1973 - ASM #122 - We Don't Want Skinny

We've covered ads for weight-gain products before. In them, it is very specifically mentioned just how frustrating it is to be skinny. Obviously, in the post-war/post-depression environment Americans being overly skinny became less and less of an issue.

But here we are, in 1973, with yet another ad, and this one is aimed square at young boys, and hits 'em right where it hurts.

"We Don't Want SKINNY on our team!" says the slightly thicker boy with the boldly-rendered crotch, while two midget boys below him declare "No Skinny Scare Crows for me!"

"Plus Weight helps you put on weight and improve your figure and looks by adding pounds and inches! 1500 calories when used as directed in each day's supply."

Ha, can you even imagine an ad like this running nowadays?

This ad for Plus Weight Company ran in Amazing Spider-Man #122, July 1973.

1973 - ASM #121 - The Night Gwen Stacy Died... Is a Gas!

Howdy everyone, hope you all got what you wanted for Christmas! In honor of this special time of the year we go back to a famously special time in good ol' Spidey's history:

Reading through the old Spidey's again, I'm a little surprised at how strongly melancholy a lot of it became at this point, especially regarding Peter Parker's personal life. Starting out as a nerdy teenager Peter has always been infused with Stan Lee-style soliloquy's that bridged the gap between Hamlet and Dashboard Confessional, but they mostly as a relatable, self-deprecating humorous aside (at least as far as I can tell... I know that many teenage boys really deeply related to young Peter's dilemma).

As the 70's rolled on Peter was no longer a dweeb, having ditched the glasses for a leather jacket. He could at times match charm with Gwen Stacy and hyperflirt Mary Jane Watson, and for a while it felt liberating. But suddenly his problems became, dare I say, overwhelmingly adult.

His high school nemesis Flash Thompson came back as a Vietnam Vet (not disillusioned, but far more sober), he was getting involved in student demonstrations, he was sharing an apartment with his friend Harry Osborn, and he had a serious thing going with Gwen Stacy.

By the time THIS little ditty, one that would define Spider-Man for at least the next decade and arguably ever since, happened, he was already quite mired in the bringdown of the post-60's. Suddenly Peter finds himself donning the Spider-Suit in order to escape the complications of his personal life... in more than several occasions he literally begins his adventures about how he needs it to clear his mind.

That's right, my friends, Peter Parker has clearly developed a clinical case of addiction to becoming Spider-man. That's how heavy this shit's gotten.

And then his girlfriend gets killed. Guess how he deals with THAT.

Anyway, this is a blog about advertisements in Spider-Man, not Spider-Man himself. So here's today's little entry-within-an-entry.

Marvel at this point had expanded dramatically, easily taking the crown away from D.C. for over a decade. Its stable of books was getting ever greater, at this point in a few years they'd reboot X-Men with the team that included Wolverine, Storm, and Colossus.

In order to keep the casual observer of the latest Marvel offerings outside their usual reading material, Marvel started implementing one-line ad slugs at the bottom of the comic pages. Almost subliminal in their sublety, they were nevertheless the last thing the reader saw before turning the page, giving the ads a full second or so to sink in with no distractions.

What I find really amusing about today's ad is that it plays right below what I would dare say was Marvel's most serious attempt to be taken as true drama:

"Monster Madness!* It's a Gas - For Lad or Lass!"

Clearly Peter Parker's not the only one who could use a break from the melancholy!

*Monster Madness refers to Marvel's short-lived monster-related humor magazine... not content with the recent relaxations of the Comics Code with regards to the portrayal of monsters, leading to Marvel integrating Dracula, Frankenstein, and other famous monster icons into their own books as well as team-ups with existing Marvel characters, they felt it necessary to lampoon their own newfound assets.

This ad ran on the last page of Amazing Spider-Man #121, aka the death of Gwen Stacy, in June, 1973.

1973 - ASM #118 - Come on Down to Adolf's!

Merry Christmas everyone! Have we got a holiday entry for you!

Hindsight is 20/20, and oftentimes decisions and affiliations we choose at the time become unpopular or embarrassing when viewed from the lens of history.

That being said, this ad ran in 1973, 28 years after World War II ended...

