If there's one thing we can all agree on, it's that kids should wear seat belts in cars. If there's another thing we can all agree on, it's that kids love to read comics. And if there's a third thing we can all agree on, it's that kids safely buckled up in cars in the back seat given comic books to read are fifty to seventy five percent less likely to whine on long car trips. Sure, a certain percentage of those kids are going to get carsick because they're reading comic books, but those kids would probably get carsick anyways. Better pull over.
So let's say we had a US Dept. Of Transportation National Safety Belt Campaign that got together with DC Comics to create a comic book designed to get kids to wear seat belts. Which super hero would you put in that comic? Batman has the Batmobile, that's a natural! Wonder Woman has her invisible plane, and also Wonder Woman has a thing about restraints, and, uh, we probably won't get into that. No, seriously, you're gonna want to use a super character that in some way has a vehicle or involves vehicles, right?
Or maybe you're gonna go with Supergirl for some reason. A more nurturing character? Tested well with kid focus groups? Somebody at Honda has a thing for Supergirl? Maybe it's because Supergirl was just about to be killed off in "Crisis On Infinite Earths" and they wanted to give her one last adventure. Because you know, they never bring super heroes back in the comics. Anyway let's get ready to see an eggman suffer tramautic brain injury while pigs look on in horror! Seatbelts!
But first this message from Secretary Of Transportation Elizabeth "Liddy" Dole, spouse of Senator Bob Dole, and the kind of competent, corporatist Republican that we'd give our right arms to have back in public life again. And a special thanks to UPS, one more corporate sponsor involved in this already topheavy public service comic.
So as our story begins it looks like Supergirl, in her identity as Linda Danvers, is driving two adorable children and their dog across the countryside in an amazing adventure that will convince Supergirl that she doesn't actually want kids of her own any time soon.
Although Supergirl has many super powers, "telling riveting stories" is not one of them.
And like magic, the kids wake up in Motorville, the amazing world of the future where bumper to bumper cars and choking pollution combine to make a paradise! Right?
Hey, just remember when things seem grim and automobile infested, somewhere in this comic is Shari Lewis' world famous hand puppet Lamb Chop! Who better to teach kids about seat belts?
And just like a shocking number of other pedestrians, these kids get into the middle of the crosswalk and suddenly they forget what they were doing, how they got into the middle of the street, and what exactly they should be doing to extricate themselves from the path of moving vehicles.
One more easily avoidable pedestrian-car accident prevented by super-people from outer space.
Motorville, where crowds mix with traffic jams and all the businesses are fairy-tale themed and somebody got tired of drawing noses and said "I'm just gonna draw little rectangles from now on."
Boy, let me tell you something, kids went nuts for those Crash Test Dummies. No, not the rock band from Winnipeg, but actual dummies used in deliberately staged auto crashes to test how horrific the carnage would be without actually inflicting that carnage on actual human beings, and then later became safety education superstars! See, the Department Of Transportation got the Leo Burnett ad agency to create the characters Vince and Larry, who starred in award-winning public service announcements, their own TV cartoon, a video game, a line of action figures and comic books, and are now enshrined in the Smithsonian along with other, less safety-promoting American cultural artifacts like Archie Bunker's chair and Fonzie's jacket.
Sure, Supergirl could just fly them to the Amazing Dummy Show, but this is Motorville, after all.
And it's Taxi Driver starring Humpty Dumpty as the about-to-snap cabbie who thinks seat belts are for wimps!
Calm down, it's just that your skull is fractured. Nothing to worry about! Just hold still and let me peel away the broken parts. Now, who's got the mayonnaise, the mustard, and the paprika? Mustn't forget the paprika.
Come on kids, let's move away from this nursery-rhyme tale of irreparable damage before it scars your young psyches forever.
Confused and lost, our wanderers find themselves in the garment district. No, not THAT garment district, the OTHER garment district.
Lives in a shoe, has thirty-six kids, drives around in a stretch limo, don't call her old!
Finally, here in the middle of our comic book about seat belt use, we get a good look at some people using their seat belts.
Since this is fairy tale land, the Big Bad Wolf has to make an appearance, here seen as one of Motorville's many semi truck drivers, here finding out what it's like to be stuck behind somebody driving too slow in the left-hand, or "passing" lane. Suddenly this isn't fairytale land any more, it's my commute every. freaking. day.
"This is Arnie Pye with your traffic - looks like Supergirl has jackknifed a tractor-trailer on the expressway. We're looking a five hour gridlock. Hope you didn't need to be anywhere!"
Mister Wolf is pretty sweaty here. I guess it's not every day he gets manhandled by a flying girl in a mini-skirt.
And if the big bad wolf is here, the three little pigs can't be far behind. Careful readers will notice the one panel where seat belt use is discussed.
The two bad pigs didn't use their seat belts and they go flying. Everybody else in the car used their seat belts, and therefore only suffer painful whiplash.
Once again Supergirl brings a member of the wolf family to justice. How exactly does showing us the wolf version of the Overlook Hotel July 4th Ball photo convince anybody to wear seat belts? I feel like this comic book is really losing focus. Also, I believe we were promised Lamb Chop.
At least this comic is giving us Vince and Larry, the Amazing Dummies, condemned to a psuedo-life of driving from town to town and then, once in those towns, driving at high speeds into various walls and barriers.
And finally Lamb Chop makes her single solitary appearance, bringing nothing whatsoever to the whole "use seat belts" message and making us wonder why Lamb Chop was even involved with this project at all. Somebody at the ad agency wanted Shari Lewis to get another royalty check, I guess.
Don't be like Vince - don't have a hollow plastic body filled with sensors and tracking devices! Instead, keep your regular flesh and blood body safe by using seat belts! In fact, stay away from cars altogether!
These crash test dummies are so dumb that they loan their backup car to three perfect strangers! Well, one of them is Supergirl. I guess you could loan her your car, though I imagine the mirrors will be all adjusted weird, and the radio will be set to that weird Kryptonian station. And does she fill it back up with gas? No!
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, turns out it was all a crazy dream filled with nursery rhyme characters and public service announcement dummies and Supergirls. And Lamb Chop. Wear your seat belts kids, or I'll make you read this comic book again!
Thanks to Stupid Comics reader Drew for providing us with this comic. Now buckle up!
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