Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marvel's In-House Ads from the 1960s and 1970s

In the 1960s Marvel needed growth and innovation, DC wanted stability.

In the early 1960s, because Marvel and DC produced similar products many expected them to have had similar business plans. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Marvel was a small company which had only one owner and one editor. Goodman was the publisher of several magazines and had a limited, but growing number of comics. DC was part of a conglomerate that produced comics, magazines and Signet paperback books. Its parent corporation included a distribution company and handled licensed properties such as James Bond.

With licensing now in the DC blood, its characters were used more to promote products from other companies. DC then seemed less innovative and they had much fewer in house ads.  Marvel didn’t yet have those readily identifiable characters.  Although it had been around for 2 decades, they acted more like a startup company.

Also, Stan Lee told us that he had learned from Bill Gaines and how he connected with the readers of Mad and other EC comics. Stan wanted to follow in his footsteps.  So Marvel put out a ton of products including stationary, sweatshirts, pillows and coins.  Yes, DC had Supermen of America, left over from the 1940s, but Marvel had Marvelmania and FOOM which were more in step with the children of the 1960s. And with their records Stan was able to add personal and show-business touches. 

If you like these, check out the Nick Caputo blog!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Comic Book ads from the1950s and 1960s

I do miss old comics.

There is a lot to be said about Archives and Masterworks, they are a relatively inexpensive way of getting old stories. And we get them on good paper and we are not quite as scared that we will harm the pages and lose value.

But I miss old comics, the smell, the paper, the letters column, and the ads.  There were weird ads, often for self-improvement, such as body building, but most often for things I never heard of and would never get. This is not an in depth study of ads, just a nostalgic look back as I go through a stack of comics.

Did anyone ever buy Grit and try to sell it? Not in the Northeast, but it was big in rural America. That was one of the many door to door selling programs you could get. Or you could sell shoes. Yes, you could sell shoes door to door too. The one product every one seemed to have, at least in my neighborhood, was those boxes of soldiers. That was fun.

Advertising may tell us something about ourselves.  In the early 1950s horror comics, such as Chamber of Chills, sold woman’s fashion items and items for hair loss. This tells us that men and women, not just young children were reading these comics. 

This ad is from Battle Comics #18!

Young boys reading super-hero comics saw a lot of body building ads and ads to get taller, thinner, and richer.  Making  money in your spare time was a big thing.

Mail-Order Mysteries ($13.57 on Amazon) is a fun book that not only shows many of the ads of this bygone era, but the actual products.

By popular demand, I added two more! (see comments)