We live in a post-historical time where anything that happened before, oh, say, 1998 is ancient history suitable only for dredging up out of our fusty, addled memories as we desperately search for something to holler at those kids who are constantly walking across our lawn. Why, those kids probably think that public safety announcements in comic books date to some time deep in the "Just Say No" era of Nancy Reagan and Mr. T teaming up to fight drugs. But like so much else, they'd be wrong. Why, even back in the 1950s some of our most popular comic book characters were taking time out of their busy lives to keep us informed of health and safety issues!
Reggie is in peak Bob Hope form here as the "Hubba Hubba" rings across the beach, signal to one and all that 50s era teens are on the make. Lock up your daughters! But what's that, Jughead? What danger lurks on an innocent beach? Is it the beach monster as seen in the 1981 John Saxon / Burt Young picture "Blood Beach?" I sure hope so!
The danger here is Old Sol himself, blasting us all with his deadly yet life-giving rays. Especially deadly in this instance because it's the 1950s and we're still years away from SPF numbers and water-resistant sunscreens. Even bathing yourself in vinegar won't help (and why would it?)
"Actinic." Now there's a word you don't see much any more.
Another powerfully hot source of injury on this beach is the lifeguard, who is beating up Reggie when he should be saving me from drowning. Glub glub.
Oh man, Veronica can't borrow the car, the buses aren't running, there's never a taxi when you need one, and Uber and the means with which to summon an Uber are decades away! On the plus side, here's Archie and his bicycle, and here's David "The Lighter Side Of..." Berg to draw the whole thing, back when he was still signing his name "Davy" and had yet to create his self-insertion character Roger Kaputnik. I wonder if Jughead will have something to say about Archie's offer to let Veronica sit on his handlebars?
Of course killjoy Jughead has to ruin everybody's fun by reminding all the readers that letting somebody ride on your handlebars, or on the crossbar as seen here, is really dangerous. Not really that practical either. I mean, I grew up in the Evel Knievel era, we were taking our bike over some sweet jumps built out of scrap lumber and bricks, we did a lot of crazy stuff on our bikes, but riding around with somebody sitting on our handlebars? That's just not happening. And it isn't happening here, either!
Ronnie got to the hospital eventually. Archie escaped with only minor injuries; he smashed his face and left a big gap between his front teeth, and the side of his head was covered with weird criss-cross marks, and... what? Really. Wow.
Jughead is mere minutes away from one of those awesome seventy-five cent haircuts, but he's deeply invested in his own home safety project of testing for gas leaks with a match. What happened Jughead? You used to be Mister Safety and now you definitely are not!
Fun fact - this is also how you can find leaks in tires: get some soapy water, watch for the bubbles. Let Archie lecture the painfully burned Jughead for a few more minutes before he calls the ambulance, okay?
Find the leak with soap, plug the leak with soap, heal Jughead's third degree burns... is there anything soap can't do? Live SAFE - with SOAP!
Like any safety-minded young man Jughead knows the importance of a good night's sleep, and he's going to do whatever it takes to get it! But what IS he doing?
Oh look at that, he went right where he sleeps best - his desk at school. Well, that's a pretty good gag, and I guess if Archie Comics wanted to re-use the joke they'd be perfectly justified, right?
And they did re-use the gag, and they paid Samm Schwartz to draw it all over again! A double victory. But we have to ask ourselves, why does Jughead have such trouble sleeping in his bed like a normal all-American teenager?
It's because he sleeps everywhere else, of course. Well, that's about all the safety tips we can glean from comic books for this week, so we'll leave you with a word of advice from those well known experts, Betty and Veronica.
LOWER than NOTHING, I SAID!!
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