House ad for 1970s Marvel Magazines

Another typically garish and wordy full-page ad for the black and white Marvel magazines. This comes from Master of Kung-Fu #21, October 1974. With the success of Warren’s magazines, and the fact that the magazine format wasn’t subject to the whims of the Comics Code Authority, it didn’t take long for Marvel to go after the horror market with a vengeance. As had long been its practice, it flooded the news stands with product, creating a glut that ultimately did no one much good. At the time there was quite a battle for dominance going on, with Warren, Skywald and Atlas/Seaboard all competing with Marvel for shelf space. And that’s without the various bottom-of-the-barrel scrapings produced by publisher Myron Fass…

While most of the Marvel magazines were anthologies, filled with one-off tales of horror and intrigue, they occasionally featured ongoing series. And, when sales were falling, why not give some popular characters a shot? Morbius and Blade were refugees from the colour comics, of course. Morbius had been introduced as a Spider-Man villain, while Blade was the bete noir of the vampire count in Tomb of Dracula. He later moved onto bigger and better things by scoring his own movie franchise. The Frankenstein monster managed to star in his very own solo colour comic, as well as spending time in the more relaxed black and white surroundings. Notice that he also gets a shot in Monsters of the Movies—what a busy monster he was that month!

Typically, these magazines didn’t last very long. James Warren knew what he was doing and was able to ride out the storm, continuing his line well into the 1980s—by which time all Marvel magazines, bar the near-immortal Savage Sword of Conan, were distant memories.

I do think it’s quite amusing that the normally oh so hyperbolic Marvel have decided to refer to Vampire Tales as “mildly exciting”. Come on, Stan, you’re slipping..!

Image ©2012 Marvel Characters, Inc