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CSBG Archive

I Saw It Advertised One Day #13

We continue a MONTH of I Saw It Advertised One Day! Each day this January you’ll get a piece 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!

Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.


The above ad SHOULD read “There’s A New Kind of Superman Coming…three years after this ad comes out, and it will last less than a year!”

I wonder what took them so long to get from this ad to the O’Neil Superman actually coming out?

It is hard to fully comprehend just how ridiculous it is to imagine someone wanting to spend $14.99 in 1986 money on a watch that is a little car with a digital watch underneath it.


What in the world is this?!

Did Monogram just totally run out of cars to make models of??!


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. Do not make suggestions in the comment section, so that they can still be a surprise for future readers! In fact, I think I’ll just delete comments that contain future suggestions.


Is that watch ad Howard Cruse art?

$14.99 is big money in 1986 dollars, especially given that that was when comics were still primarily read by kids. That’s crazy!

Interesting that the Bug Watch ad directs the customer to send their dough directly to DC, specifically to the head of circulation. Didn’t see things like that often.

Why the 60s ever ended is beyond me. Any era in which a surfing diving mod garbage truck is desirable deserves to continue.

I wasn’t around in the era, but I’m going to go on a limb and say that even in the 60s I doubt that garbage truck was desirable.

think the super man add was for John Byrnes reboot of superman. the car watches remember those and always wondered who would actully buy one of those things.

The Superman house ad was from 1968 or ’69, but I don’t think there were any big changes until Julius Schwartz took over as editor of the Superman titles around 1971.

Yeah, it was from 1968. The revamp happened in 1971, but was mostly over by 1972 (although certain elements remained, like Clark as a TV anchor).

Ah… The good ol’ bug watch! I actually wanted that thing for a few months, but like T. said, $14.99 was some serious stacks to shell out for a novelty item that I knew even then was a piece of crap!

It’s not just a garbage truck – it’s a crazy new custom show rod – big difference people!

I’m not sure what confuses me more about that bizarre model – the surfboards on a garbage truck or the band performing inside it…

The Superman ad almost leads me to think it was about something else. I wonder if it might have been done in advance of Kirby’s arrival. I seem to recall DC was keen for them to work on the flagship book (only he took Jimmy Olsen because it was the lowest selling and he didn’t want to put Curt Swan out of work– or is this an urban legend Brian?). Could it have been a case of jumping the gun about Kirby’s arrival? His first work DC was in 1970, so it works slightly better than pegging it to Schwartz and O’Neil taking over Superman.

Upon reflection I have a theory. They probably had a bunch of models of real life trucks. Kids always like fire trucks, 18 wheelers, etc., so maybe they tried to add a garbage truck to the lineup and it failed miserably. But they already created a whole bunch of them and were stuck with them. So they figured out what they could add to the existing model to spruce it up and make it sell. Some they asked young hotshot entry level employee what kids today are into, and he said surfing, skin diving and rock bands. And they slapped all those onto the garbage truck.

Yes I have an overactive imagination.

The Superman ad almost leads me to think it was about something else.

They kept using the same house ad, though, right up until the O’Neil revamp took place, so I’m pretty sure it is about Schwartz taking over as editor of Superman. I think their position was, “We don’t exactly know what Schwartz will be doing to change Superman, but we’re sure he will do something interesting!”

That Superman thing seems to be ripe to be looked at in the Legends column. Had Schwartz just taken over Batman when this ad first appeared, and maybe he didn’t want to jump right into Superman too? Or was there some other media tie in with Superman around that time that would have conflicted with anything Schwartz might do with the book, so they held off on doing it? I dunno, spitballing here.

I like T’s theory about the garbage truck. Remember too that at the model company HQ, there’s probably a LOT of glue/rubber cement fumes, too, so “garbage truck with a surfing band on it” would probably sound like a good idea after a while.

It might not be exactly the time period, but I’m thinking it’s the band from the movie Track of the Moon Beast that was skewered on MST3K. Yes, Band that did “California Lady”.

And it’s either Track… or that Bat People movie from season 10 of MST3K that Bill (Batman) Finger wrote, so everything ties in, man. Yeah, sure.

I didn’t know the Superman ad was so old as that, I thought it was hyping the Electric Superman look from the 90’s.. Which I kind of liked for a while..

I dunno. This isn’t DC of today, this is DC in 1968– I find it hard to buy that they would be hyping changes made by an internal editor 2 years out. Maybe they knew changes were coming, whether by Kirby or Schwartz or whatever, and were just generally hyping it?

Maybe that Superman ad is referring to a “new kind of Superman” coming more quickly than that: The Two-Ton Superman, the King Kong Superman, the Super-Genius Baby, “The Secret of the Superman Impostor”…really, the choices are nearly endless.

Ah! Tom Daniel’s Garbage Truck!

Always loved that! A few years ago a company named Toy Zone put out a line of
diecast 1:43rd scale TD cars- a line that ended way too soon, btw,

The Garbage Truck was in the line & I was very happy to see the band was included~

Travis, good theory about the fumes.

Charlie E, great piece of trivia there! I googled the name Tom Daniels to see who you were talking about and seems like that dude was the man when it came to designing these things. He was apparently the one who helped design the garbage truck and seems to be a legend in his craft. He didn’t come up with the idea apparently, he was just called in to make it a reality. Monogram came up with the idea in-house, probably the guy inhaling the fumes like Travis said.

Here’s a color picture of the truck and a description of what went into it by designed Tom Daniels. It’s kind of like a DVD commentary extra. Ok not quite.

mike in minneapolis

January 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I didn’t notice any big change to Superman in 1968 and, apparently, no one else did either.

But the confusion apparently came to the attention of the powers-that-be at DC, because it was ultimately addressed in a letter column. (I don’t recall exactly when or where, but likely it was Mort Weisinger in Superman or Action at some point in ’68.) According to DC, the “new kind of Superman” referred to a fresh approach to the artwork — specifically Neal Adams and Ross Andru versus Al Plastino and Wayne Boring.

Seems like an odd claim, since Adams and Andru never went to work full-time on the Superman books. However, it’s clear that their involvement with the Superman books increased right around the time this ad appeared.

By 1968, Plastino and Boring — regular Superman contributors throughout the 60s — had done their last work for DC (aside from a handful of stray jobs over the years). At the same time, Andru — who had been a regular on Metal Men and Wonder Woman — suddenly started showing up on Weisinger-edited books, such as Superman, Action and World’s Finest.

Meanwhile, Adams — who had started at DC in 1967 doing a war story here and a humor book there — had become the regular cover artist for practically the entire Superman family of books by ’68. Sometimes in collaboration with Curt Swan, Adams was handling the majority of covers for Superman, Action, Adventure, Superboy, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. In addition, he did interiors for 2 consecutive issues of World’s Finest in 1968.

The other player in all of this is, of course, Curt Swan. Since the mid-sixties, Swan had been a regular contributor to Superman, Action, Superboy, Adventure and World’s Finest. While he never completely went away, Swan’s output dropped off significantly during the first half of 1968 — before bouncing back to normal later in the year. It may be worth noting that for the next couple of years, many of Swan’s covers were inked by Adams.

The figure that ties this all together is Carmine Infantino. A highly-regarded artist in the 60s, Infantino was known particularly for the modern, streamlined touch he brought to the Flash, Adam Strange and the “new look” Batman. In 1967, he was promoted to Editorial Director and began to bring new talent to DC (Adams, for one).

So it seems perfectly reasonable that Infantino, given his new-found responsibility, may have felt that — after decades of Boring, Plastino and Swan — the time was right to modernize Superman’s look, and chose Adams and Andru to take the character into the future.

If that was the plan, something clearly went wrong. Maybe Adams wanted the freedom to do something besides Superman-family covers (such as Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow). Or maybe the lack of awareness by their (largely) 10- and 11-year old audience convinced DC that it just didn’t matter.

In any case, Swan was re-established as THE Superman artist — a position he would maintain until the John Byrne revamp in 1986.

T – thanks for the link – it really does feel like they slapped every fad they could on the back of that thing though. I’m surprised it didn’t have a ‘Would You Believe’ bumper sticker…

Oops, I messed up, here’s the actual garbage truck link:

My 2 year old would LOVE that garbage truck.

My grandfather had a huge outdoor model rail layout. It was standard gauge which was close to 1/24th. In 68 he bought 7 of the garbage truck monogram models. He and I retrofitted them back to regular garbage trucks for his layout (Daytown Public Works). It was just one of the amazing summers I spent with him.

I had almost forgotten about that but this ad brought back the memory. That kind of pleasure is priceless. Thanks for reminding me.

I don’t remember that ad, but I had that watch. Sure, it was a piece of crap, but in my teen years for whatever reason I collected novelty watches with my Kraft Macaroni and Cheese watch being the highlight of my collection.

Actually, novelty watches is kind of a neat thing to collect. You had good taste in your teen years!

I’m guessing the watch ad was a “Hail Mary” play from a guy with a warehouse full of cheap digital watches. IIRC, the simple three-function digital watch (sans “novelty” ornamentation) went from something you’d willingly spend twenty bucks on to something you’d find as a 25 cent gumball-machine prize REAL fast. It’s easy to imagine a guy who sunk a lot of money into digital watches getting desperate as his mob-affiliated creditors started circling….

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