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!


Mike Middleton said...

I didn't know you got one of those toy solider sets. Nice find. Plus it's always good to see some Aparo art.

Eartha Kitsch said...

It's SO cool that he could find all of that stuff! The trailer is so good that I wish that there was a full length documentary too.

Eddie said...

What about the guy in page 154 who actually owns the stuff in this book.

Todd Franklin said...

Mike - I thought you would enjoy seeing the Aparo panel!

Eartha - Oh yeah, a doc would be cool to see.

Eddie - That guy on page 154 is nothing short of a comic book ad hero! Thanks for commenting!