Am I the only one getting a Ted Bundy vibe from the fellow featured in this ad?
The happy locksmith appeared in one of many home correspondence course ads that appeared in comics for decades and seemed to dry up some time during the 1980s.
I often wonder about these ads. How were they sold? How were they placed? Did advertising agencies handle them producing the mechanical and dealing with either the comic company or the printer as far as inserting them into various books? Did Marvel, DC, Charlton and Keystone have ancient, brown-suited salesmen who ran out to the clients?
Eddie, try to talk them into the extra color!
…or did they have a bank of ladies on phones taking orders for ads.
Yeah, we can pick that up, hon. You want the inside back cover again?
I have a feeling the ads dried up when comics left the newsstands for the direct market. Advertisers weren’t getting the bang for their buck and the audience at comic book shops wasn’t their audience. The intended audience for the ads were bored GIs that got their comics from the PX or guys thumbing through well worn funny books in a barber shop. The long box and mylar bag crowd was a waste of money.
Unlike a lot of the ads in comics, a lot of the correspondence courses were legitimate. My Dad sent away for a course similar to the one above and became quite adept at picking locks and was thought of as a Saint with a Slim Jim who had often helped out friends and family members who locked keys in their cars. Dad didn’t go for the electric key machine or start a business. He chased down the course because he was curious, and it was not possible for the man to have too many tools.
The locksmith ad appeared in Ωmega the Unknown No. 8 published by Marvel Comics in 1977.
Omega seemed to be a take on both Superman and the original Captain Marvel. He was the last survivor of an alien race that sported a red and blue costume complete with cape. It sort of looks like the costume that is being used in the Man of Steel movie. It turned out to be a little too clever for it’s own good and I thought the interior artwork was somewhat lackluster despite the great Gil Kane cover. The series lasted 10 issues and the plug was pulled