A Tribute to the Comic Book Advertisement

Geek Culture

Fate has a way with us all. And, more often than not, it contains a lovely dose of tragedy. In my case, on a Father’s Day when I discovered a treasure trove of Star Wars toys in my parent’s flooded basement, I also found a sodden box of long-lost comics. Batman, G.I. Joe, Superman and Thor had been no match for the rising waters. Yet, perched just above the flood waters was another box of sequential art. Unfortunately, these books were better suited for a younger age. While I still would enjoy the Dark Knight and Man of Steel, this dry box was full of Uncle Scrooge, Beetle Bailey, Archie and similar titles. And, on top of that, they were quite musty.

I glumly thumbed through the box, but while the stories didn’t captivate me, the advertisements did. I recalled how many summer afternoons I passed looking at those announcements offering itching powder, stronger muscles and the ability to see through both clothing and skin.

After I had memorized the panels of the story, the ads always held my fascination. Although I didn’t have the money for Sea Monkeys, Roman soldiers, or a Revolutionary battalion, I would daydream about having these toys and pitting them against each other. What would Caesar do when he faced the mighty Sea Monkey king? I played it all out in my head before picking out which iron-on t-shirt decals would be the best to wear to school that fall.

I was ready to toss the box in the trash when I thought it would be fun to scan the ads and share them with you here. I hope these bring back as many fond memories for you as they have for me.

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