Here’s a throwback for the bargain shopper in our latest Classic Comic Ad, which features Duke from GI Joe shilling the latest Marvel comic prices. Not just any prices either, but Marvel was offering 1984 prices in 1985! A big $2.30 savings! Holy smokes!
Back then, you could get 12 issues for just $6 or about what it costs for a single comic these days. Putting that aside, the interesting part about this ad isn’t so much the retro prices, but the choice of character to advertise those low rates. Typically you’d find a “real” Marvel character in one of the pages, such as Spider-Man or Hulk. The fact that we have a licensed character, makes this ad stand out and shows just how popular the GI Joe comic was at the time.
Duke is decked out in his comic colors (which would eventually become a figure variant in the 25th line) holding up a sign about the deal. Duke doesn’t strike me as a particularly interesting salesman, given his sort of bland nature but this was at the height of the GI Joe cartoon popularity so maybe they wanted to hook non-fans. You’d think if they were going to choose a Joe, it would have been Snake Eyes. Not to mention that Duke wasn’t exactly the most well written character in the Marvel Joe comics.
Another neat part of this ad, is that it features the Hasbro Bradley copyright. When Hasbro acquired the Milton Bradley in 1984, they briefly called themselves Hasbro Bradley, before ditching it in early 1986. Again, this is something that wouldn’t be on this ad, had Marvel not chosen to spotlight a GI Joe character on the page. It’s just another historic element that gets put into this time capsule.
Sadly, if you’re like me and lament the days when comic books only cost a few bucks, don’t try mailing this ad in. The offer expired in March of 1985. They can’t keep those 1984 prices forever!