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I Saw It Advertised One Day – “Maybe This Batman Guy Will Work Out”: Promotional Ads for Famous Superheroes

by  in Comic News Comment
I Saw It Advertised One Day – “Maybe This Batman Guy Will Work Out”: Promotional Ads for Famous Superheroes

This is the latest in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces looking at advertisements in comic books over the decades that amused me for whatever reason. In each installment, we’ll take a look at three ads!
Here is an archive of all installments of this feature.

Today we look at promotional ads for the debuts of famous comic book characters. Will this Batman guy stick? Let’s find out!

Our first ad ended up being part of a lawsuit between Jerry Siegel’s family and DC Comics, as DC argued that this ad for Action Comics #1 in More Fun Comics #31 in 1938 was the REAL first appearance of Superman, and they actually sort of won that point, in the sense that DC was given the rights to a black and white strongman character, but nothing else, not even the name Superman, as it did not appear in the ad.

Before getting to the second-most famous character who debuted in Detective Comics #27 (after Commissioner James Gordon, who is currently starring in the pages of Batman), let’s look at Detective Comics #1’s house ad in 1936’s New Comics #11…

It’s always hilarious that THAT was the cover of the first issue of Detective Comics. “Uhmmm…guys, let’s just erase that from the company history, okay?”

Anyhow, in 1939’s Action Comics #12, we get the ad for this sure-to-fail character…

Sadly, everyone did, in fact, miss out and he was never heard from again.

Okay, he DID get his own comic for a short period, advertised here in 1940’s Detective Comics #39…

I’ve yet to see an actual ad for All Star Comic #8 or Sensation Comics #1, so the closest I’ve seen is the ad for Wonder Woman #1 in 1942’s Superman #18.

Let me note that the always excellent Bully did a DC House Ads bit at his blog a couple of years ago, so a good chunk of the next batch of DC Comics ads (starting with the WW one) are courtesy of him. Check his feature out here. He did 365 days of ’em!

Here’s Supergirl’s first ad from 1959’s Adventure Comics #259…

Soon after, here was Green Lantern’s first ad from 1959’s Batman #127…

Before the year was up, we also got this ad for the Justice League of America from Batman #129…

The next year gave us the first ad for Green Lantern’s ongoing series in Detective Comics #281…


the Justice League’s ongoing series in Batman #135…

Go to the next page as we get to the start for Marvel Comics’ characters!

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