Hands of Steel for a Man of Steel?

January 1978

Secret Society of Super-Villains

This doesn’t seem to really involve overall strength – just the hands. I mean, sure, strong hands can be good for squeezing and crushing things, but I’d think that strong arms would be much more useful.

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I’m actually surprised they didn’t try to go more into “Man of Steel” territory (maybe because of copyright infringement), but the closest they get is “You can develop the strength of a SUPER HERO!”

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Encyclopedias: The Pre-Internet!

September 1963

X-Men #1

Encyclopedias! Back in my day, when we had to look something up, this is where we turned – not that new-fangled internet! While I was growing up, we had a set of World Book encyclopedias – I think they were from 1967 or ’68, so not too far off from when this set was around!

The unique thing about these, though, is that rather than being organized alphabetically, they’re organized by subject. To me, that makes them seem more like textbooks than encyclopedias, so I’m not really sure what the distinction is.

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A few things strike me about this ad:

  1. All that white space at the bottom! Did someone fail to plan this very well?
  2. This is an educational product, yet they unnecessarily/incorrectly capitalize “School” in the blurb on the top right.
  3. In the section describing the different volumes, they start out giving a brief description of each one, and then halfway through it’s like they just said “Screw it – this is too much work!,” and started listing them all with no elaboration whatsoever.
  4. This set claims to free you from the hassle of “having to look in books to solve every problem”… Umm, maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t looking in books to solve your problems exactly the point of this set?

Be POPULAR and WANTED!

September 1963

X-Men #1

Do you want the power to influence others and bend them to your will? If so, this is your lucky day, because apparently the solution is only $1.98!

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Look, guys, you can hypnotize beautiful women! Just imagine the possibilities! But don’t worry, ladies – the order form has a checkbox saying “I agree that I will not use this power for other than proper use” – so no need to worry about date rape here!  (On second thought, maybe that checkbox determines whether they send you the regular version or (if the box isn’t checked) the supervillain version of the book.)

Back When People Actually REPAIRED Stuff

September 1963

X-Men #1

Wait a minute – what’s this about repairing broken TVs and radios? You don’t repair broken electronics, you just buy new ones!

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Times have certainly changed! I wonder how many people are out there these days who could actually repair a TV – probably not a whole lot anymore!

Back When $25/Week Was a GOOD Thing

September 1963

X-Men #1

Ah, the good old days – back before cars had computers, and average Joes could fix cars themselves without having to spend a fortune on fancy equipment. It seems that back in the ’60s auto mechanics were in high demand, and could get pretty decent pay too!

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I think my favorite part about this ad is the “Portable Viso-Analyzer,” available only through CTI. Based on the fact that I’ve never heard of it before, I’m going to guess that either calling it “the most versatile of all trouble-shooting instruments” is a bit of an exaggeration, or it’s just a fancy name for a multimeter.

 

That’s Too Conservative for Me…

December 1972

Jungle Action #2

In yet another ad trying to help you find your path in life, here we learn about the exciting world of conservation!

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“Sleep under pines! Catch breakfast from icy streams!” Other than the words “sleep” and “breakfast,” there is absolutely nothing appealing about that to me, but I’m a weirdo who doesn’t particularly like the outdoors, so I guess I’m not exactly their target audience.

Much Better Than the Drafting They Do in the Army

December 1972

Jungle Action #2

I’m still amazed by the number of career-related ads in these older comics – I guess I was under the impression that people saw comics as “just for kids,” but Jungle Action from 1972 begs to differ.

Here we have an ad boasting of the benefits of learning drafting – a high-paying job that supposedly anyone can learn!

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With a coast-to-coast shortage of draftsmen (no women?) and no strikes or layoffs, it must be the ideal career!