Friday, August 10, 2007

Comic Book PSA: How they would end today

Most serious comic book fans have a nostalgic fondness for the Public Service Announcements that appeared in just about every comic book of the 1950s through the 1980s. While most of the publishing companies included PSA's in their books DC was the clear leader in quantity and diversity of the educational features. Early on DC addressed safety, superstition, public health, responsibility, racism, mental illness, equality and even homosexuality.

While Marvel addressed such issues more or less directly in their stories, DC preferred to remain wholesome, cautious and on the surface resistant to change. Many of the DC stories reflected outdated mores and perceptions even as a PSA included in the book declared that people should learn how to act in the opposite. The comic book PSA was the equivalent of the morality message that was added onto every television cartoon in the 1980s as a way of deflecting criticism for what many perceived as a useless if not outright harmful type of entertainment.

The one page features were well-meaning, educational and even in the context of era just a bit naive. Yet a person could do worse than live their life by the lessons put forth in a Silver Age comic book PSA.

There are modern PSA's occasionally included in today's comic books. However they are usually in the form of advertising by companies who are forced to spend a certain amount of their income warning against the product they sell. Cigarettes, for instance. The modern PSA is usually just a one page poster warning against smoking or drinking and is more likely a source of income than anything else.

Sadly, the ending of a classic PSA if told today would have a very different conclusion other than understanding, peace and renewed friendships. The old scenarios told by DC would not be successful or relevant today unless updated to be representative of grim reality.


  1. It's so nice to see kids working out their problems on their own.

  2. I LOVE PSA's! That Buzzy one you posted yesterday was a new one for me, and this one is an instant classic. I don't even care what the original ending was...


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