The late 80’s and early 90’s were a blockbuster time for comic books. Massive crossover events, tons of variant covers and lots of new titles coming to the market. In 1991 there were so many Issue #1’s I can’t event count them all. Superman: The Man of Steel, Deathlok, X-Force, Robin II, Aquaman, and a whole slew of heroes from the DC imprint Impact Comics.
Today we are looking at a new character introduced by Marvel comics in June 1991, Sleepwalker. Created by Bob Budiansky and Bret Blevins in the 1970s, Sleepwalker was originally called Alien, until the movie of the same name was released. The duo put Alien/Sleepwalker on the shelf for over ten years. Then in 1989 DC released the Sandman comics and Marvel wanted something to compete with Sandman.
It’s a shame Marvel waited so long to introduce Sleepwalker. Once Sandman was released it looked like Marvel was trying to copy the success of DC, instead of being ahead of the curve.
Sleepwalker is from the Mindscape a dimension that borders on the minds of all living beings. He was tricked by his archenemy to enter the mind of college student Rick Sheridan and ended up getting trapped.
Sleepwalker appeared in Rick’s dreams, they were able to communicate in the dreams which allowed them to come to an understanding about Sleepwalker’s presence. While Rick slept, Sleepwalker could materialize to fight crime.
Sleepwalker has superhuman strength and stamina, can levitate and possesses ‘warp gaze,’ allowing him to alter the shape of physical objects.
Sleepwalker ran for 33 issues from June 1991 through February 1994. Along the way he teamed with iconic Marvel heroes like Spider-Man, Deathlok, Moon Knight and Darkhawk. He also had a pivotal role in the Infinity War, which takes place following the events of the Infinity Gauntlet.
I was a big fan of Sleepwalker, he was a creepy ethereal creature with glowing red eyes; he reminded me of an inter-dimensional version of Freddy Krueger, only materializing when you sleep. Marvel could, and should have made Sleepwalker a pure horror comic.
Sleepwalker was awesome, but how were the ads in Sleepwalker #1? Let’s find out…
As we’ll see there are a few ads in this issue we’ve seen before and Battletoads is one of them. Battletoads was last seen in Ghost Rider #15, the one with the glow-in-the-dark cover. My thoughts haven’t changed on Battletoads, it’s still a mediocre game. You know it can’t be a good game when they start dissing the Ninja Turtles!
You can play Battletoads online and see if you like it more than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Fleer Baseball Cards
You can never have too many baseball cards. Fleer wasn’t my first choice in baseball cards in 1991, but they were a solid choice nonetheless.
I liked the Team logo stickers, although I never found one for baseball teams I followed. I always enjoyed the stats and bios on the back of the cards.
Fleer is a standard in baseball cards and if it wasn’t for Fleer we would all still be buying Topps baseball cards. Topps held a firm grip on the baseball card market since the 1950s. In 1975 Fleer sued Topps to break the monopoly in the baseball card market and they won the lawsuit in 1980.
The court ruled Topps exclusive rights applied only to selling packs of baseball cards with gum. No other company could include gum in their wax packs but they could sell baseball cards.
Fleer included team logo stickers (like the one in this ad) in their packs since they couldn’t include gum. Fleer stopped including team logo stickers the year after this ad, 1992. The same year Topps stopped including gum in their packs.
A Line in the Sand
Tactical Studies Rules (TSR) was formed in 1973 by Gary Gygax and Don Kaye to publish the rules for Dungeons & Dragons. TSR made some great games throughout the 1970s, all of the 1980s and well into the 90’s.
While D&D was the main focus of the company they produce numerous non-D&D games; Conan, Marvel Super Heroes, Buck Rodgers and this game, A Line in the Sand.
A Line in the Sand, based on the U.S. invasion of Iraq in January 1991, was published the same day the US bombed Iraq. I wonder who at TSR had the inside knowledge of the invasion?
I think I covered all I can about the Rocketeer last month when the ad first showed up. I love the ad, its vintage artwork let’s you know the era the film takes place. Go watch the movie then listen to the Box Office 30 episode.
Dungeons & Dragons
It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Dungeons & Dragons. After listening to the latest Time Machine Quiz Show it’s obvious Mickey is not a fan of the game.
