If you grew up reading comics in the 20th century, chances are you have a strange nostalgia for ads. The printed advertisements that appear in comics developed their own language over the history of the medium, which probably peaked in the Bronze Age. Ads for candy and snacks, for merchandise based on the comic's characters, and of course for video games (once those were invented) became a part of the fabric of comics. Now that so many of us are reading digitally or in trades, that's less true.

But Fantagraphics' new superhero line, All Time Comics, is paying tribute to classic comics ads with mock ads by some of the best indie artists around.

All Time Comics writer Josh Bayer, who started the imprint along with his brother Samuel Bayer, is clearly nostalgic for everything about old comic books. This is what he said when the line was first announced:

ALL TIME COMICS is both an expression of affection for the books that shaped our lives, and a link to a pre-internet time when comic book culture was more precious and rarefied. It originates from a lifetime of research and our devotion to the comics medium

So including some classic-style ad pages makes a lot of sense. It's not the first time this sort of thing has been done, of course. Alan Moore and his artists featured similar mock-advertisements in their 1963 books back in 1993, but those were a lot more satirical than these, which seem entirely intended to create a mood around the books.

You'll be able to properly experience these ads in context in the pages of All Time Comics titles including Bullwhip #1, by Josh Bayer, Ben Marra, and Al Milgrom, which comes out April 26. Personally, I don't know that I'd eat snack cakes offered by a self-described "Maniac" who looks suspiciously like the original Red Tornado, but I'm not ruling out collecting all of Bullwhip's allies and companions.


Art by Jim Rugg
Benjamin Marra and Keenan Marshall Keller
Art by Charles Forsman
Brent Engstrom


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