That's right, at Adolf's in Minneapolis, you can get:

Reproduction German Helmet in the following colors:
Black, Chrome, Candy Apple (!), and Metal Flake!


Apparently, Adolf's address, 2607 Hennepin(g) Ave. So. Minneapolis, Minnesota is now home to Inside Out Salon, a well-reviewed beauty shop. I wonder if they know who'd occupied it before.

Appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #118, March 1973.

1973 - ASM #117 - Mattel's Chopcycles will Snort Your Rip

This is an ad for Mattel's Chopcycles, toy racing cars (or motorcycles, in this case) that run by charging them up from a battery with wires sticking out. Seems pretty fun, except for the fact that as described, "Rip-Snortin'" sounds like something that would cause havoc on your mucous membranes.

Here's a video of the actual toys in action from a guy that likes them so much he restored the chassis on these bad boys:

Incidentally, the art on this ad is very similar to an ad I'd featured previously for a Mattel-Monogram car model kit (one that did not snort rips), which explains the similarity.

This ad for Mattel's Chopcycles ran in Amazing Spider-Man #117, February 1973.

1973 - ASM #116 - NBC's The Terrific Ten on Saturday Mornings

What's so special about this ad featuring NBC's The Terrific Ten Saturday morning kid's lineup?

Is it that it features classic kid's shows like the Pink Panther? Underdog? The Jetsons? The Houndcats? The Roman Holidays? The Barkleys? Sealab 2020? Runaround? Around the World in Eighty Days? Talking with a Giant?

Nope... and not just because half of those shows really aren't considered classics.

Is it because it features what seems to be five straight hours of children's programming on Saturday mornings on broadcast TV, something you don't really see anymore? Nope.

Is it because of the hastily rendered cartoon drawings? Nope.

It's because this wholesome, colorful, innocent advertisement ran in the same issue that ran THIS AD on the inside front cover.

This ad for NBC's Terrific Ten Saturday morning lineup (as well as the Frank Richards bodybuilding course) ran in Amazing Spider-Man #116, January 1973.

1973 - ASM #116 - I Need 250 Skinny Guys!

Listen, I'm not trying to make a statement with all these bodybuilding ads I'm posting. As I've repeatedly said, as far as I'm concerned there's only one that I would call particularly classic, and it's Charles Atlas. But these gems keep popping up well into the end of the 1970's, so you may have to bear with me just a bit more.  I promise when we get to those ads for Colecovision games you can go hog wild.

Anyway, there's this:

"Hey! I Need 250 Skinny Guys!" Says Mr. Universe Frank Richard/Richards (You know, Mr. Fantastic's son). You better do what he says, or he will bust out of his flower adorned arch and take them himself...

Besides, how can you argue with results:
"I was very impressed with how my... thighs expanded."
"...thickening and getting harder after every session."


Just write the Body Building Center in Ontario, Canada. Unless of course you're in Englad, at which point Mr. Richards would like you to write him personally.



Oh my.

This Ad for Frank Richards' Tensile Contraction Bodybuilding program ran in Amazing Spider-Man #116, January 1973.

1972 - ASM #115 - Get a Raccoon in the Mail!

Back when mail-order was more of a wild-west frontier, a buyer could easily throw cash in the mail, and the seller could easily throw something in a box or crate, pay the postage, and eventually it would probably get to its destination (if it wasn't, you know, a complete scam). That was then.

Nowadays, I really don't think you can just send a coupon and $29.95 "with your telephone number and nearest airport" to Hialeah Pets in Hialeah, Florida, and expect to get a live "PET BABY RACCOON."

Not even if it's "one of America's favorite pets, has always been and still is," which is, of course, pretty suspect, even in the 1970's.

But at least this seems like much better of a deal than sending out for a "Puff the Magic Dragon."

This ad for a pet baby raccoon appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #115, December 1972.

1972 - TIH #152 - Pranks, novelties, and... blowguns???

Novelties. Nothing else comes to mind quicker when one thinks of ads in comic books. I have a feeling the first thing I ever sent away for was a 5-dollar pack of miscellaneous pranks and novelties from an ad in Boy's Life magazine (okay, not a comic book, but close enough). There was a whoopee cushion, and several flavors of putrid candy (the super-hot candy just turned out to be cinnamon-flavored).

