Friday, March 30, 2012



From the year 1909 comes this very cool postcard depicting a romantic scene from the year 2110.  I always enjoy seeing depictions of the future from different eras in the past.  I like the artist's futuristic vision of young love orbiting the Earth in a balloon rocket and wearing a space helmet built for two.  

The card has a postmark from the small town of Pattonsburg, Missouri and is dated Oct. 25 1909 at 5p.m.  It was mailed to Miss Lucy Wallace of Lucas Kansas.  The message on the back - "I thought I would send you and Nellie an air ship.  That's the way people go in Mo.  Automobiles are too common.  Think Clara & Clyde and Mabel & Charley are clear out of style.  Don't you?  Have been in Pattonsburg the past week, but am going home now.  It has rained nearly every day this week and some.  B.C."

Thursday, March 29, 2012


This is not good.  Nope, not good at all.  I'm craving a Mister Softee ice cream cone.  No ordinary ice cream cone will do because I want a Mister Softee ice cream cone.  

Mostly he likes to drive around in his little truck out east.  Hey Mister Softee, I think it's time to have a nationwide Mister Softee roadtrip and visit as many towns as you can.  You can start the tour in Neato Coolville!  Pretty please with sprinkles on top!!!

Give a listen to the theme song that emanates from the truck.  It instantly puts people of all ages into a trance that can't be broken until you enjoy some Mister Softee ice cream.  Go ahead and listen.  I dare you.


I like the kid graphics on the back of the truck.  I wonder if these kids have names?  

The kids are seen below enjoying a Chilleroo in this old ad slick.  Do they still sell the Chilleroo?    

They can also be seen in these vintage animated commercials uploaded to YouTube by Mister Softee of Southwest Florida.    


I guess I'll have to take my Mister Softee cravings and eat this Funko Wacky Wobler instead.  I don't think it will be as good as the real thing.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


One of my favorite short stories is "Robbie" by Isaac Asimov.  If you're not familiar with the story, it's about a little girl with a robot babysitter.  The robot was purchased by her parents from U.S. Robots and Mechanical Men Inc., in the year 1996.  Here's the manual cover for the RB series robot -

I created the Robbie manual cover using this 1967 robot header control manual.  I have no clue what a robot header control does, but it has to do with farm tractors.  As you can see, I didn't have to change much.

Monday, March 26, 2012


Back when I was kid, one of my favorite things to watch on TV were the Little Rascals/Our Gang comedies.  They were usually shown as part of a local kiddie show and I remember how much fun it was watching the crazy antics of these depression era kids.  Sometime in the early 80s my maternal Grandmother surprised me with an Our Gang jigsaw puzzle.  No this wasn't some newly created piece of nostalgia but an authentic piece of memorabilia during the original run of the comedy series.    

Originally in 1932, it was to be given away free with a bottle of McKesson's Milk of Magnesia. Boy, that was a pretty sweet deal even if Milk of Magnesia wasn't that appealing to kids.

(Sticking with the Our Gang theme, McKesson should have given this puzzle away with a a bottle of castor oil.)  

My Grandmother didn't recieve the puzzle back in the 30s with a bottle purchase.  Instead she bought the puzzle in the 1980s from Swensson's Drug Store in Macon, Missouri.  The puzzle was a perfect example of "new old stock" because the drug store owners found a stash of the puzzles that were never given away.

Luckily this artifact from my childhood survived thanks to my paternal Grandmother who helped me frame it for my bedroom wall.  It stayed on my wall until I moved away from home and for the past twenty years or so it has been buried in a box.  I kinda forgot about it until recently when I unearthed it. It was pretty excited when I opened up the frame to find that my Grandmother saved the envelope and stuffed it behind the puzzle for protection.  

Wow, that's two Grandmothers working in tandem!  One to gift it and the other to preserve it.     

Thursday, March 22, 2012


I’ve been carrying around some regrets that has haunted me since childhood. I was an avid comic book reader from age three to age fifteen and besides the stories and artwork, I enjoyed looking at all those crazy ads. You know the kind. The ones that advertised X-ray spex, seven foot monsters, manuals to learn Kung Fu, etc., etc., etc.

You would think during all those years of flipping through funny books I would have filled out an order blank and ordered something from one of those ads. Nope, not me! I always wanted to order stuff, but between my terrible procrastination habits and the wisdom of my dad, I never did. So for all these years I’ve wondered about some of those old ads. What did the kids really get for a few dollars? Did I miss out on some amazing stuff that might’ve changed my life forever?

Last fall my burning questions were finally answered by Kirk Demarais through his appropriately called book, Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads!

This is the book that I’ve been waiting to get my hands on for the past twenty years! Kirk has done the impossible and tracked down the actual items and paired them with the comic book ads. The book has 156 pages that is chocked full of all the ads you remember or forgot. Kirk’s witty comparisons of each item from what we imagined to what they sent is better than a bag full of laughs. (See page 142 to see for yourself.) Also it deserves to be mentioned that besides being the author, Kirk has done an amazing job on the design! 

Here’s the official trailer for the book -

Mail-Order Mysteries is one of my favorite books in my library and it will be one of those books I can flip through and get an instant smile for years to come. This book is a must buy!

Mail-Order Mysteries is up for a Rondo Horror Award for Best Book of the Year! Anyone can vote and I know I’m voting for this book. Visit for all the details. You’ll have fun voting in all the different horror categories. Hurry up, ‘cause voting ends midnight April 1.

Thanks Kirk for creating a book that doubled as therapy. All my childhood regrets have been wiped away!

--- Bonus Images ---

I’ve bought and sold toys and collectibles for many years and comic ad stuff hardly ever shows up. Apparently, Kirk’s book gave me some luck a few months ago. I found one of the most famous items from a comic book ad, the 100 Pc. Toy Soldier set complete with footlocker. It was in an antique store booth for five dollars more than the advertised price in the original ad.

Yippee for me, ‘cause this was one of the items I always wanted to order, but never did.

Here's an original piece of art by the great late Jim Aparo for Brave and the Bold #191.

I bought the page from Jim back in 2002 and this panel fits perfect for today’s post. Apparently the Joker is a fan of comic book ads and I bet he's already ordered a copy of Mail-Order Mysteries!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Let us travel back to the 1960s for a house tour somewhere in America.  Our time machine will be this group of Starlight Color Lab slides.  Now close your eyes and say Starlight Color Lab slides three times fast.  OK.  Now scroll down.

Whew!  Is everyone here?  Good, we all made it!  Looks like we picked a nice sunny day for a house tour.  Do you smell the fresh cut grass?  I do.

This is the house we'll be taking a tour of.  Let's walk up and check this ranch out!  Don't be afraid of the dog sitting next to the road.  That's Fido.  He's a good doggie and only bites Aqua Velva men.  Anyone wearing Aqua Velva might want to stay clear of Fido.

Here we are at the Gresham's!  They're expecting us, so we'll just walk right in.

Now shuffle inside and careful not to knock over the bird planter.  Mrs. Gresham won that at bingo night.

Feel free to have a seat.  Mr. Gresham was nice enough to remove all the plastic sofa coverings. Shh...don't tell him he forgot the plastic on the lampshades.

As you can see the Gresham's went with an Asian motif for the living room.  No, they've never had the fortune of traveling in the Far East, but Mrs. Gresham did find inspiration from a photo in Better Homes and Gardens.          

Mr. Gresham jokes that if he had it his way, the house would be decorated using a look out of Popular Mechanics instead.  Ah, that Mr. Gresham is always the kidder!

Watch out!  Beware of Fluffy, the Gresham's cat.  She is a rare breed that will put you in a trance if you look into her eyes more than three seconds.  So whatever you do, don't look into her eyes. DO NOT LOOK INTO HER EYES!!!!

As you can see, Mrs. Gresham has a green thumb.  She's also a collector of spoons and buys one or two every vacation.  She can also "play the spoons" and is hoping to get on Johnny Carson one of these days.  I wish we had time to hear her play, because she plays a mean version of "A Hard Day's Night".

Before we go back to the future, be sure to personally thank Mr. & Mrs. Gresham for inviting us into their home.  Thanks Mr. & Mrs. G!  You got a really neato cool home.  Banzai!

Friday, March 16, 2012



Today was slim pickings, but I managed to find this cool 1960s Clark Oil & Gas road map featuring the short lived ad mascots of Chief and Fizbee.  

Not much info out there on Chief and Fizbee and unfortunately a quick search didn't net any old TV commercials.  According to this website the two ad mascots were voiced by Mel Blanc! OK internet, you need to produce a commercial of these two.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Along with my Toughskins, I wore the shoes of winners.  Converse made a specially branded shoe for Sears called The Winner.  Any of you suffering from March Madness should appreciate these 1975 ads.

Monday, March 12, 2012


I was sad to hear that Jean (Moebius) Giraud passed away on March 10.  I'm sure most Neato Readers are familiar with the famous comic and film concept artist.  (If by chance you are not, click here and here.)  I was introduced to his work from reading about his involvement in Tron. Then later when he worked on various Marvel projects like the fantastic Silver Surfer book with Stan Lee.

In 2006 at the San Diego Comic-Con I met Moebius.  It was a once in a lifetime chance and one of my most cherished comic-con moments.  I realized the importance and the rarity of my brief meeting.  There I was, just some guy from Missouri meeting an art legend from France.  Ah, the beauty of Comic-Con!

Moebius was listed to appear at a signing for Marvel's Halo Graphic Novel.  It contained a collection of short stories based after the popular video game.  Supposedly his son was a fan of the video game and convinced him to draw one of the stories.  I jumped in line and waited for my opportunity.  The line started to move and I eventually found myself standing in front of him.  Of course I recited the fan boy anthem, "It's an honor to meet you and I'm a big fan of your work."  Even though he's heard that line a million times, he smiled and said thank you, like it was the first time he had ever heard it.  I handed him a Star Wars Galaxy card for him to sign.

I'm terrible at remembering conversations, but he did mention something about trying to get the artwork just right because he enjoyed the film so much.  (I wish I had had a recorder with me at the time or at least a better memory.) 

Since 2001, I've been carrying a sketchbook with me to comic conventions.  I presented it to Moebius simply asking for a signature.  He smiled and took the book from me and started to draw.  He said something like, "I think you'll like this better than my autograph."  Not only was I getting one of the most important sketches in my book, it was thrilling to watch him actually draw it.  

I'll always appreciate his kindness for sharing the cool looking guy with the silver shades that now lives inside my sketchbook.

He will be missed.  RIP Moebius.

Friday, March 09, 2012



A couple of weeks ago I captured Billy the Kidder for only a couple of bucks.  Boy was I lucky to bring him in alive!  He's missing his magic wand, but that's OK 'cause he's so darn neat even without his wand.

Thursday, March 08, 2012


Another one of my beloved books from childhood, The Empire Strikes Back The Illustrated Edition.  Not sure why Ballantine only produced this one and not the other two movies in the trilogy.

Hopefully everyone enjoyed the book cover gifs.  I'm not an experienced gif maker, but it was fun adding a little motion to these classic McQuarrie covers.  May the Gif be with you!


You know what I would like to see?  An animated movie of the Splinter of the Mind's Eye in the style of a Ralph McQuarrie painting.  James Earl Jones, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Anthony Daniels could easily reprise their famous roles as voice actors.  Can you imagine?  It would be the greatest Star Wars project since the original trilogy!

Later today, I'll post my last Ralph McQuarrie animated Star Wars cover with The Empire Strikes Back The Illustrated Edition.    

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I've been looking at a lot of Ralph McQuarrie artwork since his passing and one of my favorites is his cover for the first edition paperback.  This novelization was ghostwritten by Alan Dean Foster and released many months before the film.  All the later printings changed to the more familiar gold cover with art by John Berkey.

I thought it might be fun to add some motion to McQuarrie's classic cover and so I created this gif.  (You might need to let it cycle through once or twice before it gets to normal speed.)

Visit for their excellent article on the history of the Star Wars novelization.

Next up will be Splinter of the Mind's Eye.    

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


Ralph McQuarrie inspired multiple generations with his amazing artwork: from his animated space simulations for NASA to his concept designs for Star Wars.  His art will continue to inspire and open up the imaginations of many more generations to come.  Here's to a person who was truly neato cool!       

For years this very poster opened my imagination as it hung on the wall of my childhood bedroom.