COMICS on the CAN
The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man
Written by:? (but I highly suspect Alan Moore)
The following is a Public Service Announcement similar to the ones you got back in the 80’s with G.I. Joe telling you not to play with downed power lines. Fanboynation has placed this PSA here to fulfill the government mandate that a percentage of our programming be dedicated to education and information. Still, that doesn’t mean we can’t plug our own stuff at the same time.
INT: CARL’S HOUSE, DAY – Sean and Carl have just come into Carl’s house. They are dressed in baseball gear, each carrying a bat and a glove. They enter the kitchen with excitement.
Oh boy, Carl, that was a great baseball game! I can’t believe you hit the winning run!
And how bout after the game when that weird Russian guy offered us candy and a ride home in his van!
Yeah, too bad we couldn’t fit our bikes in or we would’ve been back here in a jiffy!
Still it was fun zig zagging on our bikes, unequipped with proper reflective gear or other recommended safety devices like a bell, back and forth through on-coming traffic!
Man, I still think I should’ve launched over that downed power line! I would’ve been like Evel Knievel!
Nah, if we did we would’ve missed the abandoned construction site with the shortcut!
The boys spy a bag of groceries on the counter.
Neato, Mom got groceries!
CARL and SEAN
(at same time)
Carl runs over to the stove and cranks up the dials.
Great! I’ll fire up the stove maybe I can get the flame high enough to catch the curtains on fire!
And I’ll put this chair on top of this stool so I can get high enough to look inside the bag!
Best vantage point is right over the knives and other sharp kitchen utensils pointing straight up!
Carl tosses a kitchen towel near the stove. It misses the burner by a fraction.
Wait, I got a better idea!
Carl races to the counter with the bag and knocks it over with a chainsaw sitting next to it. Items spill out. The boys excitedly search through the stuff.
Sean grabs a box marked “Rat Poison!”
How ‘bout this!
Nah, I don’t like the box color or that stupid skull picture on it. How bout this?
Carl holds up a bottle that says “Sleeping Pills”.
It looks like candy!
Yeah, but it also looks like that stuff that creepy guy in the trenchcoat and stubble is always trying to sell us near school! He smells!
Well we gotta find something! I want to show you my dad’s gun he keeps on the top shelf of his closet and play Dirty Harry with it! I want to put a plastic bag over my head and be the street punk who tries to rob you!
Ok, Ok! Ooooh…
Sean pulls out a bottle of industrial strength bleach.
We could use this to make smoothies!
Cool, I’ll plug in the blender. The outlet is by that puddle of water!
Carl walks over to the blender. Splashing through the water.
I forget, do you stick your face or hand into the blender to see if the blades are moving fast enough!
Who cares I just want smoothies I’m really hot and thirst…
Out of nowhere Mike, holding a plunger, and accompanied by “Dabby” the anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper suddenly appears.
Now hold on kids, we know better than that!
Sean and Carl stop what they’re doing and look in amazement.
SEAN and CARL
That’s right kids! I’m here to remind you that you almost said a very dangerous thing! Proclaiming that you’re (he does air quotes) “Hot and…” well, you know, can have disastrous consequences if you’re in your house or otherwise enclosed space which relies on structural integrity!
Golly, Mike, I forgot! What happens, again!
Well, Carl, my scruffy little sack of meat, you say those words and the Kool-Aid(™) man could smash through that wall offering cool and refreshing drinks… and death! He would destroy a load bearing wall which would lead to a collapse of your house; pinning you both under wood, rock and cancer causing insulation that is in your attic.
Really, I thought that was an old wives tale!
Not at all, Carl you contrarian little prick, watch…
CUT TO: A poorly animated version of Carl and Sean, on the level of the old 60’s marvel cartoons. The animated version of Sean says “Boy I sure am hot and thirsty!” and right after Kool-Aid man smashes through the outside wall saying “Oh Yeeeeeeeeaaaahhh!” The whole house then collapses on the kids with graphics saying “BAM” and “POW!” and “CRASH!” When the smoke clears Kool-Aid man is running off and the shot focuses on Sean’s battered, bloody, compound fractured arm sticking out of the rubble. His ball glove dangles off the shattered hand.
CUT TO: CARL’s HOUSE, DAY. MOMENTS LATER.
Sean and Carl look stunned. A lone tear rolls down from the corner of Sean’s eye.
I… I had no idea…
Well, that’s because you’re a stupid kid, Sean. That’s why we do these PSAs. That and we are legally required to do some sort of programming like this.
