Government Comics Collection of UNL

The University of Nebraska Lincoln online libraries digital collections provide access (though some sections are restricted) to impressive collections of WWII photographs, Plains Tribes artifacts, Whitman photographs, and much more. One such collection presents Government Comics on topics like consuming energy, contributing to war efforts, training for careers, and preventing forest fires. Well-known cartoon characters like Blondie, Li’l Abner, and Yogi Bear make appearances in a number of the comics. Some of the comics have aged better than others and most contain humorous and sometimes questionable advice and terminology. Here we highlight just a few and link to the full PDFs. Find the entire collection on the UNL Government Comics Collection site.

Eat Right to Work and Win
The Office of Defense Health and Human Services prepared the “Eat Right to Work and Win” comic in 1942 with characters from Blondie, Flash Gordon, Popeye, and more to teach Americans to “be strong and healthy to meet the demands of war.” The comic included suggestions like eat “one egg every day, or at least 3 each week” and explained that healthy eating makes “you feel better – you are less likely to get run down, cross, or nervous.” See the complete PDF here.

Government Comics - Eat Right to Work and Win
Government Comics - Flash Gordon

Li’l Abner Joins the Navy
From the Recruiting Division of the United States Navy came this 1950 comic, “Li’l Abner Joins the Navy” (Complete PDF). The comic includes an introduction from F.B.C. Martin, Captain in the U.S. Navy and Director of the Recruiting Division. He explains that, “Here is a little book that will delight thousands of LI’L ABNER fans. The predicaments confronting a certain acquaintance of LI’L ABNER, who joins the Navy, are in the highest traditions of Dogpatch humor.”

Government Comics - Li'l Abner

Are You Looking Into Your Future?
Some everyman/woman characters look into the future (all the way to 1970) in the 1960 Department of Labor “Are you Looking into your Future” comic (Complete PDF). The comic explains that “science and technology will change many things,” and that unskilled workers will be no more in the future, so Americans should “get as much schooling as you can – it makes for a better job and more income. “

Government Comics - Are you looking into your future
Government Comics - looking into the future
Government Comics - Are You Looking into Your Future

If you found this interesting, you may also want to check out the AHA’s own collection of G.I. Roundtable pamphlets, online here. Read about the history of the G.I. Roundtable series in this past blog post on AHA Today.

GI Roundtable - Propaganda
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