Posts Tagged ‘1960s’

A Book Look: Advertisement Addendum

November 22, 2010

Earlier this week we looked at the advertisements in the first issue from Wonder Woman’s mod era in 1968, when DC was apparently trying to reach more female readers.  Here is another example of the ads not quite matching the aim of the series.

This ad for Iverson’s bicycles appeared in Wonder Woman #183, six issues into the revamped Wonder Woman run:

Then in Wonder Woman #186, nine issues into the new run, Iverson changed their ad:

Can you spot the major difference?  No, it’s not going from top hats to sombreros.  Let’s look a little closer.

Here’s George Barris telling us about the bicycles in Wonder Woman #183:

And then in Wonder Woman #186:

Yep.  They dropped the mention of the bike that was “especially for girls”.  In my book, I do a statistical study of the ads in Wonder Woman throughout the 1960s, categorizing them as aimed at boys, girls, or gender neutral.  Iverson’s is the ONLY company who switched categories, going from gender neutral to aimed at boys… and right in the middle of the mod era to boot.  The ads and the target audience were REALLY not matching up for DC.

A Book Look: Ads vs. Audience

November 19, 2010

I wrote a thesis about Wonder Woman, and have just finished adapting that thesis into a book (I took out all the boring, thesisy stuff, I promise).  Occasionally, I’ll post an interesting bit from the book, partly for shameless self-promotion, and partly because it’s just fun.

So in 1968, DC completely revamped Wonder Woman.  She gave up her Amazon powers and her costume and became a normal human (albeit it one with mad kung fu skills).  The new direction began here, with Wonder Woman #178:

A major goal of this change was to appeal to female readers, as you can tell from the following ad that appeared in other DC comic books:

Now, you would think that this female targeting would be reflected in all aspects of the book, but here are the advertisements from Wonder Woman #178.  There were a few of the gender neutral variety: 

But most of them were comprised of traditional “boy” items, such as toy vehicles:


Various types of soldiers:

And books to make you a he-man:

There wasn’t a single ad directed at girls specifically.  Weird, right?  If you were trying to reach a female audience, shouldn’t the ads have reflected your expected readership?  What’s the deal?!

Yeah, I’m not gonna tell you what the deal is.  I can’t spoil the book!!  But man, old comic book ads are the best.  Did you look at that astronaut toughness ad?  I wish modern comics asked me “Friend, dare YOU risk 25¢?”  Hell, it would just be fun if the ads referred to me as “friend”.  Or offered me books for a quarter and three square feet of battlefield (with aircraft carriers AND planes AND destroyers AND more!!) for a buck thirty.  Video games and DVD box sets are expensive!!

Anyway, I get a kick out of the juxtaposition of ads and audience in Wonder Woman #178… it just seems like a bizarre disconnect.  OR IS IT??  Oh right, I’m not telling you…

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