Cartoonist and writer Will Eisner (1917-2005) was one of the most significant pioneers and innovators within the 20th-century comic book industry. Eisner’s contributions are reflected in its annual awards for creative achievement that bear his name — the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. Though his career spanned over half of the century, Eisner is perhaps best known for one of his earliest works — his comic strip The Spirit, which debuted in newspapers in 1940.
Soon after The Spirit began its run, Will Eisner was drafted into the Army during World War II. During his service, he created a series of illustrations to provide soldiers with helpful information about safety and preventive maintenance. Illustrating for Army publications and maintenance manuals, Eisner created the character “Joe Dope” who, through his misadventures, reminded soldiers of the importance of maintaining their equipment properly.
Joe Dope features in several posters depicting Eisner’s “what not to do” illustrations within the World War II Posters 1942-1945 series (44-PA) which is digitized in its entirety and maintained by the Still Picture Branch. Here is a sample:
Please note that there are posters within this series (44-PA) that may have copyright restrictions. Refer to our copyright and publications statement below. And for more information on World War II posters from this and other series, check out the Unwritten Record blog post titled We Can Do It!: World War II Posters at the Still Picture Branch.
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*Because so many of our requests for information cite credits and captions that appear in published works, the inclusion of a photo number in hard copy and electronic publications is of great assistance to both us and the public.
Examples of preferred credit lines are as follows:
National Archives photo no. 80-G-32500
Credit National Archives (photo no. 306-NT-186000)
Courtesy National Archives, photo no. 26-G-3422
National Archives (111-SC-202199)
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