Saturday, November 19, 2011

Comic Ads Part Deux

If you read this blog you've already seen my previous post regarding the wonder and mystery of some of the comic book ads I saw as a kid. In all fairness, these were only the ads I'd see in copies of Spiderman, The Flash, or Magnus, Robot Fighter. There was, however, an alternate world of comic ads, one aimed at the predominantly feminine audience found among the readers of Archie comics!

Archie, of couse, is that perpetually teenage carrot-top with the odd cross-hatching scratched on the side of his head. Abley assisted by his friend with the tape-worm, Jughead, and pursued by the uber-feminine Betty and Veronica, Archie indulged in hilarious "hi-jinx" that ranged from getting his "japoly" working to fighting crime and solving mysteries (though the mystery of Jughead's orientation, a topic of debates for generations, has never been satisfactorally solved). Guys would occasionally read Archie comics; while waiting for a hair-cut (if there were no copies of "Sgt. Rock" or "Kid Colt, Outlaw" available) or to pass the time at the cabin until the rain stopped, but for the most part it was the girls who enjoyed reading about what they could expect when they reached High School (boys just read about what they could expect if they were bombarded with cosmic rays, which seemed infinitely more useful to us at the time).

Consequently, the ads in Archie comics tended to be aimed more towards young girls who were eager to begin lives as happy and popular young women. In order to do this, they apparently needed to be equipped with "sassy sayings" pendants, to let the world know if they were "Hot Stuff", a "Foxy Lady" or a "Super Chick". Some, like "His" and Hers" seemed to be aimed at young Juliets who already had a Romeo in tow. My personal favorite of the group is "Tennis Bum", an endearment that suggests both hair that is tragically too big, and shorts that are tragically too small.

Needing "Longer Nails" seemed to be an urget health issue, so the next ads offered
"Longer Nails in Minutes". For only $1.98, the unfortunate girl could transform her nails that are "cracked", "ugly" and an abomination to all that's decent, into glamorous back-scratchers that would be the envy of the sandbox set. Unlike her class-mates, pets, or clergy, "sta-long" nails would truly be a "girl's best friend".

But one doesn't really want to grow up too fast. To help retain that childhood innocence, the reader also had the option of buying 100 dolls! "Don't shake your head in disbelief, It's True!" the ad promised; each guaranteed to be made of "genuine styrene and synthetic rubber". Everything from baby dolls, dancing dolls, cowboy dolls and "foreign" dolls were promised, the last possibly being espionage dolls sent by a foreign power to steal our styrene secrets.

Like the monsterous ads, I never actually met a kid who ordered any of these, but I knew a lot who wanted to. Oddly enough, few were "tennis bums" or "hot stuff".

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