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PS Magazine as Comic Book 1951-2019

Mike Rhode is reporting that PS: The Preventative Maintenance Monthly, a comic bookish instructional manual for the U. S. Army, will cease to exist as it has for 68 years:

“Effective 1 Nov 2019, PS will cease publication of its monthly, illustrated magazine and move to a fully-online information resource. To read PS Magazine after 1 Nov 2019, visit www.psmagazine.army.mil. A quarterly compilation of articles appearing on its website will be made available on DVIDS.”

Among the changes:

No more hand-drawn cartoon illustrations or technical art. The era of being essentially a comic book will come to an end. Instead, we’ll rely much more heavily on photographs and computer-generated graphics, along with occasional videos. However, our current iconic characters—MSG Half-Mast, Connie, Bonnie, SFC Blade, and Cloe—will selectively appear on the website to sustain the PS brand.

It is the electronic edition of the magazine that is ending with issue #804,
Mike Rhode notes the print edition ended with issue #775.

The Army said that they ended publication of the print version in 2017:
“A World War II publication, Army Motors, which used a few cartoon characters to discuss maintenance problems, became the model for a new publication. In June 1951, the first issue of PS Magazine was published using the cartoon format. The Army technical bulletin transitioned to an all-digital format in June 2017, publishing its 775th edition — the last to run in print.”

 

The manual is famous among comic circles for having Will Eisner as artist and art director for its first 20 years. Other recognizable names whose studios were responsible for the art include Murphy Anderson, Zeke Zekely, and Joe Kubert. Artists in those studios included Mike Ploog, Dan Spiegle, Alfred Alcala, Augie Scotto, Dan Zolnerowich, Creig Flessel, and about 100 more.

The Best of PS Magazine site lists the studios that provided art for the magazine from 1951 to 2011.

The latest artists contributing (that I find) are Rob Van Hook and Bob Hardin, both graduates of the Joe Kubert School. So if the JKS is not directing art until the end, there remains a close association.

The Best of PS Magazine lists over 100 artists they can connect to the “comic.”

Surfing that “Best of…” site will inform on many of the artists, famed and not.

 

Community Comments

#1 Kip Williams
November/21/2019
@ 11:12 pm

Though a search of my house seems to contradict it, I have clear memories of having a paperback collection of items from PS, with rounded page corners for artistic verisimilitude.

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