Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Amazing Story of Superman-Red?!?

Commander Battle And The Atomic Sub #6 (1955) had this advertisement, which might have you reaching for the color controls on your screen...

Well, surely that's just a coloring SNAFU on the ad, right?

Nope, it's "an exact replica of Superman's mighty red suit"! Red!!

Hmm, they don't mention that you might also be very popular with trademark attorneys!!

GCD tells us that this ad appeared in books by many different comic companies, so Honor House Products wasn't being shy about pitching the red Superman costume...

And note the tiny little copyright notice down there...hard to read, but it looks like it says "National Comics Publications." That was DC's formal name back in the day.

So was this authorized? And why red?!? Did someone screw-up a batch of costumes, making them the wrong color, and DC dumped them to Honor House to try and sell them?

Or, as some have suggested, did Honor House just make it red to try to avoid a big old lawsuit? But if that's the case, why call out Superman's name--several times--along with trademarked catch-phrases? Did they really believe making the costume red would be enough to fool DC's lawyers, when the ad features a huge picture of Kal-El?!? Don't forget, this was a time when DC was suing Fawcett Comics to the stone age...

I'm tempted to think this was authorized, because 20 years later, Honor House was still hawking these costumes, albeit now there's no mention of the color:

That's from a 1975 issue of Boys' Life magazine...same company, same address, same price(!). If these babies were unauthorized, than DC let them go unmolested for 20 years!

Still, the question will always haunt me...why red? Why?!?!

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