Comic Book Store, 1978

Comic Shop 1978

The ad, showing Vancouver’s The Comic Shop, is from The First Vancouver Catalogue. The pic on top shows rows and rows of fantasy paperbacks in the glorious heyday of fantasy paperbacks. Several editions of Conan appeared between 1966 (Lancer Books) and the early ’80s. They included Howard’s original stories and new works by contemporary authors, notably L. Sprague de Camp and Lin Carter.

The Marvel titles in the bigger photo are mostly obscured, but what a great look at all the magazines. Will Eisner’s Spirit, 1984, The Hulk! (formerly The Rampaging Hulk) #10 (Val Mayerik cover art), and The Savage Sword of Conan #33 (killer Earl Norem cover). On the second row, you’ll see a `Jaws vs Ape’ headline. That’s Famous Monsters of Filmland #146.

FM #146 1978

Not cover specialist Bob Larkin’s best work, and why the hell is the ape beating on Jaws, anyway? Here’s my best guess.

1976’s A*P*E (no shit, it stands for Attacking Primate MonstEr) is compellingly awful, and introduces a young Joanna Kerns (the mom in Growing Pains). RKO sued the production company for its blatant attempt to rip off Dino De Laurentiis’s 1976 King Kong remake, hence the hilarious disclaimer at the end of the trailer.

Also, listen for the very poorly edited “See giant ape defy jaw-shark!” I’m sure the narrator originally used ‘jaws’, but was forced to change it due to legal pressure from Universal Pictures. So, in true exploitation fashion, they replaced the ‘s’ by dubbing ‘shark’ over it.

***

I’m happy to report that The Comic Shop is still there. On the website’s history page, I found a bonus photo of co-founder and owner Ron Norton in 1975. You can spot several more comic magazines behind him, including Unknown Worlds of Science Fiction #1, and more fantasy and sci-fi paperbacks (Zelazny, Silverberg) in the foreground.

Comic Shop 1975

(First image via Sequential: Canadian Comics News and Culture)

(Video via TrashTrailers/YouTube)

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