Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has picked up numerous titles since leaking a cache of classified surveillance programs last year including leaker, whistle-blower, hero and traitor — now the entertainment industry is adding two more to that list: comic book hero and movie star.
“Beyond: Edward Snowden” explores the life of the once-obscure information technology system administrator who has since become a household name, and chronicles his path to and reasoning for leaking the signals intelligence agency’s most valuable and ethically questionable bulk surveillance programs.
Author Valerie D’Orazio, who has previously done work for major publishers like DC and Marvel Comics on titles including X-Men and Punisher, said the comic was originally intended to be a biography, but turned into more of a drama as the story progressed.
The book opens with a 19-year-old high school dropout working for a Japanese manga and anime company, and moves all the way to considering whether the now-infamous leaker is a patriot for blowing the whistle on the NSA, or a lackey for the Kremlin after taking refuge in Putin’s Russia.
“I’ve always had an interest in current events and media, and I’ve always wanted to write a comic book that acted as a bridge between geek culture and the mainstream,” D’Orazio, who was also a former editor for MTV Geek, told Business Insider. “Snowden was perfect for this since he came from geek culture himself.”
Publisher Bluewater Productions has previously released titles about prominent public figures including Anderson Cooper, Bill O’Reilly and Hillary Clinton.
Snowden’s story may also get the Hollywood treatment from the appropriate producers of the James Bond films according to an announcement by Sony Pictures last week, which said the studio had purchased the rights to journalist Glenn Greenwald’s new book “No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State,” which chronicles the story behind the now year-long leaks.
“Beyond: Edward Snowden” will be released in digital and print formats Wednesday, May 21.