I’ve recently been directed to Ethan Persoff’s fantastic archive of weird and off-the-wall informational comics, or Comics With Problems, as he puts it.
These are applied comics definitely from the weirder end of the spectrum: from government-sponsored oddities (Military Courtesy – a comic book all about how to salute properly), and classics (Will Eisner’s Treat Your Rifle Like a Lady), to well-known characters in public service publications (Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids in anti-drug Buzzy’s Rebound) or slightly obscure educational comics (Learn Cherokee with Blondie and Dagwood); to curiosities like a 1987 AIDS awareness comic sponsored by Madonna (Who’s That Girl?) and unusual mascots such as Pip, the Magic Safety Elephant (The Perils of PIP – Preventing Poisoning); all the way to the outer fringes of weirdness (Capn Veedee-O and Ms.Wanda Lust in VD Claptrap, or Daffy Qaddafi: A Dictator’s Nightmare in Wonderland, or Don’t Bruise that Pig), hysteria (America Under Socialism, and The Two Faces of Communism), and offensiveness (the pro-segregation comic George Wallace for the Big Job, or the bile-filled Homosexuality: Legitimate Alternative DEATHSTYLE).
Stranger danger, anti-fluoridation, temper tantrums, body odour, Mickey Mouse selling speed, family stress, Foreskin Man, heroin abuse, landmine awareness, the Phantom running for city council, group poop, dancing condoms – and Sam the Disaster Horse talking about terrorism awareness. Hats off to Ethan Persoff: this is a crazy archive of crazy comics. Explore at your leisure – and enjoy. If nothing else, perhaps learn some lessons about how not to make applied comics.