Thursday, August 23, 2012


Comic-books on economy

A not-too-insignificant contribution to this Friday’s Forgotten Books edition over at Patti Abbott’s blog Pattinase. Don’t forget to read the fine reviews of forgotten books by other bloggers over there.

Back in school, comic-books gave me more education than text-books, starting with Amar Chitra Katha (Immortal Picture Stories), India's largest and most popular comics imprint. In spite of their often mediocre artwork, these comics retold captivating stories from the great Indian epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana, history, mythology, fables and folklore, and the Indian freedom movement, apart from easy-to-read profiles of noted social reformers, political leaders, freedom fighters, and spiritual gurus—all in comic-book format.

I don't know much about economy, so these days I'm brushing up my knowledge of this rather tiresome subject by reading the comic-book series brought out by the publications division of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. You can read and learn the basics of economy in comic-book format and enjoy it too.

Here are introductions to six comics from the series, courtesy of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Public Affairs Department.

Learn the major functions of the Federal Reserve System, the tools of monetary policy and how they work, and the other ways in which the Fed helps the US economy and financial system to function.

A history of the US monetary system and events leading to the establishment of the Federal Reserve System.

This comic-book explains the meaning and purpose of monetary policy, how the Federal Reserve makes monetary policy, and how the tools of monetary policy work.

Find out the causes and effects of inflation.

Illustrates the importance of savings, how it benefits all of us, and the various types of savings instruments and institutions.

Three young entrepreneurs use sophisticated bank services over a 23-year period. It also explores the role of checking deposits and lending in money creation.


  1. Very interesting Prashant - its an aspect of the form that I have really forgotten about but of course we would have read a lot of non-fiction books in this form at school too. It's een a really long time since I read any kind of comic bookfrom cover to cover though I have greatly enjoyed such movie adaptations of late as the new BATMAN film and the much lighter AVENGERS movie.

    1. Thank you, Sergio. I still read and collect and read comic-books, both fiction and non-fiction like the ones I featured above. These are available at though the illustrations seem more like cartoons than your regular comic-book pictures. Educational, nonetheless.

      I saw the new BATMAN film and though Bale is pretty good as Gotham's vigilante, I still prefer Val Kilmer's BATMAN and that was such a long time ago. I thought THE AVENGERS were incomplete without Spider-Man but given the script the web-spinner would have had little to do.

  2. You are full of surprise...During the housing boom here several years ago, the marketing arm of a developer used a comic book to reach Hispanic home buyers.

    1. Thanks, Ron. I surprise myself too. I'm making hay in the copyright-free literary world. There are some truly fascinating books and magazines out there. I wish I had more time to write at least a few lines about them here.

  3. Wow. I wish my investment bank would publish a comic book series on how my mutual funds work. I can't for the life of me make any sense of the charts and graphs in their reports. And Bank of America could do with a little lesson in illustrative techniques as far as my mortgage in concerned. Thanks for this excellent post on some very unusual books!

    P.S. I think Val Kilmer was the best movie Batman, too. It may not have been the best Batman movie though.

    1. Ditto, John, and thanks for the appreciation. I know next to nothing about economy or investment. So this was a good way to read and learn something worthwhile. In the past companies in India mirrored American companies by advertising their products, usually biscuits or chocolates, in the comic-book format.

      Val Kilmer was, indeed, the best Batman and Michael Keaton was the least looking. Somehow he just didn't fit into Batman's shoes. I'm tolerating Christian Bale so far, just as I did Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man.