Friday, August 1, 2008

Skeletal Pirates

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The Pirates of the Caribbean Skeleton art

(Image source)

The cool skeleton pirate artwork by Anne Stokes pictured above nicely kicks off this post on the Disney "Pirates of the Caribbean" hobby kit ads. I was going through some of my old comics the other day when I ran across this 4-page ad for the launch of the then-new hobby kits based on Disney's "Pirates of the Caribbean," which wasn't even a movie at the time. I scanned them in a high resolution so you can enjoy the details.

(Click for large versions)

Although the actual "zap" action sound was more like a faint "click," we won't fault the marketers. The skeletons were pretty cool.

Before video games, the "whoosh" and "zap" were pretty exciting for kids of the day.

Although I never owned one of the Pirates kits (I was content just to have the Forgotten Prisoner), I always thought they were neat and liked the ads. They weren't ones that you quickly skipped over to finish the rest of the comic story... no, these were worthy of being read and each detail soaked in. This particular comic I remember reading when I was sick once. I had opened my small suitcase where I stored all my comics, and spread them out all around me on the bed. Then I read all day, and being sick wasn't so bad. I still wish I had the suitcase, just for the memories associated with it. I can still hear the particular "clunks" that the lock clasps made as I popped them open, and the scent of the old paper within as the top went up. I do have the comics, though, and nothing takes me back to being a kid faster than taking them out of the bookcase now and going through them again.

Here's a picture of one built that I found on an eBay page...

"Avast, ye scoundral! Leggo me leg bone a'fore I makes a suitcase outta ye."

The Famous Monsters ad so many kids were familiar with.

And below are some box art images for your enjoyment. The artwork was really the best part about the whole thing, and I think it would be neat to have these enlarged and framed on my wall... if said wall wasn't already taken up with my framed Halloween LP covers. The last two were apparently added later after the success of the first five.

For some reason, "Fate of the Mutineers" was my favorite by a small margin, and if I had bought one it would have most likely been it. The idea of one trying to help another out of the quicksand, only to yank his arm bones off, appealed to my twisted sense of humor.

Below are some images of the Pirates models and toy figures available now. Much nicer, and better. But, they don't have the memories that the original kits do!

(Image Source)

And to wrap this post up in the same manner as it was begun, here is a superlative skull and crossbones by Anne Stokes. I will be featuring her incredible artwork in a post soon!


Patrick said...

Oh man, I loved these kits as a kid, and I have spent a lot of time obsessing over them as an adult- I would love to get my hands on these sets again, but they can sure be pricey! Sadly I was not a very good model builder as a kid and the sets that I got were poorly built and most of them ended up broken. Of course none of them survived, thus the obsession with them now. I have been a huge fan of Pirates (long before the movies came along) and things like these models really get my creativity fired up. Another great post Fred, and as usual I totally relate to your memories. Loved the story about the old suitcase and the comics! Keep up the greatness!!

Fred said...


I know how you feel about the missing models and items. I remember some things that I had as a youth, but can't imagine what happened to them. I know I didn't get rid of them, I never threw out anything I liked. But they just vanished... I suspect "Mother" was the culprit.

That's one reason I was so thrilled (and I do mean thrilled) when I came across my surviving Forgotten Prisoner model in a box. It was like a treasure from the past! Thank God for Grandma's house, huh?

Karswell said...

I had the Dead Men Tell No Tales kit, it was awesome. But we put it in my aquarium when I was little and it got all yucky. KIDS! Don't put your model kits in an aquarium!

Fred said...


Funny! It actually sounds like a good idea, and I bet it looked pretty good for the first few days!

But then the paint started to dissolve, and the algae slime accumulated, and the realization that it might have been a bad idea set in.

Similar to when I weighted down my Mom's new kitten and put it in the fishtank because I wanted a catfish.

wolfkahn said...

Awesome skeleton pirate art! Anne Stokes is very talented.

I never had one of those kits, but I certainly remember the ads.

The Headless Werewolf said...

You know, with all the hub-bub about the movies, you'd think that some enterprising Disney exec would think of re-issuing these. I didn't get a chance to build one either, but I'd love a second chance!

kindertrauma said...

Wow. I had forgotten all about these! Those box covers are still beautiful. I'm kinda partial to the "Ghost of the treasure guard" just because there is a crab getting in on the action...Thanks for including the comic ads, great post.