Ah, 1985 a veritable utopia for comic book readers. Continuing my series of comic book advertisements I present you with this mid issue subscription form featuring the now wildly popular Iron Man, portraying good ol’ Saint Nick. When looking at this ad several things come to mind. Regardless of the laughable and slightly disturbing idea of Tony Stark sneaking into your house at night with “toys” strapped to his back, you should also take a moment to examine the other information on this form. First of all there is the forty-two cent price point which seems amazing these days. I hate to sound like an old man, but back when I was a kid you could buy some comics without first having to print off a spreadsheet of your budget proposals. I do understand however, the quality of the printing and content has really increased since those days and the number of titles has significantly decreased since than as well. Which brings me to my second point, look at that lineup of options at the bottom of the page; possibly the best selection of titles Marvel ever had to offer. There are of course regulars like Captain America, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, and Iron Man but also now defunct books like Dr. Strange, ROM, Alpha Flight, and Kull. Plus to top it all off there are some licensed gems like G.I. Joe, Dr. Who, Star Wars, Conan, and the Micronauts! There is just little to no modern equivalent for such books among the big comic companies. Instead they have allowed properties like Star Wars and G.I. Joe to fall into the hands of the indy publishers, who have without a doubt far outshone such books of the past. This advertisement however is a remnant of a comic book empire at its prime! Think of all those regular titles coming from a single source, and the creative influence they held over the entire industry, all the while still being able to playfully poke fun at themselves and their characters as this ad exemplifies. Marvel as well as DC are obviously still a huge presence in the comic book industry but it’s not quite the same, comic books have transcended themselves and Marvel and DC have dug in and become somewhat self-involved. It’s nice to occasionally look back and see what things were like.
That is all!