Thursday, 30 April 2015

Comics. Did you ever send off for anything?

Thing and Sub-Mariner, Marvel badges/buttons
One of the endless fascinations of reading comics as a child was encountering the advertising that showed all the comics-related merchandising the devoted fan could acquire should he or she be brave enough to cut coupons out of their favourite comics and thus ruin them.

It was a tempting thing. After all, there were posters, web shooters, medallions, dartboards, stickers, model kits, action figures and a whole lot more.

But, if you lived in Britain, there was a problem when it came to such items when advertised in American mags.

And that was that they had to be paid for with strange things called dollars that no one had ever seen and that no one knew how to get their hands on; meaning that, no matter how tempting they may have been, such items would be doomed to remain out of reach for those not familiar with the arcane art of international payment.

For items for sale through Marvel UK, there were of course no such obstacles. You could pay in pounds which were readily available even after that pesky decimalisation which so confused the elderly and led to them still chuntering on about, "New Money," forty years after it was introduced.

Even so, despite the ease of purchase, I only ever sent off for two things from any comics. Those things were a pair of quite sizeable Marvel badges.

Sadly, despite my best efforts, I've been able to find no signs of any pictures of those badges online, but one featured the uppermost image pictured here, while the other featured the Thing in a pose that was either the same as the one here or something very similar.

For some reason, in the Sub-Mariner badge, our hero had been recoloured red. It seemed an odd thing to have happened but I suppose that, if Dinky Toys could recolour Space 1999 Eagles, Thunderbird 2 and UFO Interceptors green, then Marvel could recolour the Sub-Mariner crimson. Then again, maybe he just wanted to silence rumours that he was semi-literate, by proving he was well red.

Anyway, that's enough of my heart-warming recollections. Did you ever send off for anything from a comic, what was it and were you pleased with it when it arrived?


Anonymous said...

The only thing I remember sending off for was a Planet Of The Apes belt. There was a choice between Galen and Dr. Zaius on the buckle - I think I had Zaius. It didn't fit properly though and was too tight around the waist because the little holes were in the wrong place so I had to make an extra hole. I remember those badges too - the ones I'm thinking of were advertised on the back of Marvel UK's comics in January 1975 shortly after I'd started reading Marvel and I didn't yet know who most of the characters were as I was only reading POTA at the time.

John Pitt said...

In the 60's, I was always sending off for anything to do with stamp collecting from the UK comics. This all stopped though when I started collecting US comics.

Anonymous said...

I sent away for the Captain Britain costume that was advertised in the early issues of the weekly. To say it was a crushing let down when it arrived doesn't do it justice.

It was a sheet of polythene (albeit, quite accurately coloured) that slipped over the head and tied around the waist. It came with cardboard wrist bands and the same mask that was the free gif in the first issue.

Sadly my plans to wear it under my school uniform were thwarted.

I guess, in retrospect, it never likely to be made from unstable molecules...


John Pitt said...

Well I was disappointed, because I hoped that my stamp collections would impress the girls.
But philately got me nowhere!

Steve W. said...

I remember sending off for a load of stamps advertised in a comic. The thing that most excited me about it was that I got a free magnifying glass.

Steve W. said...

You could set things on fire with it.

Which, let's face it, is the most important thing about a magnifying glass.

Dean Robert Willetts said...

I sent off for the first issue of F.O.O.M., which I was suitably thrilled with. I'd never seen comic book cover repros presented like that, and was completely blown away by the Steranko poster. However, the one item I'd seen advertised in an American comic which I wanted desperately (apart from a pair of x-ray specs and a cardboard submarine) was the Captain Action figure.Mind you, having seen a picture of it online, I now know that I would have been devastatingly disappointed.

Steve W. said...

I was always intrigued by the ads for the, "Remote control ghost." Sadly, the internet informs me that it was just a balloon and a sheet, with a piece of string to dangle it from. It does explain how they managed to make a profit from a, "Remote control ghost," while charging only one dollar for it.