My name is Rick, and I wrote this post.
Like most children, I read comic books. I didn’t collect them, and I don’t think I bought many of them, either. I mostly read other people’s comics. Superman was ok, as was Spiderman. I liked Batman. Also, embarrassingly, I liked Archie comics. I must have, I read so many of them. It was Archie comics that taught me that being a slob is ok, and that bad people have black hair, good people have blond or red hair. This is a general rule that continues to serve me as an adult.
The bit I have fond memories of, the bit all comics had in common, were the ads. They were fascinating, will always be fascinating. The 98-pound weakling. Learn to throw your voice. Joy buzzers. I wasn’t fooled for a second about seeing through walls (must be something like a peephole for doors), but I was intrigued by x-ray specs. How could the specs make your hand look like bones AND make clothes transparent? I knew it was a trick, that there was a catch, but I couldn’t figure it out. I found myself thinking about it often, I think because I wanted to see through clothes. I wanted to see through clothes very much. I also wanted my own submarine, but the see-through glasses had more appeal. And, you know, when I wasn’t looking through clothes I could look through other things, like Ray Milland did in The Man With the X-ray Eyes. brrr! Creepy!
I never ordered anything, not once. I wish I had, just so today I could brag that I once ordered trick soap, or sea monkeys, or that I learned hypnosis instantly. I knew a kid that had magic rocks, which were very colorful crystals of some sort, grown in a jar of water. He said it had taken several days for them to grow, you weren’t allowed to touch them, and that the water was poison. Some of the little spires had broken off, and the water was a little cloudy and the water level was a bit low, but still, pretty cool.
Sales must fall when people can see what they’re buying. Go to any magic store. People will buy the fake blood, the trick cards, the gum that snaps. But no one will buy x-ray specs. To see them is to dismiss them. Don’t even look at them; you’ll wish you hadn’t.