Government Issue: Comics for the People

Government Issue: Comics for the People

Sarah: Thanks everybody for coming over. Looks like we mostly have library people here today. You know me, so I won’t bother introducing myself (Sarah Goodwin Thiel). Anyway today we have a first gallery lecture series and Richard Graham from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has come to talk to us about his work with the government comics collection at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. You can see images on the plasma screen from that collection in Richard’s book. It’s in one of the cases in our gallery. Richard is an Associate Professor and Media Services Librarian at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. If you want a chance to talk with him about Nebraska and Kansas, we have lots of similarities. It’s an interesting conversation. I got caught up at lunch. It’s a lot of fun. He serves as a liaison for the Communications and Art departments. He’s the managing editor for the online peer-reviewed journal dedicated to comics in the classroom, “SANE.” In 2012, he was nominated for both the Harvey and Eisner Awards for his publication “Government Issued: Comics for the People” which we have here in the exhibition. It’s a collection of comic books produced by U.S. Federal and state government agencies. In 2017, he co-authored a brief history of comic book movies and is currently researching the life and work of Rose O’Neill, creator of the Kewpie doll and comics. So, please help me welcome Richard Graham. Richard: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a real honor to be here because I used to come and visit Lawrence quite a bit during my undergraduate days when I was in Lincoln studying English. That was a great introduction and I always wish my mother was around to hear these sort of things, what I grew up to be. And I don’t necessarily look like it but I am a librarian so I wore my cardigan, hopefully that’s the uniform of instant recognition. I used to write reviews for a website called “No Flying, No Tights,” which is a resource for public librarians for collection development for comic books and graphic novels. I not only was nominated for the Eisner Award, but I also got to serve as a judge in 2014 and that was a huge honor. That is my email address. If any of you have any questions or comments or concerns, please feel free to reach out to me. Now before I get into this whole gamut of government documents and comic books, I just wanted to really quickly touch on a connection that our two cities have between Lincoln and Lawrence. If any of you are familiar with the Underground Comics Movement of the 1960s and Robert Crumb’s Zap Comix, that was funded by a beatnik out of Wichita named Charles Plymell. And if you’re familiar with the Allen Ginsberg poem “Wichita’s Vortex Sutra,” it talks about when Ginsberg left Lincoln to come to Wichita, and he wasn’t the only one. A guy named S. Clay Wilson who graduated from Lincoln High School and was a UNL grad couldn’t get out of Lincoln fast enough, and he came here to Lawrence where he got his start as a comic artist and cartoonist, and he met Plymell and Plymell introduced him to Robert Crumb and Zap Comix started and the whole Underground Comics Movement took off. A big part of that was a Lawrence Kansan and a Lincolnite named S. Clay Wilson, and “Grist” was a publication put out in Wichita that Wilson illustrated, and I think your art department just got a big donation of letters from someone in the community. So you probably have people around town who knew Wilson or had a connection with him, but when William Burroughs was here, the literati of Lincoln would come down and hang out with Burroughs. So we have a strong connection, us two. So I’m glad to be here and, like my hero Wilson, it’s a good feeling to be in Lawrence. It’s a real shining city. Many of the comics that are in the book that was published by Abrams are available online like this. This was started off as an online collection, taking government documents out of our musty stacks and I don’t know how you store them here, but our government documents select stacks was kind of a scary place to be, and so they were really grateful when I was actually pulling materials out and digitizing them and making them available online. So I just found out, however, that the server is down, but we have it through our image site Luna. So if you google Luna and government comics, you’ll find that collection. The website looks like it went down, unfortunately, but I try to make it as easy as possible for people to come and see. So… government documents! When I was a librarian at my school in Iowa, I was a little bit hesitant to take that class. It was a little bit overwhelming. Who needs this sort of esoteric information? But September 11th actually cast an interesting light on government information. That was when suddenly we became, as a federal agency, very interested in the fact that we had documents like “How to Poison a Well” and “How to Use Anthrax,” and all this information that was online suddenly became censored and pulled offline, and I thought oh wow! You know, there’s a lot of power in some of these government documents. It’s not just a remote facility in your library. And I went digging in there, especially when I became a faculty member at UNL, because there’s a research expectation like here. At Nebraska, the librarians have faculty status and so thirty percent of my time is supposed to be spent publishing. I wondered what was an area that I could sort of get into, because I was arbitrarily assigned the liaison area of computer science even though that wasn’t my background, so I knew that that wasn’t necessarily an area that I was going to start publishing in. But I still had a strong affinity for government documents and I had a sort of an interesting history with it.