(sobbing into his hands)
What if gram gram was sleeping upstairs!
Gee, thanks, Mike! I’ll be sure never to say I’m…
Jus’ clownin homeboy! You’ll never hear me utter those dreadful words!
The blood on my hands! The horror… the horror…
Do me a favor, Sean and find some fuckin chill, right now.
Oh, the HUMANITY!
Remember kids; “Kool aid is for drinking, not dying!” Don’t forget to watch “MIke and the Toilet Force Five!” weekdays at 4:30 on (when Mike covers his mouth Dub in local channel number) and Fapdollar(™) new mix tape drops October 16th! Also read his funny and enchanting assortment of columns on FANBOY NATION including “ADULT CONTINUITY”, “CULTURAL JUNKDRAWER” and this very “COMICS ON THE CAN”! Where I read a comic on the potty and then write about it! C’mon, Dabby, we got crime to fight!
The camera pulls back to show Mike walking off the set, Carl pouring a big cup of bleach and Sean curled up into a sobbing ball on the floor.
END of PSA
I have questions.
After reading this book (which I found in my parents attic while searching for some old porn I didn’t take when I moved out) I came to question the very underpinnings of the superhero comic. As The Vision points out in “Captain America: Civil War” the very idea of a superpowered being invites challenge. Commissioner Gordon says essentially the same thing in “Batman Begins” at the end when he mentions escalation. Can a superhero be effective if there is no arch nemesis to oppose them? In a world of relative morality where is the line drawn between “good” and “evil”? Is the defeat of menace outvalue to collateral damage caused?
All these questions and more are raised by reading this harrowing meditation on life, death and the existential horror of existence known as “The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man”.
The questions start immediately in the opening page of the first story. A group of moderately diverse children, weary from a challenging game of softball go to the local snack bar to slake their thirst. They find, it… to their horror… CLOSED! A quick peek inside reveals that the vile enemies of refreshment and fun, THE THIRSTIES, have overpowered the proprietor and bound him. Obviously these Thirsties represent our animalistic and chaotic drives when unchecked by moral convention. They look like the happy suns a child would draw with a crayon except they sport jagged and sharp beak like mouths and disgusting green tongues which loll from their hideous pie holes symbolizing the destructive and selfish nature that the innocence of childhood eventually succumbs to as the true nature of this cold and unfeeling universe is revealed.
But behold! In panel three Kool-Aid man comes to the rescue! He smashes through a wall of the snack bar catching the Thristies unawares! Before the little symbols of the wretched underbelly of humanity can rally Kool-Aid man presses his advantage and binds the vile (or is it misunderstood) creatures with a chain of linked hot dogs. At this point I won’t bring up the phallocentric imagery at work here because it becomes more pointed later.
Kool Aid man then takes the assortment of kids on his helicopter dubbed, approatley, “The Kool Copter”. While leaving the restrained Thirsties virtually unattended. The problems are threefold;
1 – the property damage the snack bar owner suffers goes unanswered for.
2 – The snack bar owner is denied sales of his stock by Kool Aid Man whisking away his customers thus compounding the proprietor’s woes .
3 – The Thirsties escape is a foregone conclusion putting the snack bar owner in mortal jeopardy.
You have to ask yourself “Are Kool Aid Man’s actions hero worthy when so much ill derives from it?”
“Is Kool aid Man’s negligence actually CRIMINAL in retrospect?”
And “How does a eight foot anthropomorphic glass pitcher get into a helicopter in the first place?”
Kool Aid Man brings the children to his “Secret Headquarters” which is a five story building in the shape of a giant glass pitcher, ice cubes floating on top and all, located at Number One Kool-Aid Plaza. Kool Aid Man must be employing the “Hide in plain sight” approach to obfuscation. A clever ruse that could easily backfire. There he shows the children his state of the art surveillance equipment which he claims to use in his “Never ending battle with the thristies” a clear commentary on the big brother type surveillance state we find ourselves in and the “War on terror” smokescreen used as thinly veiled justification.
More Thirsties are found! This time at the beach! Kool AId Man and the group of innocents he uses for an unwitting human shield rush off to engage!
Kool Aid Man can’t resist wholesale destruction in his clash with the Thristies, smashing through the only edifice existing on the beach; a large sign probably warning of potential shark attacks and wrapping the offending beasties in a volleyball net he tears down. Too bad there was no Lifeguard safety tower for the deceptively jovial drink man to destroy!
