The Modocrylic (1972)

Going through the ads in old comics was often like visiting a sideshow carnival. There were the freaks (Sea-Monkeys), the "too good to be true" deals ("Kids! Get your own Polaris nuclear sub!"), the "why on Earth would I do that" anti-deals ("$2 dollars for the 'mystery box.' Contents might be worth it!") and the all-pupose snake- oil elixirs (muscle-building dietary supplements and Charles Atlas courses).

Usually there was one whole page of postage-stamp ads for cheap junk and gag items like onion gum, skin wigs, joy buzzers and of course the immortal x-ray glasses. In the early 70s, there was this odd variation: mail-order facial hair!

Sideburns, mustaches, goatees or the no-holds barred, all-in-one extravaganza known as "The Modocrylic"...all yours for a few bucks.

Even as a kid, this struck me as pretty odd. Who exactly is the target audience for this ad? The average 7- to 13-year-old reading comic books and too impatient to wait for puberty? The youthful professional who wants to party down as a faux "hippy" on the weekend, then go back to his normal, Young Republican look on Monday morning? Bank robbers? Terrorists?

Ah, but here in the ad copy is the secret...these ersatz whiskers offer a "romantic quick change." Nothing turns on the chicks like a glued-on mustache, boys. And the beauty is, if you find a really gullible gal, you can play the cad and then, "Presto Change-O," off goes the Modocrylic! The perfect disguise. Now your compromised girlfriend and her fighting-mad pappy will never be able to track you down for that shotgun wedding.

Just check the box that sounds closest to your hair color, or send in a lock of your real hair and let an "expert" perform a scientifically based color match. Either way, your new hair will look totally natural and convincing. Just like the guy in the illustration.