Thursday, May 31, 2018

Fun Finds: 1978 Superhero Bread Cards/Stickers

Though we don't delve into it a lot around here, especially lately, we were a huge comic book fan in our childhood and youth. From the early '70s through about 1985 I was about as devoted to DC and Marvel comics and their heroes as a person could be! (See here.) That entire arena has changed considerably (and, at present, a HUGE resurgence of superhero projects is in our midst, the bulk of which leaves me completely "meh.") 1978 was a far simpler time with fewer heroes to remember, but most of the ones who were in place are still popular now, so they were choice! These cards (a series of 30 in all) were printed (sometimes a little wonkily) and packaged with a variety of bread products from Sunbeam to Taystee, with printed descriptions of the characters on the back. We love tangible evidence of the people and things we love. Always have. The style of illustration on these is very representative of the time (and I love it!) Stories and artwork weren't terribly elaborate, but I for one never felt cheated by that. I guess it's because it was all I knew at the time. If you were a fan of The Super Friends, this will probably bring back memories, too.
This is an example of the backs of some of the cards.
1978 was the year that Superman: The Movie (1978) was released, which lead to a certain heightened interest in the character. Christopher Reeve was downright perfect as The Man of Steel.
Despite the significant performance of (recently departed) Margot Kidder as Lois Lane in the movie, the comics didn't really make any substantial changes to the way the comic version looked (perhaps a bit more leg at times.)
Baby Kal-El's ship looks like either a rather phallic vibrator or, the top portion at least, a blue boob with a red nipple on it!
Superman moonlighting for Hertz Rent-A-Car? Fast, free delivery...
Brunette Marc McClure's performance in the film likewise had no effect on the way Jimmy Olsen was depicted in the comics, with his carrot red hair and freckles.
A traditional looking portrait of Superman's birth parents, before they sent him careening to Earth as Krypton was about to explode.
Childless Jonathan and Martha Kent were only too happy to receive the gift of a son from out of the sky.
Perhaps we can see a little bit of Margot Kidder influence here, but it's still not blatant or direct.
I loved Supergirl, especially around this time. Her existence was explained by one Kryptonian city - Argo City - somehow surviving the explosion of the planet and continuing to survive under a dome!
To those of us of a certain age, this is the classic Wonder Woman depiction. (And to many of us in that age, Lynda Carter is the only Wonder Woman, though I confess to quite liking Gal Gadot in her smash hit film of 2017.)
Another of DC comics' most enduring heroes, Batman, with his sidekick Robin. The hit TV series Batman ran from 1966-1968, appearing twice-weekly for it's first two seasons.
There's a Batgirl movie in the script-writing stage, but it's been stalled and restarted at least once. When (and if) it comes, she won't look like this... Yvonne Craig won over hordes of fans in her one season on Batman.
Actors such as Frank Gorshin, John Astin and Jim Carrey have portrayed The Riddler on screen.
While Cesar Romero brought The Joker to life (followed later by Jack Nicholson.)
The movies have always eschewed the grey and dark blue color scheme of the character from the comics in favor of black or very dark grey.
Of all people to portray Lex Luthor, Gene Hackman seemed a bizarre choice and, though he practically refused to appear bald for anything more than a few moments, he made an impression.
Burgess Meredith was a memorable TV Penguin while Danny DeVito became a more grotesque version on the big screen.
The feature film offered a fun scene of young Clark Kent outrunning a train while inside was youthful Lois with her parents (played by one-time Superman and Lois portrayers Kirk Alyn and Noel Niell.)
Blustery Perry White was played in the movie by Jackie Cooper who bore no real resemblance to the comic version.
Krypto was mostly before (or after) my time. Is it me or is his face weird in this portrait?!
I loved Aquaman (and his wife Mera, too!) Then again, Poseidon is always about the water, right?
This sort of rendition of Lex Luthor never made the movies. He was portrayed as more of an intellectual mastermind than an action type.
The Flash is currently on TV again. Oldsters like myself recall the short-lived series with John Wesley Shipp as the scarlet speedster.
Another hero who's been given his own series, Arrow. I always loved Green Arrow. I had a particular fondness for his girlfriend and fellow crime-fighter Black Canary, who isn't shown in this set of cards.
Hawkman has popped up on TV, but a big screen rendition has been in turnaround for close to a decade now.
About a year after this, Plastic Man got his own Saturday morning cartoon series called The Plastic Man Comedy/Adventure Show. It ran for two years.
Somehow in all the confusion of who owned what character, Elongated Man became part of the DC universe even though they'd previously absorbed Plastic Man in a merger. 
I never realized it before this very moment, but DC villains have a LOT of purple in their costuming! Even the unseen Catwoman wore a purple dress with a long slit during this time!
The series ends with Green Lantern. Seems like it might have been more appropriate to end with the group shot two cards above.
I'm funny about things (you're just now realizing this?!), so I wanted to put the cards printed sideways down here in the right perspective even though you may have already craned your neck to excess...!
And I STILL say Krypto doesn't look right!  LOL  I'll be back ASAP with more fun. By the way... I'm no artist and am completely out of practice, but I do like to occasionally pick up a pen and paper. Just for the purposes of this post, I did the piece below in 15 minutes using a pencil and some highlighters/sharpies at my desk. Even for what it is, I think I do better with ladies than gents... Till next time!
Update! Ha ha!  Still not satisfied with the "sketch" above, I tried another one again this morning. This time spending a whopping 20 minutes on it. Maybe I need to take an hour!
Last one, I swear!

