√ 40 Uses for a Dead Funny Book

by Jimmm Kelly

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Comic Burning in the ’50s (AP photo)

After you’ve read your funny book five or ten times. After the cover is falling off, some pages are torn, and it’s lying dead under your bed. What use is it? Well, before you bury it in the backyard, take a moment to consider these helpful hints . . .

1. Take some plasticine (modelling clay) and press it against the page of a funny book–this will pick up the image from the page. Next press the plasticine onto a blank piece of paper and voila! the image magically appears on the paper.

2. Roll up the funny book as a tube. This makes an excellent spyglass.

3. You can also roll up the funny book as a tube and use it as a megaphone.

4. Cut around the figures in a funny book—I recommend a full body image, such as might appear in an action scene, e.g. Superman flying to confront Brainiac in space—then paste the cut-out onto a piece of cardboard (the cardboard that comes with your mother’s nylons that you bought her for her birthday with your dad’s help is perfect for this)—now cut around the image again to remove it from the rest of the cardboard. Now you have a cut-out doll!

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You might not want to cut the image out of the funny book. You can trace the image onto another piece of paper.

5. Even better, though, use carbon paper. Use a pen to trace around the image on the funny book, with the carbon paper under the page, and a blank piece of paper or cardboard under the carbon paper. Make sure you have the carbon paper facing the right way, kids!

You can invent your own characters from the tracings you have made. Simply substitute different clothes and facial features. This is what the professional artists do.

6. Or you may want to make cut out paper clothes for your paper doll characters. SUGAR AND SPIKE magazine already provides excellent paper dolls and clothes to put on them. We recommend this magazine for those who love to play with paper dolls. It’s really quite fun.

for more about paper dolls go to: A CONVENTION OF PAPER DOLLS

7. Did you know there are many coupons in funny books? Cut these out to send away for some great novelty items. Like x-ray specs and your own nuclear submarine.

8. Funny books make great kindling. If you’re off on a camping trip this summer, we suggest taking two or three old funny books with you, in case you need to start a fire. Really old funny books are better for this use as they have become very dry and will burn faster.  ACTION COMICS No.1, DETECTIVE COMICS No. 27, and WHIZ COMICS No. 2 are highly useful for this purpose.

9. If you are on a camping trip, you may need to clean up after yourself. Comics are great when you don’t have any paper towel or toilet paper.

10. You can decorate your toybox with pictures from your favourite funny books. We like to use the pictures from the covers, because these are big and more colourful (also thicker so the glue doesn’t soak through). If you have a cardboard box for your toybox, just paste the pictures onto the box—you can also use tape.

11. If you have a fancy toybox made out of wood, you might want to try decoupage. Get your parents to show you how. I decorated my toybox this way and it looks really great!

12. On very sunny days, you can pretend you have heat vision just like Superman and use a magnifying glass (or your sister’s spectacles) to direct the sunlight onto the funny book. You can burn a small hole through the entire funny book. But play safe. Don’t do this near any open fuel cans.

13. If you belong to a charity group, you might want to organize a paper drive. There are lots of families that have piles of funny books in their basement they would love to get rid of. Just go from door to door and ask. These comics can be sold for scrap and you never know, you might collect enough money for your next community project, like preparing a hot lunch for the under-privileged. Always think about those less fortunate than yourselves, kids!

14. You can also give away funny books at your community bazaar. One bazaar I know of set up a fishing game. Children would drop their fishing poles (rods with strings tied to one end) over a screen, and parents on the other side of the screen would tie old comic books to the string. When the children pulled up on their fishing poles they found they had caught a bunch of comic books.

15. Remember when you’re done reading your funny book, roll it up and keep it stuffed in your back pocket. This way if it rains, and you don’t have an umbrella (and who ever does), you can open the comic book and put it over your head to keep the rain off.

 16. If you want to sit on the grass, and it’s wet, you can spread a funny book on the grass and sit on it. Keep 3 or 4 comics in your back pocket and you will have more room to sit on the grass–and have one on hand for a friend to sit on.

 17. A stack of comics makes a great pillow for when you’re sitting on the grass and looking up at the clouds. What does that cloud look like? A ghost?

 18. Papier-mache! as the French say. What kid doesn’t love to do papier-mache? There are many simple formulas for papier-mache, but I mix water with flour. It shouldn’t be too thick. Keep this mix in a wide-brimmed bowl. Then rip your funny book into strips and dip the strips in the flour mix. Now spread the strips onto the surface of the object you want to papier mache (such as an old light bulb), and cover it with the strips and let dry. When it hardens you should be able to smash the papier mache light bulb against a concrete surface, so just the bulb breaks inside–making your own maracas. Or make a statue like Andrew Vickers did with his “paperboy” statue, made from old funny books like AVENGERS No. 1, as seen in Sheffield, England:

UK Artist Accidentally Turns Avengers #1 Into Papier-Mâché (escapistmagazine.com)

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19. You can create your own “new” funny book out of old funny books. Just cut up the comic into individual panels and  paste these onto blank papers. You can keep the old balloons and captions (or cut them out and move them around), or make your own new captions.

