Friday, October 17, 2014

Spidey! Hulk! Captain America! More Late-70s TV Ads! Marvel Comics!

Sure, it's now easy to critically dismiss the late-70s live-action Marvel Comics TV onslaught, but, for the time, these movies and series represented an exciting period where Marvel Comics were becoming more widely-known, more exciting, and were simply bursting out all over the place! Much of this excitement stemmed from the fact that these unconventional and colorful characters were only (roughly) a mere fifteen years old, unlike staid and "old" DC Comics superheroes! It was a real treat to see (for the first time, in many cases) live adaptations of these powerful super-doers, even tho some (I'm looking at you, CAPTAIN AMERICA) missed the mark by a mile….Click below to enlarge these rare TV GUIDE ads! A big thanks to rambunctious Ron Roberts for contributing these colossal comics-centric clippings!

Above: The one that started it all! An ad for the September, 1977 (yes, I
can recall all these dates from memory, sadly) SPIDER-MAN 90-minute CBS-TV
special, with Nick Hammond!

Above: The early 1978 ad that heralded the SPIDER-MAN
feature returning as a semi-regular series on CBS!

Above: It seemed to lurch out of left field (no internet
then, kids), but, in November of '77, the INCREDIBLE HULK
movie aired! Who knew this was the winner of the Marvel live-action
offerings, due to its adult approach, quality acting, and
high production values?

Above: So big a hit was the HULK movie, another followed, then
the concept was rushed into a series! Above is the early 1978 TV GUIDE
ad for the launch of this well-regarded show!

Above two images: The series scrambled to find its tone and
direction  in that first season, but some interesting moments
occurred, such as Banner and the Hulk facing off against
a (not-so-convincing) gorilla, as seen in these early 1978 ads!

Above: Here's where the series hit its height. This ad
is for the September, 1978 second season premiere, entitled
 "Married." An incredible (heh) episode all around, and
Mariette Hartley received an Emmy for her performance!
If you only see one HULK episode in your life, this has to be it!

Above: They can't all be winners! Above is the early 1979 ad for
the tepid CAPTAIN AMERICA TV movie, starring Reb Brown! It came off
as an odd cross of THE SIX MILLION DOLLAR MAN and Evel Knievel!

Above: One of the last entries into the live-action group, this
 late 1979 TV movie (entitled "Death Too Soon") improved the Cap
situation a bit, since, by this time, Marvel was demanding the characters
hew closer to what was seen in the comics. They were also asking producers
for higher licensing fees, and, combined with CBS having jitters over
becoming known as the "superhero network," that spelled the end of
this short-lived flirtation with funny book features. The high-rated HULK
series would still run for three more years, but no new Marvel
characters would be translated to the small screen for quite a while...


Gene Kannenberg, Jr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gene Kannenberg, Jr. said...

Nice stuff! I've posted some of my own TV Guide superhero ads, plus other ephemera from the time, here.

Al Bigley said...


Thanks for sharing!

Great stuff!

Al Bigley