TreasuryCast #58 – Marvel Ads


Rob welcomes returning guests Greg Arujo and Sean Ross to talk classic Marvel Treasury ads!

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Opening theme by Luke Daab:

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8 responses to “TreasuryCast #58 – Marvel Ads

  1. What a treat of a Saturday morning to find a new Treasurycast, and not just a regular edition, but THE MOST OFFBEAT EPISODE OF THEM ALL.

    Ads for Marvel treasuries. I never saw that coming, but goodness me, I’m glad it came along. And two great guests came with it, Sean and Greg are such charmpots.

    Seeing all those ads really did bring back memories. My favourites were the Holiday Grab-Bag ad and the Spectacular Spider-Man one which used the same template – so much copy… who doesn’t love a scroll and a starburst?

    And thank you for including the Marvel UK entries – I agree, a yellow background really makes the words and pictures pop. What were they thinking with that ugly orange background and Western saloon font for the Christmas issue? Heck, what was a ‘grab bag’? Was a grab-bag a Christmas stocking? How was a comic a bag? This was the first time I’d come across ‘holiday’ as a synonym for ‘Christmas’.

    Thanks so much for the nod as to the Marvel UK ads. These adverts did indeed go on the back covers, and if I remember rightly the editor back then was Neil Tennant, future Pet Shop Boy. While Marvel UK’s first couple of titles, Mighty World of Marvel and Spider-Man Comics Weekly, had a few full colour pages along with monochrome ones, by the time of these ads the weeklies were all black-and-white, so yes, these were back cover deals. Note that while the term ‘Treasury Edition’ was on the covers, it wasn’t used in the copy. ‘Treasury Edition’ wasn’t a thing, but they liked the words ‘spectacular’ – that might be because the DC 100-page spectaculars made such a great inroads into the UK market. And while I did indeed run down to my newsagents, ‘my’ copy was never there – I didn’t see a single one.

    Cracker Barrel was a shop? In the UK it was a cheese.

    It’s the FF towel for me!

    Hey, those US summer Spiderman treasuries were on sale on my birthday!

    I think Howard the Duck and Beverly Switzler in bed was indeed in the magazine, with Bill Mantlo writing.

    Do you think Marvel deliberately got Superman’s S symbol a little wrong on the Treasury ad? It’s a tad off brand.

    I love the ‘most dull ad we’ve got’ ie Star Wars. It’s pleasingly uncluttered, so a nice change.

    Those heads on the tiny Superman versus Spider-Man sequel issue are weird – Spider-Man at a very strange angle and Superman looking like he’s from the Golden Age. If I were the New Jersey education authorities, after seeing that page I’d have closed the Joe Kubert school!

    My big takeout from this episode – I really want to seen Jack Kirby’s take on the Sistine Chapel! On well, we did get Shadow Lass and Darkseid in the Great Darkness Saga, courtesy of Keith Giffen, Larry Mahlstedt and Carl Gafford.

      1. I remember when I was a kid, seeing the name in the imprint (indicia), and it would say ‘Edited by Neil Tennant. Member of ABC’. By the time Neil became a pop star, several years later – he edited the seminal UK pop lyrics and interview mag Smash Hits in between – the excellent ABC had been having hits for a few years. I thought it hilarious that the former Marvel editor who had been a member of something called ABC was now in the charts alongside, but not a member of, ABC.

        That probably tells you all you need to know about me.

        ABC stood for Audit Bureau of Circulation, Marvel UK was a member, not Neil.

        Anyway, here’s a fun piece on it all.

  2. Ah, yes. It’s always a good day when I see a new Treasury Cast episode on top of the F&W page.
    I love the ‘out-of-left-field’ topic and it prompted a very fun and fascinating conversation. I remember seeing most of the ones you covered in the show, but I have to be honest, even though I was definitely a Marvel boy back then, for some reason the DC treasury ads are more deeply ingrained in my brain. An example of this would be the ad for the Batman treasury that contained the original Ra’s al Ghul saga (that Adams cover, with the apparently dead Robin and Batman crying in anguish over his body is such a memorable image). Also – and I think I mentioned it before when you covered the book in question – the DC house ad for the Origins of Super-Villains and Batman actually got me to plead with my mom to let me send away for them. Which also touches on something you talked about in the show: they were delivered in a sturdy cardboard mailer, which I kept to store the books in. I’m assuming that if you had a subscription to the Marvel treasuries, they would have been similarly packaged.

    A few more responses to specific points made in the show:
    1. On Howard the Duck and Beverly, I don’t know about the magazine stories because I’ve never read them, but they were indeed shown in bed together in the Gerber-penned, original, code-approved four-color series; as early as the second issue they were shown having a conversation while sharing the same bed – with Bev wearing a nightie and Howard fully disrobed. Here’s a link to a panel from that sequence in the book (which has been the subject of much speculation and commentary over the years, esp. after the internet became a thing).
    2. Connected to Gerber, since someone mentioned him in the context of all the cocaine being consumed in the ’70s, Gerber was actually quite well known for being possibly the only member of that Bronze Age crew of Marvel writers and artists who did not make use of any ‘creative aids.’ I think he smoked cigarettes and that was it.

