#0052: Bob and Betty and Santa's Wishing Whistle (1941)
See that beautiful image up there? Yeah, well our copy looks nothing like that. Nothing, at all.
When you set out to purchase 3,563 comic books with funds provided by the federal government one of the keys words is: economize. Whenever multiple copies of the same comic book were available to us, we always took the one in the worst shape, since that would be the least costly. I can't recall if we had multiple options on this one, but we could not have gotten one in much worst shape. Ours is missing its staples and it looks a lot like a dog has chewed the cover. The paper is so brittle I am loathe to even turn the pages. Handle with care!
The comic itself is fascinating. I'm not sure if this is the only comic book in the corpus that is wider than it is tall, but if not it is one of only a very few. As you can see by the cover, this was a Sears Roebuck give-away comic book from Christmas season 1941. I don't think Bob and Betty were an on-going pair of characters (there was a Betty and Bob series in Catholic Comics, published by Charlton later in the 1940s, but I don't know if they were the same duo).
The story is almost exactly as you would picture it - Santa takes a brother and sister to the North Pole for a visit and the get to see how all the toys are made. It is twelve pages long, with no ads and no credits of any kind. There is tiny printing notice on the back. One striking element is that the panels are all numbered, despite the fact that the layouts are extremely traditional. This is a holdover practice in a lot of comics targeted towards very young children in the period.