12 Comic Book Ads That Taught Us To Be Cynical

#6. BF Goodrich Bear Escape Shoes

Maybe your frontier cabin won't protect you from bear attacks, but with these shoes, you can outrun a bear! How could a shoe help you perform such a feat of miraculous speed? Well that's simple you money-squandering brat! It's all in BF Goodrich's design!

See the PF Flyer shoe has a rubber cushion for comfort and an amazing "rigid wedge" in the middle of the sole to keep your foot in place. Never worry about being able to outrun escaped circus bears ever again when you're out in the woods "trail blazing" with your two young male companions!

The reality ...
This is one of those situations where they know they'll never have to process a refund since they knew that any kid who wound up in a footrace with a bear wouldn't survive to complain. Hey, business is a ruthless game.

Regardless of your athletic ability or lack thereof, the shoes boast the claim of a miracle "rigid wedge" stationed in the middle of the shoe to hold your bones in place ...

Between this and the height-lift thing earlier, we have to ask what the hell was the deal with comic book advertisers wanting to torture children's feet. Was this a big front for a bunch of foot doctors trying to drive up business?

#5. The Shocker

The Shocker is a state of the art, nearly invisible hand-held self-defense system that will allow you to cripple your victims without the need for exercise or years of martial arts training!

It was invented by Kiyo Mi Gawa, a highly trained master of unarmed combat who has won over 21 titles. Gawa saw a need for average people to have their own hand-held crippling device without going through years of training to learn boring things like "responsibility" and "proper use." The Shocker works on the pneumatic "Cripple Cushion Principle" which allows air hammers to smash through solid concrete!

It promises "EVEN DEADLY" results, and comes with a "Sign Of The Split Skull" lapel pin to show everyone you're totally ready to kill a dude!

The reality ...
The shocker allegedly worked on "pain waves" and despite the name, isn't actually electrified, it's just a thing you hold in your hand like the call button from your hospital bed, the kind of which you'll be using after you attempt to defend yourself with this device.

The ad really likes to hype up the idea of crippling people, which it actually does do. Just try to break a brick holding it like the guy shown in the ad, you'll definitely cripple your hand.

Our favorite part has to be the disclaimer on the order form which certifies that "you won't allow the shocker to fall in the hands of anyone dangerous or irresponsible." Dude, you put an ad for the thing in a comic book.

#4. Hypnotism

Buy our Hypno-Coin/device/instruction guide and you can make anyone do anything you want! Hypnotize a bully and have him give himself a wedgy, or have that gal you've been givin' the eyes to give you a kiss! Or go even further! Makes date rape a breeze--there's no need to buy pesky pills and slip in her drink!

Heck, why stop at date rape when you can have your school principal hand you their wallet while doing the funky chicken! Hypnotism will allow you to control any brainless drones you want, you'll be like God with that sort of power! You'll be better than God! You'll be exactly like Oprah!

The reality ...
This was little kid-thinking at its finest. Why weren't corporations and dictators using this forced hypnotism technique to take over the world? Why, because they're not cool enough to read the same comics I read, obviously!

Maybe at some point later in life you realized that if hypnotism works at all, it requires the subject to be extremely relaxed and open to suggestion, therefore if someone is walking or batting that stupid Hypno-Coin out of their face chances are they're not relaxed enough to be hypnotized.

Likewise, if you were a creepy dork who bought hypnotism devices out of comic books in an effort to finally score with women, the chances of those women being "extremely relaxed and open to suggestions" around you was very slim. The chances they'd mace you when you pulled out your Hypno-Coin was, however, very high.

#3. Life-Size Inflatable Doll

Tired of striking out with women again and again? Is your face sore from getting slapped? Restraining orders clogging your mailbox? Well there's one girl that will never reject you no matter how fat, ugly, smelly, stupid, perverted, murderous or incarcerated you are! Meet Poly Ethelene, your life-size inflatable woman!

You can name her, dress her, take her swimming, use her to plea insanity in court, do whatever you want! We mean whatever you want.

The reality ...
"So our heaviest readership demographic is males between the ages of 10 and 15. What would be a good product to promote in that space?"

"Hmmmm ... how about a life-sized plastic fuck doll?"

"Brilliant. Make some calls."

Unfortunately, any young man who saved up for this miracle device quickly found that they left out a critical feature of female anatomy, despite what the ad claims.

Though we do commend them for their money back guarantee if you're not "100% delighted." We'd like to meet the person who worked the phone lines taking refund requests from those not "100% delighted" with their inflatable women. They've probably got some hilarious, or possibly terrifying, stories to tell.

#2. Monkey in a Teacup

Wouldn't it be cool to have your own pet money? How much would you pay to have what would undoubtedly be the coolest pet on your block?

Well how about this offer of a small, portable monkey at almost no cost! What a perfectly reasonable offer!

The reality ...
Believe it or not, the monkey wasn't a stuffed animal. It was real, and it was possible to get one.

The scam was the company would send you 20 coupons to give out for their special color photos, which were actually black and white photos the customers provided that they colored in by hand for a fee (no, it didn't make a whole lot of sense). Anyway once you handed out the coupons you actually had to bring in 20 paying customers, which was nearly impossible since the thing you were selling was retarded.

But, some kids actually did pull it off, and the company actually did send them a small monkey, usually capuchins or marmosets. See back then the exotic animal trade wasn't regulated so they didn't realize that taking monkeys from South and Central America and giving them to kids in the US wasn't such a good idea.


Also, rat-dogs

So what you got was a wild monkey that had been poached from the jungle, caged, and shipped, arriving half dead and in a mood to bite or claw the first human it ran into. Also these monkeys can live up to 45 years in captivity, so these kids were in for the long haul. Still, they got to see the looks on their friends' faces when they showed them they had a real, live fucking monkey, and that probably made the whole thing worth it.

#1. Polaris Nuclear Sub

"How proud you will be as commander of the most powerful weapon in the world!" That's right kids you, yes you, can command a nuclear threat capable of killing millions of people! Comes with real firing missiles and torpedoes, a real periscope, an electrically lit control panel and is seven whole feet long!

Have fun sinking and surfacing and exploring the ocean floor! And becoming one of the world's nuclear powers! All that, for less than seven bucks!

The reality ...
Remember when we pointed out what cardboard wasn't a good material to make a frontier cabin out of? Well, it's even worse for submarines. We guess that's why they have all of those wacky cardboard boat races where the point is to watch everybody sink.

And don't tell us that it's just a submarine play set and not meant to be taken out to sea. Screw that, this thing offers "working" torpedoes. That means we should be able to fill the thing with food and go on a six-week voyage out to international waters to sink a Russian cruiser.

We're wondering how many kids took their Polaris sub out to the middle of a lake, only to find that it did the sinking part just fine, but without the "surfacing" and "not filling with water" that other, more expensive subs promise.

You want to know why the world is full of dictators like Kim Jong Il pushing to get nuclear programs? Because a few decades ago, they were kids. And they waited patiently for their mail order nuclear sub, only to find it was a cheap cardboard piece of crap. And they shook their fist and thought, "Some day, when I'm a grown up ... "


If you liked that you'll probably enjoy our look at 5 Retro Commercials Companies Would Like You to Forget. And don't forget to check out Internet Party 2: An Intervention for MySpace to see which sites you shouldn't be inviting to your next intervention. Or head to the brand new Official Cracked.com Store and become a startlingly attractive walking advertisement for our site.

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