Monday, March 25, 2013

Buy This Comic! Build A Condensing Unit!

If you bought Fantastic Four #1--well, couldn't you just kick yourself for tossing it in the trash when you were through reading it, instead of sealing it in a dark, airtight place for about forty years.  But I digress. I just wanted to give you a peek at what was behind its first cover:

Comics back in "the day" usually had one or two bodybuilding ads, preying on the skinny kids who didn't realize they'd need to wait a few years to really start this kind of training in order to see any physical benefits. I think I shelled out my allowance hard-earned money on sea monkeys and x-ray vision glasses, so you can probably assume that ads from guys like Ben Rebhuhn (pictured here) and Joe Weider (recently deceased at 93 years young) were lost on me. I mean, who wants to send in money for something fun and have to then work for it?

There were also some trade ads to be found, where you'd be wooed with promises of obtaining expertise in a lucrative field if you sent away for a kit of some kind which, when built, would get your foot in the door of a company looking for repairmen:

All those diodes and gauges--who could resist?

And naturally, the mag had a few art school ads:

Albert Dorne really was a successful commercial artist. Who knew? (Though regrettably, he'd pass away about three years after this ad was published.)

Of course, the comic wouldn't be complete without a novelty ad or two:

Rubber snakes! Foaming sugar! Smoke bombs! Whoopee cushions! Tinted chewing gum! Now that's how you market to kids. No wonder we turned out the way we did. We were encouraged in our childhood to seek out ways to antagonize one another, and enjoy it. Just wait until we all got bodies like Ben Rebhuhn--then you'd see some antagonizing, bub.

Believe it or not, even with a comic book stuffed full of ads, you still got 25 pages of the FF comic you paid 12¢ for, which was a pretty good deal for the kid. And those ads would appear in one form or another throughout comic books in the '60s. Though I don't think Reed cared much for them this first time around:

I bet someone shook hands with him wearing a joy buzzer. Heh.


Kid said...

Reed is clearly standing well-inside the room, so - given the angle of the gun - surely the smoke would drift up to the ceiling inside the room, not outside? Its direction is a little unconvincing.

Comicsfan said...

Reed may have ordered that gun through a comic book mail-order ad. He probably later modified it into a sub-dimensional energy siphon.

Doc Savage said...

One mistake in your account: FF#1 was 10 cents.

Comicsfan said...

Quite right! Thanks for the price check. :)

Anonymous said...

I was more of a 70's guy due to my age, but you'd see a lot of similar ads in comics in those years too. I always wondered about those x-ray specs. I can only imagine one reason a young lad would want them, and I can only assume how disappointed such a lad might be when he whipped them out at the pep rally or school dance and found they didn't work. If Reed Richards was their dad he could probably whip up a working pair no sweat, but than again the kid would probably have x-ray vision or cosmic powers anyway, like Franklin, and have to be quarantined.
Maybe the ads for stink-bombs and itch-powder were legit, however. I'm pretty sure that technology was available then.

Comicsfan said...

Yes, those ads certainly stuck around for a good while. Those novelty companies in particular had quite a run. It was like finding a dollar store for kids. :)