How to Lose Friends and Discourage People

DON’T DO IT, KID! Blowing $1.95 plus shipping of your hard-earned paper route money may seem like it’s worth it for a good laugh, but DON’T BE FOOLED! The joke only works once, and you’ll be sorry it did!

But why won’t your mom let me come over, Billy?

Didn’t you notice you were the only one laughing?

What’s weird is that ads in comics all seem to dovetail one into another creating a newsprint conspiracy designed to turn insular, slightly weird kids into social pariahs with practical jokes, or, God help them, magic tricks. That’s the first step. The next step is to sell kids on the idea of spending their way back into a more favorable status with peers. He-Man Voice Lessons, body building courses, increasing your stature or a boss career selling seeds will show the other kids you’re cool.

Failing that there were self defense courses to defend yourself because they’re all against you!

When mastering the fighting secrets of the world proved either too rigorous or more expensive than you thought, desperation drives you towards hypnotizing people into liking you. You roll the dice again and send away the remainder of that birthday money you have stashed away.

Snake eyes. You crapped out.

Now you’re the surly middle-aged guy that talks to himself on the bus.

Do you really want this to happen to you?

This ad and variations on the same theme ran for decades in comics, but this appeared in issue N0. 144 of The Invincible Iron Man published by Marvel Comics in 1981.

This was an interesting time for old shell-head who was always one of my favorite characters. The creative team started to vary Iron Man’s armor giving the character different armors for different utilities or missions. It made a lot of sense as Tony Stark was an inventor, and I doubt he would settle on just one run-of-the-mill super-suit to go gallivanting in. He’d get bored.

This issue also provided a flashback story immediately following Iron Man’s origin in Vietnam and sets up his first meeting with his best buddy Rhodey. Stark having just vanquished his Viet Cong captors is wandering around the jungle in his original Iron Man suit when he runs into Rhodey whose helicopter was shot down.

There’s a misunderstanding at first but it gets ironed out and introductions are made as Iron Man gives Rhodey a piggyback ride.

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