Thursday, August 04, 2005

Comic Book PSA: Deep Dark Secret

Comics of the past were full of nifty little pages that gave the reader fun facts, science facts or history, among other things. This probably started as an attempt to show comics as educational to stem off the criticism (some deserved) of the content of comic books in general.

Some of the Public Service Announcements were well-meaning, but silly or even insulting by the standards of today's PC...but at least they were trying to spread a little wisdom. This page covering mental health issues is one of my favorite of the comic PSA's.

This PSA from DC's Strange Adventures #92, May 1958 stars Buzzy and his friends. He appeared in them for years, last seen by name sometime in the 60's. Idealistically drawn and realized, he always used logic and good old Ward Cleaver wisdom when counselling his often misguided pals on the road to to understanding. Buzzy had his own book also, but it was much lighter in tone and used zany humor in ridiculous situations.

Features like these went the way of the Silver-Age. Given current prices I wouldn't want to see these in today's books reducing the page count any more than the decompressed story-telling already has, and like seeing the old advertisements they are nice to read in back issues for the nostalgia.

I'd like to see a book showcasing a more realistically portrayed Cap (Hobby Hints), Buzzy and all the others as how they would be today. Kind of in the style of the updated Dial H or Vertigo Prez books. It wouldn't be much more than a gimmick, but Marvel successfully updated early characters like Patsy Walker and used them for several years. Given their ages in these PSA's, Buzzy's pals were probably dropping LSD at Woodstock a few years later.

It's also a happy bit of synchronicity that this was included in an issue that had The Amazing Ray of Knowledge for a cover story.

Who knows...DC has pretty much returned the Silver Age, maybe they will bring these back also.


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