Comics

What If – Retail Mascots Teamed Up To Fight Crime?

Superheroes teaming up to fight horrific evildoers is as natural as peanut butter and jelly. Over the years there have been the sublime team-ups: The Avengers, The Justice League of America, Teen Titans, the Fantastic Four, and even Watchmen.

Then there is the bottom of the barrel of superheroes teaming up: The Champions, The West Coast Avengers, The Legion of Monsters, and (what’s really my guilty pleasure) – the Metal Men.

But there has never, ever (ever) been a team-up of commercial retail mascots. I guess that’s why The Cosmic One is here!

Let’s consider which retail mascots might make it if they were allowed to be superheroes teaming up. That is if retail mascots can get together to fight crime. And as a bonus track on this fine vinyl TGON LP article, let’s also consider some team names and who would be in the cosmically calamitous team these heroes might have to fight against.

WHAT MAKES A KILLER TEAM?

To be really super, what kinds of superheroes teaming up do you need in a superhero team-up?

THE LEADER SUPERHERO: This character is the cream rising to the top, though sometimes reluctantly. Strong, charismatic, self-sacrificing, able to see the strengths of other team members, maybe even before seeing their own. Instant candidates are Iron Man, Captain America, Superman, and, errr … sometimes Wolverine.

THE 2ND IN COMMAND SUPERHERO: Also gifted, but not always as large and in charge. This character’s emotions may get out of line but serve as a counterpoint to those of the Leader. Think Green Arrow, Stargirl, and The Invisible Girl.

BIG AND BRAWNY SUPERHERO: Yes, Virginia … size does matter. You need a big slab o’ beef to take punishment while the other team members think, bicker, or just hang out for a while watching the Superhero Channel on Netflix. There are almost too many examples to name: The Thing, Judge Dredd, Bishop, Obelix, and Colossus.

SUPER SMART SUPERHERO: A brainy type – cerebral and gifted, but emotionally guarded. More than capable of making the sacrifice if the stakes are high enough. Let’s nominate Reed Richards, Martian Manhunter, or The Beast.

FAST (BUT MAYBE NOT FURIOUS) SUPERHERO: Because you sometimes need to make things happen in a hurry, it’s important to include a speedster. Quick! Name one (oh, I already did – 1) Flash, 2) Quicksilver, 3) Makkari, and 4) The Runner (yes, there is a character that runs a lot going by the name: The Runner. Go figure.).

TEAM UP!!!

Based on what we just covered above, it’s time to nominate some iconic retail mascots to become superheroes teaming up. Ready, set … nominate!!

LEADER:

Uncle Pennybags would make a great leader

Rich Uncle Pennybags

Like Charlie, of Charlie’s Angels fame, Rich Uncle Pennybags (aka The Monopoly Man) could be the leader of a supergroup. He’s got money, connections, and the ability to keep bad guys from “passing go” without paying, well … a lot more than $200 dollars. He’d have every Chance covered, and like Batman’s utility belt, he just has to reach into Community Chest to deploy a cool gadget.
Source: YouTube – “Who is Uncle Pennybags? (Theory)”

Captain Crunch crushes it in the leader role.

Cap’n Crunch

Many supergroups have leaders with military titles. These include Captain America, Major Mapleleaf, Colonel Future, and General Immortus. All of this paves the way for Cap’n Crunch. Ditch the apostrophe and turn this guy into a real knuckle buster and you really have something going! What better name to strike fear in the heart of even the most diabolical villain than “Captain Crunch?
Source: YouTube – “Crunch Commercials”

This guy leads more times than just Happy Hour

Captain Morgan

This Captain doesn’t need to be reimagined too much to be the leader of a team of superheroes. Like The Old Soldier (from Astro City), he gets to keep his flashy uniform, but let’s turn that sword into something that fires an ion beam that can cut entire planets in half. Another facet of this badass pirate that doesn’t need ditching is the freakin’ pose! Like when The Thing shouts, “It’s Clobberin’ Time!,” when The Captain strikes his signature pose, it’s all over but the crying.
Source: YouTube – “The Real-Life Captain Morgan Was More Interesting Than His Rum”

2ND IN COMMAND:

