02 May 2009

Your Tax Dollars at Work on Comics

This posting is Oz and Ends's observation of Free Comic Book Day. Last month Publishers Weekly's Comic Week brought news that the University of Nebraska at Lincoln has a website of government-issued comics, free for downloading. These include instructional booklets, hortatory stories, and advice about safety on everything from disposing of chemical waste to surviving nuclear war.

As far as I can tell, the earliest example of a government comic in this collection is a 1918 booklet called The Cartoon Book, designed to sell Liberty Bonds. It collects many drawings from political cartoonists of the era, most of them single panels. But two artists used sequential images, like this.
Other examples cover a broad range of topics:

My favorites are, of course, two of the three very special anti-drug issues of The New Teen Titans from 1983. Tomorrow's weekly Robin will look at corporate influence on these comics, and why the Titans were missing their leader.

As government documents, all these comics are in the public domain, and eminently downloadable. But be warned: the pages have been scanned into TIFF format, so a 36-page color comic fills nearly 100 MB.

No comments: