1969 - ASM #77 - Fear No One!

"Your friends will be astonished! You will look and actually be more powerful, and more manly."

More manly, that is, from the neck down. From the neck up you might start looking even more like a pre-schooler.

I'm not sure if this is related to Mike Marvel and his early 1960's ads also advertising an isometric exercise program.

From Amazing Spider Man #77, October 1969.

1969 - ASM #75 - Masculiner Add-On Facial Hair

I'd long harbored uncomfortable feelings towards women who dress up as men, especially when they apply facial hair. Something about it puts me off even more than when a very ugly man tries to dress up as a sexy woman. What does this say about me? Hopefully something you can forget about as you gaze upon this, arguably more off-putting advertisement:

Masculiner, which nowadays is some sort of penis-enlargement pump (look it up for yourself), seems to assume that not only are their products THAT DAMN GOOD that no woman would notice that you were wearing stick-on face pubes until she had already licked it off your chin, but that your friends* would wouldn't just immediately fall apart when they saw you, someone who was clearly folically-challenged enough that you would even consider buying this product, suddenly strutting with a full but well-manicured lawn, when clearly only yesterday it was smooth as a baby's bottom.

*Fine, fine, I applaud the ad-men for knowing that whoever would consider this product couldn't possibly have friends, much less contact with anybody on a semi-regular basis. I guess this was supposed to be the product that finally gave you the confidence to step out into the sunlight for the first time ever.

From Amazing Spider-Man #75, August 1969.

1969 - ASM #73 - Grown Up Pants. You Heard Me.

I don't want to get into a whole thing with you here, but just read the entire damn ad and then come sit next to me and stare.

From Amazing Spider Man #73, June 1969.

1969 - ASM #70 - Skinny Part 2

Last entry I showed you an ad for one of those weight-gain powdered drinks supposed to make you, the scrawny male reader (I and the advertiser assume), bulk up fast. I also mentioned that they had similar products for girls. Well, here it is:

Not a drink, but they seem to just be multivitamins. I never really bought into the idea that simply taking multivitamins would make one gain weight, just healthier in general (which I guess would entail some weight gain on the malnourished).

Ang Lee talked about the difficulties of casting for his latest movie, Taking Woodstock, because youth from 1969 were way skinnier than youth of today (he also said that youth of today have far more groomed body hair...). Perhaps these products were TOO effective.

From Amazing Spider Man #70, March 1969.

1968 - ASM #66 - "Lucky For You, This Stuff Dun' Work"

 It's hard to believe now, but back in 1968, nerdy boys apparently were more anxious about being too skinny to be attractive to women, than the other way around, at least if ads like these are to be believed.

I can't find them at the moment, but even funnier was that there were similar ads for women, who I guess were too self-conscious about lacking curves. Funny how times have changed, kind of.

That being said, I won't dwell on this particular ad for too long for two reasons:

1) Products like this are probably more popular than ever, though I'm sure we don't really need them.

2) Those two women are actually pretty damn good looking. If I had to eat gallons of that weight-gain powder dry to bed both those gals at the same time, I'd be so dehydrated, super fat, constipated, and oh-so-happy.

Appeared in Amazing Spider Man #66 - November 1968.

1969 - ASM #69 - Spanish Fly

Appropriate for the year and issue number, check this sucker out:

No, not the flashlight. Why would you possibly think that I'd want you to pay attention to the item advertised that takes up 2/3rds of the entire page. No, check out the bottom left.

It's an aerosol can of Spanish Fly. For fishing.

What this has anything to do with flashlights is beyond me.

"Aroma-like perfume attracts both male and female fish by working on the forces that control life itself." Now, if this product is actually what I think it is, it seems to simply be some fish pheromones, deer and game versions of which have been used by hunters to attract their prey. But if it was really Spanish Fly (the aphrodisiac, not the fly-fishing show on ESPN), while it does cause arousal in certain animals, not only am I pretty sure it doesn't work on fish, Spanish Fly induces an irritation in the genitals that stimulates erection, but as far as I know it doesn't create attraction on its own.

It's not like you become a bonered horndog when a tablet of Viagra enters your line of sight.

But seriously, my big question is:

"Why is there an image of a cannon on the can?" Either these guys have completely mixed up their sexual metaphors, or they have absolutely no idea how sexual attraction works, especially for fish.

Appeared in Amazing Spider Man #69, February 1969. The Age of Aquarius, as it were, and exactly 15 years before I was born.

1968 - ASM # 63 - Forbidden Oriental Fighting Arts

Wallace W. Reumann, master of SUPER KARATE, wants to teach you the martial arts that the Gooks, and most importantly, other martial arts instructors selling xeroxed martial arts pamphlets, don't want you to know!

Not only will your booklet contain MOVIE STILL PHOTO TECHNIQUE (aka they filmed the moves, grabbed frames from the film, and printed them in the book. Lemme say again what this means: this book has pictures.), BUT you will also receive a "certificate of proficiency" included in your booklet, for you to fill out, only after you truly feel that you've mastered the forbidden arts.

I think this guy wants to raise an army of scrawny teens that fought people using the lambada.

Appeared in Amazing Spider Man #63, August 1968.

1968 - ASM # 56 - Real - Quote - Good - Unquote Products

A twofer today. First is this ad that seemed to sell you sharp suits original obtained from a pawnshop... which means who knows which 1930's gangster had worn this originally, how often, and how much dry cleaning it took to get the blood out.

