Media Release — “I am a U.S. contractor. I look out for myself, the operators to my left and right, and no one else. I will always take advantage of the fact that I can finally tell military officers to pound sand, and will do so at every opportunity. I am my country’s scapegoat, the ‘plausible deniability’ warrior, and I love it.”
So begins Billy Tucci and Robert Young Pelton’s epic new graphic novel, “Roll Hard“. The 64-page book is based on Pelton’s non-fiction bestseller, “Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror” (Crown). To write the landmark book Pelton spent three years training, working, living and sharing the risks that security contractors face.
When Pelton decided to bring his controversial book to the graphic novel world, he could think of only one artist: Billy Tucci. “Billy’s passion for reality, crisp lines, action scenes and immersion in the subject matter is unique,” Pelton said. “His respect for his subjects goes well beyond his talents as an artist.” Tucci formed friendships with the men depicted in the book, making sure every aspect of their gear and locations were correct, getting every emotion, expression and firefight genuine.
Wired Magazine reviewed Roll Hard and said; “At a time when comics are still dominated by busty babes, zombies and superheroes wearing tights, Pelton and Tucci’s gritty, journalistic portrayal of America’s fighters-for-hire is a profound departure… exciting, funny and simply gorgeous to look at.”
“Roll Hard” is the unflinching tale of a misfit group of security contractors who had been kicked off the “Pretty Boy” detail that guarded the CIA and the State Department in Iraq. Their unglamorous and very dangerous job was to run the few miles between the Green Zone and the Baghdad International Airport. As backup they had the Little Bird pilots, former Special Operations pilots and helo-borne snipers who feared nothing and itched for a good fight.
Despite the 68 attacks a week on Route Irish, Pelton and the Mamba Team (named after their slow moving armored vehicles) survive the daily attacks of snipers, RPGs, IEDs, suicide bombers. At night they unwind on the rooftop, drinking Coronas and listening to the sound of car bombs, mortar attacks and firefights below. One of the men has a dark story of just missing the detail that was slaughtered in Fallujah and is suffering from survivor’s guilt. Another contractor discovers a father’s love too late. Other men deal with domestic, financial and personal issues in between just staying alive.
They work as a team to survive the most dangerous job on earth, even demanding that Pelton carry ammo and weapons so they could rip the extra rounds and a weapon off his body if he was killed in a firefight. Pelton’s luck holds but a few weeks after he leaves…disaster strikes the team.
“Roll Hard” is an intense look at life under fire, men in combat and the world of for-hire warriors.
Title: Roll Hard
Publisher and imprint: Adventurist Media
Written and Illustrated by William Tucci
Based on the Book “Licensed to Kill: Hired Guns in the War on Terror” by Robert Young Pelton
Color by Brian Miller, Hi-Fi Colour Design
Lettering and Design by Bill Tortolini, LithiumPro Design
Digital Illustrations by Tom Novak
Distribution Arrangement: Diamond Comic Distributors
Format: perfect bound graphic novel 10 ¼” x 6 5/8″ x 1/8″
Date of Publication: November 1, 2013