FORT DIX, N.J. (AP) - A young comic book aficionado is sharing his passion with the military.
Ten-year-old Carl Scheckel organized a campaign that gathered roughly 3,000 comic books that he donated last month to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. He collected them mostly through donations at comic book shows but also gave up many titles from his vast collection.
The comics were shipped around the globe. Recipients are being urged to send pictures back to the Montclair boy to help recognize his hard work.
"These comic books are a piece of home for our warfighters downrange," Master Sgt. Dominick Griego said. "It's an amazing thing that Carl has done."
Carl has a website dedicated to comic book reviews and interviews and says he just wanted to do something for the troops. He said the donation campaign started when one of his subscribers asked him what he thought about donating comic books to veterans in hospitals and soldiers overseas.
Carl soon ran with the idea — "because I want people to enjoy comics like I do" — and started it with about 300 of his own comics. He then made arrangements through the Department of Veterans Affairs to deliver the comic books.
"I wanted to give (military personnel) something to remind them of home," Carl said. "It's really sad when you have to go away and miss your friends and family a lot. I wanted to give them something they would enjoy."
In response to Carl's efforts, he was surprised with a VIP tour at the joint base led by several high-ranking base officials.
In a post on his website, he described it as "the best day of my life!"
Carl noted that he and his father were able to see and sit in some military planes. They also visited several sites on the base and even got to try on some military gear.
Carl said he became a comic book fan while in pre-school. He heard some friends there talking about superheroes and became intrigued when they told him about Spiderman. When he got home that day, he told his father about what he learned and soon was reading comic after comic.
When asked whether he could see himself working in the comic book industry when he grows up, Carl said he would like to create a television show about a superhero in the 1930s.