11/30/13

Kid Stuff #18: Comic Book Toy Ads

DC Showcase #87
You know it's been so long since I've opened up a new comic book, I don't even know if they still run ads anymore.  If they don't, it's a shame, because a lot of the enjoyment came from these strange little adverts directed at kids.  Sure, they were almost certainly rip-offs, but who cares? It was rare (if ever) that you actually ordered anything; so, it was more the equivalent of window shopping for elementary school age boys.

In case these new comics are too good to include cheesy toy ads anymore, here's a handful of vintage advertisements to fill the void. Enjoy.



Phantom Stranger #40
Saber Tooth Tigers didn't live alongside the T. Rex, Allosaurus, Pterodactyl, or Dimetrodon,... but I'm willing to forgive Pom Poms because Tarzan isn't traveling back in time, but rather to a Land of Prehistoric Animals. No harm, no foul.  Moving right along.

Phantom Stranger #40
Next to Sea Monkees, Big League Chew, and Hostess junk food, the Shrunken Head the most memorable of comic book ads from back in the day.  Believe it or not, I actually had this kit; although, I can't recall how well my creations turned out.

Phantom Stranger #40
I play Call of Duty: Black Ops II on the Xbox, and this just seems so antiquated and sad in comparison. I guess it's comparing apples and oranges.  Still, the desire to play with action figures I'm sure has lessened as video games became more realistic.  I could be wrong.

Phantom Stranger #40

All Star Comics #58
DC Showcase #79
Dr. Evil "comes with evil outfit and evil, evil things!"  This has piqued my curiosity.  What sort of evil, evil things? A pentagram? A satanic bible? A Washington lobbyist?

Jerry Lewis #96
Number one: If the point is to conceal your weapon, why would you conceal it within another weapon (a pocket knife)?   What next? A grenade that actually turns into a switchblade?

Number two: If you're going after Dr. Evil, you're going to need to kick it up a notch... like sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads!

TV Action #123
Have you seen Legos lately? I tried to buy some for Christmas presents last year..... when did they get so damned complicated and expensive?  God forbid you want to just invent things on your own.  No, you've got to build the fucking Star Wars Super Star Destroyer for over a hundred bucks.  WTF?

Whew.  (Wiping forehead)  Sorry to get so riled up.  I feel better now.

TV Action #103
"Ask your dad?"  Why specifically your dad?  Is it because they know your mom is not going to be a sucker like your dad?

TV Action #113
"Self-guiding"?  Um, okay.

Phantom Stranger #41

TV Tornado #64

The Ford Escort?  And to complete your collection, consider purchasing the Ford Pinto, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and Chevy Vega.

Note: Consider this post a follow up to Ads #46: Comic Book Ads

21 comments:

  1. The ford escort was a normal UK model they sold for years. Note the price is 6/11 so definitely UK. (That's just under 35p today)

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  2. Yeah, the UK Escort wasn't the same one sold in the U.S. in the 80s.

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  3. If you read your Edgar Rice Burroughs, the "Land of Prehistoric Animals" was actually a second series of his, called Pellucidar (Tarzan did do one crossover where he visited it, though.)

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  4. I had half the things featured here: The Dinky Escort (a much better and widespread car in the UK than the US but, then again, Ford Europe kicks the parent company in the ass), The Six Million Dollar Man action figure (the same size as an Action Man/GI Joe which meant they could fight each other in games), The Lego ships (you can still get non-theme Lego) and the Revell snap together model kits (although I prefer the proper glue together kits).

    Here's the thing with Action figures v Video games. Video games, despite the *ahem* "realism (it's actually more like Hollywood realism compared to real life. I mean, how many instant healing medical kits are there in the world just lying around?), force the user to play according to their limits. You're in a box; you go where the designer wants you to go. You're in a world not of your own design. Once you figure that world out and know where to go, that's it. Action figures are limited only by your (or your children's) imagination. My two sons use their GI Joes to fight plastic dinosaurs, or hide out in Lego buildings, or climb trees in the garden, or wrestle with Mr Potato, or get stomped on by Buzz Lightyear.

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  5. I just built the Atlantis T-Rex re-make(The Aurora model that I couldn't afford as a kid).It is one impressive hunk of plastic.I recently was visiting my parents and told them about it.My mother then went to the attic and brought out an Allosaurus model that I had built and painted as a kid!Looked like new!Those are fun dinosaur designs,they look like true monsters ,not like giant bird/horse/rhino hybrids that today's dino artists depict.I had the Shrunken Head apple kit too.I remember it took a whole day + to dry and I needed help from an adult for the little tooth beads,but the results looked just like on the box.

