June 01, 2006


I'm not sure how old I was, but there was a point when I finally accepted the fact that any item advertised in comic books was utterly elusive. After vandalizing countless issues with my mailing address and carefully drawn x's in tiny boxes, I realized that the cycle would never stop. All mail order transactions would inevitably collapse during one of the following..
-The Permission Stage- 75% of my plans died here.
-The Savings Period- I had difficulty grasping the concept of delayed gratification.
-Maintaining Attention- My interests often shifted to the next, new craze.
-The Followthrough- On a couple of rare occasions I had the money in hand, but coordinating all the elements.. funds, envelope, check or money order, completed order form, stamp, and a mail receptacle was simply beyond my abilities.

Triple Flips, a series of pocket-sized portable games, used an advertisement that was more intriguing to me than most. All the right themes were covered.. Monsters, Science Fiction, Disasters. There was a Creature from the Black Lagoon look-alike right in the first panel. And the boys in the ad were having a blast...
(Click to enlarge)

Mission accomplished.. I wanted Triple Flips. I read the ad repeatedly. I loved the excited banter among the summer campers. One of the guys was even a little scared by the shark game. Who could blame him? But like I said, I figured it was best to put these fantastic little games out of my mind because possessing them was an impossibility.

About two years later, you guessed it.. I found an assortment of Triple Flips in "the real world;" Kay Bee toys to be specific. They were dirt cheap at three for $2.50. I was elated. Naturally, "Monsters" and "Science Fiction" were my Flips of choice. At long last I had conquered the great mail order divide.

Thanks to that day at the mall, I shall now reveal to you.. the mysteries of the Triple Flips. (I defy you to find this information anywhere else on the web!)

Here is the closed case of the "Science Fiction" edition ("Monsters" was destroyed long ago.) Positioning the slider to the desired game and pushing the lever at the bottom automatically opens the spring-loaded container to your game of choice. Kind of clever.

Contrary to the ad, there are no 3-D environments and the game pieces are generic colored tokens. The fact that they're magnetic is kind of cool though.

I always liked the past and future setup on this playing field.

I needn't tell you that the products didn't match my expectations. I got home from the mall and immediately referred to the old comic ad. Maybe I'd gotten the 'base' model or something. The initial product "close-ups" in the ad are accurate enough I suppose, but the drawing that depicts the Western game could reasonably be interpreted as a three dimensional town with a playing piece in the shape of a horse-drawn carriage...

There's no indication that this scene is part of the boys' imagination.

This led me to assume that the "Monsters" edition would probably include a tiny plastic Frankenstein, and most likely a haunted castle. All in all, the Triple Flips promotion was a textbook example of the generally misleading nature of comic advertising. I'd been warned about it, but this was my first personal experience. I only attempted to play the games once or twice. But the Flips became trophies that would eventually reminded me of my youthful search for truth.

Here's a look at the blister card. Yes, I still have it.

The back reveals even more of the games.
(Click to enlarge)


kidkosmic@yahoo.com said...

uiKirk, I remeber nothing of "Triple Flips," though the "Flip" portion of the name provides a vital clue to your psyche. Truly remarkable..especially as I have made a remark.

I can tell you that the art in the TF comic ad was produced by Neal Adams. Adams is revered as one of the true masters of this medium (the Alex Ross of the late sixties and early seventies), but he gave all that up for the bigger money of advertising--"Twinkies" and "Dingos" ads may not make one a legend, but they must have proved more profitable.

You can check out Neal's site here:


I can call him Neal because I've met him. He offered to sell me a (so-so) color copy of one of his Tarzan novel covers for an outrageous price. I turned him down, and have claimed the right to refer to Neal on a first name basis.

Kirk D. said...

I sure hope Mr. Adams shows up at Comic Con. I want to be the first person ever to ask him to sign a Triple Flips ad.
I'd pay any price.

Herva said...

I think he needs to ride the train down to Tijuana with you and Mike B, Heehaw. You can show him the "funny stuff" you say to the street hawkers and laugh at the locals as they try to understand Triple Flips.

AWG said...

Wow. That's something I hadn't seen in a while. It gave me a weird, melancholy feeling.

2complx said...

ah the great comic book promos. I had to laugh at the failure to follow through. It sound like me and rebates

Flamen Dialis said...

I've never seen these before - in fact, I think that was the first time I'd ever seen the comic ad, although this was around the same period that I obsessively collected the Marvel and DC superhero stuff. Yep, that's Adams art, alright, although a friend of mine pointed out to me that around this time a lot of other guys who sort of adapted Adams' style - some of the crusty bunkers squad - also did a lot of commercial stuff, which was often mistaken for Adams, but I believe this piece to be the real deal. My buddy owned a beautiful 1970s piece of Sienkewicz art (a commercial advertising piece),which I had always believed to be Adams, so I've been fooled before. I think the giveaway is the two kids at the bottom, which were pretty much stock kids' expressions that Neal preferred on a lot of his youth-oriented advertising stuff. This kind of commercial illo, along with Gil Kane's stuff, taught me how to render noses! It's always a pleasure to look at. The games themselves look to be a pretty cool concept for the time.

Kirk D. said...

Finally..I've posted something you haven't seen before! :)

Doug said...

Thanks, I remembered the comic ad earlier today and have been looking for this all morning. Couldn't remember exactly what it was called, but finally found your site. Good write up.

Kirk D. said...

Thanks Doug, Glad I could be of assistance. Yeah, there's sure not a lot of talk about Triple Flips on the web.

Anonymous said...

If anyone has those for sale contact me at thunderduck360@gmail.com I've been looking for them a LONG time.

Jay Exonauts said...

MAN I wish they made these again--especially with the resurgence of board games. Imagine a teeny tiny Catan!