a comic book to be released later this year. The comic "is expected to be set in a war-torn fictional country and feature heroes including Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four, as well as workers from UN agencies such as children's charity UNICEF and blue helmets of the peacekeeping forces. Eventually, the work will be translated into several other languages ... but it is American schoolchildren who the UN plans to target first. ... The comic will be distributed free to one million U.S. school children." The UN says it hopes the comic teaches "the value of international co-operation," and sensitizes students "to the problems faced in other parts of the world." Marvel Comics has previously adopted political causes, mostly in favor of U.S. policies. In 1971, Marvel's Stan Lee penned a Spider-Man story on "the destructive force of narcotics," at the request of the U.S. government.