Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill, Episode #82
Jim Nastics #1 (October, 1984)
by Bill Mitchell & Alan Larsen
Cover Price: $1.50
I finally managed to get out of the house yesterday… and go to a place that wasn’t a Walmart or a grocery store. It was the first time I’d ventured out to a comic shop since the world went wonky a few months back. Rather than listen to the radio (especially since Sirius XM is taking their sweet time putting Yacht Rock Radio back on car audio!), I decided it was probably time for me to actually revisit an old episode of Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill.
I haven’t been able to listen to any of our work… outside of dipping in a bit on some of the Patreon exclusives to ensure they were decent enough to move to the regular feed, so this kind of a big deal to me. I decided to just pick an episode at random, spanning our near 150 episode library… and, as luck would have it… this was the episode that started to play.
This was a special episode… though, honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to think of one that wasn’t. This one was special for a few reasons. First, this was a book nobody had heard of, and one we knew wouldn’t likely get all that much reach online (which is to say, most of the “community” wouldn’t give a rip about this one, which of course, isn’t to say they ever did normally)… and very unpodcasthosty, we didn’t care. This was a 100% “for fun” episode, which, honestly… is the best kind.
Also, this was a book Reggie couldn’t get his hands on. He went to a few of his local shops looking for it… and, nobody had even heard of it. Even on eBay, he couldn’t find this issue! That speaks to both the glut of 1980’s black and white comics, and to just how lost in the shuffle something like Jim Nastics would be. This was the first time I had to actually upload the entire issue online just so Reggie could read it! This added to the feeling that we would be dealing with the “great unknown”… a book that, when the episode dropped on that Sunday morning, folks’ first thought might be “What in the–?”…
And, well… “What in the–?” indeed. Jim Nastics #1 was a wild ride!
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Here are the first six pages from this instant classic to give you a taste (click the image to embiggen)… including a hot, steamy, Jim Nastics shower scene… maybe I should mark this NSFW?!
This issue actually had two stories… In between them were “Intermission Pin-Ups”:
They even left room for a Letters Page… which, really speaks to the earnestness of this project. Mitchell and Larsen really believed in Jim Nastics… which, at the end of the day, makes me feel like a horrible human being for mocking it!
Now, here’s the thing about Jim Nastics… as a new property, this was revealed at a certain small northeastern comic book convention… the very same day as another 1980’s black and white independent comic book property… that you might’ve heard of. I’ll just let Bill Mitchell tell it (from his site):
That’s right… if not for those dang Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stealing the spotlight, Jim Nastics could’a been a contendah! That revelation was one of the times where Reggie and I both absolutely lost it on-air. I added this bit to the script at the very last minute… I wanted it to be a surprise, and I wanted to see how he delivered it “fresh”. He didn’t disappoint. We both busted up… big time!
Another bit of specialness from this episode was the fact that we reached out to folks in the community beforehand (perhaps unconsciously as a way to mitigate the overall disinterest in this issue/episode), to ask what people’s weirdest and/or greatest finds in the cheap-o bins were. Ya see, every episode of Chris and Reggie’s Cosmic Treadmill came with, what we called “a hook”. The segment following the discussion of the book, but before listener mail, wherein we’d kind of “link” what we were talking about to the larger comics’ scene/history. This “hook” was going to focus on, my home away from home, the cheap-o bins. I’ll conclude this piece by sharing some of the finds that were shared with us (I’d love to hear more about folks’ finds if anyone might want to share in the comments!)
But first to put a pin in Jim Nastics… this episode wound up being farther reaching than we ever expected, in fact, Bill Mitchell, the co-creator of Mr. Nastics actually listened to the show, and sent us an email!
I want to both thank Mr. Mitchell for being a good sport… as well as apologize if anything we said might’ve been a bit too spicy or seem mean-spirited. It was never our intention to be little jerks about anything! We had more fun with this episode than most… and we very much appreciated the fact that Jim Nastics is something that exists. I don’t have any reason to believe there might be any hard-feelings, however, as Mr. Mitchell even shared the episode on his site!
Anyhoo, that’s a little bit about one of our most bizarre episodes… and a little bit about Jim Nastics. I encourage you all to check out the episode if you’re interested. It was a whole lot of fun… a very bittersweet revisit for me personally.
We’ll wrap up today with… The Hook!
Finds from our Friends (both Bizarre and Bargain-Bin Gold!):
|Click the cover for Mike’s thoughts!|
Meet The New People (1969, ABC-TV)!
Luke Hollywood (@LJ_Hollywood)
Dallas Gipson (@RedGrassState)
Christopher Hyden (@hydenc89)
Dan Schwent (@DanSchwent)