My father served in the Army. I’m an army brat and one of the first things that he gave me to sort of quell my being an annoying little kid when I was visiting at the motor pool was to hand me an army manual that looked exactly like that, and… It was a comic book! Which was okay, but it didn’t have superheroes in it, and it didn’t look like any of the franco-belgian stuff I’d been exposed to in Germany, Asterix and Obelix, none of that, but as a white heterosexual male I was very interested in the blonde lady on the side, and the anthropomorphic Jeep held my attention, and I’m not kidding, within 20 minutes, I could probably list about five items off that list there, five items off of that list and so as a faculty member when I went back to Nebraska and I headed into those government documents stacks, I actually found that document, actually found the Gama Goat Manual, and it all came back to me. And comic book studies is an emerging academic discipline. It’s multidisciplinary and let’s face it, how many theses and dissertations can we write about “Silas Marner,” right? So… Please don’t beat me up at the bicycle racks if you’re a George Eliot fan, but my point is that in this new era of a visual culture, comic books had, and still do have, a resurgent interest by academics. And so this seems to check all the boxes for me. So I went diving into our government document stacks to see what we had in terms of comic books. And of course, you know many of us just sort of associate comics with goofballs, criminals, or children. But not many of us are really necessarily familiar with this idea of uniformed military personnel distributing comic books, and what we see here are US personnel handing out land mine awareness comics in Croatia and Serbia because it’s a war-torn country. They had land mines to deal with. Well, when you have children looking for places and fields to play in, what’s a quick way to get a message out? The United Nations, coupled with the United States Army, came up with comic books in terms of Superman and Wonder Woman warning you to stay out of that area. So there’s an interesting history of our government using comics not only as an educational media, but also as a propaganda media, and it also mirrors our North American culture’s association with comics in terms of having an infatuation with early newspaper strips until finally it being fully exploited and delved into as its own medium. So when I went looking, some of the early comics that I found dated from pre-World War I or right at the onset of World War I, and what they did is they took popular comic strips that already ran in newspapers and they repackaged it and sold it as a way to contribute to the Liberty Loans at the time. And again, what’s interesting is that we see here a lot of anti-german sentiment, right? Of course, how do you mobilize people and how do we make them aware of who the enemy is? When we study World War I propaganda posters we see a simplistic or an emotionally charged image that’s often coupled with an easily repeated slogan, right? So it’s just easy to get into the brain and easy to repeat at rallies, and it’s the same thing with newspaper strips here: inflammatory images with singalong songs. But also we see a lot of the heavy hitters that we associate with the history of illustration in terms of James Montgomery Flagg, Uncle Sam, people who Brought politics into the living room for many people, and of course we see a lot of participating newspapers as well that latched onto providing the government with some materials that they could repurpose and repackage for government loans. So here we see even the “Omaha World-Herald” was on here and some of their editorial cartoonists. I see the “Sioux City Journal,” Cedar Rapids, looks like Kansas escaped the first calling here. But Frederick Bert Opper, who had a very popular strip with the “Katzenjammer Kids,” which were based off of those dramatic childhood stories. Are any of you fans of the television show “The Office”? And you know Dwight Schrute, right? So the “Katzenjammer Kids” are based off of “Max and Moritz” by Wilhelm Busch, and found its way into American newspaper strips and again, not immune from anti-german sentiment, and then getting folded into a government document. Here we see Ding Darling, are any of you familiar with Jay Ding Darling? He was one of the first cartoonists, actually he was the first cartoonist to win the Pulitzer Prize. He was from Des Moines, Iowa. And if you ever vacation in Florida, there’s a Natural Preserve that’s named after Ding Darling So comics in the United States historically made their appearance along with newspaper strips. Joe Pulitzer had this lofty idea of wanting to elevate the masses with his “New York World” by having fine art printed in the back of his newspapers, but that didn’t do very well. So when he hired Richard Outcault to put out “Hogan’s Alley,” and then eventually it became the “Yellow Kid” from which we get “yellow journalism” when William Randolph Hearst purchased him away, it created a huge bidding war, and what happens is that these comic strips were geared for adults of various literacy rates, and you can imagine in a world of black and white that last page in comics and Newspapers was very big, it filled the eye. That last page became very popular and sold newspapers across the United States. And so if you were blessed in that you could write and draw a story, you’re probably going to get a job with the newspaper in your area putting out a comic strip. So the United States government took notice of that popularity and how to harness it through three major studies. We’re all familiar with the Gallup poll and George Gallup and one of the very first polls that they did out of Iowa was about the popularity of comic strips and this is when we all became very familiar with the idea that this is what’s driving the newspaper industry in North America right now is this love of the comic strip, and people’s immediate emotional attachment to the various characters that they would encounter. So the “Yellow Kid” is survived in our vernacular in terms of yellow journalism. But these people were so popular that there would be cross marketing. When we go to Burger King and We see Iron-Man trying to sell us the whopper, that’s nothing new. The “Yellow Kid” was so popular that they were then selling rolling papers and flour, and we’re familiar with Buster Brown shoes, I hope, right? It’s hard to talk to a younger generation sometimes, but if you can remember Buster Brown shoes, that’s based off the Buster Brown comic strip. Okay… So the Advertising Research Foundation and then later on the Office of Wartime Information conducted their own studies on the popularity of comic strips in American culture and what they realized is that these strips not only create a commercial frenzy, but also can shape hearts and minds. The Office of Wartime Information, for example, had found out that during the shift in popular culture from when China went from being our enemy to being these poor oppressed people by Japan, that a lot of the caricatures that people use were actually to our own detriment, not because they dehumanize people, but actually because they caused our soldiers to underestimate the enemy, so when we in comic strips start showing Japanese soldiers as slovenly or German soldiers as idiots, we actually started to believe that as a culture, and so they found that when we would be confronted in a battle situation that actually had come into play, and so the Office of Wartime Information said what we need to do is produce a counter narrative, right? And as I said earlier, for example, we used to view China as the enemy right? We have the whole Fu Manchu in the 1930s. And of course we welcome Japan because they embraced Western ideals. We had to do a lot to sort of flip that coin and I’m going to show you one of the ways that we had to do that culturally, but historically speaking, comics were very, very popular from the onset and politicians latched on to that immediately. Case in point: President Roosevelt, this is an actual official government document. This was not published like we later on did with Hoover or the Democratic Party or the Republican Party using comics as propaganda materials, but in this case we actually have the US government wanting to tell the life story of President Roosevelt. And this actually created some kerfuffle because many senators thought that this was campaign materials being financed by the American tax dollar, right? And it’s not necessarily wrong. When we look at these early comics, we actually see some pretty innovative techniques. We see images that are broken out of panels. We see cinematic wide shots that cause us to then focus in on action shots. I mean for a comic that was put out in the 1930s, this could be read very successfully with great interest by the modern comic reader.
