Yesterday Elder Mike reminded me of one of my favorite comics that I used to read when I was a boy–Turok, Son of Stone. For 10 cents a pop, you could follow the adventures of two Native Americans, Turok and Andar, in a lost world of prehistoric monsters and cavemen. The first issue came out in 1954.
I remember reading these on Grandma’s porch, enthralled, my imagination vividly responding to the pictures. Turok and Andar blundered into this place and couldn’t find their way out, so they had to learn a lot of new survival skills in a hurry. They called the dinosaurs “honkers,” for the noises they made. My favorite was “Ruuuuunk!”
All right, it was all a bit corny, but you don’t see that when you’re nine or ten years old. I just saw the dinosaurs–and wished we had some in the woods next to my house. To this day I’m fascinated by dinosaurs. I don’t read comic books anymore, but I might break that rule if someone handed me a stack of Turoks.
Imagination! What would life be like without it?
I hope I never find out.
Comic books in the 1950s advertised for all sorts of incredibly cool things you could send away for–X-ray glasses, Sea Monkeys, this little doohickey you could put in your mouth that would let you throw your voice like a professional ventriloquist… genuine authentic foot-locker full of these pitiful flat plastic soldiers…
And the Joy Buzzer.
This little treasure, you wound it up and hid it in the palm of your hands, and when your victim shook hands with you, he’d get a loud buzzing shock that’d make him jump a foot in the air. We thought it might’ve been electric, but when my brother and I got our Joy Buzzers, we quickly discovered there was no electricity involved. In fact there wasn’t much of anything involved. If you and the victim really tried on purpose, you could get it to buzz. But usually nothing happened.
At least these things weren’t expensive.
To this day I remain skeptical of the worth of goods and services advertised in comic books.
Remember these? “See through skin, see through clothes…!” They were one of many truly schlocky items advertised in the back pages of comic books.
Did you ever send away for any of those? My brother and I got these glasses once, and were greatly incensed when they turned out to be just these cardboard things that didn’t do anything at all, let alone see through anybody’s clothes.
I marvel that most of our government’s activities aren’t advertised in the back pages of 1950s comic books.