Ad Nauseam: X-Men #60

Welcome back to my retrospective series of articles in which I sit in my dark apartment, listen to synthwave, and thumb through back issues in hopes of sparking shadowed memories of simpler times! An exciting Saturday night is finding a 24 year old advertisement for Dinosaur Eggs oatmeal. How can life possibly offer anything more?

X-Men Vol. 1 #60, January 1997

If there’s a main theme throughout these articles (besides the onset of Peter Pan Syndrome) it has to be constantly waxing nostalgic about the X-Men. They were a benevolent force throughout comic culture in the 1990s. But 1997 marked a lull in X-Men fandom. While at heart X-Men was always a glorified mutant soap opera, the ideas of love triangles, false deaths, and double agents were tired tropes. This was also the year the acclaimed X-Men animated series was cancelled. And with that dries up the marketability of X-Men toys, tie ins, and video games.

But, as we all know, this wasn’t goodbye for the X-Men. It was just “see you later”. Because in just 3 short years Marvel introduced the ULTIMATE universe of comics and the blockbuster X-Men live action movie hit theaters worldwide.

But, right now, we’re stuck in 1997 and we have this awfully mundane issue to get through.  But between the story: A D V E R T I S M E N T S. This is an X-men title so I didn’t have to necessarily hit the clearance for you, so we’re not at the bottom of the barrel per-say.  That’s reserved for Witchbalde or Youngbloods. So put on your finest Austin 3:16 shirt, pause your Playstation, crack open a cold Surge and join me on this capitalistic journey of useless trading cards and fruitless VHS tapes.

Kool-Aid Points

It’s summer break and you and your best buds have the whole day ahead of you. Maybe you play some Bucky O’Hare, head over to the park district pool, split some nachos, and do that weird running gallop so the lifeguards don’t blow the whistle at you for running. What always hits the spot on a hot summer day like this was a big pitcher of some sticky flavored sugar water. And while you sit on your throne of innocence and Super Ropes you think to yourself, “How can this get any better?” 

Well let me tell you: Getting free garbage for drinking that cold sticky sugar water.  What we have here is the always incredible Kool-Aid Kool Points program. Kool-Aid packets were worth points. You save the packets. And mail them in to get treasures. I have to say, I love everything that is offered in this ad. I try to imagine what I’d save up for and I get anxiety from the choices. I’d love to get some official Kool-Aid merch like a shirt, beach towel, or bottle that way I can let everyone know I’m well on my way to premature diabetes. But, at the same time, the idea of saving up for a Yomega Fireball Yo-Yo, Nintendo Gameboy Keychain, or Remote Control Car truly feels like an accomplishment I’d cherish more so than my college degree (it’s a BA in art so it’s basically not real) .

This Kool-Points program was started sometime in the early 1980s and ended  recently in 2008. Unfortunately you can’t find as much Kool information as you’d hope as it seems to be the name of a mobile gaming app nowadays. But let this be a remainder of the days where you just didn’t chug a pitcher of Rock-a-dile Red for the pure enjoyment of quenching mere thirst, you were inching closer to quenching the thirst of owning an Official Kool-Aid Man kite. Oh. Yeah.

Got Milk? Featuring Spider-man!

As stated as the topic for my college thesis, if you were anybody of significance in the past 20 years you were featured in a Got Milk? ad. Singer, athlete, actor, wrestler, cartoon character or inter-dimensional idea you were given a page wide spread with a glass of milk complete with white mustache. Even Spider-man himself, complete with mask mustache, is pictured in this very ad presented.  The Nobel Peace Prize paled in comparison to the worldwide recognition one receives when simply asking the question “Got Milk?”. 

The one downside to this ad campaign is that it was a little too successful in that it became trendy for nearly every brand or company to ask the famous “Got Milk?” question with their own, often illogical, spin. I remember seeing tons of t-shirts and bumper stickers being sold with simple text reading things like “Got Comics?” or “Got Pizza?” in that tall white font. I even recall the local zoo selling “Got Dolphins?” bumper stickers with the names of various animals at whatever exhibits.

