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CSBG Archive

I Saw It Advertised One Day #20

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.


Man, it’s one thing to try to advantage of kids for a few bucks, but trying to get over on servicemen?


I am almost certain that nothing radioactive was used in making these glow-in-the-dark neckties from 1944, but I have decided to pretend that they were using radium to make them glow.

And the timing is close enough for my pretending to be realistic!

I love the idea of some kid out there thinking that Arak was, like, the biggest character DC had in the 1980s.

“What do you mean, his comic got canceled a year after this ad and only lasted for four years total?!?! I have his action figure!!!”

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.


I don’t know, The Warlord is clearly the center of that ad & with the biggest logo.

What gets me is the inclusion of Hercules from Hercules Unbound, which ran 12 issues from 1975 to 1977.

My parents gave me the Warlord and Hercules figures when I was a kid, thinking they were part of the Masters of the Universe line. They were much more durable than the He-Man toys, though. Would’ve loved to have gotten an Arak figure.

I had the Arak figure. What do you mean he wasn’t one of DC’s biggest characters?

I think I remember seeing that ad and just being confused. What confused me more during those years were the ads featuring a really poorly drawn Vampirella. I had no idea who that was either, so she was just another Arak to me. See, if you draw a vampire in a bikini outfit badly enough, it just seems like a silly idea …

I had a Warlord figure…but I think it was from a toyline in the 80’s. I had no idea who he was at the time, I just wanted a toy and he had a sword and a winged helmet and looked like a badass old guy.

i remember the ad for those figures. though do not remember arak at all. those neck ties. odds are no one was crazy enough to buy one . same with the rings .

I remember getting a Mikola figure one year…a few years after they came out and thinking…”Huh? Where did this piece of crap come from?”

I’m confused, how do we know the diamond rings are a scam? I mean, I think buying expensive jewelry via mail order is an insane risk to take, but do we know for sure it’s not real?

Thanks for the link Scavenger. Those things are exactly as derivative as He-Man as I assumed they’d be from the ad.

Brian has assumed (probably rightly) that EVERY mail order ad of questionable-ness (like jewelry through the mail) is a scam. So this one’s no different.

I was just reading a comic with a different version of that toy ad. Weren’t there some Sgt Rock toys made around that time, too?

Actually, from what other people are saying, they were probably made in response to He Man. And it would have been a cheap license for Remco.

I wonder, would Mego (or someone else) have had the DC superhero toy license until Kenner got it a few years after that with the Super Powers toys (with them squeeze their legs together “powers”), so that’s why Remco didn’t get the superheroes, or could they only afford these characters (I mean, they are selling them at KMart, y’know)

But any kids who were inspired to dig into the back issue bins by these toys would have discovered three of DC’s most beautiful books of the era. Grell, Colon and Simonson: that ain’t a bad lineup.

Yeah, honestly, I would have thought Claw or Stalker would have been a bigger deal than Hercules as DC’s by-then-defunct fantasy titles go, but maybe that’s just because I personally found then more interesting at the time.

Wow, I never realized those Warlord toys were straight up He-Man rip-offs. Not surprising, now that I think about it. Just never crossed my mind before.

They did have Sgt Rock toys out around the same time. They were the same size as the GI Joe and Star Wars action figures. Their articulation was the same as Star Wars figures, despite them obviously trying to cash in on the poplarity of GI Joe. I had 2 or 3 random figures, none of which were actually Sgt Rock if I remember correctly. I usually used them as additional badguys for the Joes to fight.

I would TOTALLY buy a glowing necktie for 98¢! I don’t even wear ties, but I would wear that.

And instead of “Cross Swords With Champions!” I would headline that Warlord figures ad “From the Planet Without Shirts!!!” Only one of these guys even seems to have a grasp of the concept of pants! And maybe it’s just the way he’s standing, or his little white boots, but Deimos (what is that collar attached to?) looks especially diapery. Or maybe it’s the BIG GREEN RATTLE he’s holding!

Am I the only one who is shocked these comic publishers had no qualms about printing the ridiculous rip-off send-away scam ads in their books? I would think parents would be sending complaint letters when little Jimmy’s sell-your-own-salve-kit showed up in the mail.

I had a problem with a big back issue seller in the 80’s screwing me on an order I placed from a Marvel comic. Mom wrote a letter to Marvel and and they sent me the entire month run of comics, a hardbound book. Maybe they wised up a little over time. BTW, don’ ask I don’t know what I did with the letter.

Oh and I also had Warlord and Deimos figures

Thanks Scavenger. I so wanted a Warlord figure. Still do, it looks fantastic!

Actually, the Jewelry ad was probably less a scam, than a price rip-off (you clould get better for less at a local store).

A lot of comics did end up in the hands of the military as morale-boosters, and that target audience was the one that most of the adult-aimed ads were targeting (and probably a lot of those BB gun ads).

Actually, the Jewelry ad was probably less a scam, than a price rip-off (you clould get better for less at a local store).

Right, that’s what I meant by scam.

Try to trick servicemen into spending too much money on overpriced jewelry (and going even further, perhaps getting them to spend more than they even had by stressing that servicemen have instant credit).

Right, that’s what I meant by scam.

Try to trick servicemen into spending too much money on overpriced jewelry (and going even further, perhaps getting them to spend more than they even had by stressing that servicemen have instant credit).

Ohhhh, okay. Yeah, I could see that. I thought you were implying outright fraud, like fake jewelry.

You should put the Stridex “Zit Fighters From Outer Space” ads on here. i don’t know how many they made but i know one of them was on the back cover of Spider-Man 2099 issue 8 from June 1993.

Try to trick servicemen into spending too much money on overpriced jewelry (and going even further, perhaps getting them to spend more than they even had by stressing that servicemen have instant credit).

I was an active duty soldier in the US Army from 2003 – 2007, and let me tell you, I saw a thousand and one examples of schemes designed specifically to take advantage of service men and women, especially the younger ones.

I went into the service later than most – I was a 27 years old college graduate who had just spent 5 years working in Manhattan. Most of the kids around me, though, were in their late teens or very early twenties, had never been on their own before, and most had never really spent any significant time away from their small (to me) home towns…. most of them were not too savvy. A lot of unscruplious people make their entire living on the fact that these kids are easy targets for scams.

Yeah, that’s exactly what I figured, Joe, which is why I find this ad a lot more sleazy than an ad designed to scam a little kid out of a couple of bucks.

There are much earlier examples of the “rings for servicemen” ads. I have one issue of a DC war comic from circa 1969 with one that appeared to be a special insert. IIRC, it was printed on glossy cover stock and bound in the middle of the comic.

I’d never seen that before or since, which makes me wonder if they were added at the printer or distributor, but only for comics destined for military PX stores and the like? Or, alternatively, only in the war comics, but not Superman or whatever.

The jewelry ads were created by a company called Mark Jewelers and were indeed, as mentioned above, inserted in comics directed to military bases both domestically and abroad. Back in the early 90’s, I worked for a local news distributor and asked the boss, who’d been in the business since the early 60’s, about those ads. He said that they received a certain number of copies of those comics to distribute exclusively to the local AFB and NB exchanges. He said that it was treated as a completely different title each week and knowing that I was into comics, suggested to me that those copies would probably be a lot more valuable since they were more rare. :)

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