Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Marvel's In-House Ads from the 1960s and 1970s

In the 1960s Marvel needed growth and innovation, DC wanted stability.

In the early 1960s, because Marvel and DC produced similar products many expected them to have had similar business plans. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Marvel was a small company which had only one owner and one editor. Goodman was the publisher of several magazines and had a limited, but growing number of comics. DC was part of a conglomerate that produced comics, magazines and Signet paperback books. Its parent corporation included a distribution company and handled licensed properties such as James Bond.

With licensing now in the DC blood, its characters were used more to promote products from other companies. DC then seemed less innovative and they had much fewer in house ads.  Marvel didn’t yet have those readily identifiable characters.  Although it had been around for 2 decades, they acted more like a startup company.

Also, Stan Lee told us that he had learned from Bill Gaines and how he connected with the readers of Mad and other EC comics. Stan wanted to follow in his footsteps.  So Marvel put out a ton of products including stationary, sweatshirts, pillows and coins.  Yes, DC had Supermen of America, left over from the 1940s, but Marvel had Marvelmania and FOOM which were more in step with the children of the 1960s. And with their records Stan was able to add personal and show-business touches. 

If you like these, check out the Nick Caputo blog!


  1. I wish I had time at the moment to click on and enlarge the MMMS ads. I've only looked at the first one so far and one of my Bullpen buddies was on the list of members.

  2. Correction. It was the third MMMS ad and the second with members list.

  3. An interesting look at the Marvel ads, Barry. I once upon a time, believe it or not, an MMMS member. Wish I still had that stuff.

  4. The one drawback to the Masterworks and Omnibus volumes, Barry, is that they don't include more of these type of pages to give us a flavour of the times. They were as much a part of the experience as the stories themselves.

  5. Another great post. Thanks for sharing. BTW I actually grew up within walking distance of green stamp redemption center. It was next to a HOJO's (Howard Johnson trying to be hip)

  6. what book was incredible hulk # 181 ad in?