Tag: comic book ads

With Further Ado #302: Go Ride Your Bike!

With Further Ado #302: Go Ride Your Bike!

For a comic lover like me, summer was the perfect time to dive into a stack of comics. I have vivid memories of reading comics on steamy summer days. I also have memories of my mom telling me to “Get out of the house!” and to “Go outside and play!”

I grew up in the quintessential TV sitcom neighborhood. Every day was a grand adventure for me and my buddies. And it often started with a bike ride. We did have a “need for speed”, as ridiculous as that sounds, but our bikes also gave us a certain amount of freedom. We could – theoretically – go anywhere.

I guess I wasn’t the only kid that felt that strongly about these two topics (comics and bikes) either. I’ve been digging through a bunch of vintage comics (more on this amazing collection gifted to me another time). I’m struck by just how many bike ads used to be in comics! Continue reading “With Further Ado #302: Go Ride Your Bike!”

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

With Further Ado #146: Five and a Half Questions with Adam Philips

You’ve read Adam Philips work for many years, but you may have not known it. He’s one of those hard-working, behind-the-scenes guys.  But now he’s embarking on a new stage of his career and it all seems fascinating. So, let’s catch up with Adam Philips in 5 and ½ questions!

Question 1:

Ed Catto: We’ve known each other a long time, Adam, but for this column, can you please give us a little background on who you are and how you came to be?

Adam Philips: Sure! I’m a lifelong comics fan – I was a Marvel zombie in the 1970s and an early proponent of the Indie comics scene. I got started in the field in the 1980s when I wrote articles for Marvel Age magazine, which led to me being hired as the assistant editor on Marvel Age, as well as the Doctor Who reprints, a Howard the Duck one-shot, and a few other Marvel projects. I also did freelance work for Archie, Eclipse, Topps, and Fantagraphics, and I even wrote about comics for Entertainment Weekly in an early issue.

After a few years in magazines, I joined Welsh Publishing Group as an editor, where I worked on titles for young readers starring Superman and Batman, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Real Ghostbusters, DuckTales, Garfield, the Simpsons, and more. I was hired by DC Comics in 1994 as their first-ever copywriter, where I conceived and wrote ads and posters. I then moved into marketing, where I ran DC’s solicitation process, created their retailer emails, and created and presented content at retailer events, and lots more. I left DC this past February.

Even after all that, I’m still a comics fan at heart! I’m currently blogging the entire run of Marvel Age at MakeMineMarvelAge, and I’m working on two comics-related podcasts that will debut soon.

Question 2:

EC:  Your new venture, Untold Stories Marketing sounds fascinating. What’s the idea behind this agency? Did you see an unmet need in the marketplace?

AP: A few months ago, I was having conversations with some comics companies about what my post-DC life might look like, and over the course of those chats we identified certain areas where they thought they could use some marketing help. That, aligned with something I’ve heard from retailers so many times, which is, “If I knew more about it, I would have ordered more.” What clicked for me was the idea of an agency that would provide information on new series to retailers so they can order with confidence and tell their customers what those titles are all about.

I’ve worked closely with publishers, writers and artists, distributors, and retailers, which makes me uniquely qualified to take a publishers’ direction, get information direct from the creative team, and use the distributors’ platforms to communicate to retailers in language they respond to.

Question 3:

EC: 3. Love the logo. What can you tell us about it?

AP: It’s orange! I worked with a friend who’s a logo designer and gave him some direction. I wanted it to have the vibe of a “Hello, my name is…” sticker, and the name itself is a play on the old “imaginary stories” and the concept of “untold stories of your favorite hero.” And I want to help creators tell their untold stories.

Question 4:

EC: Do you think it’s mandatory that an agency like Untold Stories Marketing is run by a long-time comic fan/enthusiast? Could the firm still succeed if that wasn’t the case?

AP: You probably don’t have to be a comics fan, but it helps. This is a quirky industry like no other, and while there are marketing concepts that can apply to just about anything, knowing the players and the institutions is important. There’s no substitute for familiarity with the history of the field, or with having actual relationships with retailers.

Question 5:

EC: 5. You’ve been in thick of it for a long time. What’s the most interesting thing, or the most challenging thing, about the industry today?

AP: The most interesting thing to me is the breadth of product out there. A lot of smaller publishers have come along in the past few years with some great titles – publishers like Aftershock, Ahoy, Vault, or Scout, to name just a few. That said, retailers are stretched thin in trying to keep up with it all. Helping publishers sharpen their messaging so retailers can take away what they need to know and order with confidence…well, that’s what Untold Stories Marketing is all about.

Question 5 1/2:

EC: How will your experiences at comic conventions – when they start up again – be different, Adam?

