Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Pillow Talk!


I'd imagine most comic book fans of any era not only have burned into their memories the artwork and stories of their golden era but the ads of that time as well. I know that for me comics were such treasures, discovered and acquired at great cost of money, time and energy that these glorious four-color pamphlets were sucked dry of their entertainment content almost completely, and that included the wonky ads they might contain.

One of the weirdest in my time was the ad above for inflatable plastic pillows starring some of Marvel's mightiest.  What struck me at the time and still does is the absolute randomness of the images used in this merchandising effort. I'd imagine when the Stan and the others at Marvel realized the success they'd tapped into with their new comics, they were eager to cash in. Certainly riding trends until they bust, had long been the working model for Martin Goodman.  Now Marvel seemed to be ladling out merchandising rights all around and some of it was profoundly strange.

These pillows for instance.


We have a dynamic Thor portrait by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott. I don't recognize the exact source for this one but I'm sure someone can tell me.


Likewise this Ditko image for Spider-Man, which is a bit more subtle in how it integrates the artwork onto the total pillow for a clever effect. 



Here's a look at another version of this ad, this time with newcomer Captain Marvel thrown in for no discernible reason save to jazz up the image.


Weirdly I found this product starring Sub-Mariner as rendered by Gene Colan and Vince Colletta. It looks like it ought to be part of the same merchandising push, it certainly has that random art quality.



These are two handsome plastic pillows with proper Jack Kirby imagery and seem a bit more classically composed. I doubt they are part of the same push, but are delightful in their own way.

I think I've seen the Thor pillow in real life somewhere, but I forget now where that would've been. I don't remember ever really wanting these items, but I sure remember seeing that delicious ad.

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2 comments:

  1. Yep, that was a great quirky ad. 50 years gone – I have to doubt any of those inflatable pillows even exist anywhere anymore (I could be wrong.) I do like the Spidey pillow myself…Possibly a scene of the webslinger trailing Dapper Dan of the Enforcers…

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  2. I have the Spidey and Thor pillow. Both images were taken from the comics. I no longer have my collection, so I can't pinpoint the exact issues. The Thor illo is inked by Colletta, and was used in the first set on Marvel trading cards.

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