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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

‘Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy’ comic strips at JFK Library through May 31

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The comic strips are on display until May

In our rush to get to class and survive back to back lectures and labs, many of us at University of Massachusetts Boston often overlook the wealth of historic curiosities next door.
Recently, the neighboring John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum gained a set of 10 Superman comic strips by comic book artist Alfred (Al) J. Plastino, one of the most famous illustrators of the Superman strips.
In a sky-blue corner of the museum, “Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy” draws in museum goers with a traditional comic book style. Large, painted-on speech bubbles narrate the premise of the exhibit.
Developed during President Kennedy’s term as part of his health program known as President’s Council of Physical Fitness, the publication was curtailed when he was assassinated in 1963. Almost a year after his death, the comics were published to honor the president.
The program was the president’s way of monitoring child health. During Kennedy’s time, comic books were a major strategy for media communication.
The strips are in their original, hand-drawn form, complete with sketch marks, dates, and cuts where Plastino modified his work. They portray the tale of Kennedy and Superman teaming up to push Americans towards a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
Due to bad publicity of American health after a crisis, Kennedy calls on Superman to help encourage Americans to exercise more. In a series of encounters with American teens, Superman gradually promotes a national interest in staying fit. The strip ends with a parade supporting the President’s campaign and Kennedy congratulating Superman for a job well done.
The collection of artwork was donated by DC Entertainment and will be up for viewing until May 31.