Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Funny Pages v. 2 #1

By now, an attentive reader might notice that I prefer the early output of Dell to some of its competitors. I've got to review some great Dell issues lately, so it was almost painful to go back to Centaur today.

But this issue does have some interesting pricing information. Could you really, as Simpy does, get a chicken dinner for 50 cents in the 1930s? I've seen a 1940s menu with a turkey dinner for $1 in it, so this isn't too incredible.

I thought this page was interesting because, while it's easy to find information about what 1930s circuses were like, but finding the prices at the circus is tougher. Here we see a $1 entrance fee, which seems believable to me.

Oh sure, Centaur got some material of quality from the Chesler Studio, but they were too cheap to buy enough to fill a book with. So you'd get maybe 50 pages of filler around an exciting one-shot drama/mystery like "Devil of the Deep".

One of the benefits of gaming "in" a visual medium like comic books is that you can use these images as visual aides for your players. Take the diving suit disguised here to look like a devil; this is a way to take a mundane trophy and dress it up as something "new" and cool.

And then there's the bends. I'd rather not attach a lot of game mechanics -- or science -- to that, since the bends are seldom displayed accurately in comic books. Maybe a diving Hero who surfaces too fast should take 1d6 points of damage (without the benefit of a save), but it's up to the Editor how fast is "too fast".

And one last pricing example -- my research shows that $15 was not all that unlikely a resale value for cars in the 1930s-40s; they depreciated in value very quickly.

(Scans courtesy of Digital Comic Museum)

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