Sean Kottke's Reviews > Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads

Mail-Order Mysteries by Kirk Demarais
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's review
Jan 19, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2012, adult-recreational
Read from January 19 to 22, 2012

Disappointment has never been so wonderful! For decades, I have wondered what you would really get if you responded to all of those great ads in comic books from the '60s and '70s (especially the ones that appeared to promise a seven foot rubber Frankenstein). Apparently, I was not alone. This beautiful book reproduces those classic ads, and thanks to both eBay and a network of aficionados of pop culture ephemera, juxtaposes their promises with photographs of the elusive objects that my parents wouldn't let me buy. Good call, Mom and Dad; I'd rather have my disappointment now after years of speculation than to have had cold water thrown on my imagination back then. Boomers and Millenials take note: if you want to get inside the head of a Gen Xer, this is an essential volume for understanding our childhood worldviews! With this set of mysteries resolved, I want someone to do a book - or better yet, documentary film - on what all those carnival haunted house rides from the '70s actually delivered behind their super awesomely painted facades (especially "Torture Chamber," which appeared at the Ionia Free Fair in the late '70s). Oh, and as for that seven foot rubber Frankenstein? Not much more than a painted garbage bag. Ouch ... but so wonderful to behold after all these years!
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Walt O'Hara "Disappointment has never been so wonderful" is the perfect tagline for this book. Well done, sir!

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