Retro comic book ads

For some reason, advertising from my youth fascinates me. Maybe it’s because advertising has become so much slicker now, product placement is the norm, or my own nostalgia-fueled fuzzy memory. I can’t decide.

Either way, this ad on the back page is the sole reason rescued this ragged copy of Marvel Premiere #43 Featuring Paladin (from August, 1978) from the free bin last week.

I distinctly remember this Spalding ad on several comics as a kid. I remember playing with rubber-covered Spalding basketballs as a kid. They really did help with grip and lasted longer on the asphalt.

The non-computer-generated art gives that warm/fuzzy retro feel. The picture of Dr. J dunking the ball mirrors what we saw on NBA games Sunday afternoons. And then there’s Rick Barry. Well … our fathers liked Rick Barry. We were all about the Doctor.

Then, of course, on the inside cover of the very same issue, there is this staple of comic book ads:

Is it really any wonder why we grow up feeling insecure about our bodies?

But, say what you want, these ads DID promote physical activities. It would be interesting to do a comparison study of comic book advertising over the past 40 years. I would assume that much of comic book advertising is now pointed insular, towards other comic properties (video games, conventions, etc.). Probably the reason for that is the target audiences between the comics of the 1970s-1980s is different than the target audiences for comics of the 2000s.

Actually the audiences are probably the same. Exactly the same. It’s the same people who read them in the 1980s and today — it’s just that they’re 30 years older.

What advertisements from your childhood give you the warm fuzzies?


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