This blog, which never quite achieved the same oomph behind it, was somewhat broader in scope so as to allow me to discuss and investigate related materials and themes without requiring them to have originated in comic books (or for me to apologise over and over again for sourcing them externally to comics.) It's not at all clear today, now that that (comics-loving!) baby just turned nine years old, why I bothered, since the retired blog has since come back to life in a sporadic and bent sort of way, continuing to document ads for CRPGs and AD&D licensed games, sourced from anywhere, and more recently -- ads for "play-by-mail" RPGs! I'll leave it to its thing and continue my original mandate at a meandering pace over here, at my blog that has otherwise been long since taken over by ANSI art. (That sideline itself slowed down since the main ANSI at gallery at 16colo.rs incorporated tagging metadata, so if you wanted to look at Bloom County ANSI art, you no longer had to hope that I'd put in the hours mining it out for you.)
"But why?" I hear you ask, "you got rid of all your comics a long time ago!" Pretty much, yes. But admire the off-brand little free library we have just installed in front of our new home (Figure 1, the first sunny weekend ahead we should put on a little launch party for this circulation branch, to say nothing of the housewarming we've been pandemic-postponing since October): not only a vital outlet through which we can purge disposable young reader fiction, but as it turns out a two-way street, through which reading material new to us can also arrive to our attention! Recently, it included about a dozen issues of "Impulse" (DC's futuristic teenaged speedster, occasionally described as "Kid Flash"), circa 1996-97. The comic was, ehh, nothing special, but in its pages there was to be found... a great deal of video game content -- not merely in the advertisements, but also in the panels of the comic, as the hero's adolescence is recurringly characterised in episodes spent grinding at a video game console or in arcades. So maybe I'll share a little of it with you here! (I mean, duh, obviously, that's what I'm doing here. But maybe after this one, I might share more of it.)
CRIMENET GAZETTEThis ad was caught in Impulse #14 from June of 1996. It's easy to forget how big Carmen Sandiego got before the edutainment bubble popped (well, was subject to corporate financial malfeasance by Shark Tank and Dragon's Den... what's the opposite of a "luminary"? (yeah, that'll do) ... Kevin O'Leary) but not only did she have a wildly successful video game series (that never, despite all the multimedia bells and whistles a decade and a half could yield, never substantially progressed from its initial "consult the almanac" design) and a game show on TV (itself boasting one of the most earwormiest theme songs of all time, thanks a lot Rockapella) (who themselves must have a lot to answer for vis a vis the brief moments in the wider cultural zeitgeist enjoyed by a capella vocal ensembles, on par with Moxy Fruvous as elder statesmen of that weird niche) (but I digress) but also apparently also was the subject of a licensed four-issue comic book series! ('90s comic book speculators: I can see "mint condition" copies of the first three issues, priced at $1.75 1996 dollars ($3.00 in 2021 dollars) selling for about four dollars a quarter-century down the line, so while there is a modest return, I hope you're not expecting your big payout quite yet. Will that dollar cover the costs of 25 years of warehousing?)
GRAND CANYON, EIFFEL TOWER MISSING!
Carmen Sandiego prime suspect!
V.I.L.E. Henchmen strike again!
Acme detectives stumped! 12-year-old becomes latest Acme agent!
Bimonthly comic to debut in April !
Inspired by the smash-hit computer game!
Story by Barry Liebmann
Pictures by S.M. Taggart
Where in the World is CARMEN SANDIEGO?
The big question is whether the comics are any good (granted, they don't have to have much of a story to beat the games), but unfortunately that can't be gleaned merely by scrutinizing an advertisement. (Even though the ad plainly states Just the Facts, Ma'am, the writer is apparently known for their work on MAD Magazine, always a good sign, and the issue plot blurbs seem at least as promising as the issue of Impulse in which the ad appears!)
But I must conclude that for Carmen Sandiego bang for your buck, probably you should just stick with the action-packed 2019 Netflix cartoon, which makes up for lost time. (Who is teaching kids about the currencies and landmarks of different countries today? I have no idea, presumably there's an app for that. In my school days we delighted in exploring PCGlobe in the elementary school library, until the librarians decreed that every time someone triggered its blasting an obscure national anthem in all its bleepy PC Speaker glory, everyone in the library had to stand up and salute until it was done playing. I would say "But I digress" again, but there's no thread to return to, I'm just stalling for time here. See you later!)