Category Archives: Super Tuesday

Comic book house ads.

Super Tuesday: Trick Or Treat

Halloween wasn’t always an eight billion dollar holiday. There was a time when Halloween decorations didn’t appear on shelves after the 4th of July and holiday specialty shops didn’t spring up like mushrooms in the haunted ruins of desolate shopping centers. In prior decades, you’d pick out your costume the week of Halloween, usually from a rack of cheap, cellophane-boxed outfits on display at a local dime store, and they were all the same — an uncomfortable plastic mask (showcased in that cellophane window), and a cloth or plastic gown of some kind. Sometimes they were licensed outfits but just as often they’d be a generic wolfman or ghost (and if you were late to the store you’d be happy to get either). Not a one of these costumes was likely to survive past Halloween night, with the elastic strap securing your horror mask practically guaranteed to snap before you got to the end of your block. And for all that the masks were supposedly “ventilated” you could count on your face getting spunky with sweat the moment you donned one of these plastic horrors.

Marvel maniacs organized enough to “allow 4 weeks for delivery” could enjoy a few more options in the 1970s, and in this week’s Super Tuesday ad they are invited to “Hulk It For Halloween” with costumes no less cheap but at least vaguely recognizable as their favorite superheroes. It always bugged me when one of these costumes has a picture of the character on the tunic, but no matter — these costumes were licensed, official, and flame retardant for safety!

Any memories of dressing as a superhero for Halloween when you were a kid? Share your stories in comments, below.

Happy Halloween, everyone! Thanks for reading Longbox Graveyard!



Super Tuesday: Marvel Horror Triple Feature

In the spirit of the Halloween season Longbox Graveyard this week presents a horror-themed Marvel house ad from 1974 or 1975 for Super Tuesday.

A relaxation of the Comics Code in 1971 cracked the tomb door for horror titles and Marvel didn’t waste any time jumping on this newest trend, publishing several horror titles in the early part of the decade, particularly focused on “classic” monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein, which enjoyed special legitimacy in the eyes of the Code thanks to their literary origins.

Additional license was granted by publishing through Marvel’s magazine line, which wasn’t governed by the Code. Two of the titles listed here were black & white anthology titles — Vampire Tales and Monsters Unleashed. The third title was the short-lived Monsters of the Movies, Marvel’s answer to the legendary Famous Monsters of Filmland.

None of these magazines would last much more than a dozen issues or so, and for the most part Marvel’s horror comics were a flash in the pan, with the notable exception of my favorite Marvel horror book — Tomb of Dracula — which was reviewed here last week. Even Marvel can’t seem to summon much enthusiasm for these books, calling Vampire Tales “mildly exciting” in a stab at sarcasm that reads more like unvarnished truth.

I don’t believe I ever read any of these books — while I was a Famous Monsters loyalist, I wasn’t very interested in horror comics as a kid, and the higher cover price of Marvel’s magazines would have scared me off in any case. Any readers with fond memories of Marvel’s black & white horror mag line? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below!

TOMORROW AT LONGBOX GRAVEYARD: Guide To Comic Books On Instagram

Super Tuesday: Gene The Dean

This week’s “Super Tuesday” blast from the past is a Marvel house ad promoting their black & white magazines line. Aside from Crazy and Savage Sword of Conan, Marvel had trouble getting traction with their superhero magazine publications, which sometimes explored more mature content than was common in their regular color comic books.

This ad is primarily notable for Gene Colan‘s art. Dracula and Howard the Duck are both signature Gene Colan characters, but the rest were less commonly penciled by Gene the Dean, particularly Conan. Near as I can tell, Colan’s experience with Conan was limited to “The Curse of the Monolith,” which appeared in Savage Sword of Conan #33.

Have I overlooked another Colan Conan classic? Sound off in comments, below!

And join me tomorrow when I return to what may be Gene The Dean’s finest work — Tomb of Dracula!

TOMORROW AT LONGBOX GRAVEYARD: Reopening The Tomb of Dracula

Super Tuesday: The Merry Marvel Marching Society

Here’s the ad introducing Marvel’s first fan club — the Merry Marvel Marching Society. Actually I’m not sure it was a club so much as it was an excuse to sell some swag that your average collector would die to have today. For the price of a dollar you scored a membership card, some “absolutely worthless” stickers, a button, and a 33 1/3 vinyl record (which you can listen to HERE, thanks to the miracle of the intertubes).

Interesting that if you got six friends together to join at once, you’d both get discounted membership fees and a special certificate, too.

Any Longbox Graveyard readers been around long enough to have been a part of the M.M.M.S.? Give me your membership numbers, in the comments below.

(This image grabbed from the excellent and high-recommended Marvel Age of Comics blog).

And for more Marvel nostalgia, don’t miss tomorrow’s blog!

TOMORROW AT LONGBOX GRAVEYARD: Marvel Comics — The Untold Story

Super Tuesday: Handing It To Shang-Chi

Two weeks ago Super Tuesday looked at a house ad for a collection of Marvel Comics that presumably weren’t doing so well, sales-wise, and today we have an ad for another book that was never the top-of-the heap for the House of Ideas. This ad promotes Master of Kung Fu, which in 1978 was in the middle of what would eventually be a 109-issue run. The best and longest-running of Marvel’s martial arts comics, this series would be blessed by distinguished runs from superior artists through it’s relatively brief existence. This ad showcases the work of Mike Zeck, but MoKF fans will happily get into a swirling debate of flying fists and feet if you want to try ranking the book’s best artists between Zeck, Gene Day, and Paul Gulacy.

I love them all — and I love Master of Kung Fu, too. I’m nearing eighteen months of continual publication for Longbox Graveyard and have yet to assess Master of Kung Fu … an oversight I will correct tomorrow, with the first of what I hope will be several columns on this seminal and largely-forgotten series. See you then!

TOMORROW AT LONGBOX GRAVEYARD: Master of Kung Fu: Snowbuster!

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