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CSBG Archive

I Saw It Advertised One Day #1

This is the first in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!


These ads all came from issues of Adventure Comics, just, naturally, from different decades…

I like this mid-70s ad for Daisy BB guns because it just screams like something figured out in a board meeting one day. “Kids love BB guns, but how do we get kids who already bought a BB gun to buy ANOTHER one?” “How about we act like BB guns are something you trade up as you get older?” “Brilliantly manipulative! Let’s get an ad right away!”

I like this Butterfinger one from 1941 because of the sheer amount of nonsensical BS they use to sell you something they only need to tell you tastes good. I mean, the amount of inane claims made in this piece is staggering, and the way they try to tie it in with airplanes?!? An inspired/ludicrous idea!

I like this mid-70s Lee jeans one just because it is plain ol’ goofy.

That’s all for this installment! If you can think of some goofy comic book ads you’d like to see me feature here, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com (I’d prefer you not mention your suggestions in the comments, so it can be a surprise for the other readers!).


This gives me the warm fuzzies. Can’t wait for you to put up the ads from the “sales clubs”.

I don’t care just what you do, Brian, if you wanna have a picnic that’s up to you. But don’t tell me about it, I don’t wanna hear it, you see I just lost all my picnic spirit.

I am not tough enough for western pants.

I don’t care just what you do, Brian, if you wanna have a picnic that’s up to you. But don’t tell me about it, I don’t wanna hear it, you see I just lost all my picnic spirit.

I was amazed by how “on point” I was able to get a quote for this bit!

Thanks, Matt! I didn’t recognise the title until I read your comment. (Yes, I do know the song, but it’s been a while since I last heard it.)

There have been so many strangely intriguing ads over the years. It must be hard for you to decide what to feature next. I guess the various Hostess ads are just too obvious a choice. Ditto for the Charles Atlas ads that ran for so many decades. (I always found it interesting how they kept using the same comic strip, but would sometimes leave out a panel or two, or change some of the dialogue slightly.)
I’ve always had a soft spot for the ’70s ad with the Pink Panther showing off the new NBC Saturday morning TV schedule.
Will you be showcasing any of the ads for GRIT? (I actually knew someone who subscribed when I was a kid.)

I remember I saw a really goofy ad once! It said that Identity Crisis would be thrilling, well-written and not a complete kick in the face. Does that count?

Went to college in the town where Grit was born. Know some folks what worked there. ‘course, then it moved to Topeka.

This feature MUST include the OJ Simpson ad for cowboy boots from the late 70s / early 80s.

In today’s comics it would have taken 6 months of ads to tell that same Lee Rider story. And someone would’ve been killed for sure!

Good, good, good, good, good, GOOD idea for a feature.

(We’re gonna see some live animals in the next piece, right? Man, I think comics died when they no longer let you buy a live raccoon via mail.)

I also vote for (1) that Pele ad, and (2) that long series of Three Musketeers ads.

Butterfingers: the original 5 Hour Energy

I love the crazy shit companies used to say in ads before the government started regulating them. “Butterfinger is good for you!”

twinkles and hubba bubba.

I like the ads where kids sell seeds and you can see all the wonderful gifts you could earn! The testimonials are worth the cost of the comic alone! Also, I remember there was a double page ad (in the very middle of the comic if I am not mistaken) that advertised CBS’s lineup (had to be mid 70s) of the live action Shazam on one side, and Isis on the other. I agree with the earlier post, the ads with Pink Panther (ironically, he was talking!) showing kids another Saturday morning lineup. The Mego ads that had both Marvel and DC characters in the same ad to sell action figures! And last but not least, the Evel Knievel ads, usually on the back cover, in the 70s, with about 4 different vehicles you could get!

There’s a brand new gimmick every day just to take somebody’s money away…

There’s just not enough Dextrosecentric ads anymore.

I love the Daisy ad’s line about “Get your hands on those man-sized stocks” it made my inner 9th grader laugh.

