Okay, you have to be a pretty old Catholic to remember this…but one of the longest-running comic books in American history was “Treasure Chest of Fun and Facts”, a comic book that was distributed through parochial schools throughout the U.S. from 1946 to 1972 (about 500 issues). It was one of the few (well, only) comic books that the sisters at St. Mark’s Elementary actually encouraged us to buy and read. You could sign up for a very reasonable subscription price and get your copy through the Church. You couldn’t buy it at a newsstand, but it had the same format as every other comic book we bought.
It was actually quite well done. Each issue had stories from the Bible, lives of Saints, sports stories, stories of famous Americans, and the long-running “Chuck White” series - a humorous adventure series about a (slightly overweight) Catholic boy, who was the offspring of a mixed marriage (Protestant dad and Catholic Mom, something a lot of us dealt with, but which was humorously dealt with), and which included some very forward-looking social stands - Chuck was probably the first character in American comic books to have African-American friends.
A lot of classic comic book artists and writers moonlighted on Treasure Chest, including artists like Graham Ingels (better known for his graphic horror stories on the “Tales from the Crypt” and other E.C. comics), Reed Crandall (DC’s “Blackhawk” and Tower Comics’ T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents"), Joe Sinnott (Thor, Fantastic Four), and lots more.
If you want to look at some old issues, all the issues from 1946 to 1963 are archived here:
This site has all the issues from 1946 to 1972 archived, hours of reading enjoyment:
As comic books (cough) urrr, “graphic novels” are being used know to provide lessons in business, science, history, and every social cause under the planet, it’s interesting to realize that the Church was one of the earliest institutions to use that format for education of its members.
I think the Church should start Treasure Chest back up again. What a great tool for apologetics and teaching kids about the Church, and to encourage the lessons of spirituality, charity, and faith in a fun and attractive format.
Bring back Chuck White!!!