The midcentury American tradition of Saturday morning cartoons was starting to show its age in the 1990s. Kids had other things to occupy their attention, like Nintendo games, Pogs, living through the collapse of the Soviet Union, and watching the Gulf War on CNN (don't miss that, you know there will never be another one of those, right?). Network cartoons were desperate to capture those child eyeballs, and what we see in today's offering is an example of exactly how far the TV networks were willing to go.
Retreads of 60s cartoons, cartoon versions of movie stars, cartoons by the guy who made "Alf", and three sports heroes spearhead NBC's attempt to drag children away from Game Boy screens and back in front of TV screens. Part of this coordinated attack was this comic book from a struggling Harvey Comics, trying to recapture that late 1950s synergy of their "Funday Funnies" promotions with ABC and Mattel.
Hey kids, settle in for four hours of kid-tastic brainwashing led by none other than Winnipeg denim fashion magnates / identical twins Chip and Pepper, inexplicably chosen to host a half hour of sketch comedy and Captain Caveman reruns. You're gonna need every spoonful of those three bowls of Fruity Pebbles to make it to noon!
And now let's tune in to the adventures of that small band of heroes who keep America and the world safe from tyranny - the teams of agents and lawyers who handle sports licensing and promotions! Oh, yeah, and their clients, who actually do all that stuff with the balls and the sticks and the hoops and all that, whatever it is.
Little do sports fans know that Bo "Two-Sport All-Star" Jackson, Wayne "The Great One" Gretzky, and Michael "Hall Of Fame Sore Winner" Jordan spend their downtime in a secret superhero headquarters disguised as a gym, waiting for desperate messages from shirtless Brazilian children!
Don't kvetch if you need tchotchkes for whatever meshuggeneh adventure you're facing! Get your tuches over to Mom's and she'll load you down with sports-appropriate gadgetry galore.
I have been racking my brains trying to figure out what late 1980s-early 1990s rock star "Carosi" is supposed to be, and I am having no luck at all. Maybe it's some weird combination of Sting, Bono, and Steven "Aerosmith" Tyler?
"So we needed a super vehicle that expressed the power and grace of three of the most popular professional sports in America, and to that end, I stuck two hockey sticks into a running shoe and called it a day."
When subsidence starts turning mountains into molehills, most people would call some sort of accredited expert in sub-surface geological formations. But those guys don't know the first thing about licensing representation or endorsement deals!
Meanwhile, the writers are forced to come up with two things about Brazil they can use for character names. Early ideas came easily, but "Captain Death Squad" and "Lieutanant Favela" didn't quite set the proper tone for this story.
And no, this is not the first time Michael Jordan has smacked a teammate in the face.
Uh oh, what happened, is Michael holding out for contract re-negotiations?
He's caught in a trap, he can't walk out, because he loves being a globe-trotting adventurer too much, baby
Where did this cage come from? It came from beneath the jungle undergrowth, Bo. And before that, it was fabricated by an industrial machine shop in Manaus City. Pretty obvious, really.
Ho hum, falling back on the hoary old pulp fiction cliche of defeating the plans of the invisible Brazilian submarine river pirate by using your collapsible wristband laser bat. Work harder, comic!
This is a property based on a Saturday morning cartoon, so they aren't allowed to show objects actually damaging other objects - just the aftermath. We wouldn't want impressionable young minds to start bashing things with baseball bats, now would we?
The writers were told to let Gretzky "fire one in" and they didn't know what that meant because a lot of people simply don't know anything about hockey. Beyond the hair, that is.
SO CLOSE to being an "Eegah" reference. So close!
I think a more likely outcome for "infrared shades" will be for them to bake your eyeballs to a toasty golden brown. But I don't wanna argue with sports heroes!
Want to see the amazing finish to this action packed story? First write about six more pages of actual action. Then make sure to catch episode six of "Pro Stars" when it airs on October 19 1991. And that's it, this show only lasted one season and didn't get re-run. Fun fact: one of its production companies was owned by disgraced former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi!
But enough about barely-seen sports licensing fiascoes. Let's talk about comics based on TV shows people actually remember.
Who defaced the principal's portrait? Was it Zach, Slater, or Screech? I will take a short pause as the image of Geoffrey the Giraffe, in combination with the cast of "Saved By The Bell," shocks you all into a fugue state of 90s nostalgia.
It's a tense situation in Bayside as the girls take a stand against cheerleading. Maybe this is the first step towards getting pep rallies banned completely, and we can all get back to actually getting some classwork done. Some of us want to get into college, you know!
Look you guys, the "Jessie Spano amphetamine freakout" episode was last season. Catch up!
Put on your Saved By The Bell hat, your Saved By The Bell shirt, and your Saved By The Bell baseball jacket festooned with Saved By The Bell buttons as you fumble for the keys to your car - which are dangling from your Saved By The Bell key chain - and drive to the mall to buy a Saved By The Bell beach towel and a Saved By The Bell pillowcase. Don't forget to drop your check for a subscription to Saved By The Bell Comics off in the mailbox! We're positive that comic book will definitely make it six full issues.
(it did not)
It's unclear what the "NBC Kid Vote '91 Contest" was - one assumes it was part of the Toys R Us giveaway this comic was made for - but in spite of all the last minute votes for Captain N, the clear winner is, of course, Spacecats, the only show in this entire lineup to combine puppets and animation. Sorry, Macaulay Culkin!
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