This next ad seems to think not only that ladies read comic books like "Spider Man versus Ka-Zar" (as the comic that these ads appeared in featured),  but that they would be the kind of ladies that would care about how long and dainty their nails looked. And here I was certain that comic book advertisers were masters of their demographics.

BUT the reason I chose to put these two ads together is the now hilarious usage of quotation marks in both. Now, I understand that the sarcastic implication of surrounding something in quotes probably wasn't ubiquitous in 1968, but viewed in a modern context, could you not just envision some thoroughly evil businessmen rubbing their hands together and cackling maniacally as they envisioned you "well-dressed," and "possess"-ing long nails.

Both ads appeared in Amazing Spider Man #56, February 1968.

1968 - ASM #56 - Missile Firing Tank

 Ironically-named Honor House Products advertised products similar to this "missile-firing tank" like submarines and spaceships, all of which claimed to be life-sized (or life-sized for a kid), with many functional features for endless hours of fun for you and your friend.

Exemplifying the can-do and can-kill attitude that hadn't completely been eradicated by the coming cynicism of the American people, apparently these products were fiberboard kits that you were to assemble yourself.

Surprisingly little evidence as to the actual quality of these advertised products exists even on the internet, past the novelty of the ads themselves, but surprisingly enough a photo of the actual "Polaris Submarine," another advertised Honor House product, shows what seems to be a decent product to while away a child's afternoon, at least if you can assemble it before it rained.

Amazing Spider Man #56, January 1968.

1968 - ASM #60 - Shoe Liftee!

As we've clearly mentioned before, comic publishers and advertisers had no misconceptions about the aspirations of its main demographic. Nor, for that matter, did they have misconceptions about who their demographic actually was...

The demographic that wants to use shoe inserts to magically grow longer thighs, head, and torso while keeping their feet and lower legs the same size.

...Shoot, sign me up, Liftee company! Let the power of forced perspective whisk me and my dream girl away into happiness! And just wait til I tell her the source of my newfound powers!

Even better, wait til she finds out where I found out about said source!

Amazing Spider Man #60, May 1968.

1967 - ASM Annual #4 - Pimple Gel

This ad is noteworthy in that it's probably the cleanest and sparsest ad I've seen yet in the comic books from this far back; most everything else is jam packed with text just to reassure you of the value you're getting with your home martial arts and hypnosis course.

Ads will eventually move closer and closer to this louder, less-cluttered style as time goes on, but the wordy ones would never go away completely.

In the meantime, just enjoy the ad and the fact that apparently boys have it much easier than girls (unless you're a girl, at which point, don't enjoy the fact; go and put your 22nd layer of cream on!)

Appeared in Spider Man Annual #4, 1967.

Completely nonsequitur, but I wanted to wish my dad a happy 50th birthday tomorrow! I appreciate you and Mama's efforts to keep "violent" comic books and cartoons away from my childhood, but I'm more appreciative that you didn't try all that hard. :)

1966 - Saturday Mornings at CBS

At around this time Marvel came out with their limited-animation style cartoons, from Captain America to Sub-Mariner, Fantastic Four, Hulk, Thor, and Spider Man, and the comics were filled with constant advertisements to this enterprise. The ads even went so far as to name the specific stations in each region that showed them (including stations in countries around the world).

So I find it ironic that around this time they also started showing ads for competing cartoon blocks, especially this one, which included Superboy and Krypto, the Super Dog.

This was around the first peak of Marvel-DC rivalry, as Marvel's fare was starting to take root in America's collective consciousness, and DC was fighting hard to maintain their position as status quo.

The rest of the shows are also noteworthy as among those that brought rise the end of the golden age of animation, and the beginning of low-budget Saturday morning cartoons, the same kind that would eventually become parody fodder for Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

This was among the first of a new breed of comic book ads that were more colorful, less wordy, and more aimed towards younger kids. These are the kinds of ads I loved reading in the 80's, and look forward to featuring more of as they go along.

For some reason I can't figure out which issue I ripped this ad from, but they ran around 1966.

1967 - ASM #47 - Kraven's Brawn(do)

Okay, this isn't an ad, but a frame of an old Spider Man. Specifically, Amazing Spider Man #47, April 1967.

In it, villain Kraven (the Hunter), having realized that Spider Man trumps him with his super powers, decides to fight dirty.

He does this by installing blasters that shoot OUT OF HIS NIPPLES (really the eyes of the lion's head (not main, the entire head) that he wears as a vest), rays that "MAGNETIZE HIS MUSCULAR ELECTROLYTES," thereby rendering his body a twitching mush.

Seeing as how apparently the general public still has no idea what the hell electrolytes are and what they do, this had to have just been completely incomprehensible to the average 1967 reader, and thus perfectly acceptable for Stan Lee (or whoever was ghost-writing for him at this point).

Also Kraven refers to his "ANIMAL POWERS" which, since he really has no super powers other than above average strength, agility, and probably attuned senses*, just refers to his sexual magnetism, as evidenced by his shaved chest, slicked hair, thick mustache, and his leopard print leggings that stop above his ankles like a suburban mother's yoga tights.

*Wikipedia claims Kraven gets heightened powers by regularly ingesting some sort of "jungle juice." I don't recall reading this back then, so they may have toughened him up in subsequent issues by giving him a source of power similar to what college students drink out of a rubbermaid tub at parties.