This small ad, specifically to send away for a catalog, is conservative by most prank and novelty comic book ad standards, and the company itself is no-name (though I'm sure no less legitimate than its gaudier competitors). In fact, it has most of what you'd expect in a novelty catalog:

  • Tricks (Yup)
  • Emblems (patches, I suppose)
  • Jokes (Redundant, but yup)
  • Decals (uh, rendunant department of redundancy alert)
  • Racing (I dunno what this means exactly, probably more emblems and decals)
  • Monsters (probably more haunting records)
  • Pranks (Come on, now, you coulda saved money with a smaller ad instead of repeating)
  • Magic (Back to normal)
  • Ecology (uh... maybe more live animals?)
  • Camping (good for game wardens)
  • Zodiac (people were really into signs in the 1970's)
  • Hot Rods (Now they're repeating racing...)
  • Bullwhips...
Wait, bullwhips? Okay, from that point on it goes from mundane to just WEIRD.
  • Blow guns (Jesus Christ, that ain't no prankin')
  • Witchcraft (Clearly these people just assume that kids who are into pranks are actually sociopaths)
  • Hunting Knives (okay, maybe psychopaths. Like those game wardens)
  • Psychedelic (well, this is gonna end badly...)
  • Hippy items (yup, very badly)
  • Science fiction (AAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!)
Well, yup, I'm freaked out. But still an interested buyer.

This Flint/Target ad for their novelty catalog was printed in The Incredible Hulk #152, June 1972.

1972 - ASM #112 - Class A: Racing

"Feature for feature the closest thing to real racing ever created"

"Class A: Racing captures the thrills, spills, tension, and drama of real auto racing. No slots - no lanes. Just wide open racing."

Here's the thing, Ideal Toy Corporation. It's a pretty big claim to say this toy car track thing is the closest thing to real racing. I mean, I would venture to say that go-karting at a neighborhood Fun Center would be much closer to simulating the experience of Nascar or Indy car racing, than squeezing a pedal with your hands as a 4-inch piece of plastic whizzes around in a loop. I don't care how precise you are with your pedal-squeezing. If you don't need a seatbelt, it's not that good of a simulation.

That being said, I never had one of these toys as a kid, so it's probably just sour grapes on my part. But really, I prefer my airplane and automobile model kits (the kind that aren't meant to be flown or driven)

This ad for Ideal Toy Company's Class A: Racing kit appeared in Amazing Spider Man #112, September 1972.

1972 - ASM #108 - Invite Your Friends for a HAUNTING

Paranormal Activity's incredible success at the box office this season shows that there's still room for good old fashioned low-rent haunted house scares in our world of $250 million blockbusters with state of the art visuals.

Well, back in the 70's it seems the former was all they had. Case in point, this ad:

"Just imagine how scared your friends will be when you flip out the light and they start hearing creepy sounds like a creaking door, chains rattling, and then a man's voice telling them that the house is haunted and they are to die one by one."

Yeah, that could actually be pretty scary, a nice precursor to an evening of wholesome FRIGHTMARES! Who do I make the check out to?

Then you find out what the hell the actual ad is for:

"This long playing 7" 33 1/3 RPM special haunted house sound effects record can be yours!"

So... this is a sound effects record. Not even a haunted one (well, I don't know that. It might be). So this thing is probably completely useless, at least unless you kept it maybe another decade or two, when you can take up turntablism and use some pretty awesome samples:

But probably not. Well, how about buying something involving a guitar, below that record ad? I dunno if it's selling guitars, lessons, or whatever, since the text is way too small for crappy printing. Even the price and address is way too small, so if the ad-buyer's scam was to take money in and screw the consumer on the fine print, they couldn't even do that. It's all fine print.

This "The Gayle House" ad for a Haunting sound effects record ran in Amazing Spider Man #108, May 1972.

1972 - ASM #106 - Play the Game Warden Game

I ran into bigger ads for the North American School of Conversation's Game Warden/Park Ranger program in other issues, but I'm too lazy to find them right now. Satiate yourself on this smaller ad:

"Fish-Wildlife Manager; Forester; Gov't Hunter or Aid or Assistant-type positions that require less formal education.

