A week or so ago, I bought a big pile of old comic books. Since I have little interest in what Ghost Rider was doing in 1994, my purchase was mostly made to find more of those great old ads. Here are five, at random!
Bic Wavelength Pens
Fantastic Four #67 (2nd printing, 1994)
I’d completely forgotten about these! Bic’s “Wavelengths” were regular pens with plastic “wrappers” around the bodies, or shafts, or whatever you call the stick-like parts.
Many Wavelengths had distinct themes, but there seemed to be even more with completely abstract patterns in crazy colors. It’s hard to believe in 2013, but pens with wacky wrappers really were a big deal.
If you were a chewer like me, you could easily bite the wrappers off of the shafts (or rods, or batons), which revealed normal Bic pens underneath. I did this with virtually all of my Wavelengths, no matter how great the designs were. I dunno, man. Destroying them with my teeth just made me feel so accomplished. I say this not with pride, but with confidence that thousands of you also chewed them, and felt exactly the same way when you did.
Child’s Play 3
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons #33 (September 1991)
Now that I think about it, Chucky was my first horror obsession. I loved the first Child’s Play, but its sequel is what turned a heavy interest into outright fanaticism.
(Two reasons for that. One, Child’s Play 2 starred Christine Elise, and I wanted to marry her so hard. Remember when she almost set herself on fire after tanking her relationship with Brandon Walsh? Haaardcore. Two, a local video store sold me their enormous Child’s Play 2 standee for ten bucks. It was a bitch to drag home, but for a while, nothing in the world meant more to me than those giant pieces of cardboard.)
Child’s Play 3 is my least favorite of the first three, but it still had its moments. I think my main problem was with Chucky’s death scene. In the second film, they had to kill Chucky eighty times, and even then, it took an industrial air pump to finally make his head explode and end the movie. In Child’s Play 3, he just fell into a big fan or something.
Upside? It wasn’t until the third movie that I noticed Chucky dolls in arcade crane machines. Yes!
WWF Wrestlemania Steel Cage Challenge
Wolverine #62 (October 1992)
I remember this ad much better than I do the game, because of what I took to be a romance between “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase and Randy “Macho Man” Savage. When you’re twelve-years-old, you’re allowed to make idiotic leaps like that. In my defense, they do look pretty chummy, and Randy is sorta smiling. I couldn’t have been the only stupid kid who found this to be hysterical. Were it humanly possible, I’d stick my arm through a time portal and punch twelve-year-old me in the ear.
Fantastic Four #67 (2nd printing, 1994)
Shock Tarts were the first of several attempts to”spike” regular SweeTarts with heavier colors and sourer flavors. (Given the year, they were probably made in response to the “sour blue raspberry” craze, not to mention Warheads.)
Portraying a giant grape Shock Tart as some kind of exploding moon is unquestionably appealing. This is the exact type of ad that makes old comic books such a thrill for me. These ads made heroes out of trivial things, and when I put it that way, I guess they had a bigger impact on me than I ever gave them credit for.
Oh, and take a look at the actual Shock Tarts “roll.” It looks like a Roman Candle. Pretty nifty.
Sonic 3 Music CD
The Ren and Stimpy Show #16 (1994)
To encourage us to put down payments on the still-unreleased Sonic The Hedgehog 3 game, Toys “R” Us gave away free Sonic music CDs. This was a big draw! Remember, you couldn’t run to the internet to download video game music back in 1994. (Hell, even before this, I remember using a Panasonic video camera with a blanket over its lens to record Zelda music. Apparently, I’d never heard of a tape recorder.)
I love how you needed a coupon to get the CD. The process was surely more memorable that way. Like, picture the drive to Toys “R” Us. You’re in the back, clutching the coupon like it’s a dying baby. You’re exhilarated by the idea of a free CD, but you’re also sweating with worry that the coupon might be lost or torn on the way to get it. For boring kids, moments like those were pure adrenaline.
Want more old comic book ads? I’ve written about them here and here, too!