This scene does nothing to advance the plot but it does give insight into the motivations of the antagonistic Thirsties (“We want people to feel rotten!”). The scene also restates the wanton destruction that Kool Aid Man so obviously relishes. Casting the “hero” of the piece in a dubious light and calling into question whether such actions are actually “Good” or just serve some fetishistic lust for property damage.
The next day the children have a big baseball game against a cross town rivalry. This whole sequence chillingly underscores the inherent cognitive bias created by damaging human binary thinking such as “Us vs Them”, “Good vs Evil” and “Smalltown Sluggers” vs “Lakeview Team”. The Thirsties, whom easily escaped from their imprisonment, use the hot dogs of their bondage (intense phallic imagery I spoke of earlier) to plague the attendees of the pointless and arbitrary sports event which offers only a brief respite from the crippling knowledge that we’re all going to die one day. The program of malice and harassment that the Thirsties visit upon the attendees could be considered symbolic of the gnawing existential dread that resides constantly at the edges of our awareness. Always waiting, whispering truths too terrifying to consciously face lest it drive us mad. There is also deep symbolism pertaining to class warfare, social injustice and the evils of the patriarchy embedded in religion throughout the scene. Especially when one Thirsty literally steals second base.
Kool Aid Man is summoned once again! Once again destroying as he comes, like the ignorance he so obviously represents! This time the electronic scoreboard is shattered symbolizing the destruction of logic and reason in the face of a false hero. Once again bringing the lie of “refreshment” to the masses!
Kool Aid Man effortlessly overpowers the Thirsties and tosses them into a nearby river. We see the hapless creatures sizzling in agony as their bodies react negatively with the water. Kool Aid Man has callously MURDERED his opponents. This throws the image of children enjoying a refreshing glass of Kool-Aid into stark contrast with the brutal carnage going on in the background. Hero indeed.
Or is it a glimmer of hope? When one considers the unrelenting horror of existence in a cold uncaring universe is illusion so bad?
It is the classic philosophical argument; live with the illusion of purpose or live with eyes wide open to the pointlessness of the universe?
Do these questions need to be asked? Should we, burdened with the curse of sentience, ask them?
The answer is a resounding Oh, Yeaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!!!!
RANDOM THOUGHTS TANGENTIAL TO THE MAIN WORK BUT I COULDN’T FIT IN ORGANICALLY
The scribe(s) of this amazing work have gone nameless. It IS evocative of Alan Moore’s earlier, more visceral, work. The complexity and nuance could also be from the pen of a more seasoned talent such as late era Will Eisner. I guess we’ll never know.
I have a lead which points to the Marvel editor’s nephew “Billy” as the writer of this magnum opus. The mystery deepens.
If, indeed, it was Billy; I applaud your work and my heart is filled with sorrow that you did not continue to pursue what would’ve been a fascinating career. But then again; the candle that burns brightest…
An indie theater production of the PSA is being mounted as we speak. I believe the team “Andy Joblonski’s good time dinner theater and escape room adventure” has dedicated itself, and the next three weekends, to bringing this masterwork to vivid life! Catch it now in Temecula or be sorry later.
I was sure I had some magazine shots of Tori Welles hidden up in the attic somewhere.
For some reason, my theory is cause my brain hates me, everytime I wrote “Thirsties” all I could think about was that lame joke about Lois Lane’s sex drive in Justice League… or was it Batman V Superman? It’s all a blur to me.
There was a whole other story of Kool Aid Man battling the Thirsties in outer space but that story was marred by tepid dialogue, gaping plot holes, and paper thin characterizations. It almost felt like a simple promotional story designed to be marketed to a target audience. A shallow, disappointing follow up to a brilliant and beloved first entry, Much like the second season of True Detective.
There were fun activity pages in the book also. Which I had filled out when I was a kid. My penmanship has actually degraded since then.
I also wrote little commentaries in the margins. Damn, I’m an easily amused dude!
The back page was an ad for the Kool-AId Man video game for the state of the art Atari 2600 and Intellivision. I wonder why we don’t see this game on any of the plug n play collections?
That cold be a great idea for a plug and play console: Shitty Atari 2600 Collection! It could have Kool-AId Man, Smurf Rescue, E.T. – The Extraterrestrial, B.C. and whatever Pac Man knock off of the week, like Mappy or some shit! Fire up the kickstarter!
FUNKO, when are we getting the inevitable Kool Aid Man pop with blue color variant?
Or maybe a four color pack like you just did with Dino of the Fintstones?
LATER: Walk of shame coupled with self loathing.