Monday, May 19, 2008


My thanks to the CBR For the interesting article.


COMIC URBAN LEGEND: Joe Orlando illustrated the famous depictions of Sea Monkeys.


In many ways, the early 60s were Joe Orlando’s “lost years.” He left EC in 1956, where he made many classic contributions to comic science fiction. After working at Classics Illustrated until 1959, Orlando spent the 60s working at a variety of places, until finally settling down in 1968 when he became an editor at DC Comics. He did some work at Mad Magazine, he did some comic strip writing, and he did a lot of commercial advertisement (mainly for toys).

Meanwhile, in the early 60s, comic book marketer Harold von Braunhut had a product that was selling well enough, but not doing great business. Called “Insant Life,” von Braunhut debuted the product in 1957. What is was a crustacean that von Braunhut discovered that lived in suspended animation until they were born. They could live in this status for YEARS. Therefore, this was a perfect opportunity for von Braunhut. He would package a few of these crutaceans (which, while similar to brine shrimp, were NOT, in fact, brine shrimp) and sell it as “Instant Life.” However, a few years later, in an attempt to jump start the product, von Braunhut decided to rename the product “Sea Monkeys.”

And along with the new name, there was the following, soon to be famous, illustration (click on the photo for a larger version)

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The illustration, though never credited to him, was by Orlando. Sales of the newly title product skyrocketed, no doubt in part due to Orlando’s illustration.

Well, that’s it for me this week!

1 comment:

  1. there was no law about false advertising and attempting to bilk children out of their hard earned GRIT money.

    "they can even be trained" ?

    (and even if they could... to do what?)