Caleb Orecchio here with the Dayton-based educational comic, Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact—plus other news.
Several weeks ago I found Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact Vol. 24 No.12 in a dollar bin here in Dayton, OH. It was a nice find. The cover was a portrait of The Wright Brothers, Dayton’s most celebrated sons, with the cover story drawn by none other than “Joltin'” Joe Sinnot. “What a find!” I thought. I look at the indicia and found the book was published right here in Dayton, OH–on 5th Street, right near where the convention center is (where they now hold Gem City Comic Con). “Gee! This is tops!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I had no idea this comic existed, nor did I realize (obviously) that it was published right here in Dayton near a culturally thriving part of the city.
The issue itself is cool. The Sinnot/Wright Bros story, some gag strips, some serialized stories, an illustrated prose story about elephant poaching, and a great editorial page called “Backtalk” located on each inside cover that could go toe-to-toe with Stan’s Soapbox. It was an educational comic that was published “twice monthly during the school year…” It was distributed across the U.S. and Canada, subscription-only, to Catholic schools mostly from what I can find–which makes sense with Dayton being a primarily Catholic town in the past (ever heard of the University of Dayton?), and being in the Rust Belt.
The series ran from 1946 to 1972. You get some great EC cartoonists like Joe Orlando (!) and Reed Crandall, plus Silver Agers like Sinnot throughout the years. Really interesting stuff—and many other notable artists. I love finding these x-factor comic books that seem to come out of nowhere (to me).
Anyway, the most interesting part I found about this series was the story, “This Godless Communism.” Drawn by Reed Crandall (whom I’m a fan of), it was a 10-part story serialized in every other issue from Vol.17 No.2, until No.20 in 1961. Basically, the title (you have to admit it’s a zinger of a title despite the propaganda) says it all. It documents the rise of communism in Russia and its evils and all that. Evidently, the story made it’s way up the chain. Look at the letter below that graced the inside front cover of the Vol.17 No.2. This must have been the pride of George A. Pflaum, the publisher of this Daytonian mag:
NOTE: Apologies for the bad scan above–it’s the best I could find online since I don’t actually own the physical copy. The other images of Treasure Chest herein are from my own copy and scanned at a reasonable dpi.
You can read and/or download, if you want, “This Godless Communism” in it’s entirety here, and be on the lookout for other issues of Treasure Chest of Fun and Fact in your local dollar bin. To me, it’s one of those weird pieces of comics history that almost seems to run parallel with the industry as oppose to within it—make sense? It’s just weird that it exists I guess.
if you don’t know, now you know
- Gilbert Hernandez gives a “graphic review” of Catcher in the Rye at The NY Times.
- TCJ.com has a great inside baseball conversation between Dash Shaw and Connor Willumsen about the latter’s book, Anti-Gone. Also, Greg Hunter reviews Old Ground by Noel Freibert on the same site.
- Didem Tali writes about women in Mongolia making comics to raise questions about gender norms.
- Shout out to Dayton comics-blood-brother Jason Hart who is appearing in the New Zealand literary magazine, Geometry, issue 2. The comic that appears in the mag is a short story he did last year I think. It’s called, “Message in a Bottle”. I am happy to see it find a home because this to me was around the time we both were finding our sea legs in comics and was his best work at the time. He has since gone on to be published in Ink Brick and other publications.
- Former New York State Senator Marc C. Panepinto had a box of comics stolen from him, which he claims was worth $20,000 to $40,000. Haha I wonder what the perpetrator’s reaction will be when they find out that comics are actually worthless.
- The Schulz Museum is hosting a fundraiser for those affected by the North Bay wildfires.
- See the journey of Simon Vance, narrator of Alan Moore’s Jerusalem audio book, to Northampton where he meets with the man himself. Prologue starts here.
The Winter Semester of thee Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers starts January 18th 2018! 8 weeks – 500 bux – coaching for as long as you need. The course is hard, but Frank will push your comics making practice to a new level, getting you to think about timing and color in new ways. Makes a great holiday gift for yourself – or for a loved one who is interested in comics. Apply by midnight (EST) on Dec. 25th and get $100 off the course price.
Suzy and Cecil – 12-11-2017 – by Sally Ingraham