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?
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Head of the Class

March 1985

G.I. Joe #33

Time for more classifieds – another grab bag of randomness! As always, we’ve got lots and lots of comics for sale, with a few other things thrown in too.

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My favorite things here? 1) The fact that they’re advertising a hypnosis program as a “mental survival kit,” and 2) The disclaimer on the brass knuckle belt buckle: “Novelty purposes only – not intended for other uses.” 😉

Classifieds – Helping You Become a Tall, Fat Accountant

December 1972

Jungle Action #2

So when I first read “Rover and men on the Moon,” I took “Rover” to be a dog’s name, and assumed that the book would be something insanely awesome and/or cheesy. Alas, I now realize that they probably mean the type of vehicle instead, which is still cool, but not nearly as odd/exciting for me.

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And I’m curious to know the secret behind “BE TALLER!” – unless they’re selling platform shoes, I kind of doubt the validity of their claim.

I also like the fact that there’s a classified ad that is advertising methods for writing classified ads – it’s so meta!

Put a Stamp on It!

December 1972

Jungle Action #2

Stamp collecting is a time-honored hobby, but apparently it was really big with comic book nerds in the ’70s, because the entire right column of this classifieds page is devoted to stamp collecting!

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I also like the “PLAY GUITAR IN 7 DAYS OR MONEY BACK” – sure, but it doesn’t say anything about how well you’ll be able to play guitar in that amount of time!

The Oh-So-Classy Classifieds

December 1989

Wonder Woman #37

Classifieds provide a smorgasbord  of cheesiness – they’re the cheapest advertising that money can buy in comics, meaning that they’re usually the lowest quality… which also means they can sometimes be the most entertaining!

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I think my favorite on here is the “Live Chameleon FREE!” ad (of course, the lizard is only free if you buy a six-month supply of food). Though the “!!GET ALL THE GIRLS!!  !!BECOME RICH & POPULAR!!  * ONLY $3.95 *” is pretty great – for only $3.95, how could you afford not to order??