This was an ad for a series of paperback novels based on the wildly popular gothic horror soap opera series Dark Shadows. This was like a number of shows in the 1960s that through some quirk of fate caught the public’s imagination and the producers or the network decided to push out merchandise while the show was hot. Dark Shadows spawned books, tee-shirts, comic books, model kits, record albums and two films that were released theatrically.
The ad appeared on the back of Vampirella No. 10 published by Warren Publishing in 1971. The books along with tons of other horror and sci-fi related merchandise were sold by the Captain Company which was part of Warren. Most of Warren’s publications were like mail-order catalogs that happened to have comics in them. The ads took up nearly half of these magazines, and they were half of the fun.
Sadly, Dark Shadows was coming to an end as this issue of Vampirella sat on the shelves of newsstands. I never understood why particularly back then. Other soap operas ran for decades with pedestrian plot lines about potential romances or failed romances. Why did Dark Shadows burn so brightly only to burn out? It was like a lot of things that everybody loved in the ’60s such as Batman, The Monkees, The Munsters or many others that were the hottest shows on television only to cool very quickly. One minute the network is all too happy to have Barnabas Collins make appearances on The Mike Douglas Show or American Bandstand and the next they are holding their noses. Although Dark Shadows did run for five years, it and the other shows felt more like a carnival that came to town rather than a television program that would hopefully last making the network and advertisers money. Nope. Set up the tent and the attractions and separate the rubes from their money as quickly as possible! It wasn’t meant to last.