Laughing Cow has it all to be No. 2

The Laughing Cow

Judging from the lack of gender diversity in the Leader role (see above), it would be udderly insane not to recruit a female hero for his role! The Laughing Cow is actually no laughing matter. To help change diets and punish evildoers, she deploys her signature attack: The Spreadable Wedge! Her only weaknesses – it’s hard to sneak up on anyone when you’re almost totally red and, ironically, she’s lactose intolerant. Enemies can stop her with her own products!
Source: YouTube – “The Laughing Cow Reinvents Snacking – Laughing Cow Cheese Ad”

Tony The Tiger would make a GREAT!! hero

Tony The Tiger

As a rallying cry, “They’re GRRRRRREAT!!” isn’t the best. The Klingons are remembered for, “Today is a good day to die!” and He-Man shouts, “By the power of Greyskull … I have the powerrr!!!” So maybe Tony the Tiger needs to work on his a bit. But beyond that, he is a human-sized battle cat, with fully functioning talons and a great set of teeth. And, like Popeye eating spinach before a big fight, a bowl full of Frosted Flakes might just put this big pussy(cat) over the top.
Source: YouTube – “Kelloggs Frosted Flakes “High Dive” 30sec”

Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo have worldly experiende

Sailor Jack and his dog Bingo

He may look amazingly small, but like his signature caramel-coated, popped corn candy snack, this kid grows on you. He has a sailor’s worldly experience, and like SHAZAM, he only has to say SNACK! to become a six-foot-tall, grown-up slugging machine (don’t ask me what SNACK! translates out to; I haven’t deciphered it yet). And his tag line is more than appropriate: “The More You Eat – The More You Want!” When Jack fires a stream of popped candy into an enemy’s mouth, they become his slave. Bingo redefines the nettlesome sidekick but is indispensable when it comes to cleaning up the crime scene.
Source: YouTube – “Almanac: Cracker Jack”

BIG AND BRAWNY:

Mr. Muscle takes more than a bite out or crime!

Mr. Muscle

Why do we love Mr. Incredible from The Incredibles franchise? His name says who he is. He’s incredible. Same with Mr. Muscle. There’s no dilly dally at the scene of the crime. “Oh, no! It’s Mr. Muscle!!” Yes. And he’s not just tough on grime! He backs the clean message with some nasty fisticuffs. Judging by his picture, he’s also every bit the lab rat that Hank Pym is. Notice the white coat, cool goggles, and high-tech holo-gizmo on his hand. He’s just as likely to take you out with tech as with a knuckle sandwich.
Source: YouTube – “Mr. Muscle Total Kitchen & Total Bath TVC Commercial 2014”

It's possible the JGG may be too jolly.

The Jolly Green Giant

This category is dominated by heroes who have their skills built into their names. Remember Giant-Man? How about Powerman? The Jolly Green Giant’s power is more than just being big. He’s known for being jolly, but what if he isn’t always jolly? Imagine the bad guy’s surprise when Jolly Green arrives and proceeds to punch him flatter than a pounded flounder. It doesn’t help that Marvel has another big green dude on tap. “Is that the Hulk!?!” No! It’s the JOLLY green guy!
Source: YouTube – “GREEN GIANT TV Commercials 1960 to 2020 also starring Sprout! Ho Ho Ho! | TV Advert Compilation”

Michelin Man - hugs bad guys like the road.

The Michelin Man

While the Michelin Man is humanoid, he definitely isn’t human! But I’m sure I would trust the safety of the free world to this guy. In fact, I may already have – one tire at a time. He’s big. He’s bouncy. He wears multiple (steel) belts and one of them might just be black. You’ve got to love a heavyweight that’s comfortable wearing a sash to work. Judging from recent trends in racial diversity, expect that a new character without all the white walls could step in to fill these shoes.
Source: YouTube – “Michelin Man Tyre Tire Advert Commercial Evil Gas Pump The Right Tyre Changes Everything”

SMART:

The Quaker Oats Man knows more than breakfast.

The Quaker Oats Guy

He looks so self-assured, dressed in that coat and hat. He’s got to know more than he lets on, doesn’t he? Yes. He’s all about keeping secrets. For example, The Quaker Oats Guy isn’t a real Quaker. The name just sounded nice – Q for Quaker … and Quality. He is able to change his appearance to suit the occasion, gaining five pounds or a brown coat or a rosier complexion. Just as Clark Kent looks just like Superman (with glasses), the Quaker Oats Guy can easily slip in and out of nearly any location by subtly changing his appearance.
Source: YouTube – “What Happened to Quaker Oats? (How It All Started)”

Mr. Owl is wise, but not old.

