Thursday, January 24, 2013

Comic Book ads from the1950s and 1960s

I do miss old comics.

There is a lot to be said about Archives and Masterworks, they are a relatively inexpensive way of getting old stories. And we get them on good paper and we are not quite as scared that we will harm the pages and lose value.

But I miss old comics, the smell, the paper, the letters column, and the ads.  There were weird ads, often for self-improvement, such as body building, but most often for things I never heard of and would never get. This is not an in depth study of ads, just a nostalgic look back as I go through a stack of comics.

Did anyone ever buy Grit and try to sell it? Not in the Northeast, but it was big in rural America. That was one of the many door to door selling programs you could get. Or you could sell shoes. Yes, you could sell shoes door to door too. The one product every one seemed to have, at least in my neighborhood, was those boxes of soldiers. That was fun.

Advertising may tell us something about ourselves.  In the early 1950s horror comics, such as Chamber of Chills, sold woman’s fashion items and items for hair loss. This tells us that men and women, not just young children were reading these comics. 

This ad is from Battle Comics #18!

Young boys reading super-hero comics saw a lot of body building ads and ads to get taller, thinner, and richer.  Making  money in your spare time was a big thing.

Mail-Order Mysteries ($13.57 on Amazon) is a fun book that not only shows many of the ads of this bygone era, but the actual products.

By popular demand, I added two more! (see comments)


  1. Barry-
    Lovely wife Jackie sold her first story to GRIT! Topic? Comics, of course!

    -Batton L.

  2. Hi, Barry! Nice spotlight on the ads we all saw and wondered about the legitimacy of same...Great topic and I vote to see more of same!

  3. What? No Count Dante? or secrets of yubiwaza??

  4. Check out the last two, Seditionist! Added just for you!

  5. I got a pair of X-ray specs from a local joke shop a few years ago. To say that ad was slightly misleading would be an understatement. I still couldn't see through women's clothes - so I put them back in the wardrobe and put on my own togs.

  6. As a child, in Australia, I sent away for a set of American Revolutionary soldiers, so sumptuously advertised on the back page of a comic. When they arrived, I was truly surprised how crappy they were. My parents were equally aghast and gave me a well deserved tanning. To this day I am wary of all advertising, such are the valuable lessons of life.

  7. Hello Barry,
    I am the singer of the 60s Garage Band The X-Ray Harpoons. I came across your blog and was wondering if you could send me high resolution files of the ads for the Hypno Coin, the X-Ray Vision and the Black Sorcery as we would like to use the images on our upcoming record? Please let me know: dr_octopussy at
    I am looking forward to your reply!

  8. This is a fantastic website, could you be interested in going through an interview concerning just how you made it? You can visit my site.
    sell your book

  9. I remember the ads well. Last time I got to see these was back in the 60's! Many Thanks!