Saturday, June 14, 2014

Marvelmania Catalogs: 1969 and Beyond

It’s 1969 and Marvel has more than tripled its circulation in the last eight years, going from 20 million comics years to over 60 million comics.

The M.M.M.S. has gotten over 50,000 membership requests. And so the next step was to successfully merchandize their characters. So, in glorious color, the Marvelmania catalog was released.  Or maybe it just escaped, offering poster decals and games.  Soon another catalog would follow.  That one promoted the new Marvelmania monthly, which didn’t last too long.

But I thought you’d like to see the catalogs.

In case you can't read it, here is what the letter says:

Dear Marvelmaniac,

Unless you're the type who reads his catalogs backwards, you've probably spent the last few hours looking over what shall soon prove to be just the beginning of what MARVELMANIA has to offer. By now, you've probably drooled yourself dry, so
let's talk about all that you've seen so far...It's nothing! That's right, we said nothing...compared to what's coming. All this is a start--hopefully a good start to what shall soon prove to be the greatest thing to happen to comic books since the staple! MARVELMANIA is here to serve you and the many items depicted in this promulgated prospectus are just the first in a series of projects carefully calculated to please you out there in Marvel-Land! And why? Because you're like us. Even though we've never met, if this cat­alog has found its way into your mitts, we have something in common: A love for the cornucopia of concoctions of Stan Lee and his Bullpen. Like us, you've probably desired posters and decals of Marvel heroes and other items which are a logical progression from reading these masterworks. We now are in a position to comply with these wishes, so all you have to do is to tell us what you want. If it's possible, we'll do it!
Each item herein has been designed with the serious fan in mind. Our Roster line, f'rinstance, is comprised of drawings done especially for ­and printed by the finest process feasible. And if you think they look good in the catalog--those reproductions don't begin to do justice to what you'll soon have up on your wall! (or ceiling, if you lie down a lot!) Why do we use the finest glossy stock poster paper available? Because we know you fans wouldn't have it any other way! We offer you no catch-penny gim­micks--You're too precious to us to be lost so easily. We want you to think of MARVELMANIA as a firm working day and night to offer what you out there want. That's what it's all about!

Many people who will be reading this catalog have not yet joined up with us, and if the above paragraphs have expressed even one-tenth of our sincer­ity, those non-believers will be dying for their membership kits now, so we interrupt for a minute to bring you this commercial...
Membership is still open ( and will be as long as the goodies hold out!) and may be had from the usual address for $1.75 plus 25c postage. (Canadian and European orders add 50c, please.) The complete kit features a giant poster reproducing a Captain America cover, a sheet of our decorative decals and a jumbo Hulk-decal, your surprise membership card designed in all its four-color glory by Jack Kirby, a copy of this very catalog, and a surprise or two--All packed in a nifty tube which can be used as an ultra-disposable snorkel. We now return you to our regularly-scheduled letter...

The aforementioned contents are only material things, of course. There is no way, nor should there be a way we can advertise spirit. Most impor­tant is this club...a club which strives to involve itself in activities for the good of the community and the general membership. Already, our participation in the Marine Corps Reserve's TOYS FOR TOTS campaign has be­-un this series and what we're capable of in the future will lift us even higher. We feel that the participation of the entire membership is imperative in these plans and we seek to instill some enthusiasm in you--As much as our limited vocabulary will permit. We also, however, feel both an obligation and a need to offer everyone a chance to participate. The cold statistics boil down to the more members, the more strength the club has. You members out there will have this enthusiasm, we'hope--And we won't be ungrateful. For instance, if you get a friend to join up (which should be just about as hard as showing him your kit!) and, with his order, he gives us your address--we'll send you a piece of MARVELMANIA Mad Money described on the opposite page. We won't forget those who help us.