But of course, nothing is done by accident, especially in comics, and so how do they portray a president who sits in a wheelchair, right? They show him riding horses and up and about. This is something that they revisit time and time again because of the power of images and how persuasive they can be, how we can frame it, sort of a powerful message on the consumer reader. I like how Uncle Sam is towering above the Capitol here. It’s just a fascinating account to read. And again, there is an innovative use of paneling and flow and storytelling and not to mention the fact that they were even conscious enough to put this out in Spanish, right? I think is a very progressive attitude in the United States to put out a government document in another language at a time when we’re very ethnocentric, trying to get everybody to think of us as one national identity. I think it’s very progressive to recognize the fact that the United States was made up of other languages. It’s these powerful images that people use that elicit emotional reactions. I think historians are also finding these very interesting because most of the time comics are commercial media. That means they rely on us to purchase it. Otherwise, you know, it evaporates. So we think about how we portray “the other,” we dehumanize them, right? We rely on caricature and then we, in fact, perpetuate it. So this is a pretty racially charged image here that at the time no one blinked an eye at. But we also see how they depicted African American servicemen at this time, too. And this was included in “RB Motors Magazine” in 1941, and in this case, this is an intentional inflammatory image. This is just standard operating procedure right? When I’m a comic book artist and I want to tell a story of a scientist, there’s an economy of text here, right? I can’t get into the long history – She got her BA yell at Washburn. She got her MA at Cambridge, right? How do I depict someone who is a scientist? Caricature, right? Lab coat, maybe a balding guy with a pocket protector. That’s our shorthand for scientist, even though any many of us here know scientists and they look nothing like that, right? It’s just a shorthand caricature that we have to do to quickly convey meaning. Well… Historians find these sort of images very interesting because, do you think that this image would be appropriate today? Absolutely not, right? The meaning has a homage to the pickaninny, right? Where I grew up in Nebraska, people had lawn ornaments, the lawn jockeys of the African American with the exaggerated lips. This is not a flattering image at all. But again, this is the power of comics, at times intentionally harnessed by our US government. So one of the things that I want to show you in how they did that was with these pocket guides that they have give to servicemen as they would go to foreign countries, right? So you take an enlistee or a draftee from Kansas and you put him in China. They want to give him a little bit of introduction to the local culture or whatnot. And so one of the more famous comic book artists, Milton Caniff, volunteered his services at the height of World War II to the US government and said “Hey, I can’t serve but I can draw,” and so he volunteered his services. So, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Steve Canyon or any of the other Milton Caniff works. He was an Ohio State graduate and actually funded the heck out of that school, But this was included in the “US Pocket Guide to China,” and I’m sure you probably have it here. There are two editions actually, believe it or not, the 49 and 50. The 49 contains this product book in the back geared towards GIS. I don’t even want to say it, but the idea was that You want to introduce servicemen to the natives. Japanese people cannot roll their “R”s but Chinese can, and so if you’re a Gen-Xer like me who went to music festivals… Well, anyways, here’s the word “Lollapalooza” for example, a recommended try where we would have a native try to say that word and then you could discern whether or not they are the enemy. And we get into all sorts of uncomfortable areas of whether you can tell by the shape of their skull whether they’re a criminal or not, right? I mean, it starts to make one very uncomfortable. But at the time you have one of the world’s most popular comic book artists illustrating a manual for American soldiers, okay? However, the next year that the US government, the GPO put out this handbook, they did not include this comic, so I don’t know whether they were forced to recognize that this is a racist and ineffective document, or whether they could tell that, down the road, itprobably wouldn’t look well for them. Anyway, I don’t know if you’re familiar with Herblock, but he was a popular newspaper cartoonist. He coined the term “McCarthyism,” and this was a document that they put out for psychological warfare, in terms of the literature that you distribute to the enemy to convince them that they were facing a superior foe. Does anybody anybody want to guess the major artists who contributed this document? Anybody recognize that style? Yeah, that’s Dr. Seuss. If you familiar with him, he boarded a train, went to the west coast, he served under Frank Capra. Frank Capra was a colonel, and they put out government documents, and this was one warning you about the dangers of malaria, right? I’m going to guarantee you that this is also probably going to be in your government document stacks. There’s your su-doc number right there. I don’t know if anyone wants to go digging later. What’s that? Carmen: I’ve looked for so much already, I think it’s missing. Richard: That’s unfortunate, but as you can imagine, there are collectors. So bear with me here, so my current research focus is on Rose O’Neill, the creator of the Kewpie doll. Another Nebraskan who forsake Nebraska for Missouri, she published a lot of great works of art. Someone has gone through with a razorblade. It’s just really disheartening but that’s part of the reason why I try to make these items available online. First of all, it sucks a little bit of the resale value out from underneath because now it’s free online and if you have a nice printer, you can just print off your own comic book. But I also don’t want to encourage it. So I’m really sorry for that. Comic books are an interesting field of study. I think maybe I feel like I have a brotherhood with maybe a historian who studies the Civil War because there’s a lot of citizen scholars, right? You do not necessarily have an academic background and research or whatnot, but they can talk to you all day long about that topic. Even treasury notes, if you’re familiar with Al Capp, who was a problematic figure in his own right. But a very talented comic artist, decorating US Treasury bonds, and those fetch a pretty penny too these days, too. But again, the U.S. capitalizing on this cultural affinity to the comics. This was a government document put up for the United States Air Force and it was done by Walt Disney. And I just want to talk a little bit about this. Disney was nearing bankruptcy in World War II because the European market was then closed off to him, and one of the ways he found to survive was by firmly planting himself on the government teat. By putting out government information, films, pamphlets, you name it. Disney was just cashing that government check left and right. Just one of the things that he did that speaks to his business acumen. But in England, the children’s author Roald Dahl, who wrote “Charlie and Chocolate Factory,” he was drafted to work for the Royal Air Force, the RAF. He came up with a story for the RAF for one of their little government documents about the gremlins, and the idea was that as an airplane pilot you have to constantly monitor and be on the lookout for gremlins, like the Twilight Zone, because we will come full circle with that too. So Dahl writes a cute children’s story for the Royal Air Force reminding pilots to be diligent and to constantly check your instruments and to make sure you do your pre-service check before you fly. Walt Disney steals that story from Roald Dahl, copyrights