Golden Key Media has released the first two volumes in a new series of anthologies collecting selections from the classic, mid-century comic book series, Treasure Box of Fun & Fact, by Catholic publisher George A. Pflaum.
The series ran from 1946 to 1972 and was distributed to Catholic grade schools by subscription throughout the school year (and for a brief period, summer editions were also available). Much of its content was a mixture of historical and adventure stories, “funny” animal stories, and the like occupied much of the space. One ongoing, serialized story, that of “Chuck White,” told the story of a Protestant boy who converted to Catholicism.
However, each issue typically featured a story from the Bible, of the saints, a given feast day or season, or some historical aspect of the Catholic faith.
Those stories capture a unique period in mid-century American Catholicism, an era many consider something of a “golden age” of practice of the faith. Perhaps more to the point, the stories are often charming representations of various aspect of Catholic life, including some long-practiced and beloved traditions known to generations of Catholics but in many cases sadly lost in the cultural changes in the Church after Vatican II.
To the knowledge of the publishers of this volume, no attempt has been made in the past to collect stories from Treasure Chest in recent print form (the majority of issues of the series, and all of the stories collected in this volume, have entered the public domain).
It seemed a worthy endeavor, then, to collect stories of a given theme from the hundreds of issues of the series, beginning, naturally enough, with the place the Church begins Her year, Advent, and continuing through Christmastide, Epiphany, and through the Feast of the Presentation, or Candlemas, considered at various times and places in history to be the “final, final” end of the seasons observing the coming of Our Lord.
The second volume collects stories focusing on Lent, Easter, and the various feast days on the Church calendar which typically occupy those seasons.
Among the artists who worked on the series through the decades were the likes of Marvel’s Joe Sinnott; DC’s Jim Mooney, Bernard Baily, and Murphy Anderson; EC’s Reed Crandall, and Joe Orlando of multiple companies, to name a few.
And since the series is best known among comic book historians for the work of artists like those referenced above, and as exemplary of the anti-Communist popular art of the period, it might be easy to overlook, for the Catholic reader, what might be called the “devotional” value of at least portions of Treasure Chest.
These collections aim to remedy that oversight, and introduce new generations of readers to an oft-overlooked treasure trove of 20th century Catholic culture, with future volumes (including one nearly ready to go to press on the Mass, Sacraments, and Church teachings) in the works.
Golden Key Media