Check Out Those Ads! – Legend of the Shield #1

Legend of the Shield #1 header

Impact Comics was a DC Comics imprint in the early 1990’s. The first comic released in July 1991 was Legend of the Shield. I saw the comic while doing my regular Friday afternoon comic shopping. The cover with bullets bouncing off a stars and stripes suit of armor grabbed my attention and I grabbed the comic. I was not disappointed.

Along with Legend of the Shield, Impact Comics introduced five more superheros in 1991. The Comet, The Jaguar, The Fly, The Web and The Black Hood. In 1992 they introduced The Crusaders a team featuring all the aforementioned superheros. Think Justice League or the Avengers.

I collected all the comics in the Impact lineup from day one. Unfortunately they didn’t hang around long. The longest running comic was The Comet with 18 issues. All the titles were canceled by December 1992. They tried one last effort to revive the comics in 1993 with The Crucible, but it wasn’t well received and canceled after six issues.

Legend of the Shield #1 Cover

While I was reading the first issue of Legend of the Shield my dad noticed the title and read it after I was done. He said he used to read the comic when he was a kid. What? That can’t be, maybe he’s thinking of Captain America. The Shield is a brand new character. He insisted he read it though and when I brought home The Fly he said the same thing.

He was certain on The Fly. He told me he read the comic when he was a switchman on the railroad, riding in the caboose. He had lots of time on his hands and would read comics to pass the time.

Well as a know-it-all teenager I couldn’t let this stand. I had to find out if the old man was right or not. In a small town, with no internet, it was not an easy feat. There is a hint in Legend of the Shield, it states the original Shield disappeared in 1963. Maybe this was a reboot of older characters.

Of course the old man was right. All the characters in the Impact Comics lineup were licensed from Archie Comics. They all appeared in the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s. Here’s a little bit of trivia you can store away until needed. The Shield is the first Superhero to wear the Stars and Stripes, appearing 14 months before Captain America. The Shield #1 cover date is January 1940, Captain America #1 is March 1941.

Legend of the Shield #1 (1991)

I loved this comic from the beginning. Joe Higgins is picked for Project: Shield, a super soldier project. Higgins was given a suit of armor that gave him superhuman strength, the ability to fly and enhanced his senses.

Turns out the General in charge of the program, General Marion Higgins, Joe’s Father, hand picked his son for the program. In doing so he also ruined his son’s stellar military career.

Legend of the Shield Hero

You’re ready for whatever they throw at you. Project: Shield has given you a chance to redeem yourself, Joe. Do something with it. Make yourself proud. Make your country proud. Make your dad proud

~Joe Higgins

The first issue introduces all the essential characters, the hero, the villain, the other villain and a few side characters that will play an integral role in the series. It also ends with a mysterious group looking for parts of the armor. Are they good or bad? We’ll have to wait and see.

As a said before though, the series was cut short. Due to poor sales Legend of the Shield was canceled after 16 issues in October 1992.

I was all in on the Impact universe. I collected all the comics and even the ‘Who’s Who’ cards of all the heroes, villains and equipment. There was even a Impact branded 3-ring binder to store the cards. I still have it with all the other comic collectibles in the house.

I could go on and on about Impact Comics and Legend of the Shield but we’re here to see the ads. What ads did they put in this brand new comic series?

We’re skipping a few ads in this issue because we’ve seen them before. The great Beetlejuice ad, seen in Hawk and Dove #25, one for Great Eastern Conventions. Convention ads don’t change much only different dates and guests. The video game hint line ad and one for East Coast Comics. East Coast Comics has the same format as Mile High Comics, a long list of comics in small print.

Mile High Comics

Legend of the Shield #1 MIle High Comics

Speaking of Mile High Comics… I said I was done beating the Mile High Comics dead horse, but one more won’t hurt. This ad is a a different take on their normal ad which is usually a list of comics and prices. In this ad they are offering a special trial offer for 50% off the cover price if you join the N.I.C.E. subscription club! The ad never says what N.I.C.E stands for, it’s New Issue Comics Express.

I like how they so gallantly say they will lose money on this offer. I doubt their claim. Even if true, their in-store prices are so jacked up they make up for it somehow. If their phone customer service was anything like there in-person customer service it must have been a miserable experience. I’d wager being a member of the N.I.C.E. club wasn’t nice at all. Still not a fan.

