Rise of the Eco-Comics: The State, Environmental Education and Canadian Comic Books, 1971-1975

Mark J. McLaughlin


In the 1960s and 1970s, North American governments used
comic books with explicitly modern environmental themes or, as I have termed them, “eco-comics”
as part of state-sponsored environmental education programs designed to mitigate the possible
effects of the bourgeoning environmental movement on economic growth. This article
contextualizes the eco-comic
Captain Enviro (1972) within the
post–Second World War anglophone Canadian comic book industry, discusses the emergence of
environmental education in the 1960s and 1970s and uses a visual cultural analysis of
Captain Enviro to unravel some of the nuances of the type of
environmentalism advocated by the state—in this particular case, the Committee of Environment
Ministers of the Council of Maritime Premiers—during this period.

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