POW! The Fed fights the evil doers of financial illiteracy with comic books

Look up in the sky! It's a bird. It's a plane, it's . . . . The Federal Reserve.

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That call to action long associated with DC Comics' icon Superman could now be used by the nation's central bank because in addition to monetary policy, it is now in the comic book business.

Don't look for Fed Chair Jay Powell to don a cape and tights with a big red "F" on his chest. But The Incredible Hulk may be able to relate to one of the comic books, "The Story of Monetary Policy" as it offers several green characters.

The Fed is not looking to disrupt the business of Marvel or DC Comics. Rather it is looking to educate people on financial literacy while appealing to a younger audience. Titles include the aforementioned “The Story of Monetary Policy,”   “Once Upon a Dime” and “The Story of the Federal Reserve System.”

The concept is not a new one for the Fed. It has issued several comics since the 1950s, Andrea Priest, a spokeswoman for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York recently told the New York Times.

Nor is this the first time that government agencies have used comics and comic books to educate the public. In 1971, rather than publish its own title, the National Institute of Mental Health approached the late comic book legend Stan Lee and Marvel comics about using one of its characters for an anti-drug message. The result: a three-issue mini-series focusing on Spiderman promoting an anti-drug abuse campaign.

Beyond Marvel and DC Comics, a company called JumoHealth creates health-related comic books for a variety of clients.

The lessons imparted in the Fed’s comics are packed with financial insight, targeting a young audience in an effort to teach them financial literacy and wisdom at a young age.

The illustrator behind the Fed's original set of comics is Ed Steinberg, an adjunct professor of economics at New York University, told the New York Times that the titles he worked on received, “requests for millions of copies.”

Issues tackled in Steinberg’s comics dealt with things like parents saving for their children’s college education, penalties for early withdrawals of certain monetary holdings such as one’s 401k, interest rate and even math tricks.

The Fed's new comic series is created and led by a new team which included cartoonists,  writers and economists is led by artist Paul Noah. Just as the economy has changed since the 1950s, the comics have changed as well as providing readers with a look at subjects like Fed monetary strategies and a look at the stock market.

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