Friday, January 20, 2012

Punchy's Peculiar Advertisements

This is Punchy and the Black Crow (No.11) published by Charlton Comics in December 1985.  


This is also Punchy's second to the last issue because Charlton Comics went out of business in 1985. As you might have guessed by the cover,  Punchy and the Black Crow is one of those "funny animal" comics full of quaint innocent humor for young comic readers.  Actually, this comic is filled with reprints from 1953-1954 to be exact so its humor is authentically quaint and innocent.  

I don't know what other titles Charlton Comics were publishing in 1985, but I'd guess when they sold ad space that ad was printed across their entire line of comics.  This is only explanation I have for the bizarre selection of ads in this children's comic.  It also looks like times were exceptionally tough for Charlton because the credibility of some of the advertisers is rather "questionable."


Above is the first ad on the inside cover, and it's from the Dan Lurie Barbell, Co.  I think it's interesting to note that when you mailed in your coupon to the Dan Lurie Barbell, Co. you're getting a "Instant-Action" POSITRAIN Course (and some other stuff too) - not barbells.  I'm happy to report that it looks like Dan is still around and has a web site right here.


Next is an ad for Marcy brand exercise equipment.  The "EM-1" shown above has a 200 lbs. weight stack which is about 4x the body weight of the intended reader for this comic.



The ad on top is more bodybuilding stuff, this time get big with Mike Marvel and his "SCIENTIFIC ISOMETRICS" program named Dynaflex.  On the bottom our first non-exercise related ad with U.S. Government Surplus Directory.  Hey kids, get your very own real army Jeep for less then $30!


Here's five ads on a single page: Pen-Sized Spyscope, Authentic Badges, Live Bait Belt, Handcuffs, and Double-Lucky Hand-Carved Jade Elephant - all this can be yours from DeerCreek Products of Pompano Beach FL.  I think DeerCreek Products might have gone out of business in 2004 because that is the latest dates of the complaint reports listed on the Ripoff Report.


 "Gain up to 5, 10, 15 Pounds" proclaims this full page ad from Gain Products. There is no mention of exercise in this entire ad so unfortunately none of the weight you gain will be muscle.  I don't think 15 pounds of fat around your gut isn't going to impress any ladies at the beach no matter what that B&W photo may imply.  


Oh good, on the very next page is the Speed Shaper which promises to, "Turn Belly Fat into a Rock-Hard Lean Stomach."  This is convenient now that I need to loose 15 pounds caused by the previous ad. Send your money to Improvement Products Corp which just happens to have the same address as Gain Products.  So I guess there's intentional product synergy going on here and not accidental.



Wow I wish I could make others secretly do my bidding.  Although I'm much too lazy to even read all that text in the above ad.   If only there was an easier way to learn the secrets of "Automatic Mind Command." Google doesn't turn anything up for "Research Industries, LTD" so mind control was probably only a passing fad.



Here's the first "toy" ad, or is a game?  It's the Helen of Toy Co. (love that name) and their Task Force and Tank Trap war games (or toy).  Franky, I find the ad layout confusing, but it must have worked since these same ads ran for years. Want to know what you got if you sent in your money?  Check out this page for a few photos of the Tank Trap game. Spoiler alert: it's not very impressive. 



At the back are a bunch of small ads, and some PSA's.  One ad is for the famous Charles Atlas and his "Dynamic Tension" program.  I wonder if you publish a comic book if it's mandatory that you include a Charles Atlas ad.  Charles must be doing something right because he's still in business.


Here's the inside back cover, and it's the  Dan Lurie Barbell, Co. again. There's lots of exercise stuff, but still no actual barbells (although he does sell them - or did at least).   That "Power Krusher" looks impressive, and looks like it could double as a swell TV antennae too.



Finally we've reached the back cover, and it's an ad for one of the all-time great comic book advertisers - Johnson Smith Company.  There novelty items here that would certainly appeal to children, but then again there's a number of pocket knives which aren't very little kid friendly either.

So that's all the ads.  No ads for 1980's kid stuff like He-Man action figures, Nerf products, Reese's pieces or Hostess snacks as one might expect.  Just to see who was advertizing in comic books back then, I looked though some Marvel and DC comics from 1985.  I found many brand name advertisers in those big name comics, but they certainly avoided the Charlton Comics Company.

Just for fun here's an ad for Bonkers candy that brought back memories (I think Mort Drucker might have done the illustration)...

Bonkers Candy Ad 1985


...and the unforgettable commercial too.


1 comment:

phairhead said...

Fuck yeah, Bonkers!

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