15 comments:

Gingerguy said...

Hi Poseidon, it's fun to compare childhood obsessions with memorabilia like this. I love a picture of a man ripping off his shirt with the word "Taystee" beneath it. The Superhero stuff did nothing for me back then, I liked Brenda Starr in the comics because she was glamorous and had a hot husband. I did see the event movie version of Superman in the late 70's and that did have interest for me.
Plastic Man's outfit is very Fire Island. Your drawings have lots of character!

Musicals. Rock. said...

I love your drawings!
As you said, I think you do better with the ladies than the gents. Wonder Woman's hair is gorgeous.

petertrobinson said...

Im surprised you didnt "question" what was between the Riddler's legs on his card- lol !


Poseidon3 said...

Gingerguy, did you ever see the Brenda Starr movie?? Now that was a real howler. I actually did a tribute to it here years ago! She wasn't married in the movie. I'll have to check out her comic strip husband sometime! Lol about Taystee thing...

Thanks, Musicals.Rock! I truly just don't draw enough anymore, and haven't for years, for it to have developed very far. But I appreciate it nonetheless.

peter, I'm sure I questioned what was there when Frank and John played the role on TV, not that either one of them is my type! I'm pretty sure Cesar Romero took a look as well! LOL

Gingerguy said...

Ha! yes found Brenda Starr at a garage sale for $1, think I paid too much. Brenda's husband was Basil St, John and have always thought eye patches were sexy since those comics,

Poseidon3 said...

Oh, so Timothy Dalton was playing the role prior to the characters' marriage. Got it! Lesser known trivia: Jane Fonda chose long, vividly red hair for her reporter role in The China Syndrome as a tribute to Brenda Starr!!

Skippy Devereaux said...

I think what is wrong with Krypto the dog is his snout. His nose looks flat to his face.
Also, I read somewhere long ago that when doing research for "The China Syndrome", Jane Fonda learned that most female TV news reporters were blondes, but she did not want to be a blonde in the film as it would make her look like Barbarella again and she did not want that, so she went with red hair.

F. Nomen said...

Never saw these. I was more of a Marvel guy in the 70s anyway. What I wouldn’t give to have my Marvel ephemera from back in the day...

Poseidon3 said...

Skippy, I guess you'll have to take it up with (rather acclaimed) biographer and personal friend of Jane's, Patricia Bosworth, who wrote that Jane informed director Jim Bridges that she was dying her hair that particular shade of vivid red in tribute to Brenda... Before the movie was released, it was considered sort of a popcorn thriller that was unlikely to ever happen. Then it suddenly became a topical thriller that practically DID happen! Maybe Jane decided to backtrack her hair decisions once the movie became so topical/serious. After all, she could have done any shade of red if she didn't want to go blonde, but she chose THAT red...

petertrobinson said...

No, no! I meant on the Riddler's playing card. Go back and look at the placement of the big question mark- lol !

Michael Whelan said...

Love this!!! I love the traditional, classic looks of the characters. Catwoman has always been a favorite, and in the comics, she has gone through multiple outfits! I would have liked to see the skirt with the slit and the high heeled boots, but with the clawed gloves black mask, and cat ears from the tv costume!

Michael Whelan said...

And the eternal Facebook debate - Julie, Lee, or Eartha? I LOVE all three.

Poseidon3 said...

It IS tough...! Eartha's voice and personal demeanor was amazing, Lee was so elegant and beautiful, but Julie somehow seemed to really inhabit the role the most for me with the voice, the body, the looks and the attitude.

WonderPrincess said...

This was a Wonderful post. I remember collecting a few of these back in the day. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Poseidon3 said...

Thank you, WonderPrincess! Glad you liked it.