    3. Didn’t annuals always come out in the summer? When I first became a comics reader, sometime in early 1975, it seemed like they were released, and appeared on the spinner racks, from late May through August, and I’ve always associated them with summertime reading.

    4. On the pronunciation of the Micronaut Acroyear – I’m of also of a certain vintage, so that I recall the TV commercials for the toy line, and the name was always pronounced the way Rob said it; I’m wondering what the source of that alternate pronunciation is, because I’ve never, ever heard that anywhere.

    5. I also think the Treasury Cast music is my favorite Fire & Water theme as well. If I’ve never said it before, my compliments to Mr. Daab (chef’s kiss).

  3. I really enjoyed this show! This was a fun idea and something that I’m sure we’ve all seen in our younger years. Old comic book ads (not just Treasury ads) could be a show in of itself (I’m still waiting on that nuclear sub for kids)! Greg and Sean were great guests and added some great stories from their youth.

    I also liked the checkbox for Battlestar Galactica, Rob. I mean, if you didn’t check the box, would they still send it to you anyways? “You didn’t check the box, kid. Our hands are clean!”. I also enjoyed the text they used in the cut out parts of the different ads, “Okay, you convinced me. Enclosed is $_______”, “I’m a serious collector, honest!”, “By the hoary hosts of Hoggoth! I can stand it no longer! Please rush me….”. Marvel was the master at advertising their product and they didn’t miss one inch of space to keep plugging you to buy their product, even as you are buying their product!

    Which leeds me to the t-shirt/beach towel ad. What’s “binaca”? “Here’s two blasts from Marvel’s past. Ten times better than binaca!”. Is that an American thing that doesn’t mean anything to this Canadian?

    And speaking of American things that Canadians didn’t have access to, did anyone visit those Superhero Stores advertised at the bottom of some of those ads? It was great to hear about Heroes World. It would have been amazing to have a dedicated comic/toy store in the ’70’s! Like you guys talked about, I also looked everywhere for comics wherever I was as a kid. Most of the time, you could find them in drugstores in the rack or those three-packs, but sometimes you could find them tucked away in a bunch of different stores. My favourite was the used bookstores that had piles of comics on the floor in the back. It pretty much said, “These things are junk, kid, and will never be worth anything.”

    I would very much like to hear the follow up DC ads show, if that can be requested. You guys did a masterful job talking about some fantastic ads. Keep up the great work!

  4. Great show guys! I love these types of discussions. We should do more of them on the network. They are fun and very interactive.

    That Spider-Man from the British ad is lifted from John Romita’s cover/sleeve to the Spider-Man: A Rockomic album. It’s simplified with flat colors, but it’s the same image. Also the inspiration for the art on Spider-Man’s Mego packaging!

    Thor is taken from the splash of Journey into Mystery #83, his first appearance!

    Cap in the Holiday ad is indeed Steranko, and lifted from the cover of a non-Marvel book, his History of Comics, Vol. 1!

    Steranko History of Comics

    I believe there were autographed copies of Superman vs. The Amazing Spider-Man signed by Stan Lee and Carmine Infantino, the two publishers of the companies at the time. Seems like I recently saw something on that.

    Those beach towels are awesome! I wouldn’t use or wash them either!

    Looks like that Spider-Man comic advertised as “Up to date checklist of Spider-Man…” is indeed an index. Not to be confused with the later series of “Official Marvel Index to…” series from the mid-80s.

    Spidey Index

    Man, those “jigglers” had me convinced for years there were Megos of Doctor Strange and the Red Skull. And yeah, Kubert’s Spider-Man always looked kind of odd….but not usually THIS odd!

    And Sean…I forgive you for the Mego thing. You are absolved, my son. But not for liking Heroes in Crisis. Some sins just can’t be forgiven. 😉

    Rob, as we previously discussed, in 1986 I passed up an end cap of minty Mego Spider-Man figures for BraveStarr, so I feel you.

    I have to be the co-host of Mego Memories, though. Cuz…obvious reasons.

    Okay Sean, based on your story with the webshooters and refried beans…I do forgive you for Heroes in Crisis. Be gentle with him Greg.


  5. A++!!! What a great episode. All one and three quarters epic hours of it! Yes, I’m an easy mark. Heck, I’d enjoy a 3 minute episode devoted to Treasury Comic television commercials and radio spots, but even so… as much as I anticipated enjoying this episode, I enjoyed it ten times more than that. Sean & Greg were incredibly entertaining cohosts, and I strongly recommend the three of you get around to recording the DC equivalent episode sooner than later.
    Rob, I have a question about your Spider-Man Treasury towel. Precisely where in your house do you keep it? OOPS! That wasn’t the question. Are the colors accurate to the original Treasury cover? In one of the ads you posted, the cover background looks pink, and in an ad I came across just this morning, the cover background on the towel is yellow. It would make sense that the subtleties of printing on cotton back then might facilitate a color change, but these ads weren’t always accurate, either. Just curious.
    Keep doing God’s work, and I’ll keep worshiping at the alter of Treasurycast.

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