Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Comic Book Advertisements!

First up this time around is this ad from 1974 Gold Key comic books for iron-on patches. As best as I can figure, the popularity of patches in the late 1960s and early 1970s was due to their ability to allow anyone to customize their clothing to make it distinct. It's kind of odd to think about that these days, what with clothing styles being so polarized for different cultural groups, but back in the day, I suppose there wasn't much variety in styles, so accessorizing was a good option!

There are a number of patches there that are very much in tune with their times, culturally speaking... the peace and love patches, various anti-pollution ones, etc. And there's a few here that are very geek-friendly, too, such as the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Flash Gordon, Popeye and Felix ones. I also have to say I love the Sgt. Pepper one!

And then there are some that just make me scratch my head... I mean, this ad ran in Gold Key comics, as I said, and in 1974, I'd say it was a safe bet that most of their readership was aged 12 and younger... so why did they feature patches with a variation on the Playboy Bunny, the "USA Drinking team," or "Budweiser Powered!"??? It just doesn't make much sense.

There's a wealth of coolness (and oddness) to be found on this ad from the outside back cover of those '74 Gold Key books... it's almost overwhelming, isn't it? I don't think I've ever seen so many hippie (and I use the term non-pejoratively) items in one single comic book ad!

We'll finish off this installment with this ad from the October, 1976 Marvel books... the Spider-Man Action Water Glove looked like it was the absolute coolest Spider-Man toy of the era back in the day, because it seemed to work just like Spidey's web-shooters (just with water instead of webbing). I have never seen one of these offered on eBay, no matter how long I've been searching for it! In fact, the only reference to this thing anywhere on the web seems to be this ad only, so I almost have to wonder if it actually existed!


  1. Perhaps most of the readership were 12 and younger, as you say, but not all of them were -- so why not give an ad the widest possible appeal by offering some items pitched at a slightly older reader? Alternately, the same ad may have been reused in multiple publications (hot rod mags or Teen Beat clones as well as comic books) which would have been a lot easier for their paste-up guy in those pre-DTP days...!

  2. That's a good point, Richard!

  3. Jon,
    Re: "I almost have to wonder if it actually existed!"

    I forget, who succeeded John Verpoorten in Production at Marvel? You're right, the Spider-Man Action Water Glove seems to be too good to be true. Perhaps the folks at Mythbusters could be talked into replicating it?


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