Here are some newspaper articles done on us. We would also like to take this opportunity to thanks these newspaper companies and their reporters, for taking the time to talk and print something on us.

MetroWest Daily News
LOCAL NEWS (3/22/03)

Holy comic book heroes, Batman!
By Jennifer Rosinski Saturday, March 22, 2003
Spider-Man and Batman might not seem like they belong in the Persian Gulf, but one Framingham man believes the comic book heroes will give soldiers a much needed break from the realities of war.

Chris Tarbassian launched Operation Comix Relief on Thursday, when he shipped out his first package of more than two-dozen comic books. He will ship roughly 30 more today.

"It's a little bit of story to break up their day,"Tarbassian said.

Chafe, who was deployed three weeks ago, transports wounded soldiers from Kuwait to a military base in Germany. Tarbassian and Chafe became friends while working in the ER at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Tarbassian no longer works there.

Tarbassian said the soldiers, especially the wounded Chafe treat, could use the comic books as a diversion. As a nurse, Tarbassian knows the sick and wounded need something to keep their minds off their ailments.

"It's what we call diversional activity," Tarbassian said. "It diverts their attention for a while and gives them a little bit of fantasy."

Two MetroWest comic book store owners have agreed to let Tarbassian sift through their overstock each week and take comic books the soldiers would enjoy. Tarbassian has also received donations from family and friends.

Donating a couple hundred dollars worth of comic books is the least Jack Lefevra of Framingham's Bedrock Comics can do to support the troops overseas, he said.

"I'm sure it's got to be hard to be out there -- it's scary," Lefevra said from his Rte. 9 store. "If you need a break from reality, a comic book is perfect. You can read it in five minutes."

Richard Roach, owner of Hudmar Ltd. in downtown Marlborough, wishes he thought of the idea himself.

"I've been in a hospital bed. It's boring," he said."If they don't want to read them, maybe they can throw them around the room or make paper airplanes."

And Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. of Maryland, the world's largest English-language comic book distributor, will look into whether it can also take part in the relief effort, a spokesman said. The company donates comic books for literacy programs and blood drives through its "Comics for Causes."

"We are going to start the ball rolling," said Allan Greenberg, Diamond's retailer promotion coordinator.

By yesterday, Tarbassian had collected roughly 100 comics. Some well-known names include Conan the Barbarian, Fantastic 4 and Daredevil, which is now a movie of the same name starring Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, a dark beauty who has graced the pages of many men's magazines.

Tarbassian said the comics will be a welcome addition to life in the desert.

Chafe, Tarbassian said, is living in a tent with no access to television, radio or the Internet. And his unit got rid of all their men's magazines because they thought they were going to Saudi Arabia, which prohibits any reading material with photos of scantily clad women.

"He and the guys have nothing to read," Tarbassian said. "Hopefully these will help him and the rest of the guys out."

Those interested in contributing to the Comix Relief Operation can reach Tarbassian at

The packages are headed to Camp Wolf in Kuwait, where Tarbassian's friend and fellow ER nurse, Capt. Tom Chafe, is stationed as a flight nurse. Chafe, a36-year-old from Salem, is with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron out of McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey.

Boston Globe (4/3/03)

Superheroes help fight the war
Idea to mail comics gains wide support
By Eun Lee Koh, Globe Staff Correspondent, 4/3/2003

FRAMINGHAM -- It started three weeks ago as a simple care package. Chris Tarbassian, looking to provide alight hearted respite from caring for the wounded, sent a bundle of comic books to his friend, Captain Thomas Chafe, who is stationed in Kuwait as a flight nurse. But after Captain America, the Green Hornet, and Spiderman arrived for Chafe at Camp Wolf, word of Tarbassian's project spread, and it has now ballooned into a monumental effort that he never envisioned.

His first package to Chafe three weeks ago included about two dozen comic books in all. In the coming weeks, Tarbassian expects to ship roughly 1,000 comics to various soldiers helping support the war effort in the Middle East, some of whose families contacted Tarbassian directly when they found out about his endeavor.

"It just took off like that," said Tarbassian, a Framingham resident who used to work in the emergency room at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, where he and Chafe were both nurses. "People started writing me: `My husband is over there.' `Can you send something to my sister?' I thought it would just gather a small collection, whatever stores or other people could donate, but then I got volumes and volumes. It just mushroomed."

Now, in addition to his full-time job as a nurse,Tarbassian's week is filled with making regular visits to Bedrock Comics in Framingham and Hudmar Paper in Marlborough to pick up surplus comic books that the store owners have agreed to donate. He also is expecting reams of comic books to arrive at his home in Framingham -- donations from regional and national distributors.

E-mails pour into his inbox from families who want their loved ones to have a little comic relief while overseas. The front lines may be an unlikely place for superheroes, especially ones named Superman, Batman,and the DareDevil, but that is exactly where they are headed, Tarbassian said.

Tarbassian estimates that he has already shelled out several hundred dollars for postage.

Chafe, of Salem, who is with the 514th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron out of McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, was deployed to Kuwait shortly before the war in Iraq began. He was also sent to Afghanistan with the US military campaign soon after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Christiana Severe and Paul Tewksbury, two Framingham reservists attached to military bases in New York and New Jersey, can expect to receive gifts from Tarbassian once they are deployed to the Middle East. Tarbassian found out from other employees about Severeand Tewksbury on a recent visit to the Home Depot in Natick, where the two were working. He offered to send each of them a package of comics.

