High Five! Comics

Hilarious Ads and Marv Wolfman in Spider-Woman #1

Posted on: October 15, 2009

spiderwoman1I got to open a Christmas present in October this year; Rob picked up Spider-Woman #1 (Volume One, not the new Bendis run) for me at Long Beach Comic Con. (Thanks Rob!) I finally opened it tonight, thinking “This was written in 1978, it’ll be cheesy enough to lovingly mock, right?”

Turns out, not so much. This issue? Kind of great. Dated, yes, but dated by aesthetic rather than absurdity. I’d love to see this book redone, using the same script, with a modern artist against a modern backdrop. But can we keep the cheesy ads? Sometimes I get a little sick of “got milk?” and Honda getting up in my face every few pages.

Gee, I always wanted to be a locksmith!

Gee, I always wanted to be a locksmith!

What really gets me about this is the “Do Real Jobs” line. Really? Just who the hell sponsored this ad? Apparently, someone from New Jersey. Jeezus Marvel, were you so hard up you needed to let the mob buy adspace?

So, basically...make yourself a stoner mobile?

So, basically...make yourself a stoner mobile?

You know; Orange, CA is pretty much the next town over from me. I wonder if these guys are still in business? I think learning how to upholster my Saturn with some sweet velour or something is definitely the best idea I’ve had all week. I wonder if I could fit a disco ball in there…

FREE EXAMINATION!

FREE EXAMINATION!

Yeah, so your poem “Dinos are Awesome” is pure genius, kid. Now, if you’ll just send us $500 we’ll press it onto a record and you’ll be a star in NO TIME! But don’t worry, you can afford it!

SEE?

SEE?

“Loads of mystery & fun?” Actually, kids, this is a great way to meet your favorite superheroes! Just make lots and lots of bills with your super-awesome machine, then start using your REAL DOLLAR BILLS to buy stuff! (Allright, I know it’s just a magic trick, but still! If I were a little kid, I’d totally be thinking, “Oh man! I can turn all my shitty $1 bills into $5 bills! What a great machine!”)

No words.

No words.

Admit it, your mind went there. Pardon me while I go giggle uncontrollably.

When I was a kid comics still had a few ads like these, but by and large mail order scammers have moved onto baiting you over the internet with a THIRTY DAY FREE TRIAL that you’ll end up paying $49.99 a month for. Still, I seem to have given myself an artificial nostalgia for the comic book ads of yore, if for no other reason than the fact that they’re freaking hilarious.

The one thing I wish the Big Two would bring back? Features like this one by Marv Wolfman, who penned the issue. Click on it! I made it big enough for you to read, because it’s fascinating.

Marv Wolfman on Jessica Drew, 1978

Marv Wolfman on Jessica Drew, 1978

Of course, we’ve got the INTARWEBS now, and print is dead and blah blah blah, but there was just something about the fan mail and the columns from the authors and editors that made reading a single issue an experience, you know? Sure, I was only alive for the tail end of that era, but sometimes I wish my comics were a little more interactive offline. BOOM! has some great features in the back of their issues, James Robinson is doing some cool stuff with his essays in Cry for Justice, and of course there’s always DiDio’s “DC Nation” – but overall the industry has gotten away from engaging readers socially in print. Luckily, the trade off is that you get more STORY in any given issue, and I wouldn’t give that up for anything.

You don't even have a BACK!

Except maybe this.

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3 Responses to "Hilarious Ads and Marv Wolfman in Spider-Woman #1"

Yeah, those “Firestorm: the Nuclear Man” books I got were from 1978, too. They all have a different one of those Slim Jim “meat tooth” ads.

SO WEIRD!

[…] Read the original post: Hilarious Ads and Marv Wolfman in Spider-Woman #1 […]

I’m convinced that there are about a million fascinating stories buried in the letters columns of old comics…ones we rarely have a chance to experience today, since even though so many of those comics being reprinted, they hardly ever include the letters too. (The major exceptions to this are Marvel’s Omnibus editions, which I applaud for including the original columns.)

One of the most interesting, in my opinion (and which I don’t think has ever been reprinted), is a fascinating series of columns during Roy Thomas’s tenure on Avengers. At the end of one issue, Marvel published a long, angry letter from a fan who felt Thomas’s portrayal of the Black Panther was laced with racist undertones; the next issue carried Thomas’s brilliant response, which reads as an incredibly poignant essay on the portrayal of race in popular culture in the ’70s. Great stuff.

Anyhow, thanks for sharing Wolfman’s comments from Spider-Woman. It’s great to see someone else concerned with the backmatter of older comics, back before it had become so rare to see creators interact with their fans in the pages of the comics themselves.

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