One of the best things about owning a comic-book shop is that you never know what surprises will make their way through your front door.
Case in point: let’s all get in the Wayback Machine and travel back to 1976, shall we? Back then, just about every Marvel or DC comics had a full-page ad from some place in New Jersey called “Superhero Enterprises” (and would eventually be known as “Heroes World), which would offer all kinds of superhero toys, games, clothes, trinkets and other ephemera that you would absolutely never see in any of the stores in your own hometown. Those mail-order ads were always a highlight, even if I never actually ordered anything. Well, little did I know back then that if I had ordered something, eventually a full mail-order catalogue would have arrived in my mailbox, consisting of page after page of those delightful hand-drawn full-page superhero ads.
Catalogues just like these, as it happens.
Let’s take a look through what every kid wanted from 1975 to 1978….
Ahh, the Mangler. Forty years later and I’m still trying to find a Mangler. One of these days…
I’m not quite sure how the Fonzie action figure wound up in the midst of all this superhero stuff.
Board games, watercolor sets, View-Master… it’s a world before video games, that’s for sure.
These were the ones that would always haunt my soul as a kid, the Mego ads. Especially when they’d show items I had no idea existed…
…like the Captain Americar and Arrowcar, both of which I wouldn’t see until decades later.
You know, I had this Batman utility belt, and I never even questioned why it came with a “Bat-Gun.” I guess it was ahead of its time…
Man. Megos for $3.98. (Though I have to admit, they were $2.99 at my local department store at the time.)
This was the closest I ever came to seeing the Mission on Gamma VI playset as a kid…
They advertised this Spidey rock album for years; they must have been sitting on a mountain of ‘em.
Mood rings. Bean bags. Groovy, man.
That is quite a belt buckle.
Seven dollars for ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS. That’s a steal.
Webshooters and shields for everyone!
“May the Force of the Micronauts be with you”?! Ahh, this one’s from 1977…
Only two dollars shipping for the Wayne Foundation? Even by Seventies standards, that seems cheap.
Electric toothbrushes? Check. Flashlights? Check. Wrist-radios? Check.
Even Star Wars got the Heroes World treatment…
If the art style on these is starting to look a little familiar, a close look at the credits reveals that these ads were the work of students at the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon Art, which is why everything occasionally looks a little… Kuberty, for lack of a better word.
But for me, well, it just looks like my childhood.
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