Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Summer Time Comic Book Fun with Vicki (or at least the ads)

We didn't have air conditioning when I was little and when we did get it, we rarely used it.  So many of my summers were spent in our basement where it was cool (temperature wise, that is.  As basements go, it was as uncool as they get and was actually kind of scary).  I would spend hours reading comic books, a lot of which were from my older brothers who were alive during that sweet spot of years to see the birth of the Marvel Age of comics.  I guess what my rambling is trying to get at is that I've always associated summer with comic books and this being July 1st, I thought I'd bring one out that I recently picked up at a sale.

I was never a big reader of the Archie line, but I did have a few and when I saw this cover, I assumed it was an extension of those comics.



But  this first issue of"Vicki" from February of 1975 is actually published by Atlas Comics which was a startup company formed by Marvel founder Martin Goodman after he left the company.  He even hired Stan Lee's brother Larry Lieber as an artist/writer. This issue of "Vicki" is actually a reprint of Towers Comics' "Tippy Teen" from 1965 which itself was a blatant rip-off of the Archie characters and was even drawn by Archie veteran artist Samm Schwartz.  Here's a sampling of the art.




As you can see, you have your Archie character, your Betty, your Veronica, your Reggie, your Moose, your Dilton, even your Jughead.  The Archie clone even drives a jalopy like Archie's.

It also features the typical pin-up.

I'm not sure why it's entitled "color me black & white" since she's clearly wearing different colors (even the word "white" is red. Weird). I'm wondering if there was a loss of translation from the original and this reprint.

But now lets get to the most interesting part of the comic, as usual, the ads.

Johnson Smith Co. is still around, but gone are the familiar items offered on this page.  

Some close ups.





A splash page for the Atlas line of comics featuring what appear to be more knockoffs including Turok, Swamp Thing, Thor, Conan,  and The Rawhide Kid. I'm sure someone else had a female demon warrior/sorceress at the time, but I can't place a name.  They even rip off Marvel's nickname, "The House of Ideas".

 Sea-Monkeys, a staple of comic book ads.















Ultimately, and quite quickly, Atlas failed.  They folded in late 1975 with 4 or less issues of each title published.

Martin Goodman passed away in 1992, but in 2010, his grandson Jason attempted a relaunch of Atlas Comics.  He learned soon afterward, and too late, that the trademark for the name had already been taken by another comics publisher, Dynamite Entertainment.

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