9/6/09

Life During Wartime: Comic Ads 1943

These two ads are the outside and inside covers to Captain Marvel Adventures #28 from 1943. Since they're from during WWII, it's not unusual they mention the war, but I was struck by the difference in attitudes & advertising regarding the war in the 40's and the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For example, the X-acto Knives proclaim: "Help Uncle Sam - Make official Plane Models". I have no idea how making plane models helped the US war effort, but they explain how you can use your X-acto Knives to start building for Uncle Sam right away. The cartoon shows one kid saying "I want to make Navy models too. I'll ask Dad for a set (of knives)." Dad, being patriotic completely agrees: "Sure, son, here's the money. You're serving Uncle Sam right now!" They also have an offer for a booklet: "How to Build Scale Models - Defense" which claims to be "profusely illustrated. Chuck full of information."

Try indoctrinating school-age kids into fighting the war nowadays and see how far that'll fly. "Hey, kids! Learn how to differentiate between Al Qaida and Al-Shabab" (Hmmm, I don't see it).



The war also invaded Christmas Card sales. This ad asks kids to sell cards and get "swell prizes." The set of toys you can get includes a U.S. Army outfit with "a snappy officer's belt and cap outfit with an automatic-type pistol". Also an "American Craft So. Cal Raider" machine gun that "...operates on a swivel or dismounted, like army guns." There's the "pre-flight training set - exactly like regular airplane cockpit...gunsight and cannon trigger too." Other prizes include War Games and an Army Suit alongside more traditional prizes such as the "Old Spice" Toilet Kit and a Gene Autry Guitar.



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