Comics, for the most part, are bought in comic book stores or bookstores; however, there are some comics that are promotional material that is given away for various reasons. It is common for publishers, such as Marvel Comics, to use non-traditional methods to promote their comics with other products.

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In the ’70s and’ 80s, getting these promotional comics meant mailing out clippings of proof of purchase or being in the right place at the right time, like a toy store. These days, it is more common for these types of comics to be distributed at conventions or as special inserts in other publications. These non-traditionally distributed comics can range from regular comics to wacky concepts.

10 Fantastic Four & Hitachi Data Systems

FF Hitachi

The Fantastic Four have faced intergalactic entities like Galactus and the Skrulls. Still, none were more dangerous than the story of 2011, which pitted Marvel’s first family against their greatest enemy, below-average computer storage and backup. Fortunately for them, it’s Hitachi Data Systems’ virtual storage platform to the rescue, as MODOK hatches its latest diabolical plan: slowing down the world’s data centers.

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MODOK, unable to hack into the Hitachi system, threatens Hitachi IT Tech Ray and throws him into the data stream, prompting the FF to go rescue him. This promotional comic came in 3D and 2D versions, both of which were only available from Hitachi and were never sold off the shelf.

9 NFL Pro Action and The Amazing Spider-Man

pro action spidey

In the mid-1990s, Marvel and the NFL was associated with the publication of NFL Pro Action Magazine, bringing together comics and sports culture in a single magazine. The magazine not only provided soccer news on National Soccer League teams and players, but also included an exclusive Marvel comic.

The issues were published in July / August, September / October and November / December 1994 and had exclusive 16-page comics written by JM DeMatteis, with art by Alex Saviuk and Keith Pollard, pitting the web-slinger against people like the Green Goblin. , Carnage and Poison. Other additional material included trading cards and cameos from NFL players in the stories.

8 Hulk vs. Thor in the New York Jets / Minnesota Viking game

The Hulk and Thor are known to have an ongoing rivalry, but perhaps the strangest is the one that took place during the NY Jets against the Minnesota Vikings on October 21, 2018. This shooting happened in the exclusive comic that was distributed to those fans. . attending the game.

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Written by Fabian Nicieza with art by Carlos Lopez and Kevin Sharpe, Hulk and Thor find themselves under the control of The Leader’s device, making the two heroes think that they are facing one of their archenemies rather than a fellow Avenger. . Eventually, the two end up outside of MetLife Stadium and realize they are being manipulated into a fight, opting to see if their Avenger IDs can win them entry to the game, leaving The Leader at the mercy of angry Jets fans.

7 Combo Man came from a sandwich

In the Marvel Universe, any accident can grant superpowers and extraordinary abilities to whoever is caught in the crossfire; Such is the origin story of college student Rick Wilder, aka Combo Man. Wilder, an avid Marvel Comic reader and fan of Combos, the cylindrical bite-size snack, with a cookie, pretzel, or omelette, outside and several landfills inside, he was caught in a laboratory explosion caused by AIM.

The accident left Rick to transform into Combo Man, a hero who was an amalgamation of 14 Marvel heroes and villains. This issue, only available via mail order from Eagle Snacks, also hosted a contest where readers could identify all the characters that made Combo Man and win a hat and jacket with the hero. Combo Man, created by Mark Gruenwald and Hector Collazo in 1996, would not return from limbo until 2019. Ziggy Pig-Silly Stamp # 1.

6 Evil Knievel jumps off the comic book page at toy stores

EVil Knievel

In the early 1970s, Marvel Comics and the Ideal Toy Company partnered to create a comic starring real-life daredevil Evel Knievel to help promote the toy line. The comic, only available for free at toy stores, by John Romita Sr and Joe Sinnott included “Evel Knievel in “The dangerous traps of Mr. Danger”, a saboteur hell-bent on ending Evel’s career. Like any good promotional comic, this standalone issue featured the entire toy line, including Stunt Cycle, Scramble Van, Canyon Sky Cycle, Stunt & Crash Car, to entice kids to want to buy real things at the toy store.

5 The X-Men go to the Texas state fair in a newspaper supplement

X-Men Texas State Fair

In 1983 Marvel and the Dallas Times Herald teamed up for a complimentary promotional advertising comic for the State Fair of Texas. Written by Jim Salicrup with art by Kerry Gammill and Alan Kupperberg, the X-Men found themselves visiting the Texas State Fair in search of a powerful mutant they hope to recruit and prevent from joining Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.

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When they arrive at the fair, the X-Men locate and attempt to befriend the young mutant, a winged centaur named Equis. Unfortunately, Magneto arrives first and tells the young mutant that the X-Men are the bad guys, but realizes that he was tricked when Magento nearly injured some horses. The issue concludes with X’s choosing to stay in Dallas with his horses rather than join the X-Men, making this comic his only comic appearance.

4 The man from Kool-Aid breaks into the Marvel Universe

Kool Aid Man

In the early 1980s, the creative team of writer Jim Salicrup and artist Dan DeCarlo provided readers with a 3-issue limited series featuring Kool-Aid Man and his never-ending battle against the Thirsties. The comics, only available by sending in proof of purchase from Kool-Aid bundles, were a free launch, despite having a “60 cent value” marker in the upper right hand corner.

Along with the stories, there were various puzzles and other informational pages, such as instructions on how to build a Kool-Aid stand, for the reader to enjoy. One of the children compares Kool-Aid Man’s strength to that of the Hulk in one of the stories, although it is unclear if Kool-Aid Man is a resident of the 616-Marvel Universe.

3 Spider-Man … You’re hired! Or not…

Mayor Bloomberg

Spider-Man is perhaps the Marvel hero most associated with New York City. In 2010, the old webhead partnered with New York City Public Employment Services for a newspaper insert distributed by the New York Daily News. Peter Parker, depressed and unemployed, meets Mayor Michael Bloomberg while riding the subway with Aunt May. The story, written by Warren Simons and illustrated by Todd Nauck, finds Mayor Bloomberg telling Peter about New York City’s variety of public employment services and an example of how to use the city’s Workforce1 system.

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Marvel would later publish the issue in digital and print comic book format. While it is not revealed whether Peter’s job search is successful, it is hinted that Bloomberg knows that Peter is Spider-Man by the end of the story.

two Blade the vampire hunter hits the big screen


The 1998 feature film starring Wesley Snipes as the vampire hunter Sword hit theaters, and roughly 2,000 lucky viewers received the comic for free Blade: Sins Of The Father—a promotional one-shot written by Marc Andreyko with art by Claudio Castellini and was an attempt to get those interested in learning more about Blade and his adventures in the Marvel Universe after watching the film. The comic had Blade taking on Deacon Frost and serving as a prequel to the film’s events.

1 The Starbright Foundation joins the X-Men

The Starbright Foundation, a global, interactive, multi-user networked virtual reality gaming space for seriously ill children, partnered with Marvel’s X-Men to provide a comic for a very special audience, children who suffer from burns. Created to encourage children who suffered these traumatic injuries, the goal was to show them what you say, think and how you act makes you a hero, not how you look.

The story of Joe Casey and the art of John Paul Leon centers on a young recruit to the X-Men. T-Ray, who possesses bio-vibratory abilities and, in an attempt to prove his worth, enters the Danger Room alone and ends up badly burned. The comic shows the emotional struggles you face as a result, how you overcome them, and that you are not alone.

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