Deed-A-Day Danny , drawn by Hugh McNeil, first appeared as a half-page black and white strip in The Knock-Out Comic No.1, dated March 4th 1939. Later re-titled Knockout Comic the publication ran until 16th February 1963. Deed-A-Day Danny, promoted to the front cover in issue 15, lasted until 1954.
Deed-A-Day Danny was a Boy Scout. True to the Scout promise to perform some good deed each day Danny was tasked each episode to with some activity to help others. With few exceptions his efforts at altruism ended in disaster through misunderstanding, the ill-will of others or just bad luck. He was then scorned, vilified and threatened by those he had tried to help and often the recipient of physical abuse of one kind or another.
What is the message here? I am not a conspiracy theorist but seems to me that the strips depressing story arc would match a wicked capitalist’s aim of discouraging activism. We seem to be told not try to improve things, don’t aid the needy, because it will only end in pain and humiliation for you and probably for those you tried to help. Mind your own business and let the troubled take care of themselves seems a most peculiar outlook to be promoting during World War2, the years in which many of the strips were published. Reading them at the time these concerns never entered my head. Then my question about Deed-A-Day Danny -and it still lingers – was why is he accompanied by what appears to be a small, seemingly flightless, bird?
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