Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Somethings Missing: The World's Most Perfectly Developed Man

Comic books used to be considered merely "cheap" entertainment, but with most standard copies going for three bucks apiece, we can safely say that that claim is no longer really valid. For me, comics have always been primarily about "FUN," imagination and escapism. Still with my new comics purchases becoming fewer and farther between, I thought it might be prudent to look back at some of those elements that are no longer a routine part of today's funny books AND whose absence contribute to my nostalgia for simpler times. I'm gonna call this series, 'Somethings Missing.'

First up, let’s look back at a landmark advertising campaign which has been described as one of the most lasting and memorable ad campaigns of all time. For decades, if you grew up reading comic books, you were exposed to this familiar page in every issue.

Angelo Siciliano legally changed his name to “Charles Atlas” in 1922 (he later filed for and received trademark status for the name) after a friend told him that he resembled the statue of Atlas on top of a hotel in Coney Island. Atlas used his own system of “Dynamic-Tension” to build his body after he tried other systems of exercise and found out that they did not work for him. Atlas soon began advertising his program in comic books and his ad became iconic, presenting a scenario in which a boy is threatened on the beach by a sand-kicking bully while his date watches. Humiliated, he goes home and, after kicking over a chair and gambling on the results of a ten-cent stamp, subscribes to Atlas's "Dynamic-Tension" program. Later, the boy (now muscular) again goes to the beach and beats up the bully, becoming the "Hero of the Beach." Girls marvel at how big his muscles are, of course the famous ad is called "The Insult That Made A Man Out Of Mac."

No comments: