Sunday, July 3, 2016

1970s summer comics nostalgia with Thing and Vision, Episode IV

There are many websites that feature fond memories of the short-lived Marvel magazine Pizzazz, but I haven't seen many references to this full-page advertisement, which appears on the inside front cover of the May 1978 issue (#39) of "Marvel Two-in-One." It deploys Sue Storm, Steve Rogers, Ben Grimm and Peter Parker to make a pitch for the magazine's merits as a boredom-buster.

But the boredom-buster went bust quickly. Pizzazz lasted for just 16 issues, from October 1977 through January 1979. It was essentially going up against the juggernaut that was Scholastic's Dynamite magazine, which is likely one reason it never gained a foothold. (Scholastic's publication had a huge advantage with those monthly book club brochures and order forms that were distributed in classrooms across the United States.)

Still, Pizzazz gave it the old college try, mixing together its Marvel superheroes with the biggest pop-culture sensations, from Star Wars to Shaun Cassidy (I spotted him on at least three covers) to Linda Ronstadt, who was featured on one of the oddest mash-up covers you'll ever see...

... a band featuring Ronstadt, Doctor Strange, Captain America and C-3PO (on drums). Because why not?

The advertisement at the top of this post was trying to convince kids who were presumably already Marvel fans to pick up Pizzazz on the newsstand each month for 75 cents. And it's clear they were doing their best to appeal to both boys and girls. Here are some excerpts form the ad copy:
"Sometimes you've had it with everything, even TV, and you're up to your eyeballs with your friends, you mom and dad, the world. Wham! The blahs set in. And the blahs can be hard to shake. That's when you need something different, exciting and fun. Have we got a deal for you! ...

"We've got parodies of commercials, superhero jokes and caricatures of famous stars. 'Dream Dimension' analyzes your dreams; 'Dear Wendy' solves your personal hangups. There are short stories, comic strips, cooking and magic lessons, reviews of new movies, rock stars, TV shows, books, sports and records, pull-out calendars, games and puzzles. Pizzazz will make you laugh; it might even make you smart."
Here are links to some articles with more history and memories of Pizzazz:

Finally, I also came across a different comic-book advertisement for Pizzazz, one that features a very robust- and virile-looking version of Stan Lee..

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