Thursday, July 29, 2010

Captain Kirk vs Dick Tracy?

From Superboy #86 and January 1961, we have an Amazing Wrist Radio!
Of course, unlike Dick Tracy's 2-Way Wrist Radio and the wrist-banded Communicators from Star Trek TMP and STII, these were receive-only.
Don't you bet, though, that lots of kids PRETENDED, by talking into them?
And, what exactly is a "permanent germanium diode"? Well, according to , they "are a very important component of most alternative energy generating systems" -- and lots of stuff like that. They're also pretty delicate. So you wonder how long these things would have lasted on the wrist of a kid on a set of monkey bars or riding through a meadow on his Schwinn Sting-Ray bike.
And speaking of pretending, one of my favorite pretend-spy things, when I could get it, was a simple spring-loaded measuring tape. I would pull out the tape about eight or ten inches, stick the tape straight up, and talk into the case like it was a walkie-talkie. Then I could sign off and hit the RETRACT button, making my "attenna" disappear automatically!
Now, THAT was cool!
PS a shout-out to Paul Howley for his kind words. Read through the links on the right-hand sidebar and check out his blog, "My Life with Comic Books."

Monday, July 26, 2010

Did You Know What a Hessian Was, When You Read This Ad?

I did, because I'd read The Adventures of Bob Hope #89, in which Bob Hope and his talking dog (who was kind of like Peabody to Hope's Sherman) time-travelled to the Revolutionary War and messed up a bunch of Hessian mercenaries' plans to attack General Washington on Christmas Eve.
As far as the ad goes, I like how the "204" is filled with red, white, and blue stars. Any bets on which of those "2 complete armies!" might win? I would guess that the "up to 4 inches long" probably refers to the field cannon.
Anyway, this is the back cover of Superman 171 and the end (did I hear a "FINALLY"?) of our page-by-page stroll through a representative copy of a sample Silver Age comic.
Since we began, I've lost my Mom and my job. I hope that you, my friends, haven't fared the same.
My plan for this was to make folks acquainted with all the components of a Silver Age comic book. We had three stories, plenty of ads, a text piece, a letters page, and the like. Lots of those ads are for things not around any more (Tootsie Roll Fudge, anybody?) but some are still with us (Lucky Charms, Cheerios, Silly Putty).
I think it's a shame that my kids and grandkids won't have the chance to "Make Money! GET PRIZES!" or to order some Roman Warriors from a comic book. A comic book that could be bought with the change you earned while walking to the grocery store to buy it! That's because if you found six pop bottles along the way (as I did more than once in the 1960s), you could turn them in for the 2-cents-each deposit and -- buy a comic book!
Personally, I think it might take more skill, talent, and/or craftsmanship to write a six- or eight-page comics tale, as opposed to "arcs" and such which are spread across several months or years.
I also think you're a lot more likely to pick up a casual reader with self-contained stories.
Thank you and good night. Soon we'll look at a little Super-Avon, a few book reviews, and -- who knows what?!?
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© by Mark Alfred