Retro Comic Book Ads

Old comic books often act as a time capsule.  They’re full of advertisements of products from long ago.  Some are still with us, while others are not.  I often like to crack open the pages of a long forgotten comic book and just browse the advertisements found inside with which to take a trip back in time to another era.  Let’s open one of those time capsules here today.

The “time capsule” for this trip back in time is a copy of Iceman #1, from Marvel Comics in 1984.  It was the first issue of his first mini-series, and I imagine this mini-series was created to capitalize on the character’s popularity from the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends cartoon.

The first ad we come across is a real eye opener.  It’s for the Mario Bothers home video game for the Atari 2600 system.  It’s hard to think of a Mario game being on any system besides one from Nintendo, but this is from before Nintendo was launched in the USA and Mario took over the video gaming world.  This version of the game for Atari was an arcade port to the home system.

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Last Action Hero Burger King Cups

Burger King’s Last Action Hero Cups

Last Action Hero is the type of movie that Hollywood execs would eat up. It made sense that Burger King would hawk Last Action Hero collectible soft drink cups.

The movie plot’s sees a young boy transported into his favorite movie. He meets his favorite action star and together they hunt down an evil villain. Sounds like box office gold!

Even with the big guns of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the guy who directed Die Hard (John McTiernan), Last Action Hero wasn’t a huge success.

Arnold had conquered the box office in 1992 with the success of Terminator 2. He was an unstoppable machine, but Last Action Hero was his first real box office disappointment. Released in the summer of 1993, it simply couldn’t compete with Jurassic Park. Luckily for Arnold, he teamed up with James Cameron in 1994 and bounced back with True Lies.

Collect all 4 Cups at Burger King!

While it didn’t live up to expectations, it’s a fun movie with an excellent supporting cast.

It’s filled with one-liners and Arnold never hesitates to make fun of himself or his supporting cast. There’s an amusing joke involving F. Murray Abraham’s character killing Mozart.

Charles Dance is the evil villain Benedict and has a collection of crazy glass eyes. Bridgette Wilson, Tom Noonan, and Anthony Quinn round out a star-studded cast.

Keep your eyes peeled for a cameo by an animated cat (bonus points if you recognize the actor voicing this MC Skat Kat knockoff).

The film also boasted a rockin’ soundtrack with some of the biggest bands of the day: AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Megadeth, Def Leppard, and many other hard rock acts you’ll recognize.

Have It Your Way!

Burger King was aggressively marketing to a younger generation in the early ’90s with a series of commercials starring MTV’s Dan Cortese and Debra Wilson (of MADtv fame).

Burger King spent $20 million on a marketing campaign for what they called “the biggest movie of the summer.”

For everything that went wrong with Last Action Hero’s marketing, Burger King’s tie-in with the film was pretty awesome. Collectible soft drink cups were pretty standard when it came to movie/fast food tie-ins.

But how many soft drink cups were animated? That’s right, the cup you got at Burger King actually animated a scene from the movie. Check ’em out and don’t forget to collect all four!

Sammy Davis Jr Says, “Deck The Halls With Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz!”


Since the holiday season is here, many of us may overdo the merry-making and should heed the words of the Candy Man himself, Sammy Davis Jr, from this 1979 Alka-Seltzer holidays campaign, “Don’t let an upset stomach and headache turn you into a Scrooge! Take Alka-Seltzer! The sound of fast relief!

Sammy Davis Jr. was the Alka-Seltzer celebrity spokesperson for many years in the late ’70s. His charismatic, “Mister Entertainment”, stage persona was used to its fullest in the commercials, and were usually set within a nightclub or production studio. In 1978, Sammy Davis Jr. appeared in this Christmas-themed Alka-Seltzer advertising.


What made the 1979 campaign something special was that it focused on the holiday season almost completely and had changed Sammy Davis Jr’s persona of a flamboyant stage performer into a magical, Santa-like character who carried in his flying sled not a bag full of toys and gifts but a sack full of “fast relief.”


It is his rendition of the Alka-Seltzer jingle that has made it indelible in our collective Pop Culture psyche. Sammy Davis Jr.’s popularity, combined with the catchiness of the “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh What A Relief It Is!” jingle, gave fruit to a product giveaway, the “Alka-Seltzer presents THE SOUND OF SAMMY” record album which had, amongst several of Sammy Davis Jr.’s signature hit tunes, a version of the Alka-Seltzer jingle that ran over two minutes.

What you just heard gives full testament to the entertaining power of Sammy Davis Jr. in that you just listened to what is nothing short of a two minute commercial for Alka-Seltzer and you probably loved it.

Sammy Davis Jr.’s fantastic singing gives fast relief to the ears.

Want to see more of Sammy Davis Jr. and his Alka-Seltzer commercials? Click on the image below for another Retroist post about him.