Tarbassian has also talked to representatives of DC Comics and Diamond Comic Distributors Inc. of Maryland, who have agreed to take part in the effort. He is hoping to collect donations for postage forfuture shipments.

Tarbassian thinks his idea will cheer up Chafe and other GIs. "I heard that he had nothing -- nothing to read, nothing to entertain himself with. I could send him a TV, but that's something he couldn't carry around. This he can roll up or pass it to others."

Eun Lee Koh can be reached at or at 508-820-4238.

MetroWest Daily News (4/18/03)

Comic book drive has taken off
By Jennifer RosinskiFriday, April 18, 2003
Operation Comix Relief has taken off like Batman after the Joker, with donations pouring in from a North Pole, Alaska, comic book writer to a Marlborough collector.

Just one month after Chris Tarbassian of Framingham started sending packages of comic books to soldiers overseas, he has been flooded with thousands of comic books and hundreds of dollars to help pay for postage.

"It's just taken off like you wouldn't believe," said Tarbassian, an ER nurse who started Operation Comix Relief on March 13 with two packages of a dozen comic books each. This week he is sending out 95 packages.

"I didn't exclude the possibility, but I didn't envision the probability of this happening ... I'm thankful to all the donors."

The response has been so overwhelming and the monetary donations so numerous that Tarbassian is now looking into whether the operation would qualify as a nonprofit organization.

And it's not just the donors who have responded. Soldiers who have received the comics have sent e-mails to the address Tarbassian has put on each book.

One Air Force sergeant at a secret medical location wrote to thank Tarbassian on behalf of his unit.

"The comics you sent are being used to entertain the many patients we receive who have been injured or gotten ill during service to our country," he wrote. "Our sincerest thanks and appreciation to you for your thoughtfulness and your generosity."

That letter touched Tarbassian, who received it last Sunday.

"What a pleasant surprise to wake up to that Sunday morning," he said. "Didn't know if I should jump for joy or start crying."

One of many local donations came from Diana Vallas of Marlborough, who handed Tarbassian a half-dozen bursting boxes filled with at least 2,000 comic books she's been collecting since 1975.

Vallas said she read about Tarbassian in the News and decided it was the perfect way to get rid of her collection, which she didn't want to throw away and didn't have time to sell.

"I'll never read them again ... They're going to many good homes over there," Vallas said. "I really would have liked to keep them, but I can't afford that when it comes to room. Space is at a premium here."

The evacuation of Vallas' comic books has delighted her 19-year-old daughter, Peggy, whose room used to house the collection.

"Some of them were under her bed and some were just in the room," Vallas said. "She's been working up there trying to get things rearranged."

A Medfield woman who heard about the operation in media reports convinced her book group, The Thursday Girls Book Club, to cough up in five minutes last week.

"We thought of sending our own books. We are in a book group and we each have lots of books, but then I read about the comic book idea," Stephanie Peck said. "Considering the age of the troops we thought that would make more sense."

Peck said Tarbassian's project tugged on her heartstrings.

"If this man was decent enough to collect these comics and pay for these things out of his own pocket, the least we could do is send him money for postage," she said.

Even Tarbassian's dentist's office in Natick pitched in. Office manager Debra Perkins said she found out the postage was taking its toll on Tarbassian's wallet when she talked to his father while confirming an appointment. Postage varies from to a package.

Five people in the office, including doctors Lisa Sanderson and Cynthia Yered, chipped in .

Comic book artists, writers and distributors from all over the country have said Tarbassian's project helps them accomplish something many tried, but could not do on their own.

"It just gave us the outlet we were looking for," said Traci Hale, controller at Image Comics in Orange, Calif.

Image tried to send out packages of comics during the first Gulf War, but had trouble coming up with more than a few addresses, Hale said.

"When I got (Tarbassian's) e-mail I said, 'this is perfect.' It couldn't get more perfect," she said.

Kelly Nuttall read about Operation Comix Relief in a news blurb on a comic book Web site from his home in North Pole, Alaska. The writer and editor for Morpheus Forge Entertainment sent a package to Tarbassian two days later.

"I had been thinking about trying to do something. I saw (the news) and said, 'That's a sign. I need to contact this guy,' " Nuttall said.

Nuttall sent a stack of promotional comic books created by Morpheus for a new line of action figures called SKUMM. He also sent some sets of a thicker comic book created by a group of artists and writers who collaborate over the Internet.

"They can sit on my shelf, I can sell them or I can send them overseas," Nuttall said.

"When things like this happen you want to do something. Who knows, there might be some guy or girl in a splint out there reading my comic books and taking their mind off the pain."

Of all the donations Tarbassian has received, he lacks one thing - addresses where to send comics. The U.S. military requests that all packages be addressed to a specific individual. Because of that Tarbassian is asking local residents to send servicemen and servicewomen's addresses to his new e-mail address,

"We don't make any promises, but we will do our best to get the comics out to them," Tarbassian said.

Tarbassian said he doesn't know what will happen to Operation Comix Relief once the war is officially over, but he'd hate to see it shut down. Even in times of peace there are soldiers stationed overseas and stateside that could benefit from receiving a little bit of fantasy, he said.

"Conceivably this can go on and on. I haven't decided what I'm going to do," Tarbassian said. "If I step out of it I'll pass the ball to somebody else so they can continue it on."

Those interested in learning more about or contributing comics, money or addresses to Operation Comix Relief can go to

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