The big support, though, comes in your ideas. We hope that what we of­fer you in this catalog meets with your approval. If it doesn't--If any item doesn't meet with your approval--we hope you'll let us know and if enough people share your feelings, it won't be in the next catalog. And if you have an idea for a new club activity, product, or contest--let us know! We aim to please. We are especially proud of our posters. In the past, super-hero posters were either "pop-art" (Ugh!) or small pictures blown up to fuzzy proportions with little or no backgrounds on the cheapest paper available...We strive to break that tradition. Our decals shall, we hope, prove to be a veritable necessity for the well-equipped Marvelite's note­book, lunch box, car, bike, and any other place you can think to stick 'em! The buttons? Well, when you've got it, flaunt it--And when you're a merry Marvel reader, let the world know! And if someone asks you who you're voting for for mayor, just watch the expression on their face when you pull out a Dr. Doom button! The stationery kit kicks off what we hope shall be the biggest pen-pal program ever. As strange as it may seem, we're just about selling friends...Or, at least, you'll make friends easy with our stunning stationery! Once again, everything is full-color because we know you wouldn't have it any other way! Our art kit is directed at all you budding Rembrandts. We give you the rare chance to test and develop your skill by inking and coloring such greats as Kirby, Steranko, and Buscema. And as if that weren't enough, we've tossed in a host of self-portraits (including that mystery one) done by your Bullpen buddies especially for you! At last, but certainly far from least...our Marvel plastic pool pil­lows are still available. Everyone who bought one agrees that they're fuY to lie on, fun to play with, or just plain the nuttiest conversation piece that ever brightened up a den or playroom!

You say you want bonuses? Step right up, ladies and gents--Our Marvel Mad Money on the opposite page returns a 42 cent coupon to you with every order of $1.25 or more. (Not good on membership kits--sorry!) This makes it pos­sible for those of you with lots of wall space to get all eight posters by buying only six for $7.50 (+ postage) and getting the other two on us with the six pieces of Mad Money you'll get. And the first one hundred copies of each poster will be autographed (unless you request otherwise) by the artists themselves! This means getting King Kirby to sign 400 posters, but no sacrifice is too great for you merry men! Moreover, here's a special bonus for members only--On all orders over $5.00, just enclose 50 cent handling charge and we'll pay the postage plus any additional handling! Nifty, huh?

So, whatcha waiting for? If we haven't convinced you by now, it's hopeless and if you're breathing, we want you along! (Zombies need not apply!) MARVELMANIA INTERNATIONAL is on the move and we want everybody along! So face front, friends--That may not be where it's at, but that's where it's going to be!

P.S. So that we can get to work on new things right away, we'd appreciate it if each and every one of you would fill out the enclosed questionnaire and send it back to us as soon as possible!


And the letter here reads:

Dear Marvelmaniacs,

With this catalog, all previous lists and ads become obsolete. We have revamped. our line as part of the never-ending effort to provide exactly what you members want, based mainly upon your mail. Every suggestion we have received has been read and considered by members of our bloodshot staff and many of them have been incorporated into this catalog. Some old items have been dropped and new ones added.

On the opposite page, assuming the printer put every­thing in the proper place, you will see our new membership kit which shall serve as a permanent introduction to new members. Its contents have been considered carefully to properly welcome new members aboard and to familiarize them with the club and its objectives. Appropriately, we have placed the club magazine next in our catalog, for that is our continuing link with you, the members of this club and it is through this magazine that the club operates and makes addition to being a darn good magazine, as well. [The editor insisted we put that line in there!]
The remainder of the catalog is chock-full of the many Marvel-oriented goodies which are not available anywhere else and are produced for the enjoyment of Marvel fans everywhere. Your response to these items will determine whether or not they will continue in our line or be dropped in favor of other things.

Any suggestions or comments you may have will be, as always, welcomed.

This catalog also offers you the rare opportunity to test you Marvelility. Quickly look it over and then record your reactions...If your eyes bug out and you get goose bumps looking at the posters, you're a first-class Marvel fan. If your palms tingle and you feel like running around the block to cool off, you're really a Marvel Fan. If you go absolutely berserk over the Art Kits and models, and jump up on a chair to sing the theme song from the Spider-Man T.V. show, you're a Marvelite Maximus...In other words, you're our kind of guy. Of course, you may just get mildly ecstatic, but there are some people who won't get excited about anything!

So stop reading and start leafing through our [As the boys in the shipping room call it...] promulgated prospectus and go, go, go!