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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 12:43 pm:   

Harold von Braunhut, who used comic book advertisements to sell whimsical mail-order inventions like Amazing Sea Monkeys, tiny shrimp that pop to life when water is added, died on Nov. 28 at his home in Indian Head, Md. He was 77.

But wait, it gets worse...

In a radically different sphere, Mr. von Braunhut's hard right-wing beliefs drew notice. According to a 1996 Anti-Defamation League report, he belonged to the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations.

Armed with X-Ray Spex and hot pepper bubblegum, the next generation of Sea Monkeys are destined to conquer this planet as the Master Race!
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GabrielM
Posted on Sunday, December 21, 2003 - 09:50 pm:   

No, it was that little machine where you put in a blank piece of paper AND OUT CAME A BRAND NEW DOLLAR BILL!!! Clearly designed to bring down our currency! The fact that you had to have previously put in a dollar bill is of no moment, I have it on good information that the Eurozone powers have acquired the prototype and that it is the source of our current currency woes!
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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, December 26, 2003 - 07:51 am:   

Whatever his political stupidities, Von Braunhut's advertisements formed an integral part of my comics-reading experience when I was a kid, even if I didn't know his name. Perhaps it's just my rose-colored See-Behind Glassestm, but like many other nostalgia buffs, I remember closely reading those advertisements, more skeptically as I got older, but reading them nevertheless. They weren't just interruptions in the format -- they helped define the form; they are part of the reason that comic books are not the same as grahic novels, even when the story content is exactly identical. Those ad pages were crowded with little dreams, tiny seeds of fantasy. They were certainly more fun that seeing my favorite superheroes gobble up Twinkies and Ding Dongs. I am grateful to Von Braunhut for his entrepreneurial silliness; his bravura sense of kitsch continues to bring me joy to this day.

Now I wonder who will be the first writer out there to publish a story about a Neo-Nazi nebbish who employs Life-Size Karate Practice Dummiestm and self-inflicted Joy Buzzerstm in his self-pitying daydreams of race war. Sounds like James P. Blaylock gone dark.
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Nick Mamatas
Posted on Friday, December 26, 2003 - 08:13 am:   

What are you talking about? Fighting crime with pies is the coolest thing ever!

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