Among the dozens of appealing American advertisements crammed in the colourful comic books of our youth was the magic mystery of “The Money Maker.” A machine that manufactured money, it promised from a tiny notice as if sharing a secret, “Insert a blank piece of paper, turn the knob…OUT COMES A REAL DOLLAR BILL: You can spend it: Makes $5’s, $10’s, $20’s and more! A mystifying trick: Order yours NOW! Only $1.25!”
We grew impatient for the precious few copies of sleek Superman, the crusading Batman and the tormented Thing that circulated within favoured reading groups, hiding from chores and homework until we enjoyed the exciting exploits of heroes ranging from the amazing Spiderman, to the incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and Wonder Woman. The valued magazines were lent to us by our better-connected friends who we envied for their high-heeled, well-travelled parents or generous overseas relatives, preferably based with big barrels, boxes and bank accounts in New York.
The early enterprising students rented their high demand issues, although already several months or even years old for a small fee. So, we happily competed and paid our pocket money to pore over the publications for a night, or if we were lucky loyal customers, for a weekend, before each was passed on and shared until the once glossy cover lost its sheen and split, and the fragile newsprint remainder fell apart and disappeared into the distribution dark web…..