The Art of the Sell — Marvel’s New Cover Format

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art.

I would like to take this opportunity to admit anew that during the height of my comic book collecting, in the nineteen-eighties, I was a hopeless sucker for the inspired hucksterism that emanated from the House of Ideas as dependably as their monthly mags. I fell for practically every hoisted hunk of hyperbole, certain that I would miss out on a classic for the ages if I didn’t plunk down my accumulated coins for whatever issue Marvel was putting most of their marketing muscle behind any given month. I was, as they say, a true believer.

To illustrate the scale of my susceptibility, I choose to reveal, with some embarrassment, that I was inordinately excited about a packaging redesign that the publisher implemented in the middle of 1983. That trembling enthusiasm stemmed almost entirely from a trade ad included in some issues that I can see now was so simplistic, straightforward, and bereft of detail that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it was dashed off at the last moment because a few stories came up short a page so why not tout the new trade dress. In truth, it probably didn’t hurt that the ad included my favorite four-color fella, Benjamin J. Grimm, a.k.a. the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed Thing, and he was depicted in happy relief when spared the cramping indignity of the longstanding Marvel Comics Group banner across the top of the cover.

The promise that there would be “MORE ROOM FOR THE ART!” was so big and bold that it must be of epochal importance. It was also, as the promotion insisted, “MORE MARVEL MAGIC!” How could I not be enthralled by such a dramatic month to month transformation?

These posts celebrate the movie trailers, movie posters, commercials, print ads, and other promotional material that stand as their own works of art.

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