Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Will Eisner: Preventive Service Monthly

Above: front & back cover of P*S issue no. 125, 1963 series.

Will Eisner, whose documentary premiered yesterday (with another showing on Sunday, May 6) in the past week, was a prolific guy. Eisner ran a number of studios, moving from comic books to comic strips to graphic novels with ease. One of his long-running efforts was PREVENTIVE SERVICE MONTHLY, or P*S, which he helmed for years.

Above: back cover of P*S issue no. 102, 1961 series.

P*S was not as glamorous as a costumed crime fighter or gritty stories about the city, but it deserves a bit more than a footnote. P*S was designed to remind the soldiers of the importance of doing the preventive maintenance and installation jobs the right way and contained a lot of information on stuff like:

Installing bolts and cotter pins

Grounding radio sets in trucks

Missile and rocket cable connections

G758-series vehicle spark plugs

Proper tools to use on UH-1 chopper engines

Above: back cover of P*S issue no. 33, 1955 series.

I'm not an expert on Eisner ... but I did have these couple of P*S mags. Each one has a poster on the back page, and it seemed ashamed to not share them.

Above: back cover of P*S issue no. 119, 1962 series.

A real true sentiment, in or out of the military.

The mag used to be called ARMY MOTORS, and Eisner had been highly successful combining cartoons with instruction for it. Although ARMY MOTORS ceased publication after WW2, the Army approached Eisner to revive the publication, now retitled as PREVENTIVE SERVICE, for distribution during the Korean conflict.

Eisner helmed a studio, and entered into a private contract relationship with the Army. The PS work was produced for over 20 years beginning in 1951, with his hands-on oversight. His assistants included Murphy Anderson and Mike Ploog.

Today, P*S continues on, with Joe Kubert at the helm.

Above: back cover of P*S issue no. 132, 1963 series.

Spooky, busty snowgirl!

Each issue has this at the bottom of its contents page: "Use of funds for printing of this publication has bee approved by Headquarters, Department of the Army, 4 April 1962. DISTRIBUTION: In accordance with requirements submitted on DA From 12-4."


Johnny C said...

The snow girl is just downright creepy!

Brian Fies said...

I find it interesting that in the biographies I've read of Eisner, he invests just as much pride and importance in his PS work as anything else he did, even The Spirit. Somehow, writing and drawing lessons about which socket wrench to use on a jeep spark plug was as fulfilling for him as tales of bungling detectives fighting for justice in the mean streets. Or at least as financially rewarding; I guess for a long time, PS was his bread and butter that gave him the freedom to do other things.

I do think Eisner's PS tenure says something interesting about the man's approach to art as a business--an area in which he was pretty visionary--and I always appreciate seeing samples. Thanks.

Unknown said...


Nice work on the PS stuff! I especially like the samples you chose.

There is, of course, a quite lengthy chapter on PS in Will Eisner: A Spirited Life, but a former PS editor and long-time friend of Will's, Paul Fitzgerald, is hard at work on a book focused solely on Eisner's PS tenure. It's a must for any fan!

Bob Andelman

Unknown said...

Nice post!

As the current editor of PS, I would like to point out that Joe Kubert works under the direction of the editorial staff at Redstone Arsenal, AL. We don't pretend to tell him how to draw, but we provide the words and photos or illustrations for his artists to prepare the technical artwork. said...

Very nice post. I have a post scheduled tomorrow on Eisner's "Connie Rodd". Check it: You might find it entertaining.

- Ranger Man

fitz said...

My publisher, Dan Herman, at Hermes Press, tells me that my book, WILL EISNER AND PS MAGAZINE, will be available mid-September 2008 in both soft cover and a Limited Edition S&N hard cover. Here's a link to my six-page website of description and discussion: