Adspace: This is Amazing.

I encountered this the other day in an old issue of Creepy, and I honestly don't know if I should feel bad for immediately thinking "sex mask": 


I mean, it clearly bears some resemblance to your standard issue gimp headgear, but the ad copy is so, so earnest.

Is this a case of  "Any kid who sees this ad is clearly going to want to star as a generic "Masked Avenger"! We're going to make a mint!" or some guy with a warehouse full of unsold sex toys and a gift for hyperbole?

I feel that this conundrum is echoed in the picture, in the form of that kid's exquisitely-styled hairdo vs. the bottomless depths of despair in his or her eyes. This is going to haunt me for days.

Hat Week: The Hats of Romance Comics Explained

Hats and head-wear play an important role in romance comics. By studying the trends of the era, and using hats as signifyers we can gain understanding about social norms and the political climate in romance comics.

In other words, let's look at the crazy crap people put on their heads in the Silver Age.

Head wraps were a popular look that seems to have pretty much died out. I like it. It'd be cool to just wrap a towel around your head after you get out of the shower and not have to worry about blow-drying or flat-ironing or curling your hair.

The head wrap diminished in popularity when girls began to discover that having so much warmth around their heads affected their brains, sometimes turning them violent.

The swim cap is another obsolete head piece you'll see a lot of in romance comics.

I understand the practicality of it: you can go for a swim, but still have your hairdo looking fine when you're relaxing on the beach afterward.

But to me, those swim-hats seem to make a girl look like ol' Cabbage Head.

Men's hats are often a subtle indication of their personalities, or their likes and dislikes.

Most pervasive head-piece of the Silver Age? The headband, hands down. But there are distinct differences between the types of headbands, and the way they're worn.

There's the evening headband:

A girl's got to wear a bow to bed, in case Dennis (or Arthur or Tommy) show up in the middle of the night.

The basic headband, worn across the top of the head, is incredibly common, and indicates an average, demure, chaste girl.

But flip that thing down, and wear it across your forehead, and oh boy. That's the way hippies wear headbands, so a girl rocking that style is in for crazy, European sex parties:

And getting caught up in dangerous revolutionary politics:

Wear a headband across your forehead and you'll undoubtedly find yourself in a situation like this:

Lastly, romance comics have lead me to believe that there was some sort of baldness epidemic in the Silver Age because wig ads are everywhere.

Wigs are the hats of yesteryear. I wish I could find a hat with a built in scalp that looks like skin.

But even wigs could lead a good girl down the bad path of political rabble-rousing.

So if you're having trouble following the complex plot of an issue of Teen Age Love, Sweethearts, or Secrets of Young Brides, take a look at head-wear, and that'll clear everything right up.


Living Between Wednesdays Holiday Gift Guide Part 3: Gifts for Jerks

Part 3: For the Jerk in your Life

Jerks. Everybody knows one or two. Maybe they’re your best friend or brother or something, but they’re definitely the one pointing and laughing as you do a header into a snowbank one frigid February morn. This time of year, one might be tempted to leave the local jerk off of the ol’ shopping list, but this tactic will only increase your likelihood of becoming the target of some future mischief. Rather than taking that risk, go ahead and pick up some of the following for them. It’s good sense on a couple of levels, firstly because it might make them feel well-disposed toward you when next they feel like staging a fake eviction or mock execution for laffs, and secondly as it will give you a decent idea of what they’re armed with. Forewarned, after all, is forearmed.

Color Smoke Clouds

Think of these as early jerk warning devices. Do you know someone who might be a stealth jerk, or possibly a child who shows signs of nascent jerkdom? Watch closely after presenting this person with the Color Smoke Cloud and take note of what happens:

Possible jerk action taken                  Prognosis

Cloud released indoors                       Either a jerk or a bit dumb. Continue observation
Cloud released outdoors,                    Probably not a jerk.
in a well-ventilated field.
Cloud carefully saved until                  Definite jerk. Watch out.
next wedding or funeral.

Hot Candy or Gum

Hot candy can also work as a jerk-detector (do they give it to Gramma? Do they feed it to the dog?) but also works as an effective jerk &diffuser&, as it channels their energies into maintaining an air of nonchalance, the better to lull you into enough of a sense of security that you’ll accept their tainted treats. As long as your jerk has hot candy to disseminate they’ll be on their best behavior, so give ‘em plenty and make sure to put on a good enough show that they’ll want to do it to someone else.

Onion Gum

The same principle would apply to onion gum, but as you can see it transforms you into a grotesque baby-man.

