Weather-Bird Comics were distributed by the Peters Shoe Company, based in St. Louis, USA between 1951 and 1958. The comics were a free promotional give-away item wherever Weather-Bird Shoes were sold.
Peters Shoe Company was created by Henry William Peters in 1892 and merged in 1911 with the Roberts, Johnson and Rand Shoe Company. The Weather-Bird brand remained an integral part of their shoe product line. They produced many promotional items like whistles, visors, tin clickers comics and postcards. The Weather-Bird Shoe brand was eventually discontinued.
The Peters Shoe Company enlisted various bird mascots, including Poll Parrot, Red Goose, Buster Brown and Weatherbird to competed to win over kids and their parents for shoe purchases. Today, many collectors seek these rare vintage shoe advertisements that feature the colorful characters. The antique memorabilia with these mascots are amongst the most prized and always create entertaining conversation pieces.
Weather-Bird Comics used for promotional purposes are full color Harvey Hits comics, with what is believed to be replaced covers occurring during the printing process of the comics. They’re not comics with the covers removed and replaced with Weather-Bird Comics promotional covers.
These promotional comics don’t bear a comic number on the cover. 3 separate promotional covers were designed (with just the color changing on some years) and given out via shoe stores between 1951 and 1958. The Phantom appears in the 3rd series.
Only 1 comic book was published in this promotional series containing a blue cover. No Phantom comic strips present in this series. The front cover can be seen below.
Only 1 comic book was published in this promotional series containing a red cover. No Phantom comic strips present in this series. The front and back cover can be seen below.
Below we see the 1 design with 2 different color variations, red and blue. Although the covers appear to be the same, 5 different comic strip pages are found within the covers. No Phantom comic strips present in this series. The front and back covers can be seen below.
The inside of the promotional covers can be seen below.
Although bearing identical covers, 12 editions were released between September 1957 and August 1958, with different comic strip pages found within the covers. The Phantom makes an appearance in issue number 12, released in September 1958 containing 32 pages. The internal pages are from Harvey Hits number 12, containing the Phantom story ‘The Mystery of The Scarlet Sorceress’, originally published and released by Harvey Hits in August 1958. The front and back cover can be seen below.
Large quantities of the 1957-1958 Weather-Bird Comics promotional editions numbers 6 to 12 were found when the contents of the Harvey Comics warehouse was sold in recent years. These copies appear on-line for sale and are in extremely good condition.
Original editions can normally be identified via a shoe store stamp, as when they were originally given out as a promotional item, the shoe seller would stamp the cover with their store details. We can see some examples below of covers containing stamps.
The Phantom makes a second ‘cheeky’ appearance in another Weather-Bird Comics promotional give-away comic. In 1955, one of the Harvey Hits comic strips used is Felix The Cat edition number 86, published in August 1957. A ‘Bosco’ competition is published, with one of the possible 1001 prizes being a Collegeville Phantom Costume. This competition containing an image of the Phantom as can be seen below.