Olympic Sales Club

Legend of the Shield #1 Olympic Sales

This ad always drew me in as a kid. I’d look at the different prizes and dream of how great it would be to own them. Telescope, tent, swiss army knife, walkie talkies, walkman, it has everything to entice a young kid to join the Olympic Sales Club!

If you joined the Olympic Sales Club you could sell cards and stationary for cool cash and prizes! I never joined the club. I like how they list the 1-800 number and say ‘Ask for Ruth’ Was Ruth the only one who could sign you up? I wonder if she was the only one answering phones. Was she swamped with phone calls? Maybe they had an all female answering service and everyone was ‘Ruth.’ I really wish I could talk to Ruth now, so many questions.

I did own the one person inflatable raft that’s pictured in the ad. For the record it fits two people. I didn’t get it through this company. I must have bought it at Target. My buddy and I would take it to the The Pit, an old abandoned quarry that filled with water over the years. We’d row around the pit for hours, floating, swimming and jumping off the sheer cliff walls. Great fun on hot summer days.

The Jaguar

Legend of the Shield #1 Jaguar

This is one of my favorite ads in the issue. An ad for one of the new comics in the Impact lineup. She is…The Jaguar! The original Jaguar was a man, in this incarnation The Jaguar was changed to a female student from Rio de Janeiro.

Her super powers are based on a Jaguar’s normal abilities only enhanced, super human speed and strength with cat like reflexes and agility.

I enjoyed this comic, it took a few issues for it to take hold, but once the writers figured out what to do with the character it took off.

I don’t know what the original comic was like but a South American female seems to make sense for a superhero named Jaguar.

Impact Comics

Legend of the Shield #1 Impact Comics

Another ad for Impact Comics, this one features all the new titles coming out. It’s a cool ad. Five new comics hitting the shelves. Comics history in the making!

This ad is to subscribe to the new comics. I was fine going to the comic store and buying my comics. $50 for 60 comics is a good deal and while the comics didn’t last long, all the comics in this ad made it at least 12 issues.

I liked all of these characters and the Black Hood, who hit the scene in late 1991. Impact also created a superhero team, The Crusaders, which included the five characters in this ad. Unfortunately, when The Crusaders comic came out the other comics were in decline and on the verge of cancellation.

Atari Lynx

Legend of the Shield #1 Atari Lynx

Ah, the Atari Lynx. We saw this ad a couple times before. This ad showcases over a dozen games for the Lynx and some good games too. Gauntlet is one of my all time favorite arcade games. Although the ports to consoles aren’t the greatest. Paperboy, Rampage and Xenophobe are also great arcade games.

By all accounts the Lynx should have been a best selling handheld console. Compared to the Game Boy it had better hardware, graphics, color screen and the a multiplayer feature with the Lynx cable.

The unit never caught on, I didn’t own one, my friends didn’t own one. In fact I’ve never seen one other than ads or videos. Nintendo’s name recognition and marketing power won the day.

Laser Invasion

Legend of the Shield #1 Laser Invasion

This is a great ad! It’s Contra meets Rambo.

Laser Invasion is a fun game. You fly around in a helicopter blowing things up, then land the bird and take off on foot to finish the mission. The cool part about the ground mission is you can use the NES Zapper. The game also supports the LaserScope and offers a $10 off coupon.

I played Laser Invasion a lot when it came out. Using the Zapper was a great feature. The only other game I played with the Zapper was Duck Hunt.

Laser Invasion is a fun game and well worth your time to play. Go play it now, well finish the article first, then go play Laser Invasion.

That’s a wrap for the Legend of the Shield #1 ads. Good ads all around. Laser Invasion is my favorite from the issue. The Impact Comics ad is good too.

What’s your favorite ad from the comic? Did you read any of the Impact Comic titles? Which one was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time, keep your comics bagged and boarded…unless you want to thumb through them to check out the great ads!

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About Pitfall Gary 48 Articles
Just your average Gen X'er. Born in the 70s and raised in the Decade of Decadence! I rode my bike without a helmet and was home when the street lights came on. I love to reminisce about the good ol' days; Movies, TV, music, if it happened in my childhood I'll share it with you.