Comics Ate My Brain

August 19, 2007

Know Your Audience

Filed under: flash, meta — Tom Bondurant @ 8:57 pm
I bought several issues of The Flash (vol. 1) in San Diego, mostly for the Green Lantern backup stories. Finally got around to reading the main story in issue #220 (February-March 1973) today, and look who was advertising:

Just so you know I am not making this up, here’s the ad together with the story page which faces it:

The ad’s placement in this comic fascinates me, especially considering that the inside front cover was for Daisy air-rifles (“In 1894, a boy had to learn to act like a man. Daisy’s 1894 BB Gun teaches the same lessons”) and the inside back cover is the familiar Charles Atlas “Insult That Made A Man Out Of Mac” ad. There’s also the usual record-club, Johnson Smith Catalog, and correspondence-course ads, again familiar to anyone who’s read a lot of early-1970s superhero comics.

However, I’d never seen an Easy-Bake Oven ad before, at least not in a comic so fanboy-oriented (even at the time) as The Flash.

And I’m not making fun of Flash for having a “girly” ad. If anything, it speaks to the diversity of readers DC’s advertising department thought it had back then.

Heck, I’m just the slightest bit miffed that the ad was aimed exclusively at Sally, and not her brother too. I wouldn’t have minded an Easy-Bake Oven back in the day. In fact, just this afternoon I was baking! (Not a euphemism. Of course, the pie I baked has two tablespoons of bourbon in it, which the Easy-Bake probably isn’t set up to handle. But I digress.)

Has anyone else encountered the Easy-Bake ad, or something similar you didn’t expect? I wonder how many girls Kenner thought it could keep in traditional gender roles with its inroads into DC comics.

Ultimately, I’d like to think that the combination of ads in The Flash #220 produced fairly well-rounded individuals of both genders — fit, educated, music lovers, and able to shoot and cook. Evidently, I need to work out more and brush up on my marksmanship.

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