Synopses & Reviews
Rediscover your sense of wonder!
Generations of comic book readers remember the tantalizing promises of vintage novelty advertisements that offered authentic laser-gun plans, x-ray specs, and even 7-foot-tall monsters (with glow-in-the-dark eyes!). But what would you really get if you entrusted your hard-earned $1.69 to the post office?
Mail-Order Mysteries answers this question, revealing the amazing truths (and agonizing exaggerations) about the actual products marketed to kids in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Pop-culture historian Kirk Demarais shares his astonishing collection, including:
100 Toy Soldiers in a Footlocker
Count Dantes Worlds Deadliest Fighting Secrets
Hercules Wrist Band
Soil From Draculas Castle
Ventrilo Voice Thrower
...and many, many more!
With more than 150 extraordinary, peculiar, and downright fraudulent collectibles, Mail-Order Mysteries is a must-have book comic book fans everywhere. Trust us.
"If childhood disappointment could ever be considered an art form, then this is a masterpiece. Really. The metaphors for life itself are inescapable, the disillusion heartbreakingly laid bare, the tackiness a drug you just can't quit."
- Chip Kidd, graphic designer and author of The Cheese Monkeys and Bat-Manga!
If childhood disappointment could ever be considered an art form,
then Mail-Order Mysteries is a masterpiece. Really. The metaphors for life itself are inescapable, the disillusion heartbreakingly laid bare, the tackiness a drug you just cant quit.”
Chip Kidd, graphic designer and author of Bat-Manga!
Mail-Order Mysteries reveals the secrets behind those too-good-to-be-true gizmos advertised in the comic books of my youth. What a mind-blower!”
Mark Frauenfelder, cofounder of Boing Boing
If I could put one thing in a time machine to send back to my eight-year-old self, it would be Mail-Order Mysteries. This book would have saved me dozens of allowances and hundreds of glacial hours spent standing on the porch waiting for the mailman to arrive. I always knew there was something fishy about those Gigantic Dinosaurs!”
Mark Waid, writer of Kingdom Come and Irredeemable
About the Author
is a freelance creator and author of Life of the Party, a visual history of the S.S. Adams Prank and Magic Company
. He wrote and directed Flip
, an awardwinning short film inspired by mail-order novelties, and he codirected Foot
, an animated film distributed by bobblehead maker FunKo.
In addition to neglecting his retro culture website, SecretFunSpot, Kirks pop-surrealist artwork is regularly shown at L.A.s Gallery 1988. Kirk enjoys life in the hills of Arkansas with his wife and son and a ghost.
Jesse Thorn is the host and creator of The Sound of Young America radio show on Public Radio International, where he has interviewed such guests as Mark Evanier, Weird Al Yankovic, and Judd Apatow. He is also the founder of production organization Maximum Fun, as well as the host of The Grid, a cultural recommendation program on the Independent Film Channel (IFC). He lives in Los Angeles with his wife Theresa.