it, and sells it back to the US government. We have Walt Disney actually charging the US government. Not only that, he stole from another children’s author, right? When the hatred for Walt Disney starts to bubble up, it doesn’t usually have to do with copyright. And I actually had to pay while Disney five hundred dollars to reprint these two images in that book. Even though this was a work-for-hire contract for the US government over sixty-two years ago. But Walt Disney was very keen that they get their money for that for this reproduction. So I’m a little bit uptight about Walt and we all know about the accusations of racism and whatnot, but it’s absolutely amazing to me how Disney was able to immediately climb onto the US government, crank out its literature and information, and then do so in this way. So one of the strongest people, though, that is associated with comic books and the US government is this man over here, and his name was Will Eisner. He had a popular comic strip called “The Spirit” and he was already financially successful before he was drafted. And he was sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, which is ironic because my father later on drove a tank, and so a lot of this kind of mimics his journey. But Eisner was drafted and they said “Whoa, we got ourselves a comic book artist here, fellas.” And they immediately put his talents to use. Okay, I know we’re all cynical about the government buying, you know, $100 hammers and $200 toilet lids, but they were actually smart. So they put him in the Army Motors. And so this is one of his early government illustrations in 1945, and during that time he realized how important his comics. Now, why would the army use comics? Because when you have a draft you have people of various literacy rates, right? You’re gonna have somebody with a sixth-grade education from Louisiana trying to talk to somebody who went to OCS. It’s all the same information and it’s absolutely imperative that they get this information because it can literally save your life, right? And so Eisner noticed not only how soldiers reacted to his character that he created which was this guy named Joe Dope. “Don’t be like Joe Dope,” a negative example of how to bumble your way through with the world’s best equipment. But he also, as an educated man, realized that there was a methodology and a science behind this, too. And how we process images step-by-step. And so his time to shine came during the Vietnam War. Eisner started a monthly magazine called “PS Monthly” and that actually runs to this day. And it’s for preventative maintenance and for people in the motor pool. It showed you the very beginning of how to keep your car running and how to keep the trucks running, your lead acid batteries, and this is actually an Eisner poster. So if you’re on a local military postcyou would see posters like these around. But he knew that people would follow them in a step-by-step process and I think younger people can understand – the TLDR generation – “too long, didn’t read,” right? You see a five-paragraph Reddit post and you just look for the TLDR at the bottom, and we can’t help our attention span even if we’re in a theater of war. Okay, again the idea was they like to assume that we were all mostly white heterosexual males so they liked the idea of putting blonde women in a lot of these centerfolds, but they absolutely got your attention. Now the M16 was a very problematic weapon when it was first introduced, especially in the Vietnam theater because of the humidity or the climate and it was a new gun that was causing a lot of jams, and so Eisner put out an M16 manual and a waterproof back in a comic book and it absolutely was proven to save lives immediately. And you can tell the step by step process here, and Virginia Commonwealth University actually digitized and has all PS Monthlys available online. And so you could go to the website and look at them up and they’re pocket-sized. They fit right into your pocket so you can carry it and they don’t look like your typical superhero comic. They all have great covers. Fascinating. And they even start to incorporate elements of popular culture. Here is that M16 rifle. So… People had a lot of respect for Eisner because it’s a US government publication. I don’t know if you know this, but the government can’t be sued. You can’t sue the government for copyright infringement. So…people like Joe Cooper took on the contract for “PS Monthly.” So you start to see people like Spider-Man making appearances in Army manuals, and if you read comics like DC Comics, you would know this is Sergeant Rock meeting Sergeant Half-track. And so I imagine a lot of readers got a hoot out of that. But you know who else likes to sue people besides Walt Disney? Not J.K. Rowling herself, but it’s her company who owns the Harry Potter rights. So if you’re not familiar with copyright and trademark, fair use allows satire and parody, and let alone if you’re a US government entity. But “PS Monthly” incorporated a spoof of Harry Potter, and we see Dumbledore here, and I think we even see Snape there on the bottom left, right? And we see Polyjuice potions, and you can see some likenesses, that looks like Hermione Granger to me and Ron Weasley, but that looks like a good Snape to me, right? Well, JK Rowling tried to sue him. That did not go anywhere ecause they’ve got to remind Rowling and her company of satire and parody, but also the fact that the US Government can do what they will. All right, and this is actually kind of a funny story of the flying car, if you’re a very potter fan, and so we see the flying car, too. So Eisner was not just an army guy. When he got out of the military, he realized the comics are absolutely viable educational media and can be used for nonprofits, but also sold right back to the United States Government, so the Health and Human Services Division used him especially during the Johnson era when we were interested in inner-city youth and giving them job training. They put out these comic books. And so some of them are rather cringy Because… and I’ll talk about this later too, but have you ever had that one high school teacher that wanted to show how hip and cool they were with the kids? Basically, a lot of that goes on. These are very cringy that they’re trying to be hip and they’re trying to get the youth hip to the get a job, man. But mostly this is a failure, and in fact… that’s actually why a lot of these comics are worth a lot of money, because if you think about it, you give it to a bunch of fifth graders. Well, this doesn’t have Spider-Man in it, right? Throw it away, I’m not going to read this. Well, that meant only five survived. Will Eisner, right? Give me the comic! $200! Also for state governments, too. And so this is a Nebraska Game Commission posters that Eisner did on gun safety. These were done everywhere. So the states got to put their little stamp here. I know if you go on eBay, and if you were to go through, maybe, a former game warden’s trailer, you may find some of these rolled up there with Kansas Game Commission, stamped on the bottom of it. The idea is that Eisner intuitively knew what we were visually drawn to, and that you could harness those images for whatever purpose, right? The Confederate flag, for example, all right, and you just show the Stars and Bars and all kinds of emotions get riled up immediately, right? People, you know, especially comic artists use that specifically to get you engaged as a consumer or reader. So these are a couple of army recruitment documents that were put out. They were published by the GPO. But they were sent to newspapers and they are included as little foldouts, and these are comics that basically try to convince young white males to join the army for various reasons. And you know how I talked about how they were outdated? So this is a comic book that came out in the 1950s and in this product they’re trying to tell you… It’s a story of a guy who showed up at a college campus and he just couldn’t fit in until he found Pershing’s Rifles, which is an ROTC group. One of the benefits, of course, of joining the