A hat tip to ResourceShelf to the pointer about Richard Graham, who has put together a digital collection of comics created/commissioned by the government. There are over 180 comics available in the collection which is located at http://contentdm.unl.edu/cdm4/browse.php?CISOROOT=%2Fcomics.
The comics are presented in a gallery of twenty to a page, with titles and thumbnails. Most of them are in English though I did see a few in Spanish and other languages. The topics range from the mail to nutrition to drugs to the military. (“Lil’ Abner Joins the Navy!”) There are comics available for the 1940s on up, and in some cases the comics have popular mainstream characters (including Wee Pals, Peanuts, and Dennis the Menace.)
Clicking on an issue provides information like subject, description, artist, date, and and keywords. But the very best part is that if you go to the detail page (I recommend Security is an Eye Patch, starting Charlie Brown and sister Sally) and click on the thumbnail of the comic’s cover, you can download the entire comic as a PDF.
I love this collection. It’s so random. The comics range from serious to kind of silly to intensely weird. Supergirl wants you to wear your seat belt. A 1973 army pamphlet on troubleshooting equipment in combat units. A 1954 comic book on the wonders of Wyoming. And if you’re at all interested in underground comics, don’t miss “Consumer Comix”, a 1975 comic book on consumer protection brought to you by the Wisconsin Department of Justice. I really hope that R. Crumb got to read that one.
The PDF downloads are sometimes a bit slow, but it’s well worth it. Enjoy!