If an A-Bomb Falls… Will You Know What to Do?

Standard


If An A-Bomb Falls was an 8-page Instructional comic published in 1951 (see comic pages below). It is in the public domain and can also be viewed on-line at various sites like Archive.org. Summary from My Comic Shop: “If an A Bomb Falls… Will You Know What to Do? (1951), published by Commercial Comics. 8 pages, full color, standard comic book dimensions, all newsprint, no cover price. This promotional educational giveaway comic book describes what to do in the event of an atomic blast. Includes: 1) How important it is to know the signals of an impending atomic attack; 2) The meaning of the different tones of air raid sirens; 3) What to do if you are attacked without warning ; 4) How to react to the brilliant flash of an atomic explosion; 5) How to find the safest place in your home; 6) The equipment you need for a home safety and emergency kit; 7) How to store a good supply of canned goods and water for extended sheltering; 8) How to prepare for an attack if you have advance warning How to seek protection from an impending attack; 9) Remembering to keep calm to stifle panic during an attack ; 10) How people caught outdoors will suffer the greatest casualties; 11) What to do if you are on a car, bus, or train during an attack; 12) How the worst danger from atomic attack is radiation in the air and water; and 13) How to decontaminate yourself if you think you have been exposed to radioactive dust or mist. The back cover features a chart showing the number of deaths and the number of injured people that can be projected if an A-bomb explodes in a populated area.” Additional pages below from Ethan Persoff.

The H-Bomb and You was an educational 16-page comic published by the government in 1954. Page #1 reproduced below from Ethan Persoff. We’ll take a closer look at what these educational comics tell us about the era in the future.

via SpyVibe: COMICS WEEK: COLD WAR MATERIALS

Advertisements

Mourning the Death of Gwen Stacy: A Lovely Account From Pop Smart Guy, Gregory L. Reece

Gwen Stacy
Standard

Below is an excerpt from a a post by Gregory L. Reece dated May 5, 2014 on his WordPress blog, ROKFOGO. The essay also appeared in PopMatters the same year. It’s a lovely recollection of how nine year old Gregory learned about the death of a female comic book character he had come to love, Gwen Stacy. To read the post in its entirety you’re encouraged to click here.

In one issue of Marvel Comics or another, I must have run across an ad for an LP record called Spider-Man: Rock Reflections of a Superhero. I’m sure I ordered it by mail. I can’t imagine where I would have gotten it, otherwise. The album, released in 1975, had a great cover by John Romita that remains one of my favorite Spider-Man images of all time.

The back cover contained pictures of the band: Power Man on bass, Silver Surfer on keyboards, Conan and the Barbarians on strings, Captain America on percussion, Black Panther on electric guitar, the Mighty Thor on trumpet, the Hulk on drums, handclapping by the Falcon, and background vocals by the Fantastic Four! I must have played the album a million times on the console stereo in my parents’ living room, belting out the songs and pretending that I was Spider-Man, superhero and rock star! I was, and still am, totally hooked.

It was from the album that I first learned the fate of Gwen Stacy. It is why I mourn her death to this day.

The comic book rock opera was narrated by Stan Lee and told the story of everybody’s favorite wall-crawler in a series of rock-and-roll songs, including “Gwendolyn”, a 50’s do-wop-style anthem to Peter’s love.

Gwendolyn, may I come closer, and hold your hand?

You are the answer to all my dreams.

Gwendolyn, please.

I love you so.

(Marty Nelson)

Then, in “Count on Me”, Peter sings one of the most hilarious choruses in rock music history. (It makes me laugh every time that I hear it, now. This was not the case in 1976. Then, it seemed like a profound declaration of love.)

You can count on me,

To help you see,

That every side has another,

Every hero has a lover,

Every land has a sky above her,

And, if you want, you have me.

(William Kirkland)

Halfway through the album things take a dark turn, beginning with Peter’s fevered dream about Doctor Octopus and his plans to take over the world. (This is a certifiably crazy song. Doc Ock sings to an adoring crowd of supporters who shout back at him: Hey La! Doctor Octo, Doctor Octo, Doctor Ocotopus!) (John Palumbo)

Then, without warning, the voice of Stan Lee breaks the news:

Terrifying as that dream is, it is only a whisper to the harsh voice of reality that Peter Parker is about to hear. His pulse is pounding. The Green Goblin suddenly appears without warning! Tingling with anticipation, Spider-Man would be more reluctant to fight the emerald fiend if he could foresee Gwen Stacy’s body falling, as it will, out of his spider reach. Play with the fear! Roll it around on your tongue! Savor the fateful, fascinating flavor! Spider-Man’s mind is in motion. The stage is set! The cards have been dealt! He is now no more than a puppet in the shadow of his own destiny. The battle that took place high atop the bridge was destined to be the most fateful one of all. As the Green Goblin flies away, battered and weakened, a bruised and exhausted Spider-Man raises himself up to find that the only victim proved to be a girl named Gwendolyn. His hopes and dreams of love are gone. He kneels beside her lifeless body. Ignoring the approaching police sirens, Peter Parker whispers gently in her ear as the echoes of his words carry him to her, reaching for her, trying to bring her back to share life with him again.

Then, a gentle acoustic guitar segues into the next song: “A Solider Starts to Bleed.”

Dear lady, hold this sleep.

My dreams are yours to keep.

I fall behind this mask of insufficient tears.

A solider lost to fears.

(Terence P. Minogue and John Palumbo)

Then, back to Stan: “He’s a hero if you will, a hero whose dreams have turned to nightmares, who walks in step with tragedy and death. But still he perseveres. For such is the haunting fate of Spider-Man!”

This is how I learned of Gwen Stacy’s death. This is how I came to understand the veiled references to her in then-current issues of Amazing Spider-Man. I couldn’t believe it. This was too much to bear. The Gwen Stacy who had traveled fearlessly to the Savage Land sporting a red bikini died as a result of Spider-Man’s battle with the Green Goblin. Peter, who had touched me when singing about his love for Gwen, broke my heart, still breaks it, when he sang about her death. And Stan Lee, Mr. Excelsior!, delivered the news. (Stan’s voice, to this day, brings a tingle to the back of my neck. When I hear it, I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and listen. He hasn’t delivered any news like this again, but I am always waiting for him to break it to me.)

Okay. I know that the album is melodramatic. I know that this should not make me want to cry. But it does. It did when I was nine years old and it does today. This was the first time that I had experienced the death of a comic book character. Such deaths have happened with too much regularity over the years, so that the deaths have been cheapened, become gimmicks to sell magazines. Gwen’s death has always seemed different to me. It is the only one that I have ever really cared about. The only one that ever made me cry.

Are you Mad About MAD Mag? Issue #1 Is On Auction This Weekend @heritageauction

Image

For decades nothing has said American satire like MAD magazine. If you’re one of those folks who’s a fan/collector of the mag, and you’ve stashed away that extra change over time hoping to get that elusive first issue, you have a chance this weekend.

Mad #1 (EC, 1952)

Mad #1 (EC, 1952)

Heritage Auctions is offering MAD #1 (EC, 1952) for bids until Sunday, November 16 at 04:00 PM CT. This historic issue features the top story and cover by Harvey Kurtzman. With inside art by Kurtzman, Wally Wood, Jack Davis, John Severin, and Bill Elder ~ Legends All. The go-to collector’s reference, Overstreet 2014, values the comic at $834.00. The current leading bid is $332.60 (with the Buyer’s Premium). So, it looks like someone may have a great chance to get a good deal on this piece of mid-century print history.

Click here to get to the page.

Surviving An A-Bomb Or An H-Bomb Blast – These Comics Show You How

Gallery

On August 29, 1949, the Soviet Union exploded its first atomic bomb. After the initial shock, President Truman and the United States government put the entire nation on high alert – the Cold War had begun. Americans began to question their own safety. During the 1950s the federal and state governments put a lot of effort into producing information that was intended not only to teach the public about emergency preparedness and survival, but also to assuage the fears and hopelessness associated with the thought of total annihilation.