service while you’re in college is that chicks love you, man. And so what’s funny is that this comic came out in the 1950s and so she’s just thinking about the song “There’s Something About a Soldier.” Well, I looked it up, and that song was popular in 1938. You’re desperately trying to prove how relevant you are and how cool you are but because of the long process that it takes, and the vetting especially, for government information to undergo, that by the time you crank something out you’re going to have almost an opposite effect. Like I said, at this point people reject the comic. They don’t say “Oh, yeah, right, I want to be popular.” Like, oh my gosh, it’s so out of touch. No way, right? And again, we can also consider these tools of hegemony – I mean, this is absolutely about reinforcing power structures and ensuring the status quo. I mean these comments were absolutely geared towards white middle-class men and reinforcing ideas that, “dulce decorum est,” it is good and glorious to die and fight for your country. You have a job skill for when you graduate, but also, you know, time to get the women cranking out the boys, so somehow joining the Army is going to ensure that you…you know… Someone pushes up against you and they’re going to be pregnant with your next son, right? And so again, it can be cringy. But again, if you’re interested in, like I said, tools of hegemony, these comics can almost take on a certain sinister meaning, right? So if you’re familiar with the history of comics or if you love Batman, an 18 year old Neal Adams did a comic book for the Army National Guard, and this was after the 1960s when the US government started subcontracting some of their comics, so the GPO stopped putting things out, and started subcontracting with a couple of companies. This one was called Johnstone and Cushing, located in New York. It was an advertising agency that specialized in using comics as an educational tool. Did any of you grow up on a farm and use Caterpillar materials? Caterpillar used to put out their farm machinery as a comic book manual produced by Johnstone in Cushing. But again, the idea here is that first of all most comic book nerds are pretty much blown away that Neal Adams, who’s famous for highlighting the trauma of Batman, and there’s a famous Green Lantern story that he did with Dennyy O’Neil where Green Lantern encounters an African-American who says “I’ve seen you save yellow people and green people, but why aren’t you helping black people?” Neal Adams working for the US government here, turning out a National Guard comic about flying over Korea, and it was a very thrilling story. He’s uses very innovative techniques, and it’d be absolutely one that people would have held onto. One of the things I noticed you have a document on here is about “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” A lot of these comics tend to reflect different presidential preferences, so when Johnson was president, we had a lot of anti-drug comic books. When Clinton became president, if you’re familiar with the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, that was when the public became sort of involved with the integration of homosexuals serving in the military, and this was actually done during the Bush administration, but George Bush did not want this published. But Clinton said okay, and this is a document. This is an actual comic book about serving as a gay person and it is so cringy. Because again, nothing is done by accident. When we think about Marvel Comics or DC Comics as commercial entities, you’ve got the penciler, you’ve got the editor, you got the inker, the colorist, and the whole time somebody’s saying yes or no to that. You can imagine what goes through with government information in terms of the diligence that people did to make sure that we’re not offending or we’re not giving away secrets. I had spoken with a pastor from Virginia who served on the committee to crank this material out and he had said that that committee got together because of the increasing suicide rates among enlistees tied to “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” and these were Clergymen who were assigned posts who saw this and wanted to put out a document to address that, and they thought “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” might be the answer. This story, though, has been whitewashed so many times that he said it was very frustrating, because they tried desperately to be inclusive to represent not just gay men, but gay women, bisexuals, and even transgender issues, and of course with Chelsea Manning now… I mean, these are issues that the service actually has to deal with. The artwork in this was atrocious because they want to save money. You gotta save money. So when you have a low budget you can’t hire the best artists. Well comics are a show, don’t tell media. There’s a visual literacy that is incorporated when you want to successfully read a comic, and when we think about this Neal Adams comic, which is trying to show action, tension, and using cinematic shots to make you feel more involved as a reader, and now you see a serious issue like homosexuality and we have flat colors. We have two dimensional objects, I mean it was kind of disrespectful, and you can tell that this is not something they put a lot of effort into. Subsequently, this is a document that came and went and had very little impact. But it’s one that I think is important to drag out because it’s not visually appealing, the stories are not very interesting either. But again, it’s an important document because it’played a role in how our government dealt with homosexuality in our armed services. Now we all know about graphic novels, right? We go to Barnes & Noble today and we see that there’s a whole section that’s dedicated towards them and the US government is no different. Okay… They sort of swung back the other way, and this is a government document put out by the Navy and it’s about a Corpsman who served in Iraq and the PTSD that they encounter as first responders. And it’s a thick graphic model. It’s comprised of various stories, first-person stories of actual service members recounting the tales of what it was like to serve. Comics in the military especially have a long tradition. Like I said, I’m an army brat. My dad was in the army. He was a recruiter. I don’t remember seeing any of these but occasionally you’ll find them. These are navy recruiting products and you can see it right here. I think that’s a South Dakota recruiting station. No, it’s from New Hampshire. Keene, New Hampshire. So again, various literacy rates, how do you make something seem more exciting? Believe me, in these comics, especially the one that’s geared towards women here, “Judy Joins the Waves,” there’s no mention of the possibility that you may die for your country, right? It’s always women will love you. You’ll get those job skills. It’s really good for you to serve the country, right? And your dad probably did it. You’re probably not a real man if you don’t serve the government, right? Of course, the most realistic thing was that I just get my head blown off. So I’m actually fortunate enough to own a couple of pieces of original art to this, though I didn’t bring it. But again, sometimes the government had the foresight to not just be, you know, geared towards white men. They actually recognize that the United States is a diverse country, right? They wanted to bring women into the fold, so they actually made comics that were dedicated towards recruiting women into the Waves, which is an auxilary service. Manga, very popular with the kids these days. So of course the US Navy cranking out their own manga. You don’t necessarily have to be someone who can carry an M16 through a jungle. Nowadays, you probably have to be more proficient in IT, nuclear radiation, stealth technology, maybe how to navigate.
