Another item from the Silver Age has returned to DC Comics, and this time, it’s not parallel Earths or Barry Allen. It’s the bottom-of-the-page ad.
During the Golden and Silver Age, it was common for comic companies to place ads for candy, toys, BB guns, etc. at the bottom third of pages, usually at natural story break points—the end of a chapter or story. A typical example’s below:
By the 1970s, comics publishers largely dropped ads for other products at the bottom of pages. The ads that remained were mostly in-house promotional material, and even those largely got dropped with time. Nowadays, what ads there are in comics are limited to their own pages, easily removable for the trade paperback collections.
DC’s decided for some reason that reviving the old bottom-of-the-page ad tradition was worth pursuing. It’s been confirmed that DC will be running such ads in June’s upcoming comics. June is the first full month after the “Convergence” event that DC will fully have its usual slate of books back, and they’re planning a lot of new storylines, books, etc. There’s no plans so far for any such ads beyond June. The ads will be for Twix candy bars, featuring Nick Lachey, a former member of boy band 98 Degrees:
Yes, I had to look up who Nick Lachey was, too.
Online reaction’s been decidedly mixed, to say the least. Most modern comics readers aren’t used to (and don’t want) half-page ads in their comics. I’d also have to wonder if there’s any formatting issues for the comics’ creators to be concerned about: breaking up story action? Issues with splash pages and/or similar full-page art layouts?
The only thing I can think of in DC’s defense is if the ads are a way of preventing yet another price hike in DC’s books by keeping costs down/revenue up. If so, I have to wonder if half-page ads or $5 an issue comics (again) call into question the long-term viability of 22-page paper comics, versus switching to a mix of digital “singles” and paper trade paperbacks (similar to DC’s digital-first books).