Fat Jack’s


In-Print-1979This is another ad from In Print which was put together by Philadelphia-area (mainly Temple University) college students for Philadelphia-area college students. This particular issue came out in April of 1979 and while the decade still had 8 months left, it was a review of the 1970s. It’s newsprint pages featured dense typesetting mingled with dull halftones of well-worn stock photos of all of the usual suspects from that decade — Richard Nixon, Patty Hearst, Charlie Manson, Jimmy Carter, etc. There were readers’ polls and top ten lists and nothing too controversial or all that interesting either. The truly interesting stuff for me is the many advertisements which is probably why the publication existed in the first place. The ads are sort of a snapshot of an era featuring places and the tastes of the time. Many of the businesses are long gone and all but forgotten, but not the one I’m featuring today!

Fat-JacksFat Jack’s Comicrypt still exists, but not at the address listed above. It’s now located at 2006 Sansom Street just around the corner from the old place.

atlantic-bldgI was introduced to Fat Jack’s back in 1981 by the members of DUCKWORK. A number of us left the office on the 13th floor of the Atlantic Building for South 2oth street which turned out to be stupid because Jack’s was a tiny store about the size of a walk-in closet wedged in between a dry cleaner an an adult book store. There was barely enough room for the bins of comics and the cats much less the customers. I elbowed my way into the place and looked through the back issues. I thought I knew about comics, but I knew nothing compared to some of those DUCKWORK guys a number of whom went on to have careers in the funny book trade. They were on a mission seeking specific back issues. I remember getting uncomfortable by the sheer density of humans in the tiny place and worked my way out the door to the sidewalk. I waited on 20th Street for the Ducks to emerge with the treasures they had found.


Where Fat Jack’s used to be on South 20th Street. The row of buildings in which the store was situated were obliterated to make way for this upscale hamburger and milkshake joint.

I must admit that I had only visited Fat Jack’s a couple of times when it was at it’s old locale. Shops dealing specifically in comics were a relatively new thing at the time. Fat Jack’s was the only comics shop I remember from back then. It was the only one in Center City Philadelphia. It was popular and always packed.

2006-sansomFat Jack’s has long since moved to much more spacious digs on Sansom Street, and it’s a very pleasant place to shop. I would supply a link to their website, but it looks as if they have never bothered with one. Brick and mortar store FOREVER!

I love the old, hand-drawn ad. I wonder if Adam Warlock – the muscle boy with the ’70s feathered hairdo in the ad above –  will make his way into one of the Marvel movies. He may due to his connection with the big bad guy rumored to appear in the future Avengers movie, but I doubt if he’ll be in that costume.

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