Monday, June 1, 2015


If there's one thing which American comics have always provided the world, it's been visions of amazing adventures which test the bounds of both credulity and imagination ... while simultaneously encouraging its readership to embark into a soul-breaking career path of mind-bendingly tedious manual labor. Yes, an enticing world of jamming mechanical gadgets inside larger mechanical gadgets awaits you, and we have always been at war with Eastasia!

Step One, Extra money in spare time! Step Two, Good Pay Job! Step Three, Bright future! It am just that easy!

Overly-dry promises of financial independence are all well and good, but comics are a visual medium! If we're going to sell fear, dread and simmering resentment, the way to really do it is with COMICS!

How about a little four-color urban terror...

Joe's really gonna clean up when the government finally legalizes The Purge.
 ...some blue-collar power fantasies ...

Bill will be back with a gun, mark my words.
...and something so heavily laden with inky black shadows that it resembles a straight-up fever dream ...
There's also a lot of money to be made in repairing all the damage Electroman caues by busting through walls and panel borders like that.

Cynically, the majority of these ads targeted themselves at high-school dropouts, kids too poor to make it to college, and other readers who'd missed out on a full educational diploma. While comic books were typically the terrain of young children, the cultural understanding was that anyone in their teens - particularly in their late teens - who still read comic books was angling for a life of underachieving and maybe a little hoboing on the side. So this was their market.

"Now you just march right home and think about what you've done."

Which is a message seemingly at odds with the public service announcements they usedta run in the very same books:
On the other hand, Alvin, I hear you can learn locksmithing at home and make a fortune from endemic middle class dread.


neofishboy said...

"Hey man, I've been looking for Steve. Have you seen him recently?"

"Well, last time I saw him his marriage was crumbling and his drinking was starting to seriously affect his health."

"I ... think I'm going to go ask somebody else."

rnigma said...

Somehow I knew you'd throw in Electroman!

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