 20. An alternative is to cut out pieces of blank paper and paste them over the captions and balloons in the old funny book. Then you can make up your own captions and dialogue for the story. You can have characters like Wonder Girl and Supergirl saying really funny things. I thought just children did this, until I saw a book about the Situationists in France. Real live grown-up people who did the same thing! How silly is that. But they just put tired political slogans over top of the nice stories that Mike Sekowsky wrote about Supergirl. Which was a waste. And they publish this stuff as if it was their own creation. Note to kids: Don’t do this! this is theft. Believe it or not, there are actual companies that publish funny books and they own the stories and the art in funny books. Even old funny books sometimes. So you can’t publish their funny books. But you can share your made-up funny books with family and friends.

21. Make some foldees out of panels relatively the same size. If you don’t know what foldees are, ask your dad.

22. You can also make a scrap book for your favourite character. I did this for Batman. Whenever you find a picture of Batman that you like just cut it out of the funny book–or if you see one in a magazine or newspaper, cut it out from that after you ask your parents (sometimes parents like to keep their newspapers and magazines and they might not want them cut up). You can fill up a big scrap book with your favourite pictures from the comics.

23. Some comic book covers and pages have pictures that are suitable for pinning up on your bedroom wall. I recommend BATMAN No. 181. Not only does it have a nice centre spread inside that was made to be taken out of the comic and pinned up, it also has a great cover that looks really good on my wall. Here’s a tip: Did you know that staples are made for easy removal–Yes, just use a knife or pair of scissors to bend the staples and you should be able to pull them out. Little kids should get their older brother or sister to help. BATMAN No. 1 is another funny book that has a few nice pages for pin-up–I mean the original BATMAN No. 1–that one has pin-up art. Any other funny book called BATMAN No. 1, which isn’t, is just stupid and not any good for putting on your bedroom wall (I suggest throwing it in the garbage).

24. Do you know how to make a moebius strip? Cut a strip out of a funny book, then give it a half twist and tape the ends together. This is a mathematical marvel which has zero Gaussian curvature. The moebius strip can be cut down along the strip producing unusual results. WARNING: this could blow your mind and make you question the nature of reality.

25. You can use funny book pages to wrap a present.  Any funny book will do–even that fake BATMAN No. 1–but you could try using your sister’s favourite funnies–she’ll be happy to see her favourite comics used for wrapping paper.

26. You can also use a page to make an envelope to put the gift card in.

27. And you can make your own gift card by pasting a picture cut out from the funny book onto a regular piece of cardboard (like the cardboard from the package of your mom’s nylons).

28. You might want to use the Sunday funnies to make a paper hat, since they are generally bigger, but there are some tabloid sized comic books that will do just as well. And you can use regular size comics to make hats for your dolls. If you don’t know how to fold the paper to make a hat, just ask your big sister, she should know how.

29. Make finger puppets! Just cut out the faces of your favourite characters, then paste these on a thin strip of paper. Now join the ends of the paper and tape them together to make a ring that will slip on your finger. Now you have a finger puppet. You can drape doll clothes over your hand so it looks like the finger puppets are wearing them. Imagine Batman in a dress. Now that’s funny.

30. Make your own cards by cutting out the words in the titles of comics and pasting them on a blank card. Such as “World’s Finest” (from WORLD’S FINEST COMICS) “Brother” (from BROTHER POWER THE GEEK).

31. You can also cut out pictures to put on the card–or use the plasticine trick we told you about before to transfer the image onto the blank card.

32. If you are packing a nice present in a box, use some crumpled up comic pages for packing.

33. Old comic books can always use improvement. It’s surprising how many characters in comics don’t have moustaches. It seems to me they should all have moustaches–even the women and the little children.

34. Glasses, too! Make sure you put glasses on all the characters in the comic book after you’re done reading the story. The next person who gets the funny book from you will laugh and laugh. Superman funnies are good for this, since you can put glasses on the Man of Steel to make him look like Clark Kent.

35. The All Groucho Marx Funny Book! Groucho Marx was the funniest man who ever lived. He once shot an elephant in his pyjamas. Why the elephant was in his pyjamas we don’t know. Every funny book is made that much more funny if all the characters are made to look like Groucho Marx. It’s a proven fact.

36. The intellectual funny book option: You might choose to draw full beards instead of just moustaches. This isn’t so much funny as it is thoughtful. Characters with beards look like professors, authors, and dead presidents. Supergirl with a beard looks like Walt Whitman. Superman with a beard looks like Abraham Lincoln or Ulysses Grant.

37. It is also always a nice thing to make all the characters look like they are wearing lipstick. But don’t use your mother’s lipstick. She might get mad. A red felt pen will do just as well.

38. If you have any Canadian five dollar bills (but not the new plastic ones), you can cut out the pictures of the blue headed guy and paste them on the pages of different funny books. Voila! instant Guardian of the Universe floating head cameo appearance. [Educational fact: the blue headed guy is really Wilfrid Laurier, the 7th Prime Minister of Canada.]

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39. Stuff your funny books inside a wall for insulation. Years from now, when someone is tearing down your old house, it will give them a good laugh to find your old funny books in there. David Gonzales purchased an abandoned house that he planned to renovate and live in with his four children–while tearing down a wall, Gonzales found newspapers from the 1930s used as insulation. Then he came across ACTION COMICS No. 1 [the real one].

Rare Superman comic discovered in wall of abandoned house in Minnesota (telegraph.co.uk)

40. Be sure to write on the pages of the comic book every random thought you have as you are reading or looking at the pictures. If you think Suzie is a fathead, be sure to write this down. Also write your full name, address, and telephone number inside the comic book so if you ever lose it someone might return it to you or just phone you up to tell you how funny you made the comic book look!

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