So the Navy puts out a manga and it’s all about serving on the USS George Washington, and I cannot read Japanese, so I do not know, but I’d imagine that there’s some sort of soap opera. That’s how it goes. In fact, we even put out a joint white paper with the Japanese government, so manga has a strong tradition of history in Japan and they have no problem cranking out government documents left and right in comic format. And so sometimes we actually join them. So…this is a combination of photo images with drawn-over cartoons. So… So…comic books were a political football in 1950s. I think we are all probably very familiar with the 1950s Inquisition, when Fredric Wertham cranked out “Seduction of the Innocent” and he had done his research and had noticed that amongst juvenile delinquents, the one thing they had in common were funny books. So that was a good time to be a politician, because that was the political football that you could kick around. Not only was the government at the time cranking out their own products, as Whitman said, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I am massive. I contain multitudes,” right? Well, if there’s anybody that’s massive and contains multitudes to contradict itself, I’d say the federal government fits that bill. Because on one hand, they’re cranking out… they’re having meetings and hearings and your local politician from the mayor all the way down to your state legislature are worried about the kids, right? Of course. That’s an argument that’s been with us until today. Right? What about the children? So not only do they crank out comics, but they’re also printing out their own studies, and not just on a federal level but on a state level. Here we have a committee to investigate crime in interstate commerce, but we also have Colorado state governments involved, holding their open hearings. So, I don’t know, maybe Kansas, if you have some Kansas state documents I wouldn’t be surprised if you see that they actually held it here, in Wichita on the topic. So, while they’re putting these out and warning us about how we’re losing the space race because here in the United States, youth culture is burgeoning, we’re going to drive in movies, we’re reading these weird science fiction stories, right? And meanwhile, the Russians are in outer space, right? Well the government is also putting out “How to Survive a Natural Disaster” comicss at the same time. The contradiction is dizzying, but if anybody is massive enough to not know what the right hand is doing, I’d say the federal government is, definitely. So while they’re saying it’s a it’s a horrible communication medium, they’re actually trying to get people to learn how to save their own lives, and we have people like Al Capp, so we have some very famous people working on these comics while at the same time they’re being disparaged, but this is probably one of the more familiar government images. Do we all know “Duck and Cover”? The idea that when an h-bomb hits, you just simply have to crawl under your desk, it’s going to be okay. I think the Simpsons did a good job making fun of that. So this was a famous film reel that maybe some of you saw in your own classrooms. But it was also a comic book, and so Bert the Turtle saving us from ourselves, state governments getting in on the action, youth culture. How can we reach the kids these days? I think the kids are reading comic books. Well, there’s too many kids in Virginia riding their bikes on the highway. I don’t know the needs assessment that was done here, but somebody convinced the state government of Virginia to put on a very interesting comic book about the devil luring our youth, getting them, and there he is, right there. That is a state document from Virginia. Can you imagine that today? I mean, I’d imagine we’d be hung up in committee, like, how are we going to represent the devil? Which devil? I mean, oh my gosh, there’s so many really. But these were simpler times, I suppose, but we look at them now with some sort revulsion or some sort of oddball fascination, but the artwork is very competent. I just don’t understand the need in Virginia. They must have had a hard time with a lot of kids riding bikes on the interstate, and they put out a comic to try to get to them. So there’s all kinds of states that we can attack, and universities. This is Columbia University in conjunction with the state of New York telling you not to smoke drugs because if you do you will drop out of Columbia. I think that’s what Allen Ginsberg did, right? So maybe that’s actually what happened, but this is probably one of the things that we tend to associate government information with – McGruff the Crime Dog. And again, the message gets muddled because, in an attempt to appear relevant, they try so hard that it becomes hyperbole, rejected. This is the sort of stuff that came out during the Johnson administration. And this was also put out in Spanish. Again, the idea was that you smoke a joint and you’re going to do heroin tomorrow. In this story here, this is a story of a guy who was down on his luck and he smoked a joint, and decides it wasn’t enough, so he starts doing heroin. I don’t know if you’re familiar with how relationships work, but often your partner will be very curious about what is so appealing so then they’ll want to join you. And so that’s exactly what happened here. I understand, you know, you’re robbing stores, you’re you’re stealing your mom’s TV, maybe I should try it too, I should see what this is all about. Why? Again, someone thought this was a good idea. Obviously kids did not agree. There’s some other funny unintended consequences. “Teenage Booby Trap” was also rehashed and given to the military, to soldiers, and when they started to get back, this reads like a catalogue of “Hmm, maybe I’ll try this.” In fact, it’s almost the how-to to go to your dealer and order, like what do I want? Codeine was known as “schoolboy” so now I know what to expect, and it’s almost written like a catalogue of “Maybe I want to try this experience, or maybe I’ll try that experience” and they all have these crazy images that are just hyperbole. Take it or leave it. But then again, you know, perpetuating some of the entrenched racism. You know cannabis, marijuana having to do with an anti-Hispanic immigration sentiment. All of it being repackaged as anti-hippie sentiment. But like I said, the education imparted wasn’t necessarily what was intended. We have VD comics too. If you want to know what the word is that Johnny got, that word was syphilis. I’d imagine a 1960s doctor – I don’t know what the decorum was that they could talk to you about, but here’s a comic book Johnny. Athletic, top of the class, but you, you know, you got a touch of the sex and now he’s an unproductive member of society, and he absolutely needs to be spurned. This is where we start to go down a path of groaners and missed attempts and misfires by the government. At this point, you still recognize that the comic book is a very powerful communication medium, and strongly associated with youth culture, but the way they pull it off this time is so cringy. So here we have an elephant. The the preventing poisoning elephant. He just doesn’t roll off the tongue too easily. Just imagine kids with Superman, but the idea of course is that they most notably associated superheroes with comics and you can’t necessarily fault them for that but like I said, if you have any inclination with independent publishing or if you even go to a bookstore you will see memoir told in graphic fiction or graphic novel format and superheroes, while they’re driving Hollywood, are actually kind of whittling down. Comic book shops are ctually in trouble. There’s a whole kerfuffle about having women and persons of color and whatnot. But again, the idea here is that the government? government associates superheroes with kids, and so anytime they want to get something to the kids they create Captain Enviro, Captain Elephant, right? But they also had a lot of successes and some that still resonate today. I think we all know Smokey Bear. It’s “Smokey Bear,” it’s not “Smokey THE Bear” if you want to be that person at a party. But Smokey Bear started as a comic book in 1950 and there’s Rudy Wendelin who did the art which is just beautiful, and of course the American Ad Council took over the trademark. In fact, this is one of the first