Put Down the Marvel and DC, Kids: Russia Just Bought You a Patriotic Comic Book.

A battle for the hearts and minds of Russia's comic-book-consuming youth. Image by Kevin Rothrock.

A battle for the hearts and minds of Russia's comic-book-consuming youth. Image by Kevin Rothrock.

Timur Amirkhanov, a young man living in Siberia, is the proud recipient of a new 200,000-ruble ($3,100) grant from Rosmolodezh, the Russian federal government's agency for youth affairs. Amirkhanov participated in Rosmolodezh's educational forum “Terra Scientia,” where his proposal to create a “patriotic” comic book was a big hit.

According to Amirkhanov's Vkontakte page, the comic book, titled “Time of Heroes,” is part of another project called “Honorable Choice”—a “military-sports” club for children that pits teams of youngsters against one another in competitions that test “tactical” skills, a knowledge of the armed services, and general physical fitness. The winners of a competition scheduled for this fall will win a free trip to Russia's naval base in Crimea.

A “prototype” for the heroines of Russia's new subsidized patriotic comic book. Photo: Vkontakte

Amirkhanov, who graduated from the Tver State Agricultural Academy last year with a degree in mechanics and technology, says the comic book represents a “new cultural trend in the development of military-patriotic education in Russia.” On Vkontakte, he writes that the project will make it possible to “speak with children in their language and also convey to them important and useful information.” Amirkhanov also lists three “primary goals” for the “Time of Heroes”: creating alternatives to foreign superheroes, increasing incentives for teenagers to become active in sports, and raising basic levels of knowledge about military service.

There are no drafts available showing what to expect from “Time of Heroes,” but Amirkhanov has published nine photos that he describes as “prototypes” for the heroes to be featured in the final product. There are six images of serious, large men aiming their rifles in different directions, and three pictures of attractive women posing seductively with guns.

Eighty-four people have written on Amirkhanov's page to say that they want a copy of the comic book, when it's published.


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