Evel Knievel and the Creamy Friend!

"The Last of the Gladiators"


After a long absence from the blogging scene, I’m gonna come barreling back with a little slice of classic comic book history. My most recent challenge is to collect the whole run of Jonah Hex comics printed by DC from 1972 to 1985, and not only do these issues feature many terrific wild west she-nanny-guns but also a range of the most unbelievably nutty ads spread through the issues. Along with the usual adverts for other DC comics or beef jerky there is a selection of sales pitches for some of the most wonderful and amazing items available all for less than $5!

Firstly, I would like to introduce to you the Evel Knievel coin collection from Weird Western Tales #31, December 1975. This issue comes hot on the heels and white flowing cape of Mr. Knievel’s October ’75 successful attempt to jump 14 buses at the Kings Island Theme park in Ohio, and so what more could every little boy and girl in America want than their very own ANTIQUE BRONZE COIN with Evel proudly displayed leaping through the air just moments from smashing head first into the ground and breaking another collection of bones! For just $3 you could own the official evel coin, which is “EXACTLY THE SAME ONE EVEL CARRIES WITH HIM”! Now I cant help but think Knievel (“THE LAST OF THE GLADIATORS”!) might have been able to land a few more jumps if he wasnt laden down with bronze coins with his face on. A quick check on ebay reveals that this very coin is available now for just $7.35, so its increased in value more than 200% since he jumped over that rainbow into the big ol’ Intensive Care Unit in the sky.

If you’re a young man about town in the 1970’s, you want to have a quirky gimmick to make you stand out from the crowd, and to catch the eye of the ladies. It may be a pair of jeans with massive turn-ups, you may opt to wear 3-d glasses the whole time, or you may want to go that extra mile and get an unusual pet. While Jimmy on the corner had a scruffy hound dog, you want something sophisticated, quirky, exotic, something that will charm your way into the hearts and knickers of that girl next door. So why not save up £2.98 and buy…

25 live seahorses delivered to your door! Gee Wizz!

That’s right! You could be the proud owner of two mated pairs of seahorses, including one pregnant male who could give birth to up to 25 more of the fuckers! Also included is a live marine snail! It’s just given to you free! How is this possible? More quick research has revealed that seahorses make good pets, but will happily fall down dead at the slightest disturbance, from the wrong food, from a multitude of diseases they catch at the drop of a hat and from being stressed out. But they do get on very happily with marine snails. Just imagine the thrill of opening an envelope full of seahorses, snails and marine diseases! If that doesn’t get you some lady action, I don’t know what will.

For those who fail to pull anyone with the seahorses, or your Evel Knievel bronze antique coin (just like Evel himself carries with him on all his inevitable punishing accidents) then you have to resort to being a peeping tom. So what could make this easier than purchasing the latest in military and scientific technology, X-Ray Specs (yours for $1).

See the bones in your friend's hands as they smash you in your stupid nerd face and steal your lunch money.

This Hilarious jape lets you see the bones in your hands, see through your friends and amaze and embarrass everyone! Particularly your parents, who are utterly appalled that you sprang from their loins. I now quote from the Wikipedia entry on X-Ray Specs: “Part or even most of the novelty value lies in provoking the object of the wearer’s attentions. These subjects, if unable to be entirely sure that the device did not indeed allow the wearer to compromise their modesty, were liable to respond with a variety of amusing reactions.” All this fun for one dollar! I was also surprised to learn that X-ray specs were invented by the creator of that other fun novelty ‘Sea Monkeys’. Who are not monkeys, or ocean dwellers.

Also on offer in Jonah Hex #59 dated  April 1982 are two little gems which anyone would be pleased to receive. Firstly for $2.25 is a Squirrel Call: “Brings them right to you! Hand Operated!”. This ad has a little picture of a relaxed squirrel next to it, standing there waiting to be commanded. Why anyone would want to be surrounded by squirrels is a mystery to me still, but I suppose that sort of thing was all the rage in the 80’s. Finally there is pehaps the most vicious trick of the lot, and the most expensive. For $4.95 you can buy the ‘Avalanche’ Shaving Cream can. “Gallons of foam rush out and you can’t stop it! Foam! Foam! FOAM EVERYWHERE! Ordinary looking 6-oz shave cream can, but one press means one big mess. Nearly Fills  entire bathroom! Unbelievable! GREAT WAY TO ‘CREAM’ A FRIEND, FOE. Water Soluable. Wont Stain.”

After careful consideration I think this is probably the greatest way to cream a friend.

Published in: on January 25, 2011 at 1:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Is That A Sasquatch In Your Comic, Or Are You Just Pleased To See Me?


The first natural law: Big Foot, Big Bone.

Written by Alexander Grecian, with art by Riley Rossmo, Proof is about the nuttiest tale (Tail, haha, and that’s an animal pun) I’ve read in a comic. Anyone over a certain age will remember how awesome the X-Files used to be when they did one-off episodes about weird mythical animals (there was a really creepy one about a big fluke-worm man, and then one about little green glowing insects in a forest) in the early series, before it got way too complicated and confusing. Proof is like one long series of all those mad animal adventures, without any of the tedious FBI crap.

At its most basic, Proof is a comic series about John ‘Proof’ Prufrock. John is Bigfoot. And he was caught about 200 years ago, and so now he works for a secret government organisation called ‘The Lodge’ whose job it is to hunt down all the cryptids (supposedly mythical animals like the Lock Ness Monster and the Jersey Devil) who are not magical animals, but endangered species who may pose a risk to the humans they encounter, and at the same time protect these animals from the human race.  The first story arc introduces us to the main players of the series, and joins them as Proof hunts down the ‘Goatsucker’ creature, which feeds on animal blood, and skins creatures in order to dress up in their skins. It’s all rather odd, but there are some cool bits where the goatsucker is dressed in the skin of a character’s grandmother.

I told you it was a nutty story.

But at its heart, despite the elements of horror, Proof is a brilliant fun read. It is peppered throughout with little ‘Cryptoid’ facts, (‘Hawaii remains the only US state with no recorded bigfoot sightings’) which I’d like to believe are true, and certainly led me to spend a jolly afternoon on Wikipedia scaring myself silly looking up the creatures mentioned in passing within the pages of ‘Proof’. Suitable to the spooky whimsical style of the writing and story, the art is sketchy, and sometimes dark and shadowy, but it also brilliantly captures the humour of the book. The visual jokes and slapstick moments are fantastically rendered, and the sketchy-cartoony style captures the facial expressions of the characters in a very charming, almost Disneyesque way. Plus you get to see a naked lady at one point, so that’s always a bonus.

Proof is a tip-top read, effortlessly moving from comedy, to horror, to action, to police drama, to mystery at the drop of a hat, and while its characters are 3-dimensional and believably portrayed, it never takes itself too seriously or develops into too much of a heavy-going dramatic slog. If you like your myths and legends, and enjoy seeing huge apes wear suits and drink tea while discussing the mating rituals of male fairys, then you can’t go far wrong than giving this book a try.

Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  
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