I was all set to write about Joe Quesada’s announcement of Marvel’s acquisition of Marvelman this week, but I realized I wasn’t up to the task of describing the legal quagmire surrounding the character; suffice it to say that, if this announcement means that the House of Ideas plans on teaming MM up with Spider-Man, or having him fight the Sentry or something, then it’s not exactly earth-shattering news. As a matter of fact, it’s not really interesting news at all unless it means that Marvel’s going to reprint the Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman Miracleman material, hopefully under its intended title and including its previously unpublished conclusion. Otherwise, what’s the point? It’s like saying you’ve acquired the rights to the Watchmen characters. What the hell could you possibly do with them after that series’ conclusion?
Anyway, after a week or so of grousing about the announcement and its implications (or lack thereof), I decided to lighten up a bit by revisiting an era where I viewed announcements from Marvel Comics with a whole lot less cynicism; an era where I trusted them implicitly, and believed that any proclamation from Stan Lee, Spider-man, or the Incredible Hulk carried with it the promise of good times and great comics. That’s right, Pilgrim, I can only be talking about…the Mighty Marvel Age of Subscription Ads! Check this out, fr’instance:
Are they actually implying that Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence using a Spider-Man pen? That would be confusing. Notice the topical reference to Star Wars, as well as the crappy comics Spidey will be stuck reading now. Dull Comics? Dopey Comics? A couple of not-so-subtle digs at Marvel’s Distinguished Competition, perhaps? You’d think that if anybody received a big, fat comp box from Marvel every month, it’d be their flagship character. However, this next ad shows that maybe ol’ Webhead is perpetually slow on the uptake:
Jesus, I think I’d be a bit terrified to see that lot rushing towards me. Thor sure looks like he’s about to clobber something or someone with his hammer, and the look on the Hulk’s face is sheer nightmare fuel. Check out Mr. Fantastic—he’s all like, “Hey, look! A duck with a cigar! Now I’ve seen everything!” If Chris Giarrusso drew this ad today, Daredevil would be totally be running the other way.
Ah, Spidey’s finally figured it out, but it took a press conference from Stan Lee to do it. I’m not sure why the Thing is dressed like an old-timey billionaire, but I for one am not complaining. And, I could be mistaken, but did both Fozzie Bear and Alfred E. Neuman show up to hear this announcement?
Now, here’s one of my all-time favourite subscription ads. I can’t get enough of the erudite, cultured Hulk who drinks tea (green tea, presumably) with his pinky sticking out and is partway through Atlas Shrugged, for what one can only assume is the third or fourth time. I hope he shows up as the real alter ego of the Red Hulk. By the way, does anyone care to hazard a guess as to the identities of those people in the framed photos by his chair? David Letterman and Amelia Earhart, maybe?
And finally, the ladies of the Marvel U get to do some shillin’ for their corporate paymasters. Unfortunately, Dazzler, Spider-Woman, and The Savage She-Hulk were all pretty short-lived titles, so if you were one of the unlucky few that did respond to this ad in favour of its spokeswomen, you likely ended up having your subscription eventually transferred over to Rom or Micronauts.