I’d guess D&D, like at my house, was forbidden for Mickey as well. The entire occult, devil worshiping image stretched far and wide. It was impossible for a young kid to convince their parents any different. Once the rule was laid down that D&D was strictly forbidden in my house I never brought it up again.
I do feel a little bad for sneaking around to play, well, no maybe I don’t. I had a great time playing the game. And I never once worshiped the devil or sacrificed a virgin!
If you want to start playing D&D or start again, you can download the 5th edition rules for free. Get them now and start a campaign!
Upper Deck Baseball Cards
This is a fantastic 3-page centerfold ad!
Upper Deck, the best baseball cards on the market! And signed by Nolan Ryan! I would love a Nolan Ryan signed card. I never got one though.
Once Upper Deck launched in 1988 I was hooked. It was my go-to card when buying baseball cards. I have binders full of Upper Deck cards, mostly baseball but other sports too. They used good card stock, sharp pictures and a fancy hologram on the card.
Upper Deck is still around today making great cards for all kinds of sports.
Spider-Man Trivia Phone game
There are some things in life worse than death… like my dad finding a charge for a 1-900 number on the phone bill. I wasn’t even slightly tempted to dial the number and try to win.
Science Fiction Book Club
We saw this ad back in April in the What If… #24 edition. 5 books for $1, plus a free tote bag!
I was a sucker for these types of clubs. I joined this one with no regrets. I also joined the Columbia House Music Club (cassette and CD) and Columbia House Movie Club.
If I had to pick five books right now I’d take; Stranger in a Strange Land, Eleven Star, Prime Directive, Nightfall and Mission to Mars. I own all of them and they are fantastic. If you haven’t read them you should. Start with Robert Heinlein, move on to Issac Asimov and finish out with the Dragonlance series by Tracy Hickman, you won’t regret it.
NBA Hoops Cards
We saw another NBA Hoops ad in Darkhawk #1 but it was a dark and muddy mess. This ad is readable and highlights the cards.
These cards feature a player and a trivia question. Where did Clyde ‘The Glide’ Drexler go to college? I have no idea. To bad they didn’t ask about David Robinson’s college…that one I know.
I have a few basketball cards in my collection but I didn’t collect them regularly. Baseball and Hockey cards make up the majority of my sports collection.
The nice thing about this ad is they are willing to give you the answers to the questions. Remember this is 1991, you couldn’t pop onto the internet and look up the answer in 30 seconds like I just did. Send your name and address to NBA HOOPS TRIVIA and they’ll send you the answers.
I love t-shirts and own quite a few. As much as I want to like this t-shirt it just isn’t doing anything for me. The price is ok, $15 plus $3 shipping, $18 in 1991 is about $35 today. I don’t think I’d drop $35 on that t-shirt. Of course I had no problem dropping $20 or more for a sweet Mötley Crüe or Guns N’ Roses concert t-shirt.
If someone bought this for me I would have worn it. The only real problem is the color, white. I wore exclusively black t-shirts back then.
I do own a Captain America t-shirt though, well actually it’s an Under Armor compression shirt. I wear it when I work out to feel like Captain America. It’s the only Marvel shirt I own.
3 Musketeers Bar
You can’t go wrong with Candy bars filled with chocolate mousse. We saw Adventure #5 last year in Ghost Rider #15.
I’m on a quest to find all the adventures in the series. And I don’t mean finding them on the internet. I’m scouring all my comics to find them. When I do I’m going to celebrate with a giant 3 Musketeers bar!
NBA All-Star Challenge
NBA All-Star Challenge for the Nintendo Game Boy. I never owned a Game Boy, I know, it’s really sad. If I did I’m not sure this game would make it into my library, not because its bad, but I didn’t play a lot of sports games.
If you missed this game, or loved to play it, you can play it now and relive all the great memories, or make some new ones.
That’s it for the ads in Sleepwalker #1. Pretty good mix of ads for a first issue.
Did you read the Sleepwalker? Did you like it? What is your favorite ad in this issue. Let us know in the comments below.
Until then, keep your comics bagged and boarded…unless you want to thumb through them to check out the great ads!
Check out the previous installments of
Check Out Those Ads!