hiccups in copyright with government publications. If you don’t know this, anything put out by the GPO is in public domain, okay? Smokey Bear was public domain, except it’s very commercially popular. So now you have companies putting out smokey bear merchandise. And in fact now you have companies putting out smokey bear ashtrays, Smokey bears lighters right now. So now it’s actually going against the big message. So the government had to reel it in and pump the brakes. Now there’s an exemption. Smokey Bear is out of the public domain and so is Woodsy Owl by the way. So those are two copyrighted and trademarked characters. In fact, there’s a government document about woodsy owl costumes and smokey bear costumes, proper handling. If your Smokey Bear costume is in disrepair, you have to burn it. It cannot go to other people because you cannot have Joe’s Crab Shack getting it out of the Goodwill and using Smokey Bear to sell the commercial product, right? So it kind of makes sense, but on the other hand, you’re supposed to burn the American flag, might as well throw this broken Smokey costume in as well. Smokey Bear was very popular, to the point where we’re having wildfire problems. They call it Smokey Bear syndrome because people were having so few wild fires that the underbrush has now developed to the point where when a fire does happen it gets out of control really quick because we’ve done too good a job of keeping the natural wildfires out. So… Famous people come back into the fold and they lend the US government their characters. This is a really cute story. I’m not even gonna pronounce what the affliction is, but it’s basically the technical term for lazy eye. This is actually a very cute comic because it encouraged students to wear their eye patches. It’s actually something they’ve discovered in commercial comics. When the superhero Hawkeye had a hearing disability, in the 1970s they put out issues where he extolled having to use his hearing aids. Suddenly, hearing disabled kids had a superhero that they could identify with and what happened? An increased use of hearing aids. So it’s the same thing here when we see popular characters. Kids buy in, parents also read the comics, parents recognize Charlie Brown, and they are more likely to read this with their kids, it helped reinforced the message. But again, there’s a lot of groaners, too. I don’t know if you’re familiar with “Rex Morgan.” This is a comic book that talks about fetal alcohol syndrome. And I mean, I know it’s a good time to beat up on white guys, but seriously, There’s a comic book definition of mansplaining, Rex Morgan does all of that throughout this comic book. He’s constantly mansplaining to the pregnant women what’s going on. Basically, this lady’s at her shower and she has a glass of wine and she slipped and cut her arm. She had to go to the emergency room. Well, did you know that she’s a real horrible mother? You know, because she could have given her kid fetal alcohol syndrome. I mean Rex gives her the riot act. I don’t know if you can see on this last panel, but they’re all smoking cigarettes. You’re a horrible mother, but, you know, puff away because that’s good for your nerves. Classic, right? Some interesting pieces of work that we see here – Golden Age artist Joe Maneely, who did a lot of Western comics and actually was on the rise at Marvel – I think he actually died on a train outside of Manhattan, Kansas, fell off a train and died. But Joe Maneely contributed some part to this because when social security became prevalent, you had to educate the masses. Again, various literacy rates. Combination of word and image. And if you have compelling images, and this was a golden age for comic artists, so people like Joe Maneely, and here we have Ed Dood, who did “Mark Trail.” They named part of the Appalachian Trail off of him. Even the Underground Comix Movement got involved. A hero of mine Denis Kitchen who did “Kitchen Sink Press” out of Wisconsin and actually became a friend of Eisner. And when Will Eisner became interested in comics in the 1960s and 1970s and ran into Denis, One of the first comics that Will Eisner saw was an S. Clay Wilson comic to bring it all together. Dennis was, like I said, an underground comic artist – sex, drugs, rock and roll hippie, putting out a government document for his home state of Wisconsin warning people about consumer fraud. This is another interesting story put out by the Commercial Comics Company Malcolm Ater was an interesting character, and we were fortunate enough to work with the University of West Virginia, they’re sending me all of his papers and the original art and all the scripts and the letters he received. He used to put out comics for people like George Wallace and a lot of southern politicians for their propaganda. So I’m very eager to look into that. But he also worked for the US government as a subcontractor, and this is a comic book that he put out for the CIA that was airdropped over Grenada during the invasion. Malcolm Ater had to meet his contact outside the Washington Monument where the guy gave him a briefcase with $30,000 in cash, and he gave him the printer’s proof, and the CIA published this. One of the things I’m going to be getting soon in Lincoln is the letter from the Cuban Embassy about this comic, so I’m super excited to see it. Some interesting things. First of all, there is no voice. There is no Victims of International Communist Emissaries. This is all a front, right? Ronald Reagan is portrayed in this comic literally with a halo. As a savior, right? Trust the United States, right? Again, telling one story. These are some of the comicss that we saw earlier, too. So they’re not necessarily psychological operations, they’re not necessarily all bad. They’re not necessarily perpetuating hegemony or the status quo. Again, we see the example of commercial interests working with government entities and nonprofits trying to save lives. So in the very beginning we saw that image of those soldiers distributing comics. These are those comics that they are giving out and again, this is from US presence in another country noticing a problem, wanting to address it, and actually I think doing it in a successful manner. And so these comics were put out the United Nations, ultimately UNICEF published it. You can see the UNICEF up there. And they published it in Croatian and Serbian to help cut down landmine deaths. There’s more than one culture, right?
There’s manga in Japan, there’s Franco-Belgian, the fotonovela, and so the United Nations has actually done an interesting job putting out comics. This is one of their more recent ones about combating desertification. That’s not about getting dessert, but deserts, they’re cropping up, and this is how countries are trying to combat it. So the EU put out a little something… This would be absolutely appropriate for brexit because this is when it was the ECC, the European Commission. And again, the idea of now we have long histories of warring with each other, but it’s probably in our best interest to work as one entity. This is a government document put out by Ghana, the government printing office of Ghana, which is telling the story of one of their leaders. So that’s that! That is the long history of government comic books, and I encourage you, if you have any questions, or if you want to talk to me about it, feel free. Again, this is my email address here so if you don’t want to talk to me in person, you know, I can understand that. But there’s address if you have any questions. I brought some things to show you that I thought you might be interested in. We’re talking about comics, but we’re delving a little bit into the world of popular culture so are any of you board game aficionados? We know “Settlers of Catan” is a big deal, and “Dungeons and Dragons.” Well, the US government, actually the army, put out a board game in 1966 for Leonard Wood, I know we’re not supposed to talk about Missouri around here, but Leonard Wood put out this combat engineer game, and it was the first board game to use hexadecimals on their maps and that’s what Dungeons & Dragons borrowed.
