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Every now and again, I feel a bit guilty at the unorganized state of my comic collection. Inevitably, I start in on the task to finally organize the chaos but what starts out as a well intentioned dive into my comic boxes for the purpose of cleaning things up always ends with my getting nothing done. Nothing except reading through a bunch of comics that I rediscover in the process.
During my most recent excursion into the organization process, I ran across some old GI Joe issues. Being that this was one of my favorite comics series as a kid, I started paging through an issue or two. While reading one issue in particular (Issue 23, published May, 1984) I stumbled onto an advertisement for something called Zorcom Audio Adventures. You can see the ad from the comic up at the top of this article. Just what was Zorcom, you might be asking? That’s a good question and one that I was asking as well. On the face of it, the ads appear to be marketing a series of space adventures with a poorly designed hero who seems to be fighting some sort of alien race. The ad in this comic was selling an audio cassette-tape adventure and makes mention of both a poster set and a toy spaceship that you can buy in addition.
Intrigued, and armed with knowledge that there is nothing too obscure for the internet, I started digging a little deeper. Here’s what I found.
This arcitle, from a site called Toybender.com, has a really biting critique of this “toy”. I’m inclined to agree with it, especially the part that slams this toy for advertising a blank white piece of cardboard backing that makes up the inside of the “spaceship” as a “creative feature”. So, it seems that the Zorcom line of products is simply what it appears: a cheap product meant to suck as much money out of unsuspecting children and their parents as possible. I guess you should expect that when dealing with anything advertised in a 1980’s comic book.
Letting curiosity get the better of me, I decided to do a little more searching and found a series of patents under the name Zorcom Enterprises, Inc. While I’m not sure that anything actually came of these products, I did find sketches and patents for an art caddy and a box that holds action figures or other small toys, along with the already mentioned Zorcom Spaceship. But the most interesting patent that I found in the list was this:
Looks like Zorcom Enterprises, Inc. was getting into the kid fitness business before the dire consequences of the fast food America were hot news topics. Very interesting and it’s a wonder these guys didn’t stick around.
The whole thing got me to wondering. What would it have been like to listen to these audio adventures back in 1984? And why didn’t I ever drop the $7.95 plus shipping and handling on this? Curiosity, once again, got the better of me and I figured someone must have bought these things.
Sure enough, about five seconds later, I found it. If you want it, you can find both parts I and II here.
Or, for Part 1, you can simply listen here:
This stuff is so bad, you simply have to hear it. Your adventure awaits! Gotta love the pan flute and Casio Keyboard sounds, don’t you? I’m pretty glad I was smart enough, even then, to save my money on this crap. Nevertheless, it is fun to take a look at this junk and remember what used to be out there back in the day.
Any of you suckers buy this as a kid? I’d love to hear your stories! Post them in the comments below!