It was genius in it’s simplicity. These ads were featured in every kind of newspaper, magazine, or comic. And it made Milk, well, cool if you seen Spider-man, Brett Favre, or Whoopi Goldberg with the classic ‘stache. I even seen someone with a “Got Speed?” bumper sticker on their car driving home last week. It’s still relevant today and kind of douchey apparently!

Michael Jordan Highlights on VHS!

When you want to describe someone being the best at something, nowadays it’s common to say “They’re the Michael Jordan of” it. For example, “Chris is the Michael Jordan of  having a cynical outlook!” or “ChrisDoesComics.com is the Michael Jordan of websites nobody cares about.”  Well, Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of basketball. Being a Chicago native during the Bulls legendary era, I and everyone I knew wanted to be like Mike.

MJ was on my t-shirts and my bedroom walls. I had MJ books and magazines. I wanted Hanes because Michael wore them. I wanted a Big Macs and Ball Park Franks because Michael ate them. Space Jam was a childwide event in Chicago complete with parades and screenings in church. I made that last one up. Michael Jordan was so awesome and such an international phenomenon that for $30 the NBA sold a 2 1/2 hour MJ highlight reel on VHS.

I included this ad because I really downplay the love I had for Michael Jordan nowadays. Not really for a particular reason other than I simply forget what a idol he was to me and so many other kids back then. This ad truly gave me the warm fuzzies because it’s the reason I write these articles to begin with: to dust off fond forgotten memories.  And I remember a time where I wanted to be Like Mike. Except for that short period where he played baseball.

CardZillion Trading Card Machines!

Another reason I write these articles is to share things I had no idea existed like CARDZILLION. I wasn’t sure to include this ad but after doing some research I simply had to. These “vending” machines were located exclusively in Toys “R” Us stores from 1994 until 1997 and were distributed by Bandai. You’d pop in a quarter and receive a trading card from properties like Power Rangers, Beetleborgs, Sailor Moon, and Donkey Kong Country. Each series composed of 42 cards including 6 ULTRA cards (which were the rare ones).

What set these cards apart were they all felt special. They had hologram cards, holofoil cards, Ultra rare cards, cards that popped up into little dioramas, cards that made up a battle game. And with the machine being placed in the store exit, it was a great strategy for kids to drain a little more out of their parents during the trip. 9 year old me would be all over those Donkey Kong Country cards without fail.

I’m not sure why they didn’t last long. It may have been because the novelty of trading cards weren’t nearly as popular as they were 10-30 years ago. That being said, had I known about these I would’ve certainly begged for a trip to Toys R Us just to use one.

Wouldn’t it be interesting if they brought these back with comic books? With Marvel and superheroes being modern day Greek Mythology, it would be a fun experiment to bundle these with some $1 back issues with maybe some “exclusive” or signed covers as a rarity.

Rugrats Reptar Crunch Cereal!

The Rugrats is a cartoon that elevated Nickelodeon to legendary kids entertainment. And it open the floodgates to a plethora of classic cartoons. But with Nickelodeon being presented as a network “For kids by kids” they understood that children knew when they were being marketed to. Which is why, compared to say Disney, they had very limited merchandise. It made getting your grubby little meathooks on something Rugrats, Rocko, or Ren more special.

And, here, we have not Rugrats cereal but Reptar cereal! Reptar was a show within the show that the Rugrats themselves watched and idolized. What I love about Reptar is although he was watched by babies he was much more Godzilla than Barney. He had no educational value for these kids. He just loved to smash cities and roar. And I love him for that.

Reptar  merch was always present in the show itself with things like a Reptar chocolate bar, Reptar on Ice, Reptar The Movie, and Tommy Pickles’s beloved Reptar doll. I find it very interesting to bring that branding off the show and into reality as it makes for a much more fun and unique product. Sure, you could’ve had an actual Rugrats cereal with marshmallow rattles or something uninspired. But instead you now have a product that Chuckie Finster and Tommy Pickles himself would eat….if they had teeth that is.

With with whole Nick Nostalgia in full effect to drain us 90s kids of our hard earned cash, they’ve actually released a whole Reptar brand of merchandise including cereal and the legendary chocolate bar itself. So if you gotta find that Reptar now is the time more than ever.


