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Classic Comic Ads Take You Back to the Days of Sea Monkeys

The ads sprinkled through comic books have slowly evolved through the years, as comics moved from mainstream entertainment to collector’s items, the comic book audience aged, and the internet became the number one repository of obvious scams, semi-obvious scams, and products that weren’t scams but also weren’t anything that people would buy.

Yes, the days of Sea Monkeys for saes may be behind us — and replaced with full page ads for SUVs or collector’s edition statues — but fortunately, the website Comic Book Ads is around to take you back to a more innocent time. A time when people ordered facial hair from the order form on the back of a comic book.

The site has a collection of ads from every era of comics grouped into various categories, like the famous Hostess ads, where every scrape a hero could possibly get into was solvable by waving a ho-ho around. The most fun to look through, though, are the ridiculous classic ads, a jumbled mish-mash of scams, bait-and-switch tactics, and general silliness.

There are the ads that let young children send away for pets, which I’m sure never went wrong. They aren’t too sinister when they’re just advertising sea-monkeys and ant farms. It’s when they climb up the evolutionary tree that things get worrying. The ads allow children to order sea horses, lizards, quail, monkeys, and of course, baby raccoons.

The fact that both the kid and the raccoon in this picture look like serial killers should worry anyone.

Then there are the ads that make you sad, because you can picture the faces of the thousands of children that they disappointed. Frontier cabins for a dollar, or “hot rods” that will turn out to be an inch long, or just mislabeled frisbees.

I kind of hope that the people who made these ads couldn’t sleep well at night.

The one thing these old ads definitely teach us is that things like rampant body shaming never change. Acne creams, bust reducers, remedies for visible ribs and small chests and skinny legs abound. Despair over one’s body is the one thing that really hasn’t changed over the years. Its documentation leads to precious archaeological finds, though.

Behold: Proto-spanx.

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