Marvel’s The Vitals: True EMS Stories celebrates emergency workers in Pennsylvania and all they’ve done during the COVID pandemic.
Just in time for National EMS Week (May 16-22), Marvel Comics and the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) are releasing The Vitals: True EMS Stories, a collection of heartening vignettes showcasing the real-life stories of heroic EMS workers during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Written by Sean Ryan (Justice League, X-Men) with art by Ze Carlos, Ramon Bachs, Ray-Anthony Height and J.L. Giles, this anthology comic will feature true-life heroics from the experience of eight EMS workers, chosen by their colleagues, as they worked to save lives amidst the harrowing pandemic conditions of Pennsylvania during the winter of 2020.
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The new comic anthology, set for hard copy release on July 1, is a follow-up to the earlier AHN/Marvel collaboration The Vitals: True Nurse Stories, also written by Ryan, which released in December of 2020. Their premises are similarly based: while the COVID-19 pandemic has seen tragedy and despair run rampant across the United States and the rest of the globe, healthcare workers around the world have stepped up to the plate with courage and honor in their ongoing efforts to avert further loss of life and take care of people in the midst of serious crises. These are not imaginary heroes either, as all of these tales are based on the real-life experiences of EMS workers answering actual emergencies.
According to a press release from Marvel Comics, President of Marvel Entertainment Dan Buckley was elated by the opportunity to champion real-life stories of courage, sacrifice, and temerity exhibited by these men and women. “Just like in Marvel comic books, we see each of these stories as a chance to experience the heart and drive behind the heroes working tirelessly to save lives,” he said, adding that Marvel was “honored to help AHN tell more of these stories, which now give us another glimpse into the world of healthcare heroes saving millions of lives every day.”
Robert Twaddle, Vice President of Prehospital Care Services at AHN, lauded the heroism he witnessed from the “brave and selfless individuals” working as EMS at AHN, saying that AHN was “thrilled to see our EMS providers portrayed as the heroes they truly are.” Previews for the issue include stories of EMS workers saving an elderly man from a COVID flare-up thirteen flights up, an EMS mother writing to her daughter from their garage due to needing to keep distance because of her work, and a daring helicopter airlift flying just ahead of a storm. The full issue will include even more dramatic life-saving heroics, such as an emergency cricothyrotomy (a throat incision to allow breathing) on a burn victim.
The new comic arrives in more positive days for the pandemic, as cases have been trending down nationwide and the populace undergoes vaccination. Nevertheless, the issue serves as not only a poignant window into the truly remarkable human endeavors carried out by those who put their lives at risk during the global crisis to help, but also as a valuable reminder of the decency and implacable dauntlessness exhibited by real-life medical personnel when faced with the everyday challenges of their work. “We want all our EMS partners in the community and at AHN to know: This comic book is about all of you,” said Twaddle.
The pandemic may be frightening, but with dedicated men and women working overtime like this to fight the threat, it doesn’t stand a chance. The Vitals: True EMS Stories goes on sale July 1, but can be previewed at AHN.org.
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