Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Back Issues with Issues: The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man

Well, I paid a whole dollar for this comic, I might as well get some mileage out of it.

Action-packed cover by John Romita, Sr. (www.comicbookdb.com)

In 1983, you could mail in your Kool-Aid proof of purchase points for this nice little item put out by Marvel Comics. Kids across America were building Kool-Aid stands in the hopes of earning enough credit to get this little collector's item, I'm sure.


It was either that or a lovely inflatable companion for those long, hot summer nights.

Never judge another man's fetish.

Besides advertising the scads of branded product that young children dream of, there are two stories in this comic. Both of them, interestingly, illustrated by long-time Archie artist Dan DeCarlo.

Thrill as Kool-Aid Man fights the enemies of sugar and corn syrup!

The writing is credited to Jim Salicrup, who provides a lot of bad puns for the dialogue. In the main though, this is very much a DeCarlo book, with a lot of great visual storytelling. Today's creators could take a cue from his ability to compress time. Such as this panel, where he introduces the main characters and their personalities while leaving room for the word balloons.

The nerd, the groupie, the jock and the druggie. John Hughes, take note.

In the second story, he has a bit more room. Here, he uses the basic Archie-style six panel grid to do the introductions. Today, this would be a six-issue mini-series with flashbacks and family drama.

If they step into that helicopter, we're talking multiple Mann Act violations.
Much like Cap'n Crunch has to fight The Soggies, the bad guys here are called The Thirsties. Don't laugh, this is the same decade in which GI Joe and He-Man cartoons declared themselves "educational," after all.

insert rimshot here
The Thirsties come off as silly mischief makers, existing more to prepare the way for Kool-Aid Man than to be a real threat. The real nefarious part is played by our wall-hating hero. Why does he never charge for his never-ending supply of red fluid? Is this a case of "the first taste is free?" Is he really some sort of Lovecraftian entity, preparing the way for his masters by getting children addicted to his alien blood?

Kool-Aid Man, intergalactic drug dealer.

Man, comic-books are an unwholesome medium. Frederic Wertham was right, let's all go play some innocent Atari video games instead.

Children, I'd like to tell you about The Matrix

"They had come from the stars, and had brought Their images with Them"

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