When Comics Sold the American Dream

Posted inThe Daily Heller
Thumbnail for When Comics Sold the American Dream

During much of the twentieth century comics were looked upon as low art (if art at all). Yet comics were nonetheless very popular among the great masses. What’s more, they were accepted as a nifty tool for selling the American Dream, or at least that part of it that was mass marketed – mostly to women. During the Depression, throughout the 1930s, comic strips were part of the “shirt sleeve advertising” arsenal, and appeared in newspapers (often on Sunday) and magazines, selling toothpaste, white bread, detergent, deodorant soap, antacid, and much more.

These are a fraction of the approaches, including glorified storyboards, serial situation comedies, and full-blown comic narratives. Sometimes, real comic strip characters were recruited, like Buster Brown, who had his own line of kids’ shoes.

Makes one long for the days before AXE deodorant organized urban meet-ups.

(For a larger view click on picture.)