0. Stupid Comics

Well, spring is almost here and that means it's time for the woodland creatures to come forth from their hibernation and blink in the warm, unfamiliar sunlight. Let's join one of our favorite forest pals, shall we?

It looks like Mister Beaver has been hard at work chewing on this very comic book. That's OK buddy, I mean, paper comes from trees anyway, right?

Lured as many of us are by the warm scent of Beaver, the angry wolverine's failure leads to typical frustrated male destruction. But where are the Beavers to go when their home is smashed? Well, any time is a good time for a New York City vacation!

The mascot for Cities Service (you might know them today as Citgo), Eager Beaver and his all-American nuclear beaver family are ready to ditch Beaver Valley and head for the Big Apple!

I honestly love these mid century giveaway comics. I love the shameless selling of American brand Prosperity via slick, cheerful Madison Avenue corporate mascots. Sometimes they reference the comics they themselves appear in, which is also always great

Is Eager Beaver here really expecting us to act like we don't know who pulls his strings? You'll do what you're told if you know what's good for you, buddy. We can replace you with a tiger or a dinosaur in about two minutes flat.

One day I hope to inspire the kind of wide-eyed, open-mouthed bliss we see these beaver children show towards the almighty Cities Service Touring Bureau, which apparently is more exciting than candy, roller coasters, baseball, and the circus all rolled into one.

Okay old people, we know the mail service used to be fast, and not the sad joke it is today, but this comic is setting up unrealistic expectations for both Cities Service AND the USPS.

ROAD TRIP!!! Let's pack the station wagon full to bursting with games and toys and puzzles! One kid can make a nest on top of suitcases way in the back, the other can tunnel down in the floor space and make a cave with coats and blankets, and nobody cares if anybody's wearing their seat belts because it's 1964!

That's right, this comic says indulgently, the ladies also love to overpack. And it's probably true that the fashion of the Mid Sixties Woman, what with her hat boxes and wigs and steamer trunks full of unmentionables and extra cartons of Virginia Slims, this was not a particularly space-efficient time. But that's OK, if there are two things that will never change, it's that cars will always be huge and gasoline will always be cheap. Right?

Now you kids just keep yourselves occupied with the fun and games in the new Eager Beaver Book. Dad has his own "eager beaver" book that also keeps him occupied, but he'd better not read it while he's driving, or while Mom's around. On the other hand, you kids will probably really enjoy the giant fight that would ensue.

Here's a handy crossword tip from the kid trying desperately to figure this one out. If you're stuck on, say, a five-letter word for "out of gas," well, just shove some random letters in there and keep going. Nobody will ever notice!

Seconds later Eager Beaver and his entire family were abducted by the Beaver Clone Memory Erase Team, sworn to keep the awful, personality destroying truth behind Eager Beaver's artificial lab-grown multiple existence a secret!

Did you know that 80 countries, 45 corporations and 24 US states put together 140 pavilions, countless attractions, and 110 restaurants on 646 acres in a desperate attempt to convince millions of tourists to visit Queens? And the really unbelievable part is - it worked!

This is the part where we here at Stupid Comics usually look at this list of corporate sponsors and make fun of all the failed businesses. But hey, looks like all these guys are still alive and kicking. Even Kodak is still hanging in there! Okay, fine, AMF never did transition from bowling equipment to monorails, which, all things considered, is probably for the best.

And now it's time for Eager Beaver to make a personal pilgrimage to his corporate masters, the Cities Service headquarters at 60 Wall Street, which got knocked down, and is now Deutschebank.

I know about "bull" and "bear" markets, but this is something else!

Later editions of this travel guide would cycle through "hippie," "Jesus freak," "Joey Ramone," "DJ selling his mixtape," and now I believe the stereotype has cycled right back to "beatnik" territory, only the beard is bigger and the glasses have white frames. Still freaked out by beavers, though.

Here's a handy tip for NYC visitors - those furry brown critters you'll see underfoot on YOUR visit to Washington Square Park... well, they ain't service station mascots, believe me.

Look, color separation department, you had ONE JOB


"The secretary recognizes the Beaver delegation, and requests they stop gnawing on the Fernand Léger murals IMMEDIATELY"

Gotta hand it to gas station promotional comics, they aren't afraid to throw in a little nudity to class up the joint. Stop that snickering, this is ART! I'll turn this car around!

Mom do NOT take those kids around the corner to the rodent exhibit because they will NOT like what they see, and you're the one that's gotta deal with the nightmares and all the warped for life, model kit glue huffing juvenile delinquency fallout. On the other hand, they'll probably get drafted and be somebody else's problem.

This is what animals do on vacation, they visit the animals that aren't lucky enough to have been gifted clothes and intelligence by a benevolent fuel industry, and they just stand around and let the smugness radiate from them in waves.

And once Cities Service is done with Eager Beaver, here's where he'll wind up... if he's lucky. If not, well, ladies always need coats!

Looks like the MTA is doing all right today - the train is actually running, and neither Robert Shaw nor John Travolta is trying to hijack it, and Wesley Snipes is nowhere to be seen either! And those are three stars of movies about stealing NYC subway trains. You're welcome.

Aw man do they still have the automat? Can we still get a coffee and a piece of pie from behind the glass and sit there eating our pie pretending it's the mid to late 1960s and we're pretty much in "Mad Men" only we're going to spend less time hollering at our awful boss and way more time seeing the Velvet Underground? There's not? Dang.

Whenever you're lost or confused on your NYC trip, simply consult your own personalized Cities Service comic, and it'll tell you exactly where you're going next. This is also how they got the plot for the film "The Warriors."

Sure, I'm gonna have fun with my crayons, when I throw them off the top of the Cyclone and hopefully get somebody right in the eye! POW!

You know it's time to end your vacation when the free promotional comic you're in says so. This is *their* world, you're just vacationing in it.

Heck, I wouldn't mind living there too. Anybody still have a rent controlled apartment, and how do you feel about me assuming your identity?

This is a dual purpose map - for NYC fans it's a quick guide to the main routes into the city, and if you hate New York you can just pretend this is one of those nuclear detonation maps showing the various radii of destruction after the Reds put fifty megatons in central Manhattan.

And we'll let Eager Beaver and the Beaver Bunch leave us with one final thought as they pop the clutch and tell 1964 to eat their dust!

SEE AMERICA BEST BY CAR, says Cities Service! All of America, by gasoline-huffing motor vehicle, the better for Cities Service to profit from! Soon they'll turn into Citgo and become the linchpin in Hugo Chavez's ill-fated attempt at whatever kinda wild-ass nonsense you call whatever he was up to down there. Eager and his family had by then returned to Beaver Valley, where all they had to worry about were angry, smelly wolverines.

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