Friday, July 23, 2010

Number 777

Bill Cosmo and the plutonium pile

Future World Comics lasted two issues in 1946. It was an attempt to make entertainment out of real life science, and the world of possibilities imagined during and after the war. Atomic energy had been the stuff of science fiction until the reality of it was proven in 1945. The Bill Cosmo story from Future World Comics #1, drawn by comic book veteran Ben Thompson, is followed up by a short feature with Bill Cosmo on how atomic energy works. A couple of other stories in the issue use the same technique: "How the proximity fuze works" and "How radar works."

Several publishers, including Maxwell C. Gaines of All-American Comics and then EC Comics, had the idea that comic books could be educational. There were a lot of educational comics published over the years, mostly giveaway comics. Commercial success with educational material was a little tougher to achieve. Kids could sniff them out. I believe that given the choice of buying Action Comics or any other wholly fictional title, and an educational comic book, most kids would choose the former.


Jeff Overturf said...

True, true Pappy. Educational (and for that matter Christian comics) had a stench to them any self respecting kid could whiff out a hundred miles away.

These are great to see 60+ years in retrospect though. Like I enjoy radio, TV and magazine commercials from the past but disdain them in the contemporary...they can do no harm now.

Pappy said...

The science in this story is sound. I guess so, anyway. All the science I know I learned in comic books!