World’s Strangest

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The Bizarre Stuff Sold in the Back of Comic Books

Remember the first time you saw an ad for Sea Monkeys? I really wanted some, but never made the order. I figured the X-ray Spex were a rip-off, even in my childhood. Kirk Demarais was fascinated with those ads in the back of comic books, so much that he made a film about them, went to work for a novelty company, and wrote a book called Mail Order Mysteries. He talks about some of those products in an interview at Collectors Weekly.

Collectors Weekly: Isn’t it funny how when your parents tell you something is a rip-off, it just makes you want it more?

Demarais: Oh yeah. Suddenly, it was the forbidden fruit. I trusted my parents in general, but something about that, I thought, “How did they know?” They didn’t order it. It’s also the first time I ever encountered dishonest salesmanship. I thought, “With all the other commercials I see on television, you get what they show you.” Part of me had a hard time fathoming that people would just out-and-out rip you off, especially kids. That’s the coming-of-age lesson behind it.

Read the full interview, and learn the truth behind those tantalizing products at Collectors Weekly. Link -Thanks, Lisa!

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April 19th, 2012

Stranger to the World


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