1947 Anti-Communist Comic Book Is This Tomorrow, Up for Auction

One of the most famous propaganda comic books in American history, Is This Tomorrow, published at the dawn of the Cold War era in 1947, was designed to be a chilling take about the possibility of a communist takeover of the United States accomplished via a combination of propaganda, media control, political agitation tactics, subversion of government and military institutions and other tactics.  Publisher Catechetical Guild Educational Society had been publisher of the long-running Topix Comics among others, and would go on to publish other propaganda comics which included Blood is the Harvest, If the Devil Would Talk, and The Red IcebergIs This Tomorrow is also notable for containing early work by legendary Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.  Schulz had also been a contributor to the publisher's Topix ComicsIs This Tomorrow is widely considered a historically important part of American comic book publishing history in the context of the Cold War era and has been sought after by collectors for decades.  There's a high-grade copy of Is This Tomorrow #1 (Catechetical Guild, 1947) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

Is This Tomorrow #1 (Catechetical Guild, 1947)
Is This Tomorrow #1 (Catechetical Guild, 1947)

Is This Tomorrow was widely discussed and generated some controversy from the moment of its release.  The comic book was banned in Detroit, for the reason given that its "pictures therein are devoted, in the main, to scenes of violence and crime."  This ban was eventually reversed after meetings and protests by Catholic Digest and other organizations.  It was briefly banned in Boston, after "the misunderstanding of a well-intentioned mother who believed that her 12-year-old son had purchased a piece of communistic-inspired literature resulted in a police probe."

At least one FBI memo to J. Edgar Hoover was generated on the subject of Is This Tomorrow.  Unsurprisingly, this release caused an uproar in the socialist newspaper The Daily Worker, which accused a publisher called American Business Consultants of being involved in the distribution of Is This Tomorrow.  American Business Consultants was on Hoover's radar because three former FBI agents were involved there, helping to publish the anti-communist newsletter Counterattack, and more infamously publishing Red Channels: The Report of Communist Influence in Radio and Television which was a list of 151 actors, writers, musicians, broadcast journalists and others who were alleged to be communists or have communist connections.  Red Channels became the primary basis and instigator of the communist blacklists of this era.  There's no known evidence to support the claim that American Business Consultants helped distribute Is This Tomorrow.  It appears Catechetical Guild used International Circulation Company, a division of Hearst, to distribute the comic book.  The FBI memo also reveals that Hoover had received an advance copy of the comic.

In addition to one-shot issues like Blood is the Harvest and The Red Iceberg, Catechetical Guild would also come to tackle communism in its long-running Treasure Chest comic book series, where legendary artist Reed Crandall drew a 10-part series called This Godless Communism. But for all of these efforts, Is This Tomorrow remains the publisher's most famous publication.  There's a high-grade copy of Is This Tomorrow #1 (Catechetical Guild, 1947) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white pages up for auction in the 2022 July 3-4 Sunday & Monday Comic Books Select Auction #122227 from Heritage Auctions.

Is This Tomorrow #1 (Catechetical Guild, 1947) CGC VF/NM 9.0 Off-white pages. Burning American flag cover. Anti-communism propaganda comic; used in Parade of Pleasure on page 102. Overstreet 2021 VF/NM 9.0 value = $395; NM- 9.2 value = $550. CGC census 6/22: 11 in 9.0, 14 higher.

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About Mark Seifert

Co-founder and Creative director of Bleeding Cool parent company Avatar Press. Bleeding Cool Managing Editor, tech and data wrangler. Machine Learning hobbyist. Vintage paper addict.
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