On Strips: King Features Watches

By | Friday, May 22, 2015 Leave a Comment
Here's a curious find from ebay: a series of watches from Sutton Time featuring characters from various King Features comics. In the mid-1980s, Sutton evidently licensed the rights to use Nancy, Blondie, Hagar the Horrible, Hi & Lois, Robot Man, and Beetle Bailey on a line of watches...
Beetle Bailey Watch
Blondie Watch
Hagar the Horrible Watch
Hi & Lois Watch
Nancy Watch
Robot Man Watch
The whole idea seems to stem from the "Comic Times" name that's kind of a pun, but not a very good one. As you can see, the bands all feature a variety of non-sequential panels, with another on the watch face itself. My guess is that choosing random panels was to get them to fit on the band. Most are in color, but Robot Man is not for some reason. It's also the only one to feature the logo/name of the strip. The copyright on it is two years earlier than the others, so it might be a preliminary run.

Kind of an odd marketing piece, but there are stranger ones out there, I suppose. But here's the thing that really bugs me about these, though. The only panel that you would be able to read while using the watch in a naturalistic way (i.e. on your left wrist with your arm bent at a right angle so you can read the time) is the one on the face. The others would be sideways when you look at the watch normally. But worse yet, there's no way you could read the panels right-side up while wearing one of these! If you held your arm up parallel to your body, the comics would all be upside-down! You'd have to really twist the hell out of your arm to read those panels. Unless the idea is to just show it off to other people who would be looking at it from the other direction? But how often would you do that?

How many people had to approve these, and how did no one catch this? It's not like it would be overly difficult to fix, just rotate the art.

On a curious side note, the Nancy watch with a series of random panels pre-dates Scott McCloud's idea for Five Card Nancy by over a decade!
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