Caption: My brother had a box of old comics...


Image: A boy holds an old comic book. His older brother, with a concerned look, says: Hey, little dude? Don't bend that. Ascotron #3 cover Cover of a 1970s comic book called Ascotron. In outer space, monsters are attacking a robot who wears an ascot.

Caption: I really got into all the weird ads in them.

Image: A comic-book page full of ads for old novelty items. At the bottom of the page is one for 'X-Ray Spex'. Ad close-up: Kittens of the Sea: Turn these freeze-dried catfish eggs loose and just watch what happens! $1.00 to KITTENS, Box 27A. Ad close-up: I can kill with 3 fingers. It would be illegal and unethical for anyone to use or even learn these fighting technique. $1.00 to KILL, Box 7713. Ad close-up: X-Ray Spex. $1.00. Really works! Hilarious optical trick may reveal more than you bargained for! SPEX, Box 8173.
Image: the boy asks his brother: 'Whoa, did you see this? X-ray glasses?' The brother replies, 'Ha, you wish. It's a scam.' Boy: 'Oh. How do you know?' Brother: 'I just know, OK?'
Image: silhouette of the boy's hand in front of a lamp. Brother says: 'It's like if you hold your hand up to the light, and like unfocus your eyes. Same thing.'

Disappointing, but I did enjoy messing with my eyes.

Time flies. We lost touch. I don't know if he kept the comics.

I still like to read weird ads...

...not personal ads, but random stuff... you never know...

A list of online classified ads. The last one says 'X-Ray Spex. Real.' Ad close-up: X-Ray Spex. Real. Send $5 to 991 Lost Lane, Pleasantville. Please follow all safety instructions.

Not sure why I ordered them. Something new? Something old?

They looked weird, like not quite real.

read note put glasses on


Caption: I hesitated before putting them on...

Caption: Nothing at first... but then when I kind of unfocused my eyes...


Caption: It was just like I'd always imagined...

Caption: ...though I did feel a little self-conscious.

Caption: With no one around, I forgot they were on... things looked normal...

take glasses off


Caption: Finally thought to take them off.

Caption: It was a hell of a thing. I wished my brother could've seen it.

Caption: I felt a little weird the next morning.

The feeling passed. And the glasses never worked again.

But I'd seen something amazing, and I had to know.

read return address

Who had done this and how and why?


I kept the glasses around for a while but then I lost them.

I still read the ads sometimes...

But I started to enjoy spending more time outdoors.

Maybe a hangover?

Coffee didn't help so I went out for some air.

I had left the glasses in the kitchen, but...

Probably I should've paid attention to the warning label.

The problem was obvious but I noticed something else too...

It wasn't just clothes; anything next to a body was invisible.

And the radius of this effect was increasing rapidly.

Soon this was going to be an impractical way to live.

Caption: Who had done this and how and why?

examine tattoo

We help each other out now.

We get by.