Artist Billy Tucci tackles piracy, launches apparel line with help of vets

American Crusade Apparel ™ & © 2018 William Elliott Tucci. “Airborne Salute” by Billy Tucci and William Farmer TM & © 2018 William Elliott Tucci

BAYPORT, N.Y. – On Wednesday, April 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. EDT, Sgt. Rock –The Lost Battalion writer/artist and “Shi” creator Billy Tucci will simultaneously fire another shot in the battle for creator rights and launch a 14-day Kickstarter for his new project, American Crusade Apparel. The first piece in Tucci’s new clothing line features his original artwork “Airborne Salute,” and the project kicks off with a special party at Best Comics, 1300 Jericho Turnpike, New Hyde Park, New York, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The genesis of the project comes from adversity. In January, an overseas company began selling pirated hooded sweatshirts displaying “Airborne Salute” without Tucci’s permission on their fake Facebook page “Paratroopers Is Life.”

Apparently based in China, and with bogus Texas and California addresses and phone numbers, “Paratroopers Is Life” even went as far as purposely removing Tucci’s signature from the art. After taking legal measures and successfully thwarting the site’s efforts, it became clear that the best way to protect the Eisner Award nominee’s intellectual property rights was to feature his art on his own line of clothing. American Crusade Apparel is the result.

“Our limited-edition ‘Airborne Salute’ All Over printed hoodies and T-shirts are 100 percent American made,” Tucci said. “In addition, we’re also offering prints, phone cases and more, all manufactured in the USA by veteran-owned companies.”

“Salute” depicts a war-painted member of “The Filthy 13” (101st Airborne) leaping to battle fascism on that fateful night before D-Day (June 6, 1944). The piece first served as the cover for Currahee!, the memoir of decorated WWII paratrooper Sgt. Donald R. Burgett.

American Crusade Apparel ™ & © 2018 William Elliott Tucci. “Airborne Salute” by Billy Tucci and William Farmer TM & © 2018 William Elliott Tucci

Sgt. Burgett was Tucci’s personal hero and friend. He passed away last year, making the theft of the artwork even more painful to the artist. But Tucci was adamant about turning a negative experience into something positive. To that end, for this project he teamed up with Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet-Tix) to raise funds and spread awareness for the national non-profit.

A portion of all sales after expenses are covered will be donated to Vet-Tix for their efforts to partner with major sports teams, promoters, organizations, venues and ticket holders to provide free and discounted tickets to the more than 21 million U.S. military members and veterans.

“Working with Vet-Tix helped us facilitate the production, while we offered them a venue to raise money for all the amazing work they do to honor our veterans and current military,” Tucci said. “Now, with them by our side, we embark on this great crusade to reclaim our artwork and to remember those sky soldiers who leapt into a fiery night and helped save the world.”

Project Details

Once the Kickstarter campaign goes live, supporters can chip in and earn a reward at their choice of levels. Click for a sneak peek at the details.

The comfortable, top-of-the-line hoodies and T-shirts are made in the USA and feature the VET TIX Logo centered on the back. Apparel is athletic-cut, so ordering up in size is advisable, unless the wearer of the clothing is super fit.

Hoodie and T-shirt sizes – S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL

Rewards also include:

1. Airborne Salute Vet Tix Airborne Appreciation Pin
2. 9” x 12” Airborne Salute Print
3. Airborne Salute Challenge Coin with Paratrooper on ‘A’ Side and Vet Tix Airborne logo on ‘B’ side
4. Protective Phone Case for all popular models of smartphones
5. “Hoodie For A Hero” – Special opportunity to purchase a hoodie for our active Military Servicemen and women. The hoodies will be forwarded to our troops both home and on deployment in gratitude of all those who keep us free and safe.
6. Discounted “Filthy 13” special pledge level for 13 hoodies/t-shirts.

About Billy Tucci

Billy Tucci is an award-winning creator, best known for his modern-day samurai fable, Shi. Through Billy’s Crusade Fine Arts, the multi-Eisner Award-nominated Shi has been printed in five languages and sold more than three million comic books worldwide. The former infantryman and National Guardsman who earned his “blood wings” in 1990 is also known for DC Comics’ Sgt. Rock, Harley Quinn, Flash vs. Superman, and “Batman – Trick For The Scarecrow.” His earnest re-telling of the Christmas story, A Child Is Born, has quietly turned into a international blockbuster, winning the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year Award. After launching American Crusade Apparel, his plans for 2018 include the release of the all-new Shi – Return of the Warrior graphic novel, along with two creator-owned projects, Zombie-Sama! and Appalachian Apocalypse. As a member of the American Legion, he is dedicated to preserving the legacy of our veterans and honoring those who currently serve.

Billy is accompanied in life and at Crusade Fine Arts, Ltd., by his wife, Deborah, who spends her time managing both Crusade and “the Tucci boys,” their sons, William and Matthew.

About Veteran Tickets Foundation (VET TIX)

Veteran Tickets Foundation (Vet-Tix) is a national non-profit, non-governmental 501c(3) charity that teams up with major sports teams, leagues, promoters, organizations, venues and ticket holders to provide free and discounted tickets to the more than 21 million military and veterans. Currently serving military and honorably discharged veterans from all branches of service. as well as family of those killed in action, are eligible. Tickets are either directly distributed to military bases or Vet Tix-ers can claim tickets through their website, https://www.vettix.org.

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