This is one of the best books in the Archie McPhee Library. Mail-Order Mysteries: Real Stuff from Old Comic Book Ads! [Buy from Amazon] by Kirk Demarais. The premise is irresistible. He took the ads from comic books and matched them up with what you actually got if you ordered. All the products are varying degrees of disappointing, but the book is anything but.
Demarais’ commentary is clever and dead on, mixing misty nostalgia with sharp focus reality. As you can see from the page above, the “7 Feet Tall” ghost is actually a balloon with a plastic sheet (garbage bag). Reading the copy, he imagines a complicated voice-activated control system, but the control is merely a string. It is, as Demarais points out, deflating.
Whether you are looking to this book for inspiration or curiosity, you will be bowled over by the printing and beautiful layout. Plus, the cover and back cover glow in the dark! (It’s like some crazy dream!)