Thursday, July 20, 2006

The Best Comic Book Ad EVER EVER EVER!

"Simba, my friend...What! You're not Simba!"

What long-time comic fan doesn't remember the classic line from the 1975 comic book advertisement Tarzan Discovers the Land of the Prehistoric Animals drawn by Joe Kubert for Pom Poms candy and Aurora's model kits?

The ad ran for several months in various comic books of 1975 -1976 as a tie-in from Nabisco and the long-time comic book ad standby, the hobby company Aurora, pushing a series of mail-order Prehistoric Animals model kits. This particular copy was found inWorld's Finest Comics #234 (December 1975) and is permanently burned into my brain, taking up precious memory space I can ill afford to squander on ancient pop media. But it is worth it for the Kubert!

As far as ads go, it is a truly memorable one due to the art and subject matter. The ad is unique in that it is a small and self-contained story of Tarzan, who falls through a time-hole and is stranded for a short time in a land where extinct dinosaurs and mammals coexist. This ad is so complete it is very nearly a comic book back-up story in itself! It has great layouts and pacing by a Kubert who was, as usual, putting in a talented and professional effort. In the first panel Kubert draws Tarzan as exhausted from his unexpected journey, traumatized and possibly injured by events he can not comprehend. Tarzan encounters a big cat he mistakenly believes a friend and Kubert shows how devastated Tarzan is, who narrowly escapes with his life. Then in a following scene Kubert shows the reader that an important survival lesson was learned as thereafter, Tarzan warily avoids the big predators and lives long enough to make his way home. You can also see how Kubert worked to make the static poses of the models appear dynamic and exciting.

Click the ad for dino-sized picture and enjoy!

As a funny* aside, Tarzan's dialog was a short-lived meme among San Diego comic book geeks way back when.

Eat the Kuberty goodness!

* Not "funny-ha-ha", but "funny-you-had-to-be-there". For instance, if you and a friend were confronted by an aggressive stray dog in an alley, Tarzan's dialog is what you would say in all mock-seriousness to the dog right before running away as fast as you could.

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