1960s Comic Book Advert for Libraries

February 18, 2011 at 4:13 pm 21 comments

Writer and designer Nick Page recently dug up an 1960s advertisement for public libraries that would normally be found in the back pages of comic books of that era. A bit cheezy and gosh-wow! but yet another indication of the usefulness of public libraries:

Click to Embiggen

(via Boing Boing)


Entry filed under: Public Libraries.

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21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mervin Lim  |  February 24, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Hello everyone!

    I will now share my comments on this really interesting comic, which is actually an advertisement, in the 1960s.

    Firstly, I found the comic really interesting and enriching. It has many interesting elements, and that made the story really interesting. For example, this comic is to promote public libraries, and instead of just using one picture with captions and words to promote the library, it uses a plot to advertise it, which i feel, is a very innovative and great initiation. This is rather rare nowadays. where advertisements and boring and typical.

    Furthermore, the plot was innovative and unique. Despite being humourous and enjoyable, it was able to bring out the main idea and purpose of it, which is to promote the library. I find this really epic, as this is a hard skill to master, which is to bring out meaning and morals through the story, but make it interesting as well. This is a very good skill where we can apply to in many aspects of language arts, like poetry and narrative writing.

    Last but not least, this comic allows me to realise fast development of technology. Comics 40 years ago were in a neutral colour, in most cases black and white. Furthermore, comics then were usually hand drawn which is very tedious. However now, comics can be designed through computer simulated programs like photoshop etc. Also, present comics have a wide array of colours to choose from, making the poem more lively and attractive.

    That’s about all!

    Yours sincerely,

    • 2. Jason Erik Lundberg  |  February 24, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      I’m not sure which comics you’re reading, Mervin, but every single one I know of is still pencilled and inked by hand. Photoshop can be used for coloring and lettering, but the actual drawing still falls to real human beings.

      • 3. jasonl450  |  February 26, 2011 at 6:50 pm

        I feel that the comic was very interesting and enriching. I feel that the way in which the comic artist pictured the boy who was tailing the knowledgeable boy in his pursue to find the secret of knowing everything, and the answer truly helped to advertise the library as a place in which extensive knowledge could be gained through reading.

        Looking at the comic, it is clear of about what time it had originated from. Firstly would be the colour of the paper as a whole. Basically, a cheaper quality of paper is still used, which is exactly the same used in the archie comics, which really reflects that it was drawn in the 1960s. Aside from that, the characters also have a great resemblance to that of those in archie.

  • 4. Ryan Lau  |  February 27, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    I feels great to see this kind of black and white comics, we do not get to see this kind anymore, it is quite rare to find one, such intricate drawings of the faces give a clear impression of what the character is feeling or thinking. The closest comic I can think of is Archie’s wierd mystery, however it is in colour, but the drawings are somewhat similar. I feel that we should appreciate the comics or it would be gone forever.

  • 5. Ryan Lau 2P4 11  |  February 27, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    I feels great to see this kind of black and white comics, we do not get to see this kind anymore, it is quite rare to find one, such intricate drawings of the faces give a clear impression of what the character is feeling or thinking. The closest comic I can think of is Archie’s wierd mystery, however it is in colour, but the drawings are somewhat similar. I feel that we should appreciate the comics or it would be gone forever.

  • 6. Kwek Zheng Hua  |  February 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm

    The comic is a very interesting way to advertise for libraries, especially since this would have been likely to attract a lot of attention. The comic is black-and-white, something which we don’t get to see nowadays, and the drawings of the background seem retro, therefore we can see what period this ad was made for.

  • 7. Benjamin Chua 2P4  |  February 27, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I was surprised to see this comic. When I first read the title of the comic, I thought that it was a comic about a detective solving mysteries, I never thought that it would be a comic advertising for libraries. Anyway, I felt that it was a unique way of advertising and I feel that there should be more of this type of advertisements for libraries as many students nowadays prefer using computers than to borrow and to read books from the library and also many people are forgetting the importance of reading or even, reading regularly.

  • 8. Yeo Zhen Ning 2P4 (33)  |  February 28, 2011 at 12:43 am

    I feel that this comic strip is quite an interesting one as it has a small twist at the end of the story. the title of the comic strip is purposely used to let people think that the comic strip is about a mystery. As you read the comic strip you will not be able to spot the twist until you reach the last box of the comic. The comic strip not only wants to promote public libraries, it also want to encourage people to read more books as reading more books will expand on the amount of things you know. This comic strip is also quite unique as it has many words in a comic box as the comic people read nowadays have very few words or dialogue in a box in the comic.

  • 9. Chan Chia Ler (2p401)  |  February 28, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I feel that this comic is a rather interesting one, as the story used a different approach to encourage people to go to the library. Normal advertisements would just list out the benefits of reading. However, for this comic, it emphasised the benifits of reading by showing how would others envy you when you are very knowledgeable, and then showed how you can be knowledgeable. In this way, people would be more motivated to read books, thus achieving its intended purpose. In addition, the title, “Mystery of the million-dollar briefcase” instantly captures the attention of readers as readers would be curious about the briefcase, as it was valuable. The word “mystery” further increases the curiosity of readers. The ending leaves a great impact on me, as through this story, I understand why a simple briefcase filled with books is worth a million dollars.

