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Lent Comics

The above For Heaven’s Sake was one of very few comic strips that touched on the subject this year.

But the National Catholic Reporter has a story about the Treasure Chest comic book
whose first issue was published in time for Lent 1946.

As Lent began in 1946, students in American Catholic schools were treated to a new publication

A comic book called “Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact” extolled the value of Lent, showed how salt was made and detailed the founding of the state Maryland — the most Catholic-friendly of the 13 original colonies. It also told stories of the Robinson family turning their basement into a “rumpus room,” Navy salvage diver Skee Barry and Chuck White, who moved with his father to a new town and tried to stay on the straight and narrow.

“Treasure Chest” was presented as a wholesome alternative (it was distributed mostly in Catholic schools, so how bad could it be?), with the ongoing saga of Chuck White and other serial fiction, along with stories teaching about Catholic doctrine and famous figures, from Allan Pinkerton to Babe Ruth

While not totally devoted to religious teaching those first issues were devout in their presentations. By the time the comic book ended in 1972 Christ was hardly mentioned though the stories still highlighted good morals and education.

Cartoonists in those first issues included Violet Moore Higgins, Tom Hickey, John Pierotti, and Jim Mooney among the cartoonists whose names I recognize in that first year of publication. That last 1972 issue has work by a wealth of name cartoonists: Fran Matera, Joe Sinnott, Al Kaufman, Mario De Marco, Reed Candall, Frank Johnson, Marvin Townsend, Lloyd Osterndorf, Emil Rodriguez, Frank Hill, and Frank Baginski.

All(?) issues can be read at The Catholic University of America.


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