Seeing Carol Tilley lecture at the National Archives on the letters kids wrote to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Special Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency in 1954 defending comics books turned out not to be the only comics-related thing in my life this afternoon. Because as I was heading back to Union Station for my train home, I came upon the following street art which made political statements by tweaking actual covers from old comic books.
Here are the four I saw, accompanied by the original covers I tracked down.
I’m embarrassed to say that I’d never heard of Activist Comics until today, but based on their site, they’ve been around since 2014, the creation of The PSA Crew, “a loosely-knit band of street artists in Los Angeles using street art to spread awareness about important civic issues.” I disagree with the assertion that they used “covers that are now in the public domain”—but I don’t think that matters, because in my opinion they’re transformative and fully protected under the fair use doctrine.
I’ll definitely keep my eye out for more of these in the wild the next time I head into D.C., but in the meantime, check out the Activist Comics site for more examples of their entertaining political posters.