Movie Promos of the Comic Strip Kind

Now playing in the local Bijou Theater are some movies that would seem
custom-made for advertising in a comic strip format.
That supposes movie companies spend money on print advertising these days.


In the past comic strips were used to promote movies,
though I don’t want to imply that it was a frequent occurrence.

Elsewhere on this site we looked at a 1965 movie which featured a cartoonist as the lead character. A year before the release of that movie the studio ran a comic strip to introduce the American audience to Italian actress Verna Lisi, who would co-star in How to Murder Your Wife.

As mentioned above a two-week daily comic strip ran in the industry papers Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Signed “Stanley Ford,” the cartoonist character in the movie, the art and lettering (and even the signature) is obviously Alex Toth.

Toth and the movie people would find themselves at odds with each other by the time actual production took place, leading the producers to hire Mel Keefer to do the comic strip props for the movie. But Alex Toth’s two weeks of published Steve Bentley, Secret Agent strips can be read at Pangolin Basement.


Jake Speed was a 1986 spoof of the pulp/paperback action heroes. As part of the lead-up to the movie’s release Ron Harris was hired to do a few comic strips. Ron had already proved his Hollywood and comic strip bona fides by drawing the Dallas and the Star Trek comic strips in the early 1980s.

I’m not sure if it was in the L. A. Times or the San Francisco Examiner/Chronicle, but I saw these ad strips back in the day. Ron Harris explains that the publicity department fumbled the ball on these.


One effort I didn’t see in real time was this one about a beauty and a beast.

1933 saw King Kong adapted into six daily-format installments as a promo. The artist was Glenn Cravath, a comic strip artist who became quite successful doing posters and other material for Hollywood studios.


This was seen as a successful promotional tool, so Glenn and RKO continued the collaboration,
with Glenn moving on to other studios after his RKO stint.

The Son of Kong.

Little Women

North West Mounted Police

Years after giving up the ‘Bring ‘Em Back Alive’ Frank Buck Presents Ted Towers, Animal Master comic strip Glenn even got to do Frank Buck again: