Promotional and Giveaway Comics At Their Best
As a comic book reader, collector and creator, I have always enjoyed the rare promotional comic books that publishers like Marvel and DC have produced from time to time. I especially enjoy the older promo comics from the early 1980s, when they popped up a lot. I was very lucky in those days to have friends working at both Marvel and DC that knew I enjoyed the hard-to-find promotional comics, and those friends would send me a handful of promos from time to time when they came out.
The comics were fun, action-packed, and contained solid story telling. There was always a sense of 1960s Saturday morning cartoon enjoyment that I found entertaining on a few different levels. The comics were created for all ages – and I truly mean all ages. They had oddball team ups of heroes and you never knew what bad guy(s) they would toss in. Here are a few just to give you an idea:
Good Guys: Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, the X-Men, Spider-Woman, Storm, Power Man, the New Teen Titans with the Protector, Firestar and Iceman. One issue of courtesy of Marvel and the Dallas Times Herald newspaper, had Spider-Man team up with The Dallas Cowboys of the NFL in an all-out battle with The Ringmaster and his Circus Of Crime!
Bad Guys: Daddy Long Legs, King Rat and his Army of Mice, Kingpin, Dr. Doom, Magneto, Sandman, Dr. Octopus, Kraven The Hunter, the Beetle, SmokeScreen, the Enforcers, the Absorbing Man, the Rhino, the Wizard, the Enchantress, and the Trapster! Those are just a few of the great rogues that show up in these books.
The creative teams that they used were a true Who’s Who of solid professionals such as: John Romita, Sr., Marie Severin, David Anthony Kraft, Kerry Gammill, Mike Esposito, Stan Goldberg, Jim Salicrup, Jim Mooney, John Tartag, Alan Kupperburg, Rick Parker, Chic Stone, Johnn Costanza, Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Ross Andru, Joe Giella, Sal Buscema, Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, Ed Hannigan, Al Milgrom, and many more.
My personal favorite of these is a 7 Eleven/Marvel issue where they teamed up Spider-Man, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Woman to battle the Enchantress, the Wizard, the Rhino and the Trapster. It’s a fun issue with the Wizard in love with the Enchantress, a really pissed off Rhino and the Trapster still trying to live down his original name of Paste Pot Pete. The issue is also filled with cool ads where you can order 7-Eleven/Marvel shirts, cups, posters and other such hard-to-find items. In fact, most of the issues do include ways to subscribe to Marvel & DC issues and local ads for the stores and companies that helped to sponsor these fun comics, folks like 7 Eleven, Acme & Dingo Children’s Boots, Foley’s, the American Cancer Society, Concentrated All Detergent, the President’s Drug Awareness Campaign, theChicago Tribune, Nestle Quik, the Kansas City Star, the Fight Against Tooth Decay, the Dallas Times Herald, Sanger Harris May D&F Stores, and more.
On the collectors’ side, I’ve seen these issues go for a pretty penny with retailers and dealers. I don’t know what the print runs were for these oddball comics, but since these were giveaways to non-traditional comic book reading crowd, I suspect that not very many of these were kept and put away. More than likely they were lost and thrown away, making the issues even that more collectable. I know I cherish mine and enjoy them to this day. I highly recommend them for your collection and hunt of oddball comics, promotional and giveaway comics are a whole sub-genre of collecting on their own. Join in and see what you can find.