Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Fun with Steve and Bob. The Phantom Stranger #35. Part Two.

Steve Scout, boy scout action figure advert
Phantom Stranger #35, Jim Aparo cover
As long-standing readers of this blog know, I've always had a soft spot for the classic, "You too can be a ninja," ad that turned me into the human killing machine I am today - not to mention the legendary ad for Duke the wonder dog that's worthy of a blog in its own right. And don't even get me started on Charles Atlas.

But Phantom Stranger #35, the comic that never stops giving, provides us with another classic example of the art of comic book advertising.

As any fool knows, if there's anything more exciting than being a ninja, it's being a boy scout, and here's where comics prove it. This time they give us Steve Scout, the boy scout action-figure. Why, just imagine the fun you can have with a boy scout action-figure, doing things like... ...erm....

Steve Scout sits down
But don't just accept my word for it. Take a look at all the exciting stuff the ad credits him with doing: "He kneels to chop wood", "He stands to signal," and my favourite of them all, "He sits by the campfire."

Not only does he sit by the campfire but  his canoe actually floats and he has a battery powered flasher, a thing I think we can all do nothing but envy.

Bob Scout, a boy scout action figure in his own right. I don't care what the manufacturers say
The ad bravely tells us he was America's only ever boy scout action-figure, which must've been a surprise to Bob Scout, his action-figure boy scout friend. Seemingly the manufacturers didn't feel Bob Scout was worthy of being counted in the official boy scout action-figure stats. I'm sure I can't imagine why that might be.

So there you have it. America's only ever boy scout action-figure (and his friend). I don't like to be a cynic but I can't help feeling that, clean-living though he no doubt was, there was a good reason no one else ever produced boy scout action figures. You know, like the fact they weren't ninjas.


Kid said...

And remember - "his hands". Must have had paedos everywhere drooling at the thought. Wasn't it Baden-Powell who wrote "Scouting For Boys"? What was he thinking?

Steve W. said...

I'm sure the Phantom Stranger will make sure nothing untoward happens.

R. W. Watkins said...

My all-time favourite comic-mag advertisement is also from DC, and on a similar theme. Does anyone remember the Aurora company's Ready Rangers' Mobile Field Pack advert from 1973-'74...? It consists of a back-cover comic story concerning three young fellows in the 11 to 13 age category who get trapped 'high in the mountains' courtesy of an avalanche. They, of course, set up 'Ready Ranger Headquarters' utilising the wonders that are their Ready Ranger Mobile Field Packs. They call for help through their Ready Ranger PA Horns; they locate the north star with their Ready Ranger Starfinder; they pitch their tents and huddle together (here we get kinky!) in their Ready Ranger Ponchos. Finally, a nearby lookout tower spots the signal from their Ready Ranger Signal Light, and they are lifted to safety at daybreak by a helicopter. 'No doubt about it,' says one young lad, 'Our Ready Ranger Mobile Field Packs saved our lives.' Fantastic! These boys must have been the epitome of 1970s latchkey children in the US. If you ever come across it, Steve, post it so that we can all relive our childhood Ready Ranger fantasies.

Steve W. said...

I remember it well and may have it in one of the comics currently in my possession.

I did always wonder about the responsibility of such ads. I mean, what if a group of children actually took it seriously and wandered off into the wilderness, armed only with their Ready Rangers Field Pack? They'd've been dead within hours.

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