Comic Book Advertising

As a kid I was obsessed by Richie Rich comics.

I want­ed to be Richie Rich.

How­ev­er, things did­n’t quite work out.  It turns out my par­ents were not ultra-rich Amer­i­cans, but more of your work­ing class British types.  Not that there’s any­thing wrong with that.

But whilst the tales of Richie Rich were amaz­ing and inter­est­ing, what always fas­ci­nat­ed me were the advertisements.

Super Sea-Mon­keys

Let us start with Sea Monkeys.

Those wild naked roy­al crea­tures that swam in your fish tank lead­ing a leisure­ly life per­form­ing tricks and gen­er­al­ly hav­ing a great time.

Imag­ine my sur­prise when I actu­al­ly bought some and found out that in real life they are near micro­scop­ic dots (brine shrimp I believe).

An ear­ly intro­duc­tion to truth in advertising.

Sea Mon­keys — Noth­ing at all like the pictures


Sell Grit

And don’t even get me start­ed on Grit.

I actu­al­ly thought this was some kind of food sub­stance to sell to oth­er kids.

Appar­ent­ly it was some­thing else entire­ly, like some kind of fam­i­ly news­pa­per (now that I read the fine print).  I love the con­clu­sions you can draw as a kid and lock in as facts.  I see this with my boys today.


Maybe it was the slight­ly tub­by look­ing kid that led me to the wrong conclusion.

John­son Smith Co

But last­ly, and cer­tain­ly not least­ly, was the many delights avail­able from John­son Smith Co.

I was obsessed with the idea of the Pock­et Pen Radio, the Midget Spy Cam­era, the Hyp­no­sis Record, and of course the X‑Ray specs.



My wife would refer to all of the items on this page as “junk”. And maybe she’s right.

But I still get the same but­ter­flies when I look at the pic­tures and read the descriptions.

Or maybe I just acci­den­tal­ly sat on my elec­tric shock pen.