Here’s a nice piece of ephemera that I found on Usenet this weekend. CMO Comics was published in 1942 for the Chicago Mail Order Company by the very pompously called Comic Corporation Of America (it’s also listed as one of the latest titles published by Centaur). It ran for only two issues, and contained short stories about cowboys, movie stars, plain-clothes policemen and superheroes, none of which were signed, and none of which featured big name characters.
In fact, the stories aren’t that inventive or even intersting themselves, but rather seem to have only one raison d’être : showcasing the CMO products. On almost every page at least one panel is dedicated to items of clothing that feature in the story on that page (read on for examples). It’s so blatant, it’s baffling. And it predates all the click-through schemes you see in presentations about interactive TV nowadays. Nothing’s ever new, it would seem.
The following examples were taken from the first issue of CMO Comics, provided by various scanners.
(From “The Gaucho”)
(From “The Invisible Terror”)
(from “Ed Smith Goes To College”)