(Originally published in Simpsons Comics #203)
THE LOST COZ!
In preparation for our 2013 Comic Con exclusives, I spent one day last week clearing out shelf space in the Bongo archives. I sifted through boxes literally bulging with bygone Bongo premiums, such as Futurama black light posters, Thrillhouse stickers, promotional fans, pins, bookmarks, and even the much-coveted Duffman encased in carbonite from DuffCon 1995.
Even in the presence of these prized and uncommon oddities, there was one exclusive that truly stood out. It’s something I had never seen before. A premium whose very existence was often questioned as no more than a rumor among collectors.
I’m talking about the Citizens of Zenith membership pack.
Way back in 2001, in the pages Radioactive Man #222, Bongo offered a great deal. In return for one American dollar, you could receive a membership in the COZ, Radioactive Man’s official fan club. Not only did purchasers get an envelope full of Radioactive Man goodies, they were also made citizens in good standing in the hometown of everyone’s favorite irradiated crusader!
Within a few weeks after sending in your dollar, a unique envelope emblazoned with Ol’ Bolt Head arrived in the mail. It contained a letter from RM publisher Morty Mann, an action-packed mini-poster “suitable for hanging in your dorm, cell, or rent-controlled apartment,” six sensational stickers (*Adhesive not included), and the coup de grace, an official Zenith I.D. card. “Show it when you’re stopped for speeding! Don’t say we didn’t warn ya’!”
Were you one of the lucky people to join the COZ? These packs are so rare that they’ve become the holy grail of RM collectibles. I can’t even find one on eBay. It appears no one wants to part with their citizenship in America’s most colorful city.
You might be wondering how we defend our one and only COZ pack. How do we protect something so priceless and valuable? Lasers? Trap doors? Bodyguards with razor-edged throwable bowler hats? All I’ll say is that we have top men working on it right now. Top men.