Just for Fun: Sprocket Man!

Government Book Talk has had a busy couple of weeks getting up and running, so it’s time to kick back, relax,  and talk about one of the many unexplored corners of the world of Federal publications. Sprocket Man, the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s superhero for safe biking, began in 1975 as a comic book character created at Stanford University for the California  Department of Public Safety and the nonprofit Urban Bikeway Design Collaborative. Somewhere along the line, he and his comic books were picked up by the Commission. I know that the GPO sales program carried them at one time, although I don’t know if we sold them singly or in packages. (I checked, and we don’t sell them anymore).

Thanks to the depository library program, you can find Sprocket Man here. Although at first the idea of a superhero dedicated to bicycle safety seems a bit…overdone, I can see how he’s a good way to reach younger bikers. He’s pretty intense, but he gets his message across. Although a few comic buffs seem to scorn him, Sprocket Man is still available for download at a number of safety-oriented Web sites and for collectors at several comic book sites.

 Tune in next Friday for another trip down the one of the many byways of Government books, and don’t forget to wear your helmet!

13 Responses to Just for Fun: Sprocket Man!

  1. […] posts including: Society through a Comic Lens, The Nuttall Tick Catalogue, Dr. Seuss, U.S. Army, Sprocket Man!, War Games, and Ponzimonium. You'll chuckle over the odd, quirky, ironic or inadvertently funny […]

  2. schwinn price says:

    The most difficult thing is to find a blog with unique and fresh content but your posts are not alike. Good job!

  3. [...] using superhero/anti-hero models like Sprocket Man (reviewed in our April 9, 2010, blog post “Just for Fun: Sprocket Man!” ) and El Gato to capture the attention of the targeted audience and cross educational [...]

  4. Teresa says:

    I just found a Sprocket Man comic at a local antique/junk shop.

  5. [...] Just for Fun: Sprocket Man! « Government Book Talk – Somewhere along the line, he and his comic books were picked up by the Commission. I know that the GPO sales program carried them at one time, although I don’t know if we sold them singly or in packages. (I checked, and we don’t sell … [...]

  6. If you have a yen to check out the comic in print, see the WorldCat record at http://www.worldcat.org/title/sprocket-man-cpsc-comics/oclc/30910204.

    This is one of the titles that we put onto the Free Government Information “Best Titles Ever!” at http://freegovinfo.info/best.

    I’m loving your choice of titles so far. Keep up the good work!

  7. govbooktalk says:

    Generally speaking, Federal Government publications are in the public domain. Because Sprocket Man originated at Stanford, however, you may want to contact someone there to find out about any issues regarding the illustrations. This article, which supplies some background, indicates that Stanford was still using Sprocket Man as late as 2002:

    http://news.stanford.edu/news/2002/october23/sprocket-1023.html

    I hope this helps.

  8. In my off time I’m involved with bicycling advocacy in the Lansing, Michigan, area. Is Sprocketman in the public domain or does Stanford still hold the rights? Some local groups would like to use its illustrations.

  9. Susan James says:

    This is great-in PDF, too! and Thx, Rob for the Coloring Book link!!
    I’m really getting to love this BLOG.

  10. Rob Lopresti says:

    Ah, good ol’ Sprocket Man. As a bicyclist I’m very fond of the old coot. Are you aware of this webpage http://govdocs.evergreen.edu/coloringbooks.html created by Carlos Diaz, government information librarian at Evergreen State College? It is a comprehensive list of federal coloring books.

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