Real-life hotlines have sometimes had a dark presence in comics. "A Death in the Family" comes to mind, for example, when Batman readers -- voting via a 1-900 number -- chose the fatal fate of Jason Todd as Robin in the late-'80s.
Today, with perhaps real-life consequences, Marvel published the Captain America story "A Little Help" that tells a near-worldless tale of teen suicide prevention. In what for us is the story's most powerful panel, the comic features the actual phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
That number: 1-800-273-TALK.
Then the story's final panel features three simple words, rendered especially powerfully given the 11 pages of preceding silence: "I NEED HELP."
"If even one person calls this number instead of doing something very tragic, we know that means we succeeded." Marvel honcho Tom Brevoort says.
The story's final panels -- penned by psychologist and new contributing writer Tim Ursiny and illustrated by Nick Dragotta -- also feature the real-life URL suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Good goin', Cap. And we salute your commitment, Marvel.
That number again is: 1-800-273-TALK.