Below are a few government publications that were printed in the 1950s as part of that propaganda campaign. They are available for complete viewing and download online – if you are interested in further viewing of any of them just click the title and you will be taken to either The Digital Comic Museum or The Government Comics Collection at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln web site.

First off, the icon of the atomic era – often thought of as somewhat laughable and naive by today’s standards, Bert The Turtle reassured children and adults alike that one could find protection in the event of an atomic blast.

Bert The Turtle Says Duck And Cover (1951)

Bert The Turtle Says Duck And Cover Civil Defense Pamplet

Bert The Turtle Says Duck And Cover Civil Defense Pamphlet

Bert The Turtle: And This Is Very Important

Bert The Turtle: The bomb might come without any warning!

Do It Instantly - Don't Stand And Look

Do It Instantly – Don’t Stand And Look. Duck And Cover!

Next is an adult oriented publication:

Many people believe that there is no defense against the atom bomb. Let us look in at a community meeting where Mr. Reed, a civil defense authority, is going to explain that there is a defense and will show us what to do in case of an atomic bomb attack.

If An ‘A’ Bomb Falls (1951)

Cover Illustration: If An A-Bomb Falls

Cover Illustration: If An A-Bomb Falls

A 1951 Lesson About Radioactivity

A 1951 Lesson About Radioactivity

Below is a publication geared at youth. It’s an overall emergency preparedness comic that deals with both natural and wartime disasters. It includes a crossword puzzle, a disaster quiz, and a glossary of ‘civil defense terms’ which mostly deal with the atomic bomb. The cover art features Li’l Abner and is signed Al Capp. It includes an extended dream sequence originating in a bomb shelter.

Operation Survival (c1957)

Cover: Operation Survival - Art By Al Capp (c1957)

Cover: Operation Survival – Art By Al Capp (c1957)

Operation Survival: Gloassary Of Terms

Operation Survival: Glossary Of Terms

And the last in this post – a pamphlet issued by the state of Maryland and endorsed by the then governor, Theodore R. McKeldin. This one discusses the civil defense procedures for surviving the power of the H-Bomb. Like the adult oriented, ‘If An A-Bomb Falls,’ this comic is meant to reassure the citizens that survival is indeed possible – it is intended for high-school age students.

The H-Bomb And You (1955)

Cover: The H-Bomb And You (1955)

Cover: The H-Bomb And You (1955)

Students are shown a film demonstrating the power of the H-Bomb.

Students are shown a film demonstrating the power of the H-Bomb. Johnny the student is impressed and questions any possibility of survival. The teacher goes on to reassure him that ‘…no matter how powerful a weapon seemed at first, ways were always found to offset the effects and survive.’

The Bottom Line: Get Used To The Threat Of War

And The Bottom Line: ‘…Get Used To The Threat Of War As A New Way Of Life.’

Some things never change.

Ed Talks To Johnny About The Atom

Image
Adventures Inside the Atom - 1948: Johnny poses inside a model of an atom as Ed looks on.

Adventures Inside the Atom – 1948: Johnny poses inside a model of an atom as Ed looks on.

This is the front cover of the General Electric Company’s Adventures in Science Series, Inside The Atom, published in 1948. George Roussos was the illustrator. In the early days of nuclear energy projects such as this were deployed by the government and private industry not only to inform, but also to put a friendly face on atomic power. In the case of Inside The Atom, children in particular were the targets of this propaganda project. The intent was twofold, to ease the fears associated with atomic power and, to encourage young people to become familiar with a technology that would require future technicians and scientists for implementation and research.

You can view the entire comic and read more details about it by visiting the most excellent website, Comic Book+ here. A special h/t goes out to Quiof Thrul at Facebook for this way cool find.