Printing government budgets year after year may have gotten a little stale for the Government Printing Office, so they’ve decided to spice things up a bit. GPO today announced the publication of its first comic book, “Squeaks Discovers Type!”
In the comic, the titular hero traces the history of printing, from cuneiform, to medieval illuminated manuscripts, to Gutenberg’s printing press, to the Internet age. (You can read a few sample pages here.) The whole thing was handled in house — GPO promotions manager Jim Cameron wrote the story, graphic designer Nick Crawford illustrated and colored it, and the agency printed 5,000 copies of the educational funnybooks on its own presses. GPO even held an autograph session with the creators Sept. 1.
GPO wanted to find some way to explain how important printing still is as part of its 150th anniversary celebration, and hit on the comic book idea as a good way to reach kids.
“I think the challenging part of the project was to make sure that it was historically accurate and that all of the information was correct while making it cool,” Crawford said in a promotional video. “I wanted to make it so that it was something kids would gravitate toward.”
Although GPO’s not yet ready to take on Marvel and DC Comics, they’re on their way. But something tells me that in 10 years, they’ll hire Frank Miller (“Batman: The Dark Knight Returns”) and Alan “Watchmen” Moore as contractors to handle the inevitable “grim-and-gritty,” antiheroic reinvention of Squeaks. (Here’s a story suggestion for the sequel: An older, troubled Squeaks — perhaps with a drinking problem caused by his torment over the decline of printed media — comes out of retirement for one last job and gets more than he bargained for.)
(Oh, and if you’re not a comic geek, you’re probably wondering what’s up with the whole “excelsior!” thing. That’s the catchphrase Spider-Man and X-Men creator Stan Lee uses to sign off his columns.)