Teen Titans PSA comic
You’ve got to love the Reagan era. Enter a time when Public Service Announcements and commercials where disguised as children’s entertainment, and DARE ( Drug Abuse Resistance Education) was mandatory for public school children. No wonder the economy was flourishing! Kids were too busy nagging their parents to buy toy versions of their favorite cartoons and celebrities to be concerned about non-taxable entertainment such as drugs.
In 1983, DC Comics, the Keebler Company, and The Presidents Drug Awareness Campaign released a 30 page comic that warned about the dangers of illegal drugs. In short, a major comic book publisher and a elvin cookie-company mascot teamed with the government to scare the be-jesus out of little children.
Examiner Note: I wanna take this opportunity to point out the irony of a company that sells stoner food to tell kids not to smoke pot while at the same time encouraging a sugar addiction. I'm just sayin.
The New Teen Titans PSA comic reads like an “educational” pamphlet, warning that alcohol is a “gateway drug” that will eventually have you hooked on every illegal drug on the market.
On the front cover, Speedy is holding a dead child, and the comic starts with an official letter signed by Nancy Reagan, stating that you should stay drug free at any cost, and be a true hero.
The story is intermittent with testimonies of five teens and adolescents who are self professed “druggies” and they get all watery eyed every time they tell their story. In fact, the only character that doesn’t cry during his story is Speedy. What an insensitive a-hole!
Six pages into the book, a kid dies from a drug overdose. His little sister who is twelve, begins to cry and talk to the reader. She shares her addiction to pot, hash, hash oil (what the heck is hash oil), Dilaudid, cocaine, downers, and Quaaludes. Also, she confides that she’s been using these drugs for 3 years! So this chick started using hardcore narcotics at age nine? Come on now! Seriously?
Her friends force her to smoke a fat joint before going to her brothers funeral, and during the wake, she begins laughing uncontrollably, and giggling at the statement that her brother “was a good boy.” Soon, she starts crying and screams repeatedly that she wants to die. A few panels later she is balled up in fetal position outside the cemetery, completely hysterical, and mumbling to herself. Scared straight yet?
Then Raven from the Teen Titans tells us the side effects of drug-use. Which include but are not limited to: stomach pains, cramps, anxiety, tremors, panic, mood swings, depression, increased blood pressure, and violent outbursts.
Speedy (now known as Justice Leaguer Red Arrow) goes on to share his battle with addiction at age thirteen. Telling how he thought doing pot was safe, but further research has shown that it isn’t safe at all. This presumptuous statement isn’t followed by any facts of the sort, and allows young minds to take it at face value. He goes on to tell how using drugs isolated him from his “straight” friends, and all he wanted to do was steal to support his habit while hanging with his “druggie” friends. The closing statement of his testimonial warns that drugs make you constantly sick and all you want to do is kill yourself.
The Titans track down the drug dealers only to find that they are intentionally lacing the drugs with poison, and they’re overheard saying, “if kids are stupid enough to buy them, then they deserve to die.” How is killing your clientele good for business? Even though this statement obviously abandons logic, most children wouldn’t question this ludicrous notion. They would just continue to read in wide-eyed amazement.
In the final pages, the Keebler elf monologues about how drugs will make you lose everything that is precious to you, and forcibly encourages the reader to sign a declaration endorsed by the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Department of Education. The document on the inside of back cover is compared to the United States Declaration of Independence in legality, and there‘s two signature lines. One is signed by the child, and the other by the witness. It’s all very official. Children are warned that a declaration is serious business, and breaking this vow would be like breaking the law. Also, the signer is encouraged to share their decision with friends and family.
I’m not sure, but I think bulk quantities of this comic were dropped out of helicopters onto American suburbs in the mid-80’s.