1974 - ASM #132 - Holy GRIT, Fellows!

Amazing Spider-Man #132, in which today's ad appears, had no less than FIVE half-page or larger ads that was some form of money-making opportunity involving being a salesman for some company, and many even smaller ads.

This is a lot, but not too extraordinary at the time; comics being a cheap and, one could argue, lowbrow form of entertainment (albeit one that required literacy), was read both by many lower-income members of society,  as well as up-and-coming youth looking to start making their own way in the world.

Today's ad is one of the classic, longest-running advertisers in the comic book business:

GRIT is a newspaper/magazine with roots as far back as the 1880's, and surprisingly is still printed today (!). Its founder, Dietrich Lamade, once proclaimed the following credo to its employees:

"Always keep Grit from being pessimistic. Avoid printing those things which distort the minds of readers or make them feel at odds with the world. Avoid showing the wrong side of things, or making people feel discontented. Do nothing that will encourage fear, worry, or temptation... Wherever possible, suggest peace and good will toward men. Give our readers courage and strength for their daily tasks. Put happy thoughts, cheer, and contentment into their hearts."
 Thanks, Wikipedia, who goes on to say regarding their ads in comic books:

During the first three-quarters of the 20th Century, Grit was sold across the country by children and teenagers, many recruited by ads in comic books from the 1940s to the 1970s. Approximately 30,000 children collected dimes from more than 700,000 American small town homes during the 1950s when the publication still carried the subtitle, "America's Greatest Family Newspaper." A comical ad in Richie Rich comic books aimed to recruit more young salesmen, suggesting that Richie's father, Richard Rich, made his fortune selling Grit.

Perpetually filled with stories about simpler times, GRIT now prides itself as a magazine about "rural American know-how," and you can definitely tell from the ad.

I remember seeing ads for Grit in some of my first comics, ones dating in the mid-80's (about a decade after this particular ad ran), but had encountered them in these old Spider-Man's as far back as the 60's. I always just skipped writing about it because there was something so... milquetoast about the ads.

I'll always remember the very name Grit as being somewhat unsavory... like, why the hell would I want to read something with such a name, much less sell it to my friends? "Hey aunts and uncles, may I sell you Grit?" I might as well have offered to sell them a magazine called Corn Porridge or Crud.

But I finally caved cause I couldn't keep seeing this classic ad, seeing the now-antiquated proper spelling of "FELLAS," and pretend like they didn't deserve their righteous place in Spider-Ads history.

From Amazing Spider-Man #132, May 1974.


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