Sunday, April 09, 2006

Comic Book Ad: Children of the Gun

This advertisement for the Daisy "Spittin' Image" Winchester model BB gun that appeared in Lois Lane #30 (Jan 1962) is pretty typical of the type of the ad that ran in nearly every comic book of the 50's and 60's.
This ad was definately not skewed at the female readership of the title. In fact, the majority of the ads were very oriented towards the male readership, the demographic that supposedly purchased the most comic books. I always saw that the purpose of the Lois Lane book was that it was a "safe" romance book. That is, one title that boys could buy and read without too much embarrassment or worried questions from Dad about their masculinity. The book remained accessible in that form until the title changed direction a bit in the late 1960's by using DC's Big Book of Relevancy template to start representing the actual role of women in modern society. Or at least the popular media notion of that role.

It's a pretty exciting ad probably sold under a blanket contract for filling advertising space or it would undoubtedly have featured a pink "Lady Daisy" in order to grab the disposable income of female gun-lovers. You can fill in the details of the story yourself from the picture. Were they good guys fighting off the villains or where they the robbers hijacking the payroll? Was Larry the Wonder Horse leading them into a trap? I like how earlier, smarter advertisements encourage the consumer to create their own circumstances of the story behind the picture. Who was good, bad and in between was up to the observer. That's something that a later generation of marketing gurus decided children were too stupid to do on their own.

That said, from the lower right corner of the ad: What the heck is this?

It's disturbing to see a group of ammunition-worshipping children gleefully dancing around a giant totem fetish of their god in a comic book advertisement. I don't want to pass through a town that hosts that kind of cult. I imagine my car breaking down on some ominous Friday afternoon in a small village empty of parents with gun-weilding children everywhere taking aim at squirells and strangers. Crayon-rendered signs are posted everywhere proclaiming Saturday as the day for the monthly sacrifice to He-Who-Shoots-Behind-The-Rows.

But then, that is why I avoid traveling throughout the South.

2 comments:

  1. If that's a giant container of BBs, I'd hate to see the gun that goes with them. Maybe they actually worship the giant that has the BB gun used with those BBs. Scary...

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  2. "Crayon-rendered signs are posted everywhere proclaiming Saturday as the day for the monthly sacrifice to He-Who-Shoots-Behind-The-Rows."

    had I been drinking milk when reading that, it would now be all over the screen, via my nose.

    - housepig

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