The Pool of Fire in Boys’ Life Magazine

8412My post a couple of weeks ago about the Just For Boys book club reminded me of something else I loved in Boys’ Life as a kid–the Pool of Fire comic.

I wasn’t old enough to have read the serial adaptations of the first two books in the trilogy, which ran earlier, but I came into the story during the run of this third book in the mid 80s. It was one of the first comics I ever read, and I loved it: action, adventure, Big Ideas!

Today I’m most impressed that a science fiction series was broken down and doled out in such small parts over the course of several years. Where does anything like that happen anymore? And do any kids still get introduced to great stuff like this in comic form? I know I only ended up reading the original books in this series because of the comics.

Some swell fella has collected all of the original comics here.

Apparently, all the old issues of the magazine itself are on Google. Perhaps it’s not too late to build the robot from the February 1987 issue?

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“Just For Boys” Book Club

UntitledIn the late 80s, I belonged to a mail order book club that I’d seen in this ad from Boys Life magazine. Every now and then, I remember some of the great, fun stories I got from that outfit, such as The Ten-Speed Babysitter, The Chimpanzee Kid, and more whose names I’ve forgotten (what was the one about the basketball star who got injured and started reading Stephen King?).

I especially liked Caught in the Moving Mountains, a story about a MacGyver-type kid and his wimpy brother who go camping on their own, and the wimpy kid has to man up when his brother has a nervous breakdown when they face fugitive drug dealers. Great stuff.

Like all of these books, it’s long since out of print and only available now through Amazon.

But I found the author of that one and she’s still cranking out the guy-friendly, action-packed adventure stories. I looked her up in my library’s catalog and, ironically, I had just seen some of her newer stuff on display at the visitors’ center in Death Valley last month–she writes mysteries about the national parks now, too.

So I checked out Buried Alive, because I love Alaska. And it was great; just what I wanted.

I can’t find a web site with any details about the old Just for Boys book club, much less a list of all the titles they had. But here’s an article from 1988 about a mom who hyperventilated at the thought of something so sexist, and banned her son from even knowing this existed.

I hope that worked out well for her.