Boys, Girls, Men, Women
IF YOU KNOW JUST 10 PEOPLE . . .
You can make at least $5000.00 -- more likely $10,000 to $50,000 in your spare time!
Everyone You Know Likes Feeling Good and Everyone Loves Taking Narcotics
The beauty of Ware's writing is in the combination of the very optimistic styles of golden and silver age comic book adverts with a very self-aware cynicism. Though the book comes out sporadically and is hard to find, it is always well written and well worth the hunt.
The gems of the Acme Novelty Library aren't necessarily the stories, but the bookending small print in the books, which offers horrifying novelty items like genuine x-ray specs ("Reel with nausea at intestines squeezing partially digest food towards quivering sphincters, leaking valves sputtering green brown and yellow fluids, clenching ports emitting warm gasses and foul mists! It's awful! No limit to the fun!"), exploding miniature dogs ("What a mess, but fun! Old ladies particularly hate them. Bang!"), 'Blind' powder ("A terrifying joke. Permanently blinds your victim, takes all the joy out of their life."), and placebo birth control alongside such life necessities as Irony ("What the kids are talking about!"), Creativity, Certainty, and Reason For Living ("Printed on handy laminated wallet card, available in different colors."). Also entertaining are the occasional errata, such as:
- As a boy, one of our artists gave a Valentine's Day card inscribed with the words "I love you" to a girl he particularly admired, and she avoided him for the rest of the year. The Acme Novelty Library regrets this error.
or the diversional activities for "those whom experience in matters of the flesh
is not necessarily a defining personal characteristic." There are also ads parodying the old sales clubs
that feature minor things a small country could trade for pieces of "civilisation" (such as LIP STICK
: Let only 100 Businessmen have their way with Your Women) or displaying all the marvelous prizes someone could have, if only they didn't have children (as represented by the cost in number of meals it takes to feed said spawn of loins
One of my favorite ads is reproduced below:
LIVE FOREVER: Everyone's biggest problem. How much time do I have? Is there life after death? Will I be punished for my misdeeds, or will I be rewarded? Will I be reincarnated? If so, will I come back as an insect, or as a piece of shit? Who knows? And who cares? Now that you've got the gift of immortality, you can brush your worries away. Spend money. Watch television. Kill people. It doesn't matter anymore. Stop eating. Stop breathing. Cut your legs, arms, head off. Nothing will stop you from enjoying the rich pageant we call life. Great at parties. Leap from windows, shoot self in head. Splat! Big laffs. Weird. People will ask you about it. Watch your friends as they age, get sick, and die around you. See nations crumble, continents sink. Witness the earth get swallowed by the sun, the universe thin out to nothingness. Then what? Only you know. Special powder is the trick.
No. 6002. SUPER MAGICAL POWDER.
Sale, per package . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5.00
Definitely a grand and relentless foray into dark humor.
It should also be noted that Chris Ware also does independant graphics design work, including art design for the Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire album Oh! The Grandeur! and accompanying promotional material, and the cover and interior illustrations for The New Yorker's 2000 Young Fiction double issue. Truly one of America's underappreciated talents.