Don't be chained to desk, machine, or store counter. Easy home study plan prepares you for exciting career in Conversation. Many Forestry & Wildlife men hunt mountain lions, parachuting from planes to help marooned animals or save injured campers."
 While I'm actually sure the career of a game warden for someone who truly loves being in the outdoors is probably far more rewarding than the job of, say, blogger, or even owner of a carpet cleaning business, I have no doubt that for the vast majority of game warden and park rangers, the job is extremely boring and probably depressing, reminding me of Ranger Glen from Reno 911!

This "Free Facts on How to Become a GAME WARDEN" ad for the North American School of Conservation ran in Amazing Spider-Man #106, March 1972.

1972 - ASM #104 - GROW MAN GROW!

Wow, that's wow... that's just so sexual:

That graphic is just overly designed to really empower your masculinity, doesn't it? Never mind that the program is "effective for either sex."

(notice the "GROW MAN GROW" marquees around the ad, except for the one on the top right, which adds (Ladies too!))

Maybe they meant how girls would be positively affected once their guys "grow their inches." Besides, HERE'S PROOF!:

"Before taking your NEW HEIGHT course I was two inches shorter than my girlfriend, now five weeks later I am an inch taller. She is thrilled."

That's proof, folks. YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!

The program costs $7.98 in 1972 dollars, or about $40 in present money, which is a tidy sum now, and definitely was back then, especially for something to order from a PO Box, and most especially when other similarly ambitious programs could be had for much less.

Appeared in Amazing Spider-Man #104, January 1972.

1971 - ASM #103 - Dostoyevski's Duraclean

Man, early comic book ads were wordy with type so small they recalled how sleazy used car salesmen talked quickly so as to not let you get a critical word in edgewise, but this ad tops them all:

A veritable cornucopia of things unappealing, this full page ad featuring a "true story by John B. Haikey"  had more words than many front-page newspaper articles.

Everything about the article just screams of not wanting to be successful. Pictures of utility vans, middle aged balding men, and retirement plans just doesn't seem like the kind of thing to rip allowances from 12 year-old boys.

(This ad also apparently appeared in Life Magazine at the same time and seems to suit that publication much better.)

Worse, if somehow you found yourself with a touch of pity for the old man trying to tell you a story and actually bothered to read the entire ad, you would find the most mundane tale of success ever in the HISTORY OF COMIC BOOKS.

Seriously, the story goes:

- He went to high school and held several jobs (butcher, clerk, bus driver).
- He invested in a convenience store.
- He thought that was going to be too much work.
- He saved some money and invested in a different job.
- That job was cleaning furniture and carpets.
- Now he can retire at some point.

That's the entire story. Oh, also now he has a van with a sign on it.

One interesting bit in the entire story, at one point he says "To pyramid this investment into retirement in less than ten years seems like magic, ..." Now, I can't really imagine any usage of the word pyramid to refer to an investment other than that usage, but feel free to correct me. Hey, at least he's kinda being honest about it.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia once again saves the day with more stories about Duraclean itself, and how it apparently led to the naming of popular electric battery brand Duracell:

The name came from a conversation with A-1 Durable Carpet & Fabric Specialist Inc. and an executive from Mallory Battery which were both from Waterbury CT. The executive called the cleaning company and asked if the name A-1 Durable Carpet & Fabric Specialist Inc. had a copywrite on the name Durable. The executive spoke to the son of the cleaning company,[Steven Nobrega]. The executive explained how they were thinking of calling a new battery that had a copper cell "Durable Cell" and asked how the name suited the cleaning company. The owner's son explained that his father was the owner of a franchise orginally called "Duraclean". His father had chosen the new cleaning company name for the cleaning company by dropping the clean in "Duraclean" and added able to Dura to keep the name similar. The two of them started playing with the name for the new battery and the executive and owners son instantly agreed that Duracell was a better name for the new battery.

(I apologize for what may be the worst edited paragraph in all of Wikipedia, but I swear if you get over that the story that seems to tell itself is way more interesting than anything that the original ad is trying to sell, I promise)

From Amazing Spider-Man #103, December 1971.