Tuesday, June 19, 2018

You Had me at Hello!

Long-time readers might vaguely recall a Canadian comic PSA about using the Telephone that had anthropomorphic representations of Operator, and 911.  At the time, I noted that there was also a colouring book, but figured that had long since been regulated to the Recycling Bin of history.

Well, as chance would have it, earlier this year, there was a Library booksale that not only dumped some of their long-kept books with little borrowing history, but also accepted submissions from people who wanted to dump material they'd read once, and never wanted to look at again, giving others the chance to share the pain, and free up room in their living spaces.
Hello!  It's me, Special Agent Single << 0 >> the trouble shooter.
This booksale actively ran several days, and I decided to come back, even after I'd picked up several library titles worth keeping, because they rotated their stock, and there was the chance that new material might come through.  By the slimmest of chances, I came across a bunch of colouring books with this little hidden gem among them, and practically gasped upon seeing what nobody else (but me) would've appreciated.
I'm Cordy 911.  I help Single 0 in some cities.
What I most recalled was that while reading (that is, looking at the pictures), I would have the Disney Sunday Movie intro running through my head.  Not the music, but the opening camera angles.  That is, it would start out with the first page, zooming in on Special Agent 0 (Disney name), then going overhead 911's head (Epcot), then rotate past Phona and Telly (Mickey Satellite) whose names make more sense in the original French.
Here are our friends Phona and Telly.

I only once saw an English version of this in a second-hand bookstore years ago, but only flipped through it, and didn't bother to buy it, now that I understood what little was said.  By the same token, I passed up a PSA of Smurfs brushing teeth because it too was in French, and I wanted to find the English one.
Together, we will learn to use the telephone in case of emergency. help us get to the phone.
I thought back to Mike Sterling's list of Comic Shop Customer Types: The Unreasonable Mint Hound:

Customer: “I’m looking for a copy of Tales from the Uncanny Valley #2. I’ve been looking for that thing for years... I can’t believe how rare that comic is. I’ve encountered dealers who’ve never even seen an issue of this series. According to my sources, there may only be about 20 to 25 copies of that particular issue left in the world.”
Clerk: “Oh, hey, we have one. It’s in Very Fine Mint for $25.00.”
Customer: “No thanks, I’d rather get one in better condition.”
Don't play with the telephone.  Did you know?
Also, since the comments were wiped when he revamped his site, here's what I saved:

  • You said “uncanny valley.” Prepare for an onslaught of linking!
  • And what about me? I was the kind of customer that would stay at the shop all day long reading all the while Ralph was telling me “Kevin, don’t read the comics.”
  • I don’t mind flipping through the comics. It’s parking on the floor and reading them straight through, one after another, that kind of irks me.
  • I’d always thought “Tales from the Uncanny Valley” would be a good comic book title.
  • I wonder, do guys like that start a shop just so they could have a place to do gaming? Because if that’s so, it’s got to be the worst reason to start a business. You’ve got to pay for a space in a minimall and order comics from Diamond just so no one bother you while you see who has the most “Mana points.”
Special Agent Single << 0 >> and my friend Cordy 911 are always ready to help you in serious situations.
You only have to dial 0 or 911.
  • How they’ve managed to stay in business for as many years as they have baffles me. Especially with the glut of 90s Image products taking up the majority of their retail space.
  • They’re also the type of shop that prohibits customers from flipping through comics on the shelf, out of fear that the comics won’t stay in mint-condition.
  • Wankers.
  • Also, there’s clerks who will use any opportunity to rant about whatever they’ve got on their mind to customers. One store I went to, the manager/owner would sit behind his counter and rant and rave about how the military-industrial complex faked the Moon landing or UFO conspiracies and how the then supposedly looming Y2k crisis had been engineered by the “shadow government” for their own benefit, whatever that means.
  • “Do you have a water damaged, coverless copy?  For under a dollar?”

Can you finish drawing this phone?
So, given how rare the chances were of ever coming across another unblemished copy was, I thought THIS time I'm not passing this up.  You probably can't tell, due to the black and white scans, but some pages were done in crayon.  And some easy puzzles have already been solved, spoiling it for the rest of us.  You can probably easily bypass this by erasing the clues, but why bother?
In case of emergency, don't hesitate, you can always call us.
The only thing missing from this colouring book are the Pineapple mascots.  I'm sure that until I mentioned them just now, you completely forgot they even existed.
Cordy lost his head and his phone number. Help him find them.
You can always call us from a phone booth even if you have no money. Dial 0 or 911.
Who am I? A boy or girl? Draw my face as you imagine it.
Can you bring the water to Cordy? Only go through the real emergencies.
 Draw a super fast tricycle for Cordy. Don't forget his license plate: it's 911.
Can you write the numbers that are missing on the right keys?
Also enter your own phone number. Do you know it by heart?
Can you find the real emergencies?
Phona is lost. Take her to the telephone booth.
Tell her what number she has to call for help.
This next bit is probably the most outdated reference, yes even older than the usage of a telephone booth.  At least those still have cultural relevance - colour-coded sections in the Yellow Pages are practically an unknown now that any contact information is available online.
This big book is the telephone directory. There are all the phone numbers.
Be careful when coloring it: look what colors are the pages of your directory.
You can directly dial the number of firefighters or the police. Ask someone to help you find them.
Colour the 0s in red and the 911s in blue. Can you write 0 on the balloons?
You called 0 or 911 during a real emergency. Draw yourself receiving a medal.
The phone is fun! You can talk to whoever you want...
Where there is a telephone, you are never alone. Hello!
And just for completist sake, here's the serial information, just in case anybody still wants to order this.  I'm unsure if there's any complaints about violating copyrights, since they had the chance to reprint this, and I just shared the book in full.

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