Progressive Bully #2: How to Get Ahead in Advertising.

§ June 7th, 2022 § Filed under advertising, Bully § 8 Comments

Hullo folks, Bully the Little Stuffed Bull here, continuing to fill in for Mike.

Have you ever been intrigued by ads you’ve seen in comic books? Sure, we all do! Who wouldn’t want to send away for exciting sea monkeys (brine shrimp), a gigantic monster (a paper poster), a real tank (a cardboard box), spooky ghosts (balloons) or lessons in how to kick sand in the face of bullies on the beach (instructions: kick sand, run like heck)? Why, the advertising section of a comic book, especially an old one, is a veritable 1,001 Nights bazaar of wonder, whimsy and enchantment, except with a six-to-eight week wait and more eventual disappointment.

But now that we’re older and wiser now, we don’t fall for comic book advertisements as easily. Or do we? Somebody has to have bought milk so the Dairy Council can say they “got milk,” joined the Army, or saw the film Kalifornia. But the glory days of gambling a stamp and half your piggy bank are gone. So of course, let’s revisit them!

I for one have always wanted to appear older and more sophisticated, so naturally this advertisement from “Man International” caught my eye. Mix and match any assortment of facial hair made “to exacting professional standards.” Useful for suave bachelors, confidence tricksters, or evil duplicates from a mirror universe. Remember: this is for international men only! Please, no domestic orders. (from Archie and Me #26, February 1969)


If the ‘tasche and van Dyke ain’t doin’ it for you, why not take on the fashion allure of an authentic cowboy with this “Texas Ranger Cowboy Outfit,” just like the real riders of justice down in the Long Star State wear, complete with sequined domino mask. Remember, you get the pair of western-style arm cuffs, chaps, cowboy boot tops, and “144 inches of cowboy-type rope,” that is, rope. Dress exactly like your heroes Chuck Norris and Tommy Lee Jones and you’ll be saying ‘howdy, partner,” to all sorts of new friends, acquaintances, and vicious, deadly desperados for whom life is cheap. (from Battlefield #1, Marvel/Atlas, April 1952)


Comics apparently aren’t just for kids anymore, as this ad implores you to throw away your truss! That’s all it’s an ad for; it’s not trying to sell you anything, just remind you to throw away your truss. It’s nice to have an advertisement without all that pressure to purchase a new… (reads fine print more carefully) Curse you, Brooks Appliance Co.! My old truss is just fine! (from Riot #3, Marvel/Atlas, August 1954)


Do you enjoy the comic strip Li’l Abner written and drawn by professional terrible human being Al Capp? Why, no fan of that backwoods hillbilly and his suspicious relationship with Daisy Mae can call their life complete without this authentic “Al Capps [sic] Shmoo Pen,” with which you can write fan letters to the despicable Mr. Capp and then turn it upside down to see the Shmoo’s clothing slowly fall off him. Scandalous! It’s great for fans not only of the comic strip but of the classic animated TV series Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo, so you’ve got gift appeal for two entire generations! (from Pictorial Confessions #1, St. John, September 1949)


In the same vein as barbecue restaurants featuring a cute cartoon pig as a mascot, here’s national treasure Bugs Bunny endorsing a line of “lucky” rabbit’s foot keychains, of the same fine quality that you’d win at the county fair.

Ahem (clearing my throat):

Wasn’t very lucky for the rabbit, was it? (from Looney Tunes #167, Dell, September 1955)


Now you too can own an exact replica of the very same ring Elvis used to propose to Priscilla! “It is not a gimmick or a toy.” Geez, Elvis rings? What’s next,  Dick Clark jewelry? (from Miss America #92, Marvel/Atlas, September 1958)


D’OH (from My Own Romance #75, Marvel, May 1960)


Many of you have written to me asking if you could either lose ugly fat or, alternatively, eat spaghetti. Now you don’t have to choose. (from Patsy Walker #104, Marvel, December 1962)


And now, perhaps the most exciting, alluring, and exotic comic book ad of them all: FIVE TOWELS. Not three! Not four! FIVE TOWELS. Or, pay twice as much for ten towels! The world stretches out before you with glorious opportunity. (from Secrets of Young Brides #2, Charlton, September 1975)


Preserve objects in plastic for fun and profit! Coins! Shells! Popcorn! Grapes! Spider eggs! Your little sister’s saliva collection! PROFIT!

Sigh. I shouldn’t make fun. After all, what is comic book collecting but “preserving objects in plastic for fun and profit?” (from Strange Tales #179, Marvel, April 1975)


Well, I’d love to sit here and show you weird ads of yesteryear all day, but my order from “Man International” just came in.

8 Responses to “Progressive Bully #2: How to Get Ahead in Advertising.”

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    I was a little skeptical of throwing away my old truss, but then I saw that the new truss they’re advertising is sanitary. That changed everything.

  • Randal says:

    Man can never have too many towels. Makes one a hoopy frood.

  • Argh! Sims says:

    Who was that debonair little bull at the end? He’s vaguely familiar…

    I’m still shocked that Dick Clark jewelry was $1 when an Elvis ring was only 75 cents. Come on, Clark! Get over yourself!

  • Hal Shipman says:

    I am surprised over and over again to learn that the Schmoos were a huge cultural thing in the 40s or so.

    Cuddly, friendly, sentient blobs who had absolutely no problem with you EATING THEM.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    Take off the mustache Bully! The ladies can’t bear that much machismo!

  • Chris Gumprich says:

    I bought my kids a set of Sea-Monkeys. We carefully prepared the water, watched amazed as they hatched, carefully fed them… then watched them all die when we left the tank on the windowsill, boiling all of those poor little brine shrimp.

    My kids still refuse to let me buy them a puppy.

  • Andrew Davison says:

    A fun book on this topic, with photos of the less than impressive actual products:

  • MisterJayEm says:

    Those ‘Thinz Tablets’ will also help you drive your 18-wheeler from Chicago to L.A. only stopping for fuel.

    — MrJM