For this edition of Retro Ramblings, I’m presenting several old ads I’ve found in comic books, and relating the memories they hold for me. Old comic books and the ads found within are like mini time capsules. You can pick up some random old issue and see ads for things you haven’t thought about in years. And sometimes you’ll come across one that hits you right in the face like a nostalgic baseball bat. At least that’s how these ads were for me. Let’s take a look at them.
Superman Peanut Butter (1984)
Peanut butter is a staple in most American homes. You can find it cabinets, in lunch boxes, and in lunch pails all across this great country. It’s patriotic….right behind apple pie. And you know what else is patriotic? Superman by gosh! You slap Superman’s name and image on a jar of peanut butter, you have the ultimate weapon against communism.
At least that’s what a lot of us kids growing up in the ’80s in the rural area I lived in thought anyway. We’d spend a lot of our time at recess after lunch playing Superman vs The Russians on the school playground. No joke. We had our bellies full of Superman peanut butter and were battling the red menace to keep our playgrounds safe…just like in Red Dawn. It was serious business. I even started a super-secret spy club in school to help combat the threat that we were exposed to on the news every night. But I digress.
Anyway, I’m not sure Superman peanut butter tasted any better than Skippy, Peter Pan, or Jif. Actually, from what I’ve read online, Superman may have even been a cheaper variety than those others listed. No matter the cost, that brand of peanut butter… its glass jar, and Superman on the label are what I still identify as the epitome of peanut butter from my childhood.
As a sidebar, I can explicitly remember one distinct point in time when I was eating Superman peanut butter. It was January 28, 1986. We were out of school that day due to snow. I was sitting on the floor of our basement where I usually played, with a Superman peanut butter sandwich in front of me as I watched the launch of the Space Shuttle Challenger. It was one of those moments where you always remember where you were and what you were doing….and I had Superman peanut butter to make me feel a little better as I watched those events unfold.
Skeleton Warriors Trading Cards (1995)
The card images in this ad just don’t do them justice. When you have them in your hand, these cards are gorgeous. But of course, every card I ever held that was produced by Fleer Ultra was top-notch.
I never watched the Skeleton Warriors cartoon. I guess because it came along in the mid-’90s when I had other things on my mind. Like girls. I should have had my priorities straight. Unfortunately, I also missed out on these cards back in the day, but I corrected that situation a few months ago and picked some up on eBay. You can watch me open some of them in this video I did.
Captain America The Hunt for Scourge (1986)
I didn’t read a lot of comic books in the ’80s. Well, let me take that back. I did, but they were all from the ’70s. My brother had a large stash of old books that we would spend lazy summer days reading through. But one of the few storylines I remember from the ’80s was the Hunt for Scourge.
I had never seen anything like it in comics. Here was this hero/villain that went into a bar and murdered a bunch of low-level bad guys. So as this ad says, only one man could stop him. Well, Cap did stop him and took him into custody. But as soon as The Scourge confessed, he was gunned down by someone from a distance, and The Scourge’s catchphrase, “Justice is Served” was yelled out, leaving the world to wonder if Cap had captured the real culprit. It was all eventually unraveled, but I’m not going to give spoilers here. You can go read the story yourself. It’s pretty good.
CBS Saturday Morning Lineup (1985)
One of the most exciting ads you could ever come across in a comic book was these types of ads showcasing new Saturday morning lineups. You’ve gotta remember that this was back in the days long before the internet. Hell, we were lucky to even get a page in TV Guide detailing the new lineups.
1985 was a good year for cartoons, and CBS had one of my favorites…Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘N Wrestling! Being a huge wrestling fan at the time, it was the coolest thing in the world to have a cartoon featuring wrestlers and then be able to watch actual wrestling shortly after!
Add to that having the Muppet Babies AND the Berenstain Bears. Both of those were my jam too. The rest of the shows in this ad didn’t connect with me though. There was still Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mister T, and the Smurfs on NBC to steal my attention.
Masters of the Universe (1982)
Holy hell…is that a thing of beauty or what? I love old MOTU art for all the little details that changed here and there as the line came of age. For example, you rarely see Man-at-Arms on Battle Cat as you do in this ad, and check out Mer-Man in the Wind Raider.
I would have loved to have been there at the dawn of the brand. Well, I was, but I was 4 or 5 years old. I wish I could have been older when it launched so I could more fully appreciate all the intricacies of the whole story. Like the original mini-comics…they had little details that eventually got phased out of the official canon.
But that doesn’t take away from how cool this ad is. It’s no wonder the line went on to be so huge with ads like this leading the way in the early days.
Well, that’s a few minutes of your life that you’ll never get back. But thanks for reading along and remembering some good times via these old ads. We’ll do it again sometime.