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I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in desperate need of a plastic Thor pillow

December 13, 2010

I’ve always admired the P.T. Barnum aspect of Stan Lee in his glory days. He was an inveterate promoter, a huckster shelling for the delightful snake oil that was the Mighty Marvel Manner. And while I’m sure others had input into the merchandising that broadened the Marvel brand, the puffery involved had Stan the Man’s scent all over it. I’ve always imagined him travelling to early comic book conventions and selling t-shirts and mugs and sweaters and bed sheets and blankets and toys and beach towels out of the back of some beat down station wagon.

There’s a charm to all that. A roll-your-eyes charm, but a charm nonetheless.

That said, the plastic pillows may be the proverbial straw that broke the you-know-what’s back. Either I had never seen this particular ad before or I had just never noticed it, but the pillows sucked me in this time. They seem to be on a different level of unnecessary and stupid. I’m not sure if they were meant for folks who had the salivary equivalent of nocturnal enuresis or what. I guess they’re for the beach, maybe.

A final thought… If you’re a longer term fan of the Howard Stern Show, you’re well aware of the ribbing that former show writer and whipping boy Jackie Martling took in his years on the program. A lot of it was spurred on by his outside businesses. He never passed up an opportunity to hawk some useless junk to his (really Howard’s) fanbase, and it was a neverending source of amusement (and bemusement) to his cohorts. I found a couple of audio clips that perfectly sum all of that up:

There are some similarities between Stan and Jackie on this, and, to be honest, I love ’em for this foible. But the pillows? Come on, Stan.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2010 2:47 pm

    Okay, goofy as Hell, yes. But I still loved my plastic pillows! As I recall, they had a 3D style, with the hammer arm on the back for Thor, and Spidey on the front, overlooking the man, who was printed on the back. I thought that was a cool touch.

    • December 20, 2010 6:01 pm

      Okay, the Spider-Man pillow actually sounds mildly neat, but I think the novelty would wear off for me in about five minutes. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, though.

  2. December 20, 2010 9:46 pm

    Perhaps for use during a bubble bath to keep your head propped up?

    • December 21, 2010 10:39 am

      That’s why I appreciate your perspective — never in a million years would I ever have come up with bubble baths as a potential use for those things. My macho mental barriers won’t allow such things to enter my mind. Btw, I’ll be taking a look at the romantic adventures of Nurse Betsy Crane in the next week or so. I know that’s right in your wheelhouse, and your feedback is always welcome whenever I wander into the unfamiliar territory of romance comics.

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