Mr. Owl

Owls are known for being wise. That’s a fact. And this “Mr. Owl” is no exception. The Greeks also thought owls had some sort of inner light that let them see at night. That’s a pretty good superpower. Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom was supposed to turn into an owl when she wanted to. Unfortunately, Mr. Owl, pictured at left, was probably hiding behind the door when the Big Guy was handing out brains. He would probably be turfed out of any superhero team that was unfortunate to sign him up.
Source: YouTube – “(1970) Tootsie Pop Commercial (Original Full Version)”

Homer D. Poe builds stuff.

Homer D. Poe

Homer D. Poe is the sine qua non of the Do It Yourself hero life. He’s smart and crafty, all at once. If you need to build your own aftermarket Quinjet, he’s got hand-drawn plans and half of the components sourced in his backyard shed/hero hideout. He could build an armored suit, cum Tony Start, but would skip all the prototyping and go right to the final product. All of the weaponry would be based on what’s in the store – nail-gun repulsors, etc.
Source: YouTube – “‘Homer Depot’ (1991) Designefx”

FAST (BUT MAYBE NOT FURIOUS):

Quicky always saves the day - and quick!

Quik Bunny, or Quickie, For Short

Bunnies are stacked up within this category. There’s the Energizer Bunny, the Duracell Bunny, Buck, The GameStop Bunny, the Trix Rabbit, the Blue Bunny, and the Cadbury Caramel Bunny. There’s even a Bunny Gaming Esport mascot. The problem: none of them are especially fast! In the end, Quickie can certainly stir things quickly, and it’s important for a speedster to be the straw that stirs the drink – rapidly!!
Source: YouTube – “‘Nestle Quik commercial – 1970’s/1980’s Nesquik Nestlé rabbit”

Speedy is just that.

Speedy Alka-Seltzer

The character may not be speedy, but the relief he provides certainly is. With that kind of healing power, he could act like the druid, shaman, or spell-caster that most gamers have on their crew. Imagine that the wand is magical like most wands are. Perhaps he could even trade it in for other magical devices, a la Dr. Strange. Now, if he could only lose the goofy brim with his name on it! No superheroes teaming up would ever wear it. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, indeed!
Source: YouTube – “‘Nestle Quik commercial – 1970’s/1980’s Nesquik Nestlé rabbit”

Reddy Kilowatt, insanely fast!

Reddy Kilowatt

Considering how strange he looks, this cat had better be fast as hell! Not only is he that fast, but he’s been around since 1926, making him one of the oldest characters around. Still mighty spry, of course! Reddy started out as a spokesperson for electricity, but he’s grown over the decades. Now he’s an expert on a whole host of different subjects. He’d be perfect to keep his teammates on task, even while speeding around keeping the lights on while dispatching the bad guys.
Source: YouTube – “‘Electricity & You – Reddy Kilowatt”

TEAM NAMES

Names for superheroes teaming up by involving commercial retail mascots should be pretty easy, and – voila!!! – they are!

  • Retail Force
  • The Promotional Paladins
  • The Merchandisers
  • Convergence Corps
  • The Gross Domestic Paradigms
  • The Business Cycles

Think of your own amazing moniker for a group like this and leave it in the comments below!!

THE RETAIL VILLAIN’S GANG

Retail superheroes teaming up are great, but there are some that felt left out, probably for good reasons. They would make up the first retail baddie gang. Here is their story:

Still hurting from their mascot demotions, Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben team up to lead a villainous cabal. Their first recruit is Joe Camel, who has the mutant super-ability to conjure and manipulate second-hand smoke. Not long after, they lure Chuck E. Cheese into their gang by offering to pay with a particularly strong-smelling Limburger. Alfred E. Neuman is a natural choice, considering he worked as the cover boy for MAD Magazine for 67 years. After all that time, he could out-joker the Joker! Last, but certainly not least, the Pillsbury doughboy seeks them out and offers his services. His reason? “Just make the pain stop, man … All that poking!” he says, his face a mask of grief. But then his features firm up into a determined, granite-like visage and he says, “Watch out, you kitchen bakers. Look who’s doin’ the pokin’ NOW!!!”

If you have any ideas for retail commercial mascots that would fit the categories listed above, or categories of your own, please put them into the comments!

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