Itching Powder

Joy Buzzer

The idea behind the joy buzzer is so grand, yet the execution is so lacking - for those of you who have never encountered such a thing in the wild, a joy buzzer both culturally and advertisimally promises some sort of jolt of electrified comeuppance that you can deploy toward your enemies via your palm. In execution, the joy buzzer is a simple wind-up motor  that unleashes a torrent of stored-up vibratory energy once pressure is applied to it. It's suitable to the task of making someone go "What the heck?" for a few seconds, sure, but just not quite the trick as far as dealing out righteous retribution and so forth goes.

Take care to only giv this sort of thing to a jerk who's got a bit of a reflective side. And no access to a taser.

Whoopee Cushion

 Last up: the Whoopee cushion, a classic weapon in the arsenal of the jerky prankster. If you know a jerk who doesn't have one or more of these babies then send away right now, because they are missing out and so are you. Every jerk should have the chance to make a Society matron appear to have farted loudly at some sort of cotillion or orphan-style fund-raiser, and likewise every jerkfriend should be allowed to rest easy knowing that sometimes the worst that is going to happen to them is a bout of counterfeit flatulence.

As well, everyone should know about the above being the best Whoopee Cushion ad illustration ever. For serious.

Word up, jerks.


LBW Holiday Gift Guide Part 2: For the Creepy

Part 2: For the Creep in your Life

Everyone knows some creeps, and sometimes you end up having to get them presents, like when they’re related to you or for some reason friends with your spouse. Or you’re trying to butter up your boss, maybe. Well, rather than giving them a bar of soap and an instruction manual this year, embrace the creep’s creepiness and get them something that they can really use to skeeze people out.

Hypnotism Lessons

What’s creepier than wanting to learn hypnosis? Not much, unless maybe you’re a brain-doctor of some sort, and even then… Lucky for the creep in your life there are multiple hypno-gift options, so that you can tailor your hypnosis lessons to their particular brand of creepiness. Above, we find the perfect option for the “uncomfortable physical presence” – style creep. Let them put their penetrating stare and love of disquieting lighting effects to good use!

What about the “creepy around women” type of creep? Is there a style of hypnosis geared toward them? Why yes! As it turns out, virtually ALL styles of hypnosis advertised in comic books have strong overtones of creepy control over women!

Yes, the creep in your life that maybe stands a little too close to any ladies that he (or she!) might have to talk to but never looks them in the eye can finally…

You know, maybe just skip this one and get them something else.

Or perhaps you could get them a course that focuses on hypnotizing dudes.

Auto Scare Bomb

The Auto Scare Bomb was going to go into Part 3 - Gifts for the Jerk in Your Life, but I think that a fake bomb is way more of a creep style of prank to pull. Give 'em out like candy!

How to Love

If you don’t quite feel comfortable getting your creep a copy of Rules of the Game, try How to Love, the late Depression equivalent. They might not act any less scummy but they’ll sure dress snappy while they do it!

Electronic Lie & Love Detector

Can’t you hear them now: not just hitting on ladies using convoluted lines but doing so WITH SCIENCE.

“Hey baby, would you mind holding these terminal knobs? Now, would you mind holding my terminal knob? No, don’t speak… the Love Detector will show us the way.”

Secret Wonder Mirror

Give this to your cherished creep. Then never use their bathroom again.

Raquel Welch Pillow

Is it a licensed product? Nobody knows! What it certainly is is a picture of Raquel Welch in a one-piece, printed on a two foot-long pillow. It’s a gateway inflatable novelty if ever there was one.

You know the ones that you’ll be giving this to. Try not to think about it too hard.

Super Secret Pocket Spy Scope

Live in a beach-style area, or really any place that might occasionally feature ladies in two-piece bathing costumes? Know a guy who maybe knows his way around the woods behind the housing development a bit too well and has a keen interest in seeing farther than might be easily possible with the naked eye? Voila, the Secret Spy Scope! Keep creeps on the property line and out of easily-damaged flower beds and ornamental trees.

X-ray Specs

Finally, for those of you who want to get your creep a gift without enabling his or her creepiness in any tangible way, go for the adolescent-saddening fakeout that is X-Ray Specs. With luck, they’ll never learn that the hand bones and… other things that they’re seeing are composed of equal parts optical illusion and wishful thinking.

Think of it as an early warning system for folks – when they see the words “X-RAY VISION” coming toward them, they’ll know exactly what they’re in for.

And that's that - a complete guide to buying a gift for the super-creep in your life. Remember not to make eye contact when you give it to 'em!

LBW Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: Fashion Fun

Once again the holidays approach, as implacable as Galactus and as dead-set on devouring the Earth (or at least those portions of it devoted to retail). And everyone has those two or three people who are extremely hard to buy for, just like Galactus is. So unless you’ve chosen to adopt the Ultimate Nullifier of Christmas that is Officially Buying Nothing, you might appreciate this, the Living Between Wednesdays Holiday Gift Guide. Our crack team of researchers (Johnathan) have combed through seventy years of comic book advertising to find the perfect gift for any family member, friend or workplace Secret Santa partner who is filling you with terror at the prospect of trying to bring them holiday joy.

