It's time for Hollywood-star super-hero action as one of our greatest super heroes teams up with an unexpected duo to defeate the most heinous menace facing America today! The super-hero? Captain America! His friends? Two fat little children! The enemy - wasting our precious energy! Surely we've uncovered the plot for four or five new blockbuster films.
Yes, the US Department of Energy, Marvel Comics, and the Campbell Soup Company were all hanging out one day at the skate park, and they got to talking and decided that the best way to solve America's energy crisis was to publish a comic book. I think they were just ripping off the time Housing & Urban Development, Ritz Crackers and Turok, Son Of Stone teamed up to fight litter.
But first, an important message from Captain America and the Campbell Kids!
Use tracing paper to work the puzzles and games! This conserves energy, and wastes tracing paper! Now your comic book can be passed on to the next kid and HE can enjoy the puzzles and games too. Well, that is, IF you were willing to let this valuable collector's item comic book out of your hands, which would be CRAZY!
This is Stan Lee! Not really sure what energy is or what I'm saying about it! All I know is I probably created it by myself, that I've got plenty of it, and that you can't have it! This is Stan Lee!
Captain America takes time out from his busy schedule of fighting the evil Red Skull and the hideous Arnim Zola and perhaps M.O.D.O.K. to hang out with four science-fair contest winners, who are from different backgrounds but who share the common characteristic of being the most wasteful teens in the entire world. TV Tanya here is way ahead of her time; even though it's 1980 she loves to marathon "Breaking Bad" and "Mad Men" while playing Farmville and levelling on WoW. Meanwhile, Clara Clean exhibits deep-rooted psychological problems. Cap has his work cut out for him here!
Nothing a Depression-era guy likes to see more than a bunch of teenagers wasting things! Am I right? Seriously it is like a RED FLAG TO A BULL, it will MAKE THEM CRAZY. Try it sometime.
This museum was built during the glory days of nuclear power, back when you could just put one anywhere; schools, museums, day care centers, you name it, we put a nuclear power plant in it. Of course they all got shut down after that business with Godzilla a few years back.
Captain America explains how dependence on foreign oil means $10 million an hour goes to buy oil from foreign nations who hate us. This was in 1980, of course; nowadays "foreign oil" means getting it from the Tar Sands, which are in Canada; their emotional relationship with the United States is complex but basically harmonious, except during hockey season.
Suddenly Captain America is faced by the amazing spectacle of Mister Heat-Miser - AND the severed heads of the Campbell Kids, erupting from a geyser!
The sad truth is that the Campbell Kids are merely narrating this comic book, and at no point do they physically team up with Captain America to battle evil with their doughy middles and chubby little cheeks, as awesome as that would be.
You can tell this is a Marvel super-hero comic by the way our hero narrates his every action in thought balloons in a time-honored "tell, don't show" fashion. Writers paid by the word, I guess.
The Thermal Thief, the Wattage Waster, and the Doomsday Man! Together again to battle Captain America and provide inspiration for an entire generation of frustrating teenagers who will never turn out the lights or turn off that TV! Can our four science-fair geeks help Cap?
Okay, now back when I was in the soapbox derby, this kind of pedal-powered car would be called a "go-kart". Or, "cheating". You're outta the Boy Scouts, mister!
The awesome force of his pedal-powered racer plugs the steaming geyser next to the hydroelectric display atop which the eerie energy drainers are draining Cap of his own energy! Meanwhile these enormous captions are draining the Campbell Kids of THEIR own energy. Better top up with a steaming bowl of Campbell's Vegetable Beef Soup, wouldn't you say?
And the boiling hot steam distracts and cancels the power of the energy thieves, who apparently can only draw energy from one thing at a time. Not quite sure how that works, energy's energy, but whatever.
The key to defeating the Energy Drainers is America's children. Do YOU know how this could be? Might it involve NOT TRYING TO COOL THE WHOLE OUTDOORS, CLOSE THE DAMN DOOR ALREADY and WHY IS THE TV ON IF NOBODY'S WATCHING IT, I'M NOT MADE OF MONEY YOU KNOW?
Here the Energy Drainers deliver some much-need encouragement to America's energy-wasting children. Don't forget to use tracing paper!
Meanwhile back in our story, Cap visits the science fair exhibits of each of our wasters - I mean, winners!
Turns out that Ricardo's fifty thousand watt floodlights and electric robot librarian servants are mildly waseful.
And now Ricardo must face the disapproving scowl of Captain America himself. Man, when Captain America gives you that look, you KNOW you done screwed up big time.
Say what you like about this comic book - it has given us the spectacle of Captain America posing in a "super futuristic bathroom", and for that alone, it holds a special place in my heart.
In this amazing montage we find out how each of these teens has developed astoundingly wasteful science fair projects. Just who the hell sponsored this science fair, anyway? The National Association Of Petroleum Refiners and the American Congress of Electrical Utilities Incorporated?
But let's pause to visit the Campbell Kids again as they ponder America's love affair with energy.
Did you know that today a city like Washington DC uses more energy than the whole country did in 1776? Did you ALSO know that in 1776 the entire population of America was 2.5 million people, while the population of Washington DC in 1980 was 3.5 million, so it's no surprise 1980 DC used more energy? These statistics brought to you by the "No Shit, Sherlock" Council Of Painfully Obvious Stats.
Boy, I remember in 2001 when the Campbell Kids started wearing those crazy outfits and driving that bubble car. THAT little fashion trend didn't last long.
Hovering on his negative energy disc, Doomsday Man is, to the surprise of absolutely no one, kind of a downer. I mean, his name is 'Doomsday Man'. Anyway, let's see, war, gas lines, unemployment: he's painting a fantastic picture of the 1970s here!
He's trapped Cap but the kids have found the way to defeat our energy-sucking monster - turn off everything that produces energy. Nuclear power plants, gas turbines, the Miami Sound Machine Starring Gloria Estefan- shut it all down!!
Turn off the hydroelectric dam, power down the geothermal generator, and close the blinds! It's curtains for you, Doomsday Man!
And the Doomsday Man melts away to nothing like the Wicked Witch, beaten by the power of Energy Conservation. Sure is more exciting than turning down the thermostat and putting on a sweater, huh kids? Maybe if Jimmy Carter had drawn a comic where he pummelled some super villains instead of lecturing us about 'malaise', he'd have won that second term! Think about it, Jimmy.
And we close with all the ethnic incarnations of the Campbell Kids, harangued by Captain America into closing the damn door and turning off the goddamn lights and for the love of Christ turn off that TV when you aren't watching it, you kids will be the death of me!
Well, you, or the Red Skull. Will HE be in the next Captain America movie, stealing America's energy? See you in the theaters!
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