  • 10. Ng Xiang Jian  |  February 28, 2011 at 6:21 pm

    This is a comic that is quite funny. It being a comic, is usually expected to be about some great story. Sure enough, I read what I expected of the development of the story. However, when I reached the end of the story, I realized it was actually an advertisement. The title was quite misleading too, and I thought it would be some secret about huge wealth as it involves a million dollar, however later I found out it was just something to get people to read it. This comic is very unique and I have not seen an advertisement expressed in this manner before. This is a very creative way of advertising and gives the reader a good laugh while he understands the advertisements.

  • 11. Terrence Lim (2P430)  |  February 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    In my opinion, I find that this comics is quite interesting as it is quite meaningful and states the importance of reading. It is also quite creative to show the importance of reading through a so called mystery where the detective is trying to solve. The comic is also quite interesting as you do not know what is the mystery being solved until you read till the end of the comic.

  • 12. Patrick Yen 2P431  |  February 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    I think that this is a good way to promote libraries to people. The comic is interesting in content and can catch the attention of the audience. They would read on, wanting to find out how did the person in the comic know everything, and would find out that he knew everything because he read books from the library.

  • 13. Jaron Cheung 2P402  |  March 1, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    I think this comic strip is a fast yet effective and interesting way to promote libraries to the public. The comic strip is not as boring as a paragraph of words promoting the library, hence, most people who walk by it would be attracted by it, thus promoting the library more effectively.

  • 14. Dong Dexin 2A2(11)  |  March 1, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    The comic is quite humorous and also serves the purpose of encouraging people to visit the library. The comic also tells us promotes reading books as the boy in the comic is very knowledgeable after reading the books borrowed from the library. Nowadays, we do not see any of this advertisement anymore but it will be great if they put some of this comics outside of school library too. This could interest pupils to read more and thus gain more knowledge.

  • 15. Ang Wen Yang  |  March 2, 2011 at 9:36 am

    I believe this comics are quite interesting. Most of us have not come across old comics that were written in the 1960s. I believe this will not only be of interest to us, but to some of our parents as well. This is a good approach to attract students and parents alike to the library to take a look at these comics.

  • 16. ong yu heng  |  March 3, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Personally, I find this comic rather interesting. Most of the time we wonder why people know so much more than us, or why they are so smart. As a result, we spend most of our time trying to unravel their “secret”. But what we do not know is that their “secret” is the most obvious answer-studying!!!!!
    What we do not know more often that not is that if we put in effort to learn, we can be as good!!!!!!

  • 17. Kenneth Neoh  |  March 3, 2011 at 7:49 am

    I feel this comic is very humorous! Although this comic is in black and white, i feel that over this years, the purpose of comics have not changed over the years. The purpose is to entertain us. maybe we should have a wider variety of comics in the library, so that both the young and old in our school can appreciate it

  • 18. Adlan Raid  |  March 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    Personally, I actually find this comic strip very humorous and amusing. I really love the plot, and find that it is a very innovative way to promote public libraries. From personal experience, I don’t think that there are many teenagers going to the libraries these days and – from what the comic strip tells me – maybe even in the 60s! Rarely do I come across such a well-thought out add, let alone one in the form of a comic strip. Those who don’t frequent the library may very well think that this advertisement is a huge exaggeration of the library. Contrary to their belief, it certainly is! Well, it really depends on what you’re going there to read. But if you’re looking for books on general knowledge, libraries have a HUGE variety of books for you to choose from.
    People always think that there is a sure-fire way to getting smart. As can be seen from Dick in the comic, he thinks that whatever is in the briefcase is the reason behind Ed’s amazing intelligence. However, the only way to improve your knowledge and/or language, is to just read. I’m sure this has been repeated countless times over and over again by so many different people, but seriously, the answer is to just READ. And that, is why the libraries are there for us.

  • 19. Ryan Tan (2O422)  |  March 4, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I find this surprising and humourous. In the starting of the comic, I was just like Dick, wondering what was the secret and what was in his briefcase. It turned out that the answer was very simple, instead of all the complicated possibilities that we thought. This is a very nice way to bring across the method of promoting libraries and telling us that it is a really good sources of knowledge. This 1960s ads have the kind of weird ways of telling us this point. I feel that it is still more creative and effective than any of our library posters in this period of time.

  • 20. Yang Zhenyan  |  August 13, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    The comic strip is seen as a very interesting way to promote libraries to the general public and to promote reading. A comic would be as boring as compared to a huge chunk of paragraphs to convince the public to go to libraries to read. The comic emphasised the benifits of reading by showing how would others envy you when you are very knowledgeable, and then showed how you can be knowledgeable. In this way, people would be more motivated to read books, thus achieving its intended purpose.

  • 21. Aceson Aw  |  August 14, 2011 at 10:58 am

    This is no doubt a classic incentive to promote a certain cause. The artist clearly had purpose for making this comic, and he has an ingenious method to do so.

    The comic artist evidently wanted to promote the value of knowledge which is derived through reading. The character in the comic, named Dick, was eager to determine the secret to a man’s diverse general knowledge. In order to find out the “secret” Dick stalked the guy, when it turned out that the man’s knowledge was derived from reading books he borrowed from the public library. This humorous narrative-based comic emphasises the importance of reading, encouraging people to visit the public library.

    Besides, the comic artist method of using a narrative style of writing the story highlighted the importance of reading, while providing an interesting storyline which will arouse the curiosity of many people. This is because the writer kept the “secret” to the man’s knowledge in suspense from the beginning of the comic strip. This is aided by the title of the comic strip ” Mystery of the Million-Dollar Briefcase “, which values the importance of knowledge of the books, kept in the the briefcase.

    Overall, the comic artist has fused the art of language arts with a simple comic strip to great success


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