While clicking around, I discovered a site by Seanbaby devoted to those bizarre, grainy ads on the back of comic books. I remember, for example, this Charles Atlas ad, this very same one, from a childhood comic book. As soon as I rediscovered it on Seanbaby’s site, I immediately thought two things:
1. That ad struck me as poorly drawn, hokey, outmoded and a big fat lie when I first saw it around age 7.
2. Richard O’Brien didn’t have to push very far to make a parody of the Charles Atlas campaign when he wrote I Can Make You A Man for Rocky Horror. In fact, the ad copy here uses many phrases that show up, barely altered, in that song. I am, however, surprised that Richard O’Brien’s lyrics didn’t use some of the screamingly homoerotic subtext in such phrases as “Do you feel soft, frail skinny, or flabby, only HALF-ALIVE?” and “You want the Greek god type of physique…that makes other fellows green with envy.”