Would you look at that? We’re done with X-men #60 cover to cover. Man, I can’t believe Cyclops was being mind controlled to kill Storm. I thought for sure ‘ol  Summers was just overcome with jealousy over her latex outfit and cool white hair. I hope you enjoyed reminiscing with me about the soulless ads featured in a 21 year old comic about mutant love triangles.  One might say I’m the Michael Jordan of writing articles that waste your time.

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Ad Nauseam: Fantastic Force #2

Welcome back, Space Ranger, to another “stomping” edition of Ad Nauseam! It’s the only article on the web published at 12:53 PM that features old comic ads likely forgotten for a reason written by someone with arrested development!

Tonight we travel back to December 1994, a time where the Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers ruled our televisions and Cookie Crisp rotted our teeth. Also Big Daddy Cool  Diesel was WWF Champion and you can do what you will with that information. Among all the radical comics featuring popular antiheroes like VenomWolverine, and Jughead I present you with none of those characters! Instead here’s a comic I found in a dirty clearance drawer between 2 issues of Witchblade!

Fantastic Force Vol. 1 Issue 2 December 1994

Fantastic Force is a group of intergalactic heroes led by none other than Mr. Fantastic’s son, Franklin Richards. Fantastic Force ran along side Marvel’s first family, Fantastic Four,  for 18 issues (1994-1996). In 2018, You can find issues of Fantastic Force‘s adventures in the 25 cent bin of any comic convention or as a makeshift rug underneath a cat’s litter box. According to the cover, this is their “2nd Stomping Issue!” which is an interesting (non)adjective to use. Not “explosive!” or “exciting!”. Perhaps they have a “3rd Sleeping Issue!”. 

So join me and the little dignity I have left as we delve deep into the mysterious cosmos and spaceways of the world’s greatest fighting team: Fantastic Force! (Wait, if they’re an intergalactic team what “world” are they the greatest fighting team on?)

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Sport Pak

I’m not going to lie to you: This advertisement is the reason I purchased this issue. I mean, there’s some cool stuff advertised here but this? This is nostalgic pornography to me.

For a mere $14.99 ($1.95 S+H) you could become the baddest kid on the playground. As you’ll realize with the following ads, The Power Rangers were peak popularity and merchandise gold in late 1994.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze had faded and the Power Rangers took the preverbal ball and ran with it. Personally speaking, at the time I was completely engulfed in all things MMPR. You know that famous scene from Scarface where Tony Montana is sitting in his mansion surround by piles of cocaine and loyal henchmen? I was like that, except with Power Ranger merchandise and Kool-Aid Jammers.

I had toys, clothes, a lunchbox, and I was even a member of the Power Rangers Fan Club (I used to kiss an 8×10 of Kimberly before school). But seeing this particular ad actually gutted me with a emotional Dragon Dagger 24 years in the making. I could’ve whipped that football at my dog’s head, I could’ve gotten bored with that kickball within 5 minutes, I could’ve accidentally threw that frisbee on the roof, I could’ve chugged chocolate milk for a unique experience through that bottle, and I could’ve lost that sports bag on the 3rd day at school. Sure, it’s just a bunch of  marked up dollar store toys, but that’s the point! An ad like this is why I write these articles.

Power Rangers…you mighty morphed your way right into my heart.

Sweetarts Marvel Superhero Contest

I think I’ve mentioned in nearly every Ad Nauseam article the drastic change of marketing junk food towards children in modern times. You no longer get rewarded with points, prizes, or giveaways. Eating healthy is a reward within itself and that’s the route a lot of these companies have taken as well.  This isn’t a bad thing whatsoever and it does make looking back at ads like this much more interesting and nostalgic. And over the years there have certainly been some interesting and unique techniques to market these treats.

