Some may scoff at the idea of a collective unconscious, a mass shared experience grouped around universal archetypes that underlies our waking mind and shapes our myths, cultures, and civilizations. But powerful evidence of its existence is all around us, and one in particular catches our attention today; to wit, the media-defying power of advertising mascots to burst forth from their world of labels and packaging and grainy halftone newspaper ads, and into a more tangible form that is printed, folded, stapled, trimmed, and distributed to children and child-like adults the world over. Comic books. Comic books starring advertising mascots!
Yes! America's most talked about comic! Imagine the conversation! "Have you heard the news? There's a freakin' COMIC BOOK about ELSIE, that dress-wearing cow that sells Borden dairy products!" "DATELINE NEW YORK - Citizens stunned to learn of Elsie-themed comic book freely available on newsstands. Panic in the streets. National Guard called out. More to come." Elsie, her husband Elmer (of "Elmer's Glue" fame), their daughter Beulah, their son Beauregard, and twins Larabee and Lobelia have all made the jump from Borden promotions to adventures in whatever freakish hellworld spawned these bovine-human hybrids, and the Free World is all the more confused for it. Hey, relax, settle down, here, have a glass of milk.
In today's thrilling dairy-mascot adventure, Elsie and Elmer must confront the reality of mail bomb terrorism head on, by not accepting any mail from anyone, any more, ever.
And wouldn't you know it, here's the mailman with an anonymous package. I bet it's nothing more than an insidious explosive device sent by those devils at Carnation!
Sorry Elmer, you have to take this package. Elvis Presley's hit "Return To Sender" is still years away!
Elsie and Elmer come up with the correct solution to a possible terrorist mail bomb - call a messenger service and have it delivered to somebody else, and it becomes THEIR problem. Police would only complicate things. Also, Elmer forgot how many states there are. Or maybe Earth-Elsie went ahead and ratified that Puerto Rico and Guam statehood.
So the part of the plan where you dispose of the suspect device (Stiff Little Fingers reference!) by hiring a friendly messenger to take it away, that part's great. However, the additional part where you just follow the messenger to where he's delivering the package kind of renders the whole exercise meaningless.
That's his plan - using a terrorist plot as the cover for murdering his neighbor! Deucedly clever, Mr. Elmer. Deucedly clever indeed.
I wanna apologize for the terrible printing in this Canadian edition of Elsie. Sometimes one of the press guys comes in with a box of Timmies and before you know it, you've run out of two or three colors of ink. Bob didn't catch it because he was out having a smoke break, Dave left early for hockey practice, and Gord's cousin came in from Newfoundland with a trunkload of "screech" so he won't be any good for the rest of the shift. Anyway it turns out that the package WASN'T a bomb, it was from their rich Uncle Moogan! And now they gotta get that package back. Oh, Elmer.
And we're back to a normal color space as Elmer attempts to sweet talk his way into rival Longhorn's horned heart. Will Longhorn be able to resist that snazzy hat as it highlights the "vest and bare chest" look? All signs point to PALS!
And all of Elmer's cigar-lit bonhomie has been for naught, because Longhorn never got that package to begin with. Were Amazon delivery thieves active way back then?
Nope, it was stolen right off Longhorn's porch by the cops, who just wander around grabbing packages from people's front porches because apparently crime is not a thing that happens here, except those committed by the police.
And now because Elmer's so dang clever they have to buy their own property back at the police auction. Way to go Elmer. Better smarten up there pal, that glue factory literally has your name on it.
Hey, guess what hasn't been mentioned in this comic book so far? Milk. Dairy products of any kind. This is what I mean when I say these advertising characters have unique powers to advance beyond the confines of mere marketing, straight into insipid, non-product-related domestic comedy.
Elsie's hit upon an important economic truth here, in that objects have no intrinsic value, and are really only worth what people are willing to pay for them. So if some rando turns up and starts jacking the bids up crazy high, that's just the invisible hand of the marketplace made flesh!
Do I hear twenty? Twenty dollars from the angry bull in the vest in the front row! Going once, going twice, SOLD to an American, we think, maybe America has 52 states now, maybe he can't count.
That guy driving commodity prices there was just the cat's paw of Longhorn, himself desperate to learn the secret of the Mystery Box. But to no avail, it's back in the hands of Elmer and Elsie and by now I'm sure the readers are really hoping it's a bomb after all.
I kinda feel like Elmer is missing a serious money making opportunity here. He should be dangling mysterious packages from "J.P. Moogan" in front of Longhorn every week!
Just in case the suspense was killing you, well, relax. It wasn't a bomb or a wad of cash or the Maltese Falcon or new teat-cups for your Rotolactor automatic milking machine - it was Elmer's old boots. Insert sad trombone noise!
Seriously, I was expecting at least a Borden logo or characters stopping for a tall glass of milk or SOMETHING to tie this into the dairy giant Elsie shills for. And yet, nothing. It's as if Elsie was so firmly cemented in the public mind as representing a very specific company that the producers didn't feel the need to rub our noses in cheese, or cream, or evaporated milk, or any of the other fine products from the Borden company. Or maybe that stuff just got axed from this Canadian edition on orders direct from the Diefenbunker itself (look it up kids). Elsie of course would go on to star in print ads, there was an Elsie stuffed doll, you name it, Elsie was on it. And even though Borden is now Eagle Brand, you can still find Elsie in supermarkets wherever fine dairy products are sold. And Elmer? Elmer's still on the glue. Never doubt the power of a good advertising character.
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