Check Out Those Ads! – The Spectre #1

Spectre 1.0 TRN_Header

I originally planned to showcase ads from the Shadow of the Bat issue #1 for this installment, but when I looked through the comic the ads were less than memorable. I guess a good story is better than good ads. As I was scanning through the longbox I stumbled upon The Spectre series and then I noticed it also had a glow in the dark cover!

This issue was released over a year after the Ghost Rider issue we covered last time. DC wasn’t new to gimmicks or gimmick covers, as well see in the ads, but they were desperately trying to beat Marvel and gain new readers.

I was going to wait until the next installment to start the Halloween themed comics but after seeing The Spectre #1 and a couple other good horror titles in the ‘S’ section of my longbox I decided to start this week. It’s starting to fell like Halloween around here anyhow, the weather is getting cooler, the leaves have started turning and my neighbor already has Halloween decorations out!

Today we’ll look at the ads from The Spectre Volume 3, Issue #1 and except for two ads, they all stay inside the DC universe.

The Spectre made his first appearance 1940. Over the years he’d appear in his own title four different times, Volume 3 being the most successful with 62 issues. The cover of Issue #1 is fantastic! The Spectre standing in front of a pile of skeletons shaped like a skull and it all glows in the dark!

Maybe it’s the titles I choose to read, but I’ve always found DC to have darker themed comics than Marvel. The Spectre doesn’t disappoint.

“Confront Evil.” That’s what they told me. For fifty years, that’s what I’ve done. And the world is no better. The world has become more perverse on its choice of evils. And I don’t even know why.

~Jim Corrigan
Spectre 1.0 Cover

In Issue #1 we get the origin story of The Spectre aka Jim Corrigan. The Spectre enters the soul, yes the soul, of a dying man to find out who murdered Jim Corrigan 50 years ago. As The Spectre battles the man’s soul, he finds the answer, then leaves the man’s soul dead and empty and the man physically dies in the aftermath.

There’s also a short story line about man going to a woman’s apartment for a date and then he murders her. There’s no other mention of it in the issue.

Not bad for a first issue. I read most of Vol 3 and the man who murdered the woman appears in the first 12 or 13 issues. He’s given an interesting back story as motivation for his murdering spree. One that fits the 1992 time frame.

It’s a fitting story to kick off the Halloween season!

The Specter Issue #1 released in December 1992, a couple months after the Halloween season. Will there be any Halloween ads left over? Or are they all focused on Christmas? Let’s find out

Spectre 1.1 Doomsday

The first ad is for a major, no, an epic event in 1993, The Death of Superman! Does Doomsday really kill Superman? In December 1992 no one knew the answer, but it wasn’t looking good for the Man of Steel. The Death of Superman was a huge event.

I was an avid reader of comics and reserved three copies of Superman #75. I still have one which has never been opened. Black bagged with the dripping Superman logo on the front. With all the cool trinkets still inside.

Mickey wrote about his memories of the Death of Superman event in a recent installment of Retro Ramblings and took to the airwaves to talk about it on an episode of the Wizards Podcast.

There’s even a Wax Pack Flashback episode featuring trading cards from the Death of Superman. It’s no exaggeration to say it was the comic event of the year. Even non-comic book fans knew about it.

Spectre 1.2 Posters

The next ad is for DC posters. I like the Eclipso poster. It’s menacing looking. The other two aren’t bad but I don’t need them hanging on my wall. Unless I’m missing something here, there’s no way to actually order these posters. Or any information on where to find them. I’ll ask my local comic book shop.

Spectre 1.3 Star Trek

The next ad is for a Star Trek graphic novel turned paperback. The faces of Bones and Scotty are drawn weird. Scotty looks like he has gas and Bones looks like a wrinkled turtle, very strange. I had a few Star Trek comics but I wasn’t an avid collector. I enjoyed the TV show and movies, but didn’t need to read the comics or books about the series.

Spectre 1.4 Posters

More DC posters. This one only shows a Shazam poster. The other two spots look like an ad for upcoming annuals. Still no idea how to order them. DC seems to have missed a step with these ads.

Spectre 1.5 Subscribe

Comics are still pitching subscriptions in 1992! In 1992 there’s a comic book store on every corner. I can only guess these subscription are for those in the remote areas of the country or maybe service men and women who don’t have access to comic book stores.

Spectre 1.7 Rock the Vote

Rock the Vote was huge in 1992! The organization started in 1990 and the Presidential election in 1992 was their first big push. They partnered with MTV and all the popular artists of the time were featured in the TV ads. The funny thing about this ad is the timing. This issue was released in December 1992, the election was in November.

This ad should have been in the September/October issues, which it probably was too. The marketing team must have oversold the ads and needed to run them through December. You could still register to vote, but the next election was years off.

Spectre 1.8 Superman

This is another call to subscribe to Superman comics. This time using his death (did he really die??) as a selling point. If you read the print it says to subscribe by 28 October 1992 to get Superman #75, which is the Death of Superman issue. If you want the entire ‘Doomsday’ series you need to subscribe by 30 September. This ad ran in December…

Spectre 1.9 Robin III

Remember, this is an issue from December. This ad is for a series released in November. I know people will still buy it, but they are highlighting the moving covers of Robin III. In December, you couldn’t find a copy of Robin III issue #1 with the moving covers. Those sold out the day of release. I have three copies of each cover!

Here’s an interesting note, my copies of Robin III issue #1 all have a December 1992 date on them, not November. I wonder if they were behind schedule?

Robin III was/is a great 6-part series, featuring Tim Drake as Robin. Robin teams up with the Huntress to take down the Russians and their super assassin KGBeast.

Spectre 1.10 Candyman

The last ad is for the movie Candyman. Hey, a Halloween movie! Even though it’s a December issue. The ad says ‘coming soon…’ The movie released in October, two months before this issue came out. I can’t get over the late ads in this issue. It’s sloppy work from the marketing/sales department.

If they are going to have time based ads, they need to be in the correct issues. Otherwise stick with the subscription and poster ads. Maybe this is one of the reasons Marvel was beating them.

I haven’t seen any of the Candyman movies. I really don’t have a reason for not seeing them, just never got around to it. Coming from Clive Barker though, they have to be good.

Overall the ads in this issue were pretty lackluster. I guess they all can’t be winners. I’d rather have a good story and artwork than good ads and this comic delivers. If you like darker themed comics Volume 3 of The Spectre is worth reading.

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

About Pitfall Gary 147 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.

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