Sea-Monkeys and X-Ray Spex

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Collectors Weekly interviews artist and historian Kirk Demarais about his book Mail-Order Mysteries, which archives the novelties sold at the back of vintage comic books. Demarias discusses the appeal and disappointment that these bizarre products brought to childhood.

“They weren’t just toys. Things like X-Ray Spex and the Charles Atlas Fitness Program could improve my life. If I had ordered something from a comic book, I wouldn’t just play with it. No, it could actually bring admiration from others. Even in first grade, I faced bullies, and so I thought these things could help me stand up for myself.”


Lisa Dusenbery is the former managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →