Mail-order Mysteries

Mail-order Mysteries

Real Stuff From Old Comic Book Ads!

Book - 2011
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What do you really get for .99 cents plus shipping and handling? Mail-Order Mysteries answers this question, revealing the amazing truths (and agonizing exaggerations) about the actual products marketed in comic book advertisements throughout the decades.
Publisher: San Rafael, Calif. : Insight, 2011
ISBN: 9781608870264
Branch Call Number: 745.1 DEM 2011
Characteristics: 156 p. : col. ill
Additional Contributors: Thorn, Jesse


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Sep 28, 2016

Cheesy ads promoting all sorts of questionable items have appeared throughout the history of comic books. In the lavish Mail-Order Mysteries, Demarais supplies a chronicle of the more popular and infamous products. Far more than just a mere listing, each item includes the original ad, a picture of the actual item, and exploratory text broken into three or four parts: WE IMAGINED, THEY SENT, BEHIND THE MYSTERY and CUSTOMER SATISFACTION. Demarais starts with an exploration of the classic X-Ray Spex. The ad promised "Amazing X-Ray Vision Instantly!" For $1, it claimed you could "See through fingers -- through skin -- see yolk of egg -- see lead in pencil." Demarais reveals every boy's belief about the product in the WE IMAGINED. "Glasses that enable you to see real skeletons and nudity." In the THEY SENT segment he quickly debunked it, informing that the Spex were really "eyewear stuffed with bird feathers!" The feathers created the illusion of seeing skeleton or the curve of a woman's body. In BEHIND THE MYSTERY, Demarais tells us that creator Harold von Braunhut also created Sea-Monkeys. He closes the passages with "CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: Not X-actly what we X-pected, but they're X-alted as the quintessential mail-order novelty." In 150 pages, Demarais covers legendary novelties and questionable products such as the 100 pc. Toy Soldier Set, Grit newspapers, World's Deadliest Fighting Secrets, and the Polaris Nuclear Sub. He often shares little known but interesting facts about the products, their companies and creators. The only downside to this book is the lack of an index. Demarais divides the book into eight subject sections making it difficult to locate something you read previously.

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