Both Marvel and DC comic companies seem to have gotten similar ideas in the year 1981. Both decided to try marketing their products, or at least versions of their products, in a format which would be easily sold along side baseball cards. One must remember that the sport card, specifically baseball, market was just heating up at this time.
Marvel, usually the innovator and must have been having an off day when they decided to be part of the “BUBBLE FUNNIES” release. this set consisted of six miniature comic books (measuring approx. 3.5″ X 2.5″) which contained a slab of gum. While were many gum companies producing trading card type products of which they could have chosen (Topps, Fleer, Leaf to mention a few) they decided to work through Amurol Products Company, a division of the Wrigley gum company, that was, at the time, best known for producing sugarless gum.
As I mentioned the set consisted of 6 mini-comic books however, for some odd reason, only 4 of them were Marvel characters (Spider-Man, Hulk, Captain America, and Spider-Woman) the other two were Archie Characters (Archie and Sabrina). Each book had 10 pages of illustrated material in which to tell the story.
DC Comics product, Comic Book Candy, was the much superior product. The set consisted of 8 different miniature comic books (measuring approx. 4.5″ X 3″) and was produced by the Leaf Confections Company.
These comic books were marketed one per package with a small pack of sweet tart like candy. Each 14 page comic book told the origin story of the character featured in the comic book. The characters featured in this set were: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Hawkman, Aquaman and Justice League Of America.
Not only was the set much better than the competing Marvel product but on the back of each of the DC mini-comics was an offer to purchase a “Super Heroes Collector Album”.
As you can see, this beautifully illustrated album was a $1.50 well spent.
I think just about anyone can see that as these two products went head to head the DC set was definitely the winner in all aspects! In fact about the only thing that the Marvel product had going for it was that during Lent, when many people give up eating candy, they could buy and enjoy Bubble Funnies…Because as everyone knows….
GUM IS NOT CANDY!!!!!!