Tag: Wonderland comics

With Further Ado #177: Speeding into Christmas

With Further Ado #177: Speeding into Christmas

As we speed ahead towards Christmas Day, either from a religious or commercial POV, I sometimes find it hard to slow down and actually enjoy the many events along the way. Too often my mind races ahead, eager to check off that mental to-do list rather than focus on the here-and-now.

With that in mind, I rescued a wonderful Archie Comic issue from a comic shop’s bargain box!  Wonderland Comics in Rochester, NY, always has so many scrumptious treasures available.

It’s Laugh #203 from February 1968, which means it was probably on sale around Christmas of 1967.  Veronica, Betty and Mr. Lodge are admiring a retailer’s window, which features paper dresses. This was a short-lived fad, popular from ’66 to ’68.  Current movie fans may have revisited this craze in the stylish new movie Last Night in Soho. It’s a brilliant movie and highly recommended.

Cover 4

Back when magazines were a big deal, advertising executives called the back cover “Cover 4”.  It was usually the most expensive ad page. The thought process was that readers had a 50-50 chance of seeing the front cover or the back cover.

Cover 4 for this issue features a wonderful Christmas Ad. It’s curious to readers today but certainly was “normal” back in the day.  Kids loved their bicycles a generation or two ago.  Bike ads, and ads for bike related items (tires, brakes, speedometers, etc.).

This ad, from the Stewart-Warner Instrument Division (obviously not named in hopes of creating Christmas “must-haves” for kids) for their Cadet Speedometer.  It’s a special speedometer that kids would put on their bikes.

Today, of course, bikers like me just use the Strava app.  Yes, there’s now an app that has replaced this product.

This wonderful ad has the Mad Men feel to it. It’s clever and upbeat. It’s not particularly inclusive to consumers who don’t celebrate Christmas, either. The copy [the words in the ad] were thoughtfully written and creatively designed, with an alternating placement, as if two speakers were “talking” (or singing?) to the reader.  And back in 1968, it was assumed that kids were going READ the damn ad. It wasn’t about one big graphic image and a logo; instead, it was about romancing the consumer with a conversation.

There’s no focus on product benefits here. This ad isn’t about the joy a bike rider can experience when she’s whooshing down a steep hill at top speed.  This ad is all about the product features instead. Continue reading “With Further Ado #177: Speeding into Christmas”

With Further Ado #166: The Return of Conventions…?  (part 2) Wonder Con -Sort of

With Further Ado #166: The Return of Conventions…? (part 2) Wonder Con -Sort of

Last week I focused on the 2021 edition of New York Comic Con. As I’ve been reading and hearing everyone’s reactions (PW’s More to Come had a great podcast on it last week) it seems like most people were very happy and very impressed with the planning.

This past Saturday, I had my second convention in two weeks. It’s not really Wonder Con, the long-lived West Coast conference (I especially loved that one when it was in San Francisco), but a small comic con run by the team from Rochester’s Wonderland Comics. The folks behind Wonderland comics, the husband and wife team of Wayne and Carol, are great people – upbeat, forward-thinking retailers who really love comics.

Their positive attitudes are baked into this small convention. It’s all about the comics and collecting. They don’t focus on the media adaptations, celebrities, anime or cosplay here. In fact, they didn’t even have any comic professionals on site. It was just comics and comic-related collectibles.

And you know what? It was glorious!

There were long time fans and collectors, Central New York State’s finest comic exhibitors, and lots of families on site. Everyone was masked up without a fuss or protests.

A few highlights:

Money Was Changing Hands

At this stage, I tend to gravitate towards the bargain boxes to find lost treasures, but I was really struck by the vintage comics- so many 1950s books – that were selling for serious prices.  Kudos to those collectors and the sellers too.

Getting ready for ANOTHER One

Ken Wheaton was there – and he’s planning another Rochester based convention in November. It will have a little different vibe, as longtime pro Jim Shooter will be the Keynote Guest. Details for Empire Comic Fest are here.

A Treasure So Easy A Caveman Could Collect It

I rescued a few treasures at this con including issue #4 of Dell’s Naza. I never heard of this one before, but it did kind of strike a chord. As a kid, cavemen stories were a big deal.  It’s About Time was a kooky show we watched.  Dino Boy would adventure with Ugh the caveman in between Space Ghost adventures.  Movies and shows like Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea always seemed to have caveman and dinosaur stories.  The cover, by Vic Prezio is a beauty, but the interior art by Jack Sparling disappointed me a bit (as it often does).

Two conventions in two weeks. SOOOO invigorating. Another sign of hope!