Real authentic genuine cowboys would know that the Lee brand in the second-last panel is backwards. No wonder The Actor Playing The Boy didn’t show up, those people obviously didn’t know what they were doing!

This is an absolutely fantastic idea for a feature – looking forward to future installments. By the way, some people didn’t read Brian’s fine print at the end of the post about not making suggestions in the comments thread – but since Ed mentioned it, one of the first to pop in my head were the seed-selling ads with the testimonials. Those are pure gold.
The “Make Money – Sell Grit!” ads also came to mind, as they seemed ubiquitous in comic books. I remember at least one party in college where the subject of those ads came up after (too) many beers, with everybody wondering “who the hell ever reads Grit?!” Then later I found out it’s actually a pretty popular paper in some quarters, even today: http://www.grit.com/.

I’m looking forward to the All OJ Simpson Day.

I love the crazy shit companies used to say in ads before the government started regulating them. “Butterfinger is good for you!”

It’s not like the government itself had a much better track record of recommending what’s good for you. The food pyramid for example is practically a recipe for diabetes in old age!

I love it. It would be great if you could mention the year the ads are from for context.

Yes! Glad I’m not the only one who remembers the OJ Simpson ad for Dingo boots. It may have been drawn by the same guy who does the maybe-its-Joe-Simon jeans ad above. As I recall, the strip opened with OJ seemingly in a hurry to get in his vehicle and go somewhere… but he stops to have a chat with two kids who are wearing his endorsed boots.

There there was the Jack Kirby (or Mike Royer?) drawn ad for a bicycle air horn then demonstrated how not having one almost turned little Jimmy into a street pancake due to an unawares neighbor.

So the kid’s name is “Lee Rider” and he wears “Lee Riders”?

Maybe if I started calling my pants “Adam Farrars” my acting career would take off!

Great feature. I’d like to see the bizarre, rushed-looking Meatloaf & Marvel Super Heroes for the Special Olympics ad that ran in the late 80s.

I like the Masterworks and Archive reprint series, but I really miss seeing the ads that you get in cover to cover scans of old comics. It’s only thanks to ads of the 1960s that I, a British kid, learned who Johnny Unitas was. That came in handy three decades later when explaining cultural references in The Simpsons to my wife.

DC comics especially had a strange mix of celebrities and comic book characters in their ads. It was several months before I realised that Bob Hope was a real actor and not just a cartoon character in a public service piece about being a good neighbour – which made me suspect that Binky, or maybe even BEM, were also real.

There’s a great Lee jeans add I just came across in an old issue of X-Men (#55, I think) that basically has that Lee Rider kid randomly selected to race a car because of his jeans, whereas as his friends is still wearing kids pants.

The whole time I was wondering what the hell the “kids pants” were.

>>(We’re gonna see some live animals in the next piece, right? Man, I think comics died when they no longer let you buy a live raccoon via mail.)

Raccoon, schmaccoon. Give me darling pet moneys or give me death!

Or darling pet monKeys, even.

Do Kaballa (I think that’s how it’s spelled), the fortune-telling game that was advertised in early 60s DC comics and was later used by Grant Morrison in Doom Patrol to explain the Pentagon’s decision-making process. I believe he adapted the text of the ad into the dialogue between a general and a subordinate in DP 43 or so.

Now Johnny Unitas, that’s a haircut you can set your watch to!


+1 on the Grit Magazine. I remember those when I was growing up.
How about the Superhero saves the day using “Hostess” cupcakes?

I prefer Joe Willy Namath, swaggering off the field, his sideburns an apogee of sculpted sartorium: the foppish follicles pioneered by Ambrose Burnside, Appomattox 1865

I wouldn’t mind revisting the Hostess Fruit Pies classics.

And… that Butterfinger ad sounds like modern energy drink commercials I’ve heard. Almost verbatim. Eerie.

It’s Pipboy!

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