In the ad featured we have Sweetarts which was a personal favorite candy of mine when I was a kid. You mail away a form found on select Sweetarts packaging and you could win to a trip to New York, tour Marvel Comics Studios, and get drawn as a superhero by a Marvel comic artist. Pretty dang cool. Runner up prizes include a ton of X-Men and Spider-man merch as well. My favorite aspect of this ad has to be all the Marvel characters explaining how they became Superheroes. I’d love an alternate ad that would have The Punisher stating, “Get Your Family Murdered…”,  or Ghost Rider explaining, “Make A Deal With Satan…” or Man-Thing mumbling, “Escape from Terrorists After Being Betrayed By Your Wife…”.

Perhaps the kid in the superhero garb could have a gaunt regrettable look on his face. I think it really nails the experience of eating Sweetarts: At first it’s great, then you feel bitter. Kind of like going on Facebook.

Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers on Sega Genesis, Game Gear, And Sega CD!

I never had a Sega console until the Dreamcast. I purchased it used for $60 at a store called the Music Recyclery in the early 2000s. A friend of mine had a Sega Genesis but we rarely played video games when we hung out together. I was a Nintendo kid and concerning The Power Rangers, I had rented their two video games on the Super Nintendo a number of times. I can only describe them as Diet Streets of Rage with some Dollar Store Street Fighter Megazord levels thrown in-between.  But, as a diehard fan, they did the job and were passable games even till this day.

Concerning the Sega versions, the ad pictured shows screenshots of the Genesis game. This version was a Street Fighter-esque fighting game strung together by some cutscenes to present a by-the-mill MMPR story. You picked your Ranger, fought a monster, monster grew, you fought the monster as a Megazord. The Game gear version was similar except, you know, downgraded for the Game Gear. But the Sega CD version? That was interesting. The Sega CD often boasted about it’s “full motion video” which often led to “lazy boring games” and this Power Ranger “game” was no different. It was a full episode of the show. Button prompts would pop up on screen during the fights and you’d press them. Hit the right button you’d get points. Hit the wrong button you wouldn’t. But the video would continue no matter what you did.  So, essentially, you paid $50 for a 22 minute episode of the Power Rangers in 240p. Sure glad I had my Nintendo.

In the video game category, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had The Power Rangers beat.

Double Dragon The Movie!

In 1993 we were gifted the Super Mario Bros. movie by cinema gods. The following year we were to be treated yet again to another game-to-film masterpiece we simply were not ready for: Double Dragon . I find the Super Mario movie to be a guilty pleasure. It’s like Dark City meets Lost World: Jurassic Park in the best and worst way possible. I wish Double Dragon were in the same category but it’s simply not. It’s just bad in a power glove type of way.

Double Dragon is based on the popular arcade game and it really blew up once it was ported to the NES. Your girlfriend gets punched in the stomach by a gang and you either pick Jimmy or Billy (they share the girlfriend?) to karate your way through the mean streets and get her back. And somewhere in time somebody thought that was 95 minute movie material. The T-1000 from T2 plays Koga Shuko, the dime store Gary Oldman villain who transforms into Bib Fortuna, Billy and Jimmy only wear their trademark outfits for 5 minutes, and production made Alyssa Milano at her peak-babeness look like a feminine Eminem cosplayer. It’s also to note that Paul Dini co-wrote this film. And if you understood what that means it’s quite shocking. I seen this film in theaters. I cannot tell you what I thought of it, but I remember wearing a Chicago Bulls windbreaker. My brain functions like Goofy’s jalopy from an old Disney cartoon.

But it’s good to know that a little over a month later we’d be given yet another gift from the cinema gods. Another wonderful game-to-movie masterpiece that human eyes couldn’t comprehend. Double Dragon may have been a financial and critical bomb but I view it as sacrificing itself for the greater good: Street Fighter the Movie. And it’s been a while since I referenced it.

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Gratuitous JCVD muscle cinematography.

We’ve reached the last page of wonderful ads straight from December 1994‘s issue of Fantastic Force: The World’s Great Fighting Team! What literary garbage will I be polluting your eyes with next time? Well, there’s just so many awful comics offered for mere shillings, how can I resist not feasting my eyes on those capitalistic endeavorers and write extremely overblown blog articles that nobody will read? You’ll always find articles on ancient comic culture right here on ChrisDoesComics. Until next time friends!

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