Monday, March 15, 2010

The Day of Woman and Robots

Back on Christmas of 2008 one of my first and favorite podcasters-Shawn Robare of Branded In The 80s-conspired with one of my most recent favorite podcasters-Jerzy Drozd of Art & Story Extreme-to share with the world a Christmas themed Transformers comic published in the December 26, 1985 issue of Woman's Day magazine. The scans were fantastic but what was infinitely more valuable to me was that Shawn gave the exact coverdate of the issue. I'd seen the magazine discussed occasionally on the message boards of various Thoroughly Informative Transformers Themed Internet Entertainment Sites but until Shawn's post I never saw anyone release the most important factual tidbit of all-when the friggin thing came out! Armed with that information and full of enthusiasm, excitement and prayers to baby Jesus I looked forward to the joy of getting ripped off on eBay.


In the two years hence I've seen the magazine pop up exactly three times. The first time was as part of a bound collection of all the Woman's Days released in 1985. It was the entire year all in one hardcover volume the seller said was once part of a library collection. That auction had a Buy-It-Now of $25, which I thought was a bit high because I couldn't justify owning a whole year's worth of Woman's Day just for what amounted to two pages. I don't care how good those cookies on the cover looked.
Surely there was nothing Transformers or toy robots related in all those other issues bound with it, right? That auction sold within a couple weeks of when Shawn's post went up. Then the issue popped up again on eBay around the time the first auction ended when a comic book shop was scalping a single copy of the issue with a Buy-it-Now of $20. They knew what they had and the description used the Transformer comic within as the selling angle. There's no way I was gonna pay $20 for two pages, especially to scalpers. I could've got the whole year for that! Seeing two copies come and go in such a relatively short time had me convinced all I had to do was wait a couple days and another one would pop up. Then a year went by and that hardbound library collection I missed out on earlier because of my cheapness started looking pretty good. So I began wishing a copy of that friggin' magazine would just show up so I could buy it no matter how much it cost since I finally realized how rare it was. They say a fool and his money are soon parted and I've realized the same is true for cheap guys but it just takes a little longer.


Well finally around two weeks ago baby Jesus hooked me up because a seller put a ratty old copy of the most roboholyest of Woman's Days on eBay. It was in a lot with three other old raggedy Woman's Day magazines I wouldn't need, but hell the Buy-It-Now was only $2.99. So I figured I'd keep the one I wanted and chuck the rest of 'em in the garbage once they arrived. Because again, surely there was nothing Transformers or toy robots related in all those other issues, right? Holy hell was I wrong.
As it turns out I got a lot more than I bargained for when within the pages of those old Woman's Days I found old toy robots ads! Old Woman's Days was the last place in the universe I'd ever expect to find that stuff. The same issue that had the Transformer comic also came with a pull out section from Toys R Us called the Christmas Dream Book 1985. Inside there were ads for Gobots, Voltron and Wheeled Warriors. Then in the issue from earlier in December there was an absolutely beautiful black and white ad from Kay Bee toys for Transformers. So then arose the terrible realization that there may be other ads like this lurking in other issues from that year and possibly other years. It wasn't just the ads that had robots, either. There were articles about toys that were written as holiday gift guides with Transformers pictured in those, too. Were those ads? The more I read the more the distinction between article and advertising began to blur. Then of course there was the Transformer comic presented as a Christmas story for children but it was really an ad when you think about it. I became convinced that there had to have been some sort of covert subliminal Hasbro/Woman's Day advertising conspiracy. The more I read Woman's Day the more I realized it was not a collection of articles on women's issues, but actually a trojan horse filled with thinly veiled advertisements for Hasbro toys disguised as articles on women's issues. Well except for that one about chlamydia on page 28. That was totally about chlamydia.


Kay Bee Toy Stores 12/03/85
As luck would have it, the magazines arrived last week on the day of the 36th annual IronRoboHellaCon! I would like to thank Shawn and Jerzy for however indirectly contributing to my happiness on my big day. It made me think about how wonderful my life has been made thanks to the technological advancements of mankind and how the pinnacle of a society's evolution is the ability to buy from ebay power sellers. It is truly incredible how large organizations of people I will never meet including Hasbro, my internet service provider, the staff of Woman's Day, other Transformers fans, the US Postal service and everybody who works at eBay are brought together over time and space in a grand magical electronic conspiracy so that I may get birthday presents from the internet. But all that wonderfulness came at a price and I don't just mean shipping costs and Paypal fees. Knowing there's the possibility I might find other Hasbro propagandas in back issues of women's magazines is both a terrible and exciting knowledge. Whether or not all this will result in a quest to seek out more old Woman's Day issues is still up in the air because I've got a tryptizillion other projects to deal with first. But the mystery of what may or may not be contained in those other issues will always be nagging me now in the back of my mind. I'll probably never get a shot at a whole year's worth of Woman's Day for dirt cheap like that one time. Unless I can find some old lady with a large collection of Woman's Days, tracking them down individually is gonna be expensive. Even if I do find a grandma like that I'd be reluctant to meet her. I suspect the only reason someone would stock up on vast numbers of old issues of that magazine is because they were trying to self diagnose whatever venereal diseases they kept getting in the 80s. However, it might be worth it because she'd probably be really really good at making those cookies.

1 comment:

Colin said...

There use to be an old magazine called Compute. I remember the full page full colour ad for the original Transformers video game. The ad looked so cool that you'd never know the lameatude of the actual game. But the ad is lost as is the date. I really would like to have it.

You need to buy Women's Day I fear. I need to start looking more seriously at the mag when it comes up at flea markets...


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