Part 1: High Fashion

Think that your loved one needs a slight image adjustment? Give these beauties a try:


Know someone whose face just isn’t busy enough or who maybe has some sort of facial growth that you get uncomfortable looking at? Just MAIL COUPON NOW and you can give them the gift of a wide variety of glue-on facial hairs made from modocrylic, which I am sure is one of the wonder materials of the future (although possibly a future that is a couple of decades in the past). Either take the super-creepy route of sending the fine people from Masculiner a hair sample or simply select a beard colour randomly – note how natural the jet-black Van Dyke looks on our blond friend.

Hey, I finally know what to get my niece! Thanks, Masculiner!

French Photo Ring

I know that the text here is a bit too blurry to read but I felt that it was important to bring to your attention the fact that such things as rings with little nudie pictures inside exist. Buy one for the soft-core pornography enthusiast in your life, the one who’s a bit too embarrassed to openly read Playboy in public but still wants to see boobies while riding the bus to work.

Good Luck Ring

It’s hideous!

Gorilla Accessories

That’s right: for less than fifteen dollars you can set someone up with gorilla hands, feet and head, *and* have enough leftover to get yourself that Realistic Frankenstein that you’ve always wanted. Imagine the joy on your 90-pound cousin Joey’s face as he slips these beauties on and becomes indistinguishable from a real gorilla! Just be careful not to take him to the zoo!

Assorted Wrist Bands

The era of the wrist band is back! Give a pair to the spindle-shanked weakling in your life to see him (or possibly her) become/appear as masculine as the day is long! Makes a great gift for fans of interesting tan lines, too!

Vampire Blood

Everyone loves vampires, right? But not everyone has the funds or gumption necessary to acquire real blood to complete the vampire look. Just a few dabs of Vampire Blood brand vampire blood and anybody on your wish list will be ready to swing to the beautiful music of the children of the night.

Optional forehead putty, tin of glitter or fistful of d10s available, depending on which brand of angst-ridden bloodsucker you wish to promote.

Vulcan Ears

NOTE: ears will not actually make blood green.

Join us all this week for more exemplary gift suggestions!


Adscape 2: The Captain Tootsie Revenge Squad

"Okay, everybody, calm down! Silence I say! This meeting of the Captain Tootsie Revenge Squad is hereby called to order! There's no old business to attend to, so let's move on to inducting our latest member! I believe that we should begin by introducing ourselves, and as chairman I shall go first!"

"I am the feared Dr Narsty! I love make small children unhappy! I would venture to say that I am Captain Tootsie's arch nemesis, having come closest to defeating him by depriving him of his precious Tootsie Rolls! Oh, if only those rotten, meddling children hadn't been around to pull the cork out by it's string! Curses!"

"I also shouldn't have included a string in the first place! Augh! I'm too angry to go on... Spies! Take over!"

"Guten tag. Ve are Hans and Schmanz, Cherman schpies from ze Vorld Var II."

"Ja, ve ver azzined to make schure zat Amerika vas not hidink zecret veapons in der schmall towns!"

"Zadly, der Kaptain Tootsie schowed opp und kecked our Ärsche!"

"Ja, he schtomped us into schnitzel!"

 "Me, I'm Red, Red the Terror. I never even knew I was up against Captain Tootsie 'til it was too late."

"See, I'd just busted out of the clink and I figgered I'd follow the standard pattern: tie up a fat kid and live in his house for a while. Things were going great - I found a fat kid in record time and the house was real nice - pink walls, yellow polka-dot coitains, the woiks."

"Next thing I know... Whammo! I didn't even get a chance to dress up in the kid's mudder's clothes!"

"Monster Man is next! Monster Man tell you all about time me met Captin Tooty."

"Monster Man still not know what happen. See, me have perfect plan:"


"Me spend week and week planning. Push child, open bank! Then me take monies to store for soft fruit and trail mix!"

"Monster Man still wonder how went wrong."

"Favourite theory involve sun spots, weather balloon. Too complex get into right now - Monster Man send you Powerpoint him work up."

"Worst part whole thing always having listen to candy talk all time."

"Serious, it like him have man from Marketing in him ass. Kid not know about balance diet? Him have question authority some day."

"Yes, well put, Monster Man. Just another reason that all children should be locked in a small room filled with bees."

"So now you know our stories and our reasons for hating Captain Tootsie as much as you do. We'll go through things like membership fees and the weekly 50/50 draw to pay for the water cooler later. For now, I'd like to fomally welcome you to the Captain Tootsie Revenge Squad..."