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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Advertisements for comics of the past

Whilst doing a quick scout through the website I discovered that comic publishers used to advertise their comics occasionally in The Daily Mirror. Of course, some publishers (such as Odhams) had close ties with the Mirror anyway, but such ads were a great way to notify parents of new comics or "boom issues" that contained free gifts. These days it would be too costly for comic publishers to afford such ads in the national press, as the low circulations of today's comics wouldn't justify the expense.

Above is an ad for Ally Sloper taken from a Daily Mirror of 1907, enticing the readers with a competition to provide the final line to a limerick. I can only guess what the winning entry to this one might be...

"Alas! sighed a poor little maid,
"The men really seem quite afraid;
And if this kind of thing
Goes on until the Spring -

...I'm never going to get bloomin' lai-, - anyway missus, Miller's the name, there'll never be another. But Ally Sloper seems to have been the original cheeky chappie.

Here's another one from 1907, suggesting they were quite frequent in the paper...

Below is the ad for the very first issue of Film Fun on 13th January 1920. Quite appropriate considering the 90th anniversary of that issue was only recently. Note that unlike the Sloper ad of 11 years previous, this ad features some artwork to brighten it up, reflecting the changing approach to design. (By the way, the "free PLATE" is a photo, not something to eat a slap-up feed from.) I've retained the rest of the page to show you as well because it features the children's section of the Mirror with Austen Bowen Payne's Pip, Squeak and Wilfred strip which had started in the Mirror the previous year.

Next is an ad for the Kinema Comic from 21st April 1920. The success of Film Fun inspired Amalgamated Press to quickly release a copycat before their rivals did. Kinema Comic ran until 1932.

Exactly 81 years ago today, on January 23rd 1929, this ad for Bubbles appeared in the Daily Mirror. The comic had been running since 1921 but to give it a boost A.P. were giving away a couple of "jolly toys" for a few weeks.

On February 5th 1929, it was the turn of Playbox to give away "jolly toys" in the form of a dodgy looking seaman rowing off with a boatload of children. Innocent times.

Things were apparently still jolly on November 25th 1931 when Bubbles gave away another gift, assuring parents it'd keep their children "amused for hours". Or at least until the twirling bubbles fell off the ten inch metal spike.

It's January 27th 1934 and Playbox is giving away a toy that goes beyond "jolly" and into "superb". Yes, it's a "marvelous free toy wristlet watch" that "has hands that move when the winder is turned", but remain perfectly still otherwise. "They can play with it to their heart's content". So it's a watch that didn't actually work then. (I'm being too cynical. I had a similar one when I was about four and thought it was fun, but not necessarily "superb".)

Finally, on Friday March 11th 1938 the popular Mickey Mouse Weekly was giving away an "Amazing New 5 in 1 puzzle".

Such ads for comics would continue to appear in the Daily Mirror for many years, some of which I've already covered on a previous blog here:


Dave Whit said...

These vintage ads are interesting and I'd love to see more of them.

One thing that puzzles me is how you actually found them. Did you search for 'comic advertisements', or did you discover them while browsing for something else?

One other thing you might be able to help me with - I'm certain that I remember a TV advert broadcast for the launch of Smash! No.1, and maybe even for Wham! before it. Have you any recollection of this happening -- and is there an online archive available for TV ads?

Keep up the great work, Lew. I have become addicted to your blog.

Lew Stringer said...

I was researching something else and came across one ad, then decided to look for more. I used keyword like "new paper" or "out today" or "free inside" etc. Unfortunately the search engine doesn't pick up every single word, and it can't detect logos, so I'm sure there are more that I haven't found.

I do have a few more to use yet though and I'll be putting them on my blog this week when I have time.

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