Thursday, October 21, 2021

Real Heroes

Back to the 80s

Ahh, back in the days when food mascots were all the rage, and every single company had their own mascot-inspired comic book. Mark Arnold takes us on a jaunt back into the retro-cool with these missing links from the 1980s.


Adventures of Kool-Aid Man

Kool-Aid Man first appeared in a series of live-action TV commercials that debuted in 1975. His facial image had originated on Kool-Aid packets as far back as the 1950s, as one that was drawn by a finger through the pitcher condensation. By the 80s, Kool-Aid Man became a super-hero of sorts and also a star of his own infrequently published comic book series that could be had by sending in some proof-of-purchase seals. Some were published by Marvel, but the majority of the issues were published by Archie and drawn by Dan DeCarlo.








Adventures of Pioneer Pete

Pioneer Chicken was another in a long line of Kentucky Fried Chicken imitators that didn’t quite make it, although it had a fairly healthy run for about 20 years. The few remaining restaurants are now independently owned and operated. When they were a chain, Pioneer took a cue from McDonald’s and Bob’s Big Boy by creating a cast of characters, and issuing a comic book series. It is unknown how many issues exist, but I know of three and each features generally comedic adventure stories for kids.








Adventures of Quik Bunny

Nestle’s Quik brand chocolate milk mix has been around since 1948. A non-descript rabbit character started appearing on can labels around the 1950s. By the 70s, the rabbit was christened “Quik Bunny” and an accompanying series of commercials began that featured the catch phrase “You can’t drink it slow if it’s Quik” after which Quik Bunny would hurriedly suck it back and drink all of his chocolate milk in one gulp. A promotional tie-in comic book was published by Marvel in the 80s and expands the commercial idea into a series of comical adventures.





Mark Arnold is a comic book and animation historian and a writing, art, and film/video production professional. He writes comic books and articles on comic books and animation for various publications in addition to scripts, short stories and novels. He is also skilled in sales, marketing and promotion, and has film and TV production experience with digital video, video tape, and film. He has many online websites including Fun Ideas, Mark's Rare Comics, The Harveyville Fun Times!, So Rare!, and Food Shop. He also writes an (almost) daily blog and writes and draws a weekly comic strip called Protecto, the Little Robot. For the curious, Mark can be reached online at Whew!

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