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.

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!

But What About Friends of Lois Lane?

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

Christmas is coming, so I think it’s a good time to focus on toys for a bit. Here we’ve got Corgi’s line of Superman vehicles.

“Shhhh, don’t let Lois Lane find out you’re a friend of Superman” – this is actually the second ad from this issue that addresses you as a “friend of Superman,” the first one being for Kryptonite rocks. Was being Superman’s BFF all the rage in the late ’70s?

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I like that not all of these necessarily have Superman or his logo on them. Personally, if I could have one of these, I’d probably take the Metropolis police car, because I like the subtlety of it. What do you think? Do you have a favorite?

A Whopper of a Plane!

August 1979

Shogun Warriors #7

It’s almost Halloween, and you know what that means: airplanes! No, wait – candy! This is the only candy-related ad I have in stock at the moment, so I guess it’ll have to do. Here we have a styrofoam sailplane soaring above three excited white-haired children (or are they elderly midgets?). You can get this dandy plane just by sending in a Whoppers wrapper… and $3.99. That’s worth about $14.00 in today’s money, so that wasn’t exactly a steal, but I guess if you wanted to get a plane like this anyway, maybe this deal made it a little cheaper(?).

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I was a little surprised to see that Whoppers were made by Leaf rather than Hershey back in 1979… but then when I looked it up on Wikipedia, I was even more surprised to see that Whoppers have only been made by Hershey since 1996! Wow, I guess I don’t pay nearly enough attention to candy! I’ll have to fix that from now on…

 

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I’m Happy to Help Heroes!

January 1978

The Secret Society of Super-Villains #12

Yes! I’ll take all of it, please!!! Here we’ve got vintage ’70s DC action figures, along with a Barbie-style Wonder Woman doll, the four story Wayne Foundation, and the Batmobile with an exploding bridge! That’s a whole lot of fun and excitement packed into this page!

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I seem to remember, as a kid, there being a Barbie mansion that looked suspiciously similar to the Wayne Foundation pictured here – what do you wanna bet they just took the same toy and gave it a new cardboard backdrop?!

I’m guessing that a lot of you don’t recognize Isis, since she’s not a major DC character like most of the others. Well, a few years ago I stumbled across her TV show while flipping through the channels. My first thought was, “Wow, this is a total rip-off of Wonder Woman!” But it turns out that Isis was actually on TV first!

 

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GROSS!

May 1986

Masters Of The Universe #1

Like so many other things from the ’80s, I remember Madballs being around, but didn’t have any or really pay that much attention to them. Upon looking up some info on them, I was kind of surprised to learn that they actually each had names. Fun fact: The guy with the exposed brain was originally named Crack Head… but they later changed it to Bash Brain – I can’t imagine why! ;D  I’m not sure at what point they changed his name, but if they produced any toys in packaging labeled “Crack Head,” I’m sure those would be worth quite a bit now!

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Surprisingly, Madballs are still around! Or, more accurately, they’re around again. In 2006 American Greetings teamed up with Art Asylum and began producing the toys (as well as other Madballs-themed products) again under the Just Play brand. And there’s even a new Madballs YouTube channel! I guess all things old are new again…

 

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