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  6. I like the typo on the "JackoSkates" (Or is it "Jacoskates"?) ad...!

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  7. The mighty Mort Drucker provided the shrunken head illustration.

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  8. Yeah, with that lopsided gap toothed grin, it looks like Alfred E Neuman.

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  9. I'm with you on the Legos... they make them cheaper thanks to Chinese slave labor, yet they're more expensive. ...and you can't get simple fun stuff like the cool boat kit (I had one similar to those in the ad).

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  10. I used to see older comic books and long for a Captain Action. A company is putting them out again, so I bought one for my 3 year old nephew and a Spider Man costume to go with it. The box says "For 15 years and up." I think this is silly. I don't see why a three year old cant enjoy it (or he could enjoy it later). Of course, if you 15 year old son dresses a Capt. Action up as Spider Man, you can rest assured he won't be getting any girls in his class pregnant.

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    1. Let me add. I still have my Steve Austin action figure. My nephew doesn't show much interest in it. i thought he would at least like to push the button on the back and hear that noise.

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  11. I also have Steve. He's still wearing the sweater that my sister knitted for him. Kind of makes him look like Stewart Smalley

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  12. I don't have the Steve Austin, but I still have the evil robot bad guy that was part of the series. It has three snap-on faces; Steve Austin, Oscar Goldman and John Saxon!

    I had all of the Aurora dinosaurs. Great Joe Kubert art on the ad. He was doing the Tarzan comic at the time.

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  13. When I first saw the title under the Heroes in Action ad that said "Phantom Stranger", I thought you were just being funny because the machine-gunner's face looks amazingly like the big robot from the movie "The Phantom Creeps" that Rob Zombie used in his video for "Dragula" (the album also had a song called "Return of the Phantom Stranger", hence my confusion). Then I realized it was the title of the comic book from which you scanned the ad.

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  14. I had one of those "electric engine" kits -- not that one. Lots of assembly and tedious winding of coils later, it actually worked! It was pretty exciting to hook up the battery and watch it spin.

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  15. Orlando BowkerDecember 04, 2013

    The comic book ads I remember most are:

    1. The LIFESIZE FRANKENSTEIN!! Even as a little kid I somehow knew that this one would be too good to be true. I wanted what I thought they were selling very, very badly though.

    2. GRIT newspapers. SELL AND DELIVER GRIT NEWSPAPERS AND MAKE BIG BUCKS KIDS. It showed a kid on his bike with a bunch of GRIT newspapers holding a bunch of dough in his hand. Again, even as a kid, I used to ask myself. WTF? Who reads this? Nobody I knew. The Wikipedia article says it was "popular" in rural areas and small towns. I don't, and didn't, think so.

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    1. I saw a GRIT magazine on a newsstand today! Do you suppose it is the same GRIT? This one had an article about making your own chicken coop.

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    2. Orlando BowkerDecember 18, 2013

      The magazine you saw appears to be a direct descendent of the old GRIT newspaper. Amazing. I'm still very curious about this. Here's the Wikipedia article:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grit_(newspaper)

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  16. I also had the Shrunken Head kit. In retrospect, what in the world? How did that get the green light to sell to kids?

    The "heads" were carved from apples, dried for several days over a light bulb, then rubbed with brown paint to get the aged look. The eyes and teeth were inserted beads. Then you added a hank of white or brown hair. The results were pretty creepy.

    But like the rock tumbler and the homemade ice cream machine, the shrunken heads required a lot of patience and down time, not to mention getting your mom to agree to letting you hang a carved apple from a wire hooked to a lamp for a few days.


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    1. Orlando BowkerDecember 18, 2013

      I remember one very strange fad around 1963. The world was suddenly flooded with small plastic figures of the Rat Fink. Guys and girls both collected these things in all their many colors, but for some reason the girls went truly mad for it. This was in the 3rd grade. They were about an inch high:

      http://stefangutermuth.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/rat-fink-green.jpg

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    2. Rat Fink was an Ed "Big Daddy" Roth creation. Tons of cool T-shirts, figures, and models were sold. My brother had one model. I'd kill to have that. Rat Fink is still around. He will never die.

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