You can come here take a look. The National Guard actually put out a board game that’s a combination of “Magic the Gathering” cards stuff because of the collectability, right? The army has a video game out, so the National Guard also has another board game, but this came out in the 1960s. It was for combat engineers. You could be the Soviets or you could be the United States, and you basically took turns role-playing. I brought a citizen booklet that was given out by the US government. It was subcontacted by Harvey. Harvey put out “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and all that stuff. And so this is a collection of civic-minded comics, so once you’re out of the army and you are an officer They gave you this, and I’ll pass it around, it encourages you to run for office. Of course, it’s always dudes. This is an actual photograph of a soldier reading a government comic book. Some neat posters, some people really like the comic strips. If there’s any Chester Gould fans, or if you’re a Dick Tracy fan. There’s there’s the GPO number right there, so maybe it’s in your flat files somewhere. But it’s encouraging people to participate. I don’t know if you know this, but zip codes were a BFD. Social security was moving heaven and earth getting everyone to sign up for the Social Security card, but getting everybody to understand their zip code was also hard for us, so they invented a comic character named “Zippy the Zip Code.” They also said hey, maybe we can already use some of the more popular comic strip characters. So people like Kerry Drake and whatnot encouraging you to use your zip code. I wish we could have those problems, right? Again, if you like you can come up here. I’d shown this Eisner poster. I appreciate it because of its attempt at diversity, right? As my dad said, we’re we’re all green in the Army. And then what I have here is a piece of original comic art that’s in that citizen booklet. It was done by a guy named Al Avison. Avison was a Golden Age comic book artist and he did work on some superhero tiles, and I like to bring this because first of all, some people don’t necessarily see original comic art that often, and how it used to be on a bigger scale, and then how they had to shrink it down. But you also see a lot of the corrections and the editing that takes place here, too, in terms of dimensions and notes and what to change, and of course if you’re an artist you might like to see the whiteout, right? Then just draw it all in one shot, man. They had to do it again and again and again before they finally sent it to ink. So, in a way, our tax dollars subcontracted this original piece of art so it’s my pleasure to share it with you. So does anybody have any questions? Yes sir? Question: You talked, in your presentation, about government comics that were used to go against drug use. Did Fredric Wertham’s efforts, or the Comics Code Authority have any effect on the US government’s abilities to publish certain content? Richard: Oh, that’s a good question. So if you’re not familiar with what he’s referring to, after the “Seduction of the Innocent” era when we were worried about how comics were turning the kids out, in order to avoid government regulation the industry wanted to regulate, and so they came up with something called the Comics Code Authority. It’s a little seal that they would put on the cover so you would know, as a parent you could say I can buy this for Johnny because it’s not going to have overt acts of violence in it or misogyny or sex or any of that other stuff. Because of that, there was a long list of things that you could not write and that’s why that’s why we have “Mad Magazine.” William Gaines had done a famous short story that he reprinted of an astronaut meeting people from another world, and it turns out that that astronaut was African American. That was the big reveal. They were like, “You can’t do that. You cannot have an African American.” That was overt racism, and that’s why Gaines put out a magazine, it’s now “Mad Magazine.” Okay, so that was a hand-tying, self-hhandicapping move by the industry because now you can no longer have romance stories. You can no longer have it. So the only thing to survive was superhero genre, basically, and Wertham even attacked that right? He famously had said that Batman and Robin had an inappropriate relationship. But again, the good guys always had to win, bad guys could never win, you could never show anything like that, but that got challenged in the 1960s because during the Johnson administration, the rampant drug use, they decided, was a health crisis. And so that’s when Denny O’Neill and Neal Adams did the “Green Lantern” story with Speedy having a heroin addiction and so that rocked the boat, but it still met the Comics
Code Authority. I know Marvel put out a Spider-Man story that did not have it, but they still were commercially successful. So that’s when they decided to rewrite the Comics Code to be able to include “real life.” But again, you could not portray it positively, whatever that means. Because I mean what is Doctor Strange but one big acid trip? I mean, Ken Kesey painted Dr. Strange on his bus. But the government has a habit of disregarding everything around itself. Like I said, at this time when people are kicking the political football around, they’re putting these out at the same time.
The very same printing press in Washington, DC that’s cranking this hearing over here on the far left, is also cranking out these two comics. So no, it did not affect them because they could disregard it. What a long way to say that! Are there any other questions if I promise to be more succinct? Question: I guess I was confused when you were talking about the manga. It looked like it was printed in Japanese, but it was printed by the US government? Richard: In conjunction with, and what that means is that they gave them the money, and then we would distribute it partially on our end. So if you can imagine high schoolers in San Diego probably got it, sailors already serving and Marines already serving probably got it for free there too. So it’s a recruitment tool. It was done primarily through the Japanese government as a government document for Japan because they put a lot of their stuff in manga because Japan is a commuterl culture. Everyone is constantly commuting and so manga is a big deal for them because it’s easy to read while you’re hanging around on your subway platform or things like that.
So adults read it. There was never a cultural purge, So there’s no stigma. If you’re a 55 year old man, you know, reading a manga, no one’s looking at you funny. In North America, we associate comics with kids or criminals. So the Japanese manga was a recruitment tool for the United States kids here, but mostly a Japanese document. Question: Do you think comics are as popular today as they once were and that artists would be as well-known in this kind of vocation and would have the same kind of impact as they once did? That’s a tough one. First of all, if you accept the government subcontract, you probably need the money, right? But on the other hand, a lot of times they don’t allow you to sign your name on these materials anymore, right? Because that’s a distraction. The idea is that you’re just supposed to impart the government information. But for artists, that’s their bread and butter.
You have to brand yourself. I mean, you write your signature on the bottom, so that might effect whether or not that’ll serve you in terms of your popularity.
I do know that Joe Kubert’s family is still doing the PS contract. In that way, they may be perpetuating that brand, but I don’t know. It’d be such a mixed bag because the Army does a lot of subcontracting now, and so they’ll probably just find an ad agency to handle that aspect for them. But sometimes you’ll occasionally see…I have a comic from Norman, Oklahoma that was put out in the 1980s because there was a service member who could draw and write, and he put out a little comic. And now he’s unknown or whatever. But maybe he could have gone on to then get a job with Marvel or something like that. So it’s hard to say whether it’s in their interest, or whether or not that will actually happen. I do know, however, that as a librarian, our print circulation is kind of down, but our comic books and graphic novel section is still very popular. It still resonates with people in print culture. It’s the same thing with comics as a commercial and educational or informational medium, people still consume them. People like to look at stuff on their phones and online and stuff like that now. But these are still, you know, popular things to print and hand out if you’re a non-profit or educational institution, or if you’re thinking about communicating a specific message with government information. Sarah: Anybody else have questions? Okay. Well, Richard, thank you very much. This was really fascinating. It’s a wonderful addition to the exhibition. Some of us have had our heads in government documents for a long time. Richard: Well now, anytime you see a comic, you put it aside and maybe let me know and I can digitize it for you. No, I’m dead serious. Let me know! Audience member: One of my students, I was telling them about the comics, and about different reading levels. A lot of people being drafted were young men. So, the centerfolds and stuff, and they pulled one out to show me because we’re doing some beautification. Richard: Fabulous! Again, there’s just a whole history people people like Mark Walker, anti-bootlegging comics. There’s one that called “Don’t be a Sugar Daddy” for bootleggers. I guess in the 1930s, people were selling sugar so you could ferment your own alcohol. The government put out a comic on that, so there’s a rich history there, and like I said, it’s filled with knowns and it’s filled with unknowns, it’s filled with groaners, but it’s also filled with some interesting works of art. And so I think it’s a new lens to look at your documents with, so I absolutely encourage it, and sometimes it’s even fun to see if you can find one, if you go through the agriculture section, you might find that Smokey Bear comic. And there’s some great Smokey Bear posters. I mean, there’s some beautiful beautiful art
that Rudy Wendelin did for the Department of Forestry. So yeah, let me know. I’m eager to grow the collection. Thank you!

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