Government Issue

Since the 1940s, American federal and state government agencies have published comics to disseminate public information. Comics legends Will Eisner and Milton Caniff produced military comics with all kinds of how-to information on recruitment, warfare, and army motors. Prominent artists such as Walt Kelly, Hank Ketcham, Al Capp, and others were enlisted, creating comics where Pogo told parents how much TV their kids should watch; Dennis the Menace took A Poke at Poison , Andy Capp wandered through a national park talking about safety; and Li'l Abner joined the Navy. Dozens of lesser-known artists wrote and drew comics such as Bert the Turtle Says Duck and Cover , Teenage Booby Trap , Johnny's First Job , or Ricky & Debby in Sardineland . They created comics characters such as Captain Conservo, Nutri-Man and Vita-Woman, and the Garbage Gremlins. Smokey the Bear had his own comic. Government Issue: I Want You to Read This Comic reproduces an important selection of these official comics in their full reading format, plus a broad range of excerpts and covers, all organized chronologically within thematic chapters. Earnest, informational, and kitschy, the range of comics included offers an important sociological survey of U.S. political perspectives and public attitudes from the 1940s to the present. Author Richard Graham, Associate Professor and Media Librarian at the University of Nebraska, provides an essay on the history and context of these comics, as well as substantive captions. There will also be a foreword by a prominent public figure from the political world.