Classic Comic Ad

Arnold
The last time I did one of these Classic Comic Ads, it was for our old pal Big Jim from Mattel. Now we’re taking a look at a muscle man of another sort entirely… It’s former Governor and Terminator himself, Arnold Schwarzenegger! This was very early in his career as he appeared in many vintage comic books hocking some of Joe Weider’s workout secrets.

Apparently in only 30 days you can be quite buff and eventually, Arnold size! At least that’s what the advertisement seems to indicate. You’ll also have women falling all over themselves to get at your muscular body. Only real “manly” and “virile” men can do that. These vintage ads seem really predatory (no pun intended) to me. Clearly most of the people reading the comics wouldn’t look anything like this, so Weider and the advertisers prey upon the insecurity of nerds by telling them to put down the funny books and start pumping up.

I’ll never have a body like Arnold’s, but at least I can buy the NECA Predator Dutch figure. Take that 30 year old ad meant to emasculate me!

Big Jim
Big Jim always seems like such a laughable concept from the modern perspective. Mattel’s answer to GI Joe was a man’s man, who spent most of his time without his shirt, flexing his muscles and hanging out in a camper with fellow musclebound shirtless men. Let’s not beat around the bush, it seems homoerotic these days. Of course, in the 1970’s it was anything but. Yes, a figure who’s entire premise was that he was a muscular guy who liked to workout was a thing. It was a different time. These figures even feature “BODY ACTION” which is equally absurd sounding.

All joking aside, Big Jim was quite a hit. Eventually Jim shed some of his “manly” image, going for more of an action/adventure/spy theme. A lot of those sets are pretty cool. Especially in comparison to the lumberjack and short shorts sets that predated it. This ad from the Montgomery Ward Christmas catalog in 1974 shows some of the transformation. This is Jim in the period before he was with the Big Jim P.A.C.K., but there was already an increased emphasis on adventure.

Jim was an odd bird, in that he was 9 1/2 inches tall. Thus making him a competitor to both Mego and GI Joe, sort of splitting the difference. Big Jim was a much bigger star internationally than he was here in the US, although he sold nicely in the states as well. Eventually a lot of Big Jim stuff would be recycled for the launch of Masters of the Universe in the early 1980’s. Big Jim sort of came back to life in Mattel’s ill-fated Retro Action line. Sadly Jim himself did not make an appearance.

Hotwheels
It’s strange, I recall being into Hot Wheels for a very brief period as a kid. I liked the color changing cars and of course, anything that was superhero related. Even when I was into toy cars, I was mostly imagining storylines where the characters were more important than the cars themselves. No wonder action figures soon became the center of my imagination universe.

Hot Wheels have remained popular though, and are perhaps more collectible than ever. The somewhat infamous “Hot Wheels guys” have sort of become the bane of existence for a lot of other toy collectors. Hot Wheels collectors have a bad reputation for pillaging the toy aisles early in the morning, wrecking the shelves and perhaps worst of all, buying up all the rare action figures to flip to feed their toy car addiction. My run-ins with Hot Wheels collectors hasn’t been very good historically, either. However I do know that some of the guys are probably not as bad as the nutcases I’ve seen around here.

Even if other toy collectors may not get along with the Hot Wheels guys, we probably all enjoyed the race tracks. This Classic Comic Ad from the late 1960’s shows one of the earlier tracks. It’s a pretty elaborate set and certainly looks better than the Hot Wheels tracks I had as a kid. Those things never wanted to plug in and would constantly come apart. Loop-to-loops and such were impossible. Here’s to the simpler time, when we were all just playing with toys and not warring factions of collectors!

This Classic Comic Ad is from 1968 when Sgt. Rock still ruled the world. The late, great, Joe Kubert cranked out 80 pages of military adventure in this giant sized comic. This ad was from 68, but the comic didn’t hit to closer to 69. It’s a simple advertisement, simply calling this the “Big One” and letting Kubert’s art and the bombastic cover do the selling.

At only 25 cents for 80 pages, this was a steal back then. A quick look on Ebay shows you’ll pay about 100 times that amount for the comic in today’s market as it runs in the $25 range. I haven’t read this issue, but I gotta admit… This ad has me tempted!

Mego Aquaman Shark Ad

Today’s Classic Comic Ad ties into Mego Month which is painfully chugging along. I have a soft spot for the Mego Aquaman (and Aquaman in general) so this classic ad from the old Heroes World catalog, makes for an awesomely aquatic one-two punch. What makes this interesting is that it’s for the famed Aquaman versus the Great White Shark set. Even though Aquaman can control sea creatures, somehow his battle with a big shark, is a natural fit. It certainly didn’t hurt that this came out around the time that Jaws was insanely popular.

GI Joe Comic Ad

The art is used in the ad is actually “reproduction art” which was pretty common in the old days of printing. They were typically done for cheap newspapers and black and white circulars. It’s interesting that this version is colored and you can see that the original photo was redrawn by hand in the sample below, which I dug up on the Mego Museum. It’s always fun to see Aquaman and while many lament this set as sort of lame and it wasn’t apparently the biggest seller for Mego… It’s become one of the more valuable Mego pieces these days. Those darn sharks are hard to track down!