One reason I knew there were comic book shops is that a local shop advertised on TV, which eventually led to me going to comic book shops, which led to my obsessive hoarding of comics. I know there were other times that comics advertised on TV, but I’m going to talk about two ads that a local shop used about 25 years ago that led to me visiting them for the first time.
OK, with this one, you’ve got to believe me. I can’t seem to find a version where a comic shop advertised at the end of this one, but I swear it is true.
This is the opening of the “Pryde of the X-Men” pilot cartoon, and my local shop advertised using most? all? of this intro with a “get your X-Men comics here” type sting at the end.
I just remember that “X-Men! X-Men!” chant throughout. It’s haunting, isn’t it? Thanks to “rigmutton” for posting this on the YouTube that the kids all seem to like.
But I do not need to convince you of the legitimacy of this next one. This is one where DC definitely advertised on TV. It appears to be a short spot created by DC that allowed a local shop to add in their own info when they advertised on the local TV or cable channels.
Thanks to “Keith Richardson” for posting this one and confirming I’m not insane. Well, not on this one, at least!
Let’s look into this one more. There’s a neat little easter egg of sorts in that what’s playing on the TV appears to be the beginning of the ’89 Batman movie. Actually, listening to this a few times, I think that’s the Danny Elfman soundtrack playing underneath the narration. There’s also a Batmobile on the floor under the lamp, too.
I’m so amused by the “cool” stuff this dude has, too. There’s the guitar, because he serenades his lady, obviously. His great TV and audio, and he’s filming this on his own camcorder, so that’s very hip. An old-timey radio in the corner, where the Killing Joke et al are resting on. Apparently he couldn’t afford any lights, however.
And the voiceover…DC was on their “comics aren’t for kids!” kick then, so it’s a bit ugh-inducing, as well as defensive — “no, really! Comics aren’t just for losers!”. Which is also shown by the “girlfriend”. Not only is she attractive, but she reads comics too! I don’t know about the “sophisticated horror” or “action stories”, but they were definitely selling some science fiction here!
I’d like to point out as well that in the draft of this before I found the posted ad, I wrote that the voiceover talked about the “sophisticated horror of Swamp Thing, dark fantasy of Sandman”, so I definitely remembered that “sophisticated horror” bit, but forgot which comic it applied to.
Let’s look at the GNs that are featured here. Make clicky on them and you’ll get the Amazon links, and you’ll send some scratch my way if you buy anything there. The first batch, in the corner, feature from left to right: Ronin, something too dark for me to see clearly and which I therefore have absolutely no guess about, and Batman: The Killing Joke (and man, either they have something sitting on the comic that’s made up to look like the Joker’s left hand and arm, or Bolland did an amazing job of making it look 3-D)
Then below that, you’ve got, left to right, Batman: Digital Justice… and then I can’t tell with the other two. I thought the one in the middle might be a Piranha Press book, but I can’t seem to find it. And the one on the right looks almost like a Bisley Lobo cover, but it could be a Swamp Thing? It’s driving me nuts!
At 11 seconds, we’ve panned down to the coffee table, and we see Dark Knight Returns (with something to the left of that? Maybe the back cover of Watchmen with the bio pictures?), 2 open comics with what appears to be McKean art, so maybe Arkham Asylum or Black Orchid (probably the latter, as I haven’t read that one), and then Sandman: The Doll’s House trade (I actually have a copy of the 1990 edition, I believe!).
Then at 15 seconds, we have Watchmen, y’know, one of those… “action stories” (ugh!), with Arkham Asylum to the left and an open Batman: Digital Justice to the right. There’s also a mysterious blue thing to the left of Arkham, but I can’t tell what it is when the camera moves in those few seconds from 11 to 15. And of course Tina is reading Black Orchid. Holding it really close to her face, too, if you look carefully.
Man, I wonder who did that narration, and who “Tina” is. Did they film this at a DC employee’s place, or did they make up an “apartment” on a sound stage somewhere?
Based on the time period of when the featured GNs were released (and it’s interesting that they actually do use the term “graphic novels” in there), I’d say this commercial was made around 1990 or possibly 1991 (despite the YouTuber saying it was from 1994 — apparently some stores still used it until at least then). I know I saw it by about the end of 1991, or very early 1992, as I had convinced my mom to take my sister and I to the local shop advertised with this commercial in January of 1992, 25 years ago.
But that’s a story for next time….