High Marks for Marx

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

When I first glanced at this ad, I assumed it was for Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars, but it turns out they’re actually made by Marx. I’d never actually heard of this company, and figured it was probably some minor, short-lived business.

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Wow, was I ever wrong! It turns out that Marx began in 1919 and was considered the top toy company for decades! This is the company that created such iconic toys as Rock’em Sock’em Robots and Big Wheels!

But, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Marx started to shut down plants the same year this ad was published, and was completely out of business as of 1980.

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Git Yer GRIT!

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

This is my favorite of the GRIT ads I’ve featured, since it’s actually in the form of a comic. It’s so much more colorful and entertaining than the others. Here we have the story of Chris, a prematurely gray-haired kid who doesn’t have enough money to go have fun with his friends. But then he discovers GRIT! And his whole life is made better because of it!

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I noticed the artist’s signature of either “N. Rosate” or “H. Rosate” in the third panel. I looked it up, hoping to find some info about the artist, but couldn’t find anything. However, just the fact that this art made it into an ad actually published in a comic book is a huge accomplishment – I’m sure tons of hopeful comic artists never get to see their work in print at all. So, Mr. (or Ms.) Rosate, I salute you for actually living the dream and getting your work published – even if it is just in an ad!

Micronauts… or Micro-nots?

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

I kind of remember Micronauts being around, but never actually had any. Most of what I know about them actually came from Netflix’s “The Toys That Made Us” (which, if you haven’t watched yet – GO CHECK IT OUT RIGHT NOW!). It was interesting to learn that they actually came about because there was a material shortage, and making smaller action figures was a cost-cutting measure.

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OK, maybe I’m overthinking this (in fact, I almost certainly am), but Membros is a “scaley-skinned android”? First of all, it should be “scaly,” not “scaley.” Second of all, ANDROIDS DON’T HAVE SKIN BECAUSE THEY’RE ROBOTS!! If he was a cyborg, then it would be plausible that he could have skin, but not as a straight-up android! What were these people thinking??

Also, for Antron – what do you wanna bet that someone working at Mego was named Anton, and that’s how they came up with the name? “Anton… AnTRON! Nailed it!”

Just Don’t Freeze the Pool!

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

Nope, it’s not a villain from Batman — it’s a brand of ice pops!

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Yep, for only $2.99 with the purchase of a pack of Freeze Pops, you could get this pool float! I give them credit in their choice of promotional product — since the inflated sections of the float actually look like Freeze Pops, it’s a great promo!

I’d Buy That For 10¢!

1940s

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes

OK, this is the last of my classic Captain America ads from the exhibit in Seattle last year (and that exhibit is currently in Philadelphia – go check it out if you’re nearby!). Here we’ve got Cap and Bucky promoting the Sentinels of Liberty, Cap’s fan club.

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You could get your very own Sentinels of Liberty badge for only 10¢! I just looked it up on eBay, and the only original badge I could find sold for $260 – so I guess these were a pretty great investment!

Gimme Some Gimmicks!

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

It’s the Fun Factory again! We’ve seen these guys before in 1978 and 1980, and they’re (mostly) still up to their same old tricks!

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I would love to see statistics from this place – what were their biggest sellers, vs. what products were duds?

One thing that I find interesting is the fact that it says “OFFER VALID UNTIL AUGUST 1986” – that’s seven years from the time this was printed! Considering that a lot of these items went up in price by the very next year, it would be worth it to dig around for an older comic!

You’ll Pop Your Eye Out!

December 1983

Star Wars: Return of the Jedi #3

Fun fact: Did you know that the original Donkey Kong was actually supposed to be a Popeye game? Yep! But Nintendo couldn’t get the rights to the characters in time, so they ended up changing Popeye, Brutus, and Olive Oyl to Mario (or “Jumpman”), Donkey Kong, and Pauline (or “Lady”)!

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And another fun fact: In Japan there was actually a sequel to this game… that was made to help teach kids English. I don’t know about you, but when I think about proper use of the English language, Popeye isn’t exactly in my list of good examples!