AP: I can’t wait to get back to conventions so I can run into folks like you, Ed! In the past, my convention experience tended to mostly be me running back and forth between panels, where I would run the A/V for a PowerPoint I created for DC. That let up a bit in the past couple of years, which gave me the opportunity to focus on my work as a retailer liaison. I anticipate a lot of meetings with publishers and retailers, and I’ll probably spend more time than I have in the past walking and talking in artists’ alley. And picking up some comics here and there!


You can find Untold Stories Marketing on their website or on Twitter and Facebook.

With Further Ado #135: Comics (M)Ad Men

With Further Ado #135: Comics (M)Ad Men

I don’t think this week’s review will be at center of a firestorm like last week’s review of Abraham’s Riesman’s The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee.  As you may have read, the “controversial” biography  is another deep dive Stan Lee biography.  And in this arena with so many passionate fans, everyone has an opinion. It certainly has generated heated discussions.

On the other hand, Fantagraphic’s Comics Ad Men by Steven Brower is also the type of book that I’m eager to read, but somehow had escaped my notice.  It came out in 2019, but I just learned about it and I snagged a copy last month.

Stan Drake Art

Many comic professionals don’t do just one thing.  In the up-and-down world of creatives, it’s generally important to be able to work on different types of assignments, sometimes in different industries. When one thing gets slow, there’s a need to work on another.

Neal Adams Ad Work

Steve Brower has assembled a top-notch showcase of comics artists that produced traditional (and some non-traditional) advertising.  There’s wonderful examples of from artists like Neal Adams, C.C. Beck, Stan Drake, Creig Flessel, Noel Sickles, Basil Wolverton, and so many more.

Brower also provides some background to help readers understand those halcyon Mad Men days of advertising firms.  There are fascinating stories about DDB, Young & Rubican, McCann Erickson, Leo Burnett and Johnston & Cushing. This informative look into the past is peppered by industry luminaries like Joe Kubert and one of his students-turned-pro, Thom (Love and Capes) Zahler.

Frank Robbins Art

In that classic age of ad agencies, Westport, Connecticut was a bedroom community for Madison Avenue . But I also learned here that there was an artist’s drop off spot in that town. Illustrators could drop off their work late at night. It would get to the agencies by 10 am., and then they’d get their next assignments later day.  Who needed email, Dropbox or Slack?

 

 

 

With Further Ado #133: It’s an Ad, Ad, Ad World

With Further Ado #133: It’s an Ad, Ad, Ad World

I always kinda liked the ads in comics.  In stark contrast to prose books (I am a big bookworm and love to read books, too), the constant interruption of comic stories by advertisements sprinkled throughout has a charm all of its own. And when they fit in with comics, it’s even better. Sometimes the ads showcase other genre-related properties like movies, TV shows and licensed merchandise.  Sometimes they just serve as a nostalgic tether to days, and products, long gone by.

I’m proud to have had a few of my ads appear in various comics over the years. It was a thrill to see them in print. Like the Super Bowl, there were times when I’d look forward to seeing the ads more than the main event.  In a recent conversation with my old Nabisco pal, Doug Haase, we ended up talking all about our old Marvel comics cross promotion and the ads that went along with it.

I’ve worked with professional experts too. Creative types as well as sales folks. As far as I’m concerned, people like Marvel’s Renee Krumper, Valiant’s Seymour Miles, and DC’s Avery Stiratt have an important place in comics history.  Most notable is the entrepreneurial warrior, Kris Longo. He’s been fighting the good fight at Geek Riot Media, the firm he founded, for years now.

With all that in mind, I was especially delighted when I stumbled across Harvey’s Dick Tracy #99. I’m working on a Dick Tracy article for the Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide, and I need to get up to speed. Continue reading “With Further Ado #133: It’s an Ad, Ad, Ad World”

With Further Ado #030: Twilight Zone Comics – Part 2

With Further Ado #030: Twilight Zone Comics – Part 2

There’s that old saying about imitation as the sincerest form of flattery.

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the Twilight Zone, and I am focusing on that show, and Rod Serling, as it will all be a part of the 44 annual Ithaca Comic Convention.  My focus has expanded, and now I’m even taking a look at competitive, and or derivative, properties.

In the world of this particular niche – Twilight Zone type comics – I’m finding that imitation goes hand-in-hand with the notion of copy degradation. There’s less use of the actual Xerox machines today, but you understand the concept: every time you make a copy of a copy it tends to lose something. That’s exactly what I’m finding with comics series similar to Twilight Zone comics – copies of copies tend to lose something.

The Outer Limits was a science fiction anthology show from the Golden Age of Television. It was ushered in right about the time that The Twilight Zone was being ushered out by CBS. Despite scripts by top-notch writers (Harlan Ellison, Robert Towne, Joseph Stefano, etc.) and some great acting (Robert Culp, Jill Haworth, etc.), this series is often remembered as an also-ran to The Twilight Zone Continue reading “With Further Ado #030: Twilight Zone Comics – Part 2”