Amazing Wiggly Jiggly Jell-O Man!

Who doesn’t like eating a big old bowl of Jell-O for dessert after a good meal? It’s been around for over 120 years, has been enjoyed by billions of people in that time and has become a food product that is a major part of American pop culture. When working on blog updates this year, I needed a quick and fun update to fill a small time frame and looking through my comic collection I found my copy of the promo comic The Adventures Of Jell-O Man and Wobbly and knew that I needed to talk about it as it’s a perfect quick update topic about something very weird and yet very fitting for Rotten Ink. Why don’t more companies make promo comics based on mascots of their products? Like why aren’t comics based on say The Burger King, The Green Giant and Chuck E. Cheese? I also always question why Indie Horror Filmmakers don’t make comics based on their films, as many of them would make amazing reads and are a prefect way to promote the fright flick. But let’s not harp on what should be, and let’s talk about what is and that’s Jell-O Man! So if you’re ready for this quick update, I am ready to talk all about this fruit flavored snack.

Pearle Wait created Jell-O in 1897 as he and his wife May found out a way to add fruit flavors to powdered gelatin. In 1899 they sold it off to Genesee Pure Food Company owner Orator Francis Woodward, and thanks to new ways to make, package and store food, he was able to get his new product onto store shelves. At first it was not a hit with shoppers. In the early 1900’s they really started to push the product more, taking out ads and adding new flavors to the line even making cookbooks to hand out that used Jell-O making it increasingly a household name and a must eat for after family meals. And from there it really did become a hit with shoppers. When Genesee Pure Food merged with Postum, they became General Foods and started to add more products to the Jell-O line as well as more flavors and kept really pushing it as a brand that was in many cupboards all over America, and for years this was the case. But starting in the 1960’s and all the way to the 80’s, sales for Jell-O started to decline, and they had to once more use ads and celebrities to bring sales back and to try and bring in a younger clientele…and once more it worked! Over the years Jell-O has had many ups and downs in sales and has lost many of the flavors they used to make, but one thing is for sure, they are not going anywhere soon and still remain a very popular dessert that is now added to all types of other meals. Jell-O has now also become a very iconic brand and has sparked all types of merchandise based around the brand as well from molds all the way to shirts and even a comic book.

When I was a youngster, I can remember that if I was not feeling well my mom would heat up Jell-O and make a hot drink for me that was suppose to help settle my stomach as well as deliver a shot of energy. I can of course remember eating classic Jell-O from time to time and can safely say my favorite flavor was Lime. To this day I get cravings for it! My mom used to also make this multiple layer Jell-O dessert, and man was it fantastic and something that was a joy to eat. It’s very odd to think about, but when I was a kid Jell-O did seem like a very big brand and like it was made just for us kids, but it was also something adults enjoyed. The way this product was marketed was very smart as it made kids crave it and adults think it was a great treat for youngsters. Next I will talk a little about the commercials shown when I was a kid and the celebrity they used.

Growing up Jell-O was everywhere from snack packs that kids in school had while eating lunch, all the way to TV ads that were played during cartoons and kid shows, and at this time, the spokesman was comedian Bill Cosby! Way before he went to jail, he was considered on of the world’s top comedians who entertained young and old alike with the likes of The Cosby Show and cartoon series Fat Albert. Growing up I was a big Bill Cosby fan as I watched not only the two aforementioned shows but also liked him on “The Electric Company” as well as his movies like “Ghost Dad”, “Leonard Part 6” and “The Devil And Max Devlin” and even when I got older, I bought many of his stand up routines on CD. When he was the spokesman for Jell-O, I can remember seeing the commercials and finding myself craving it as a snack as well as wanting to try such things as Jell-O Jigglers that allowed you to eat it with your hands. Plus having Bill Cosby sell the product gave it credit to parents when they wanted to treat their kids to a tasty treat. I don’t want to go too much into it, but let’s just say that I was really disappointed in Mr. Cosby when the terrible things he did came to the light, as he was always an American Icon and was considered Americans’ Favorite TV Dad. But while he turned out to be who he was, the memories of trying to sell me Jell-O when I was watching cartoons will always be a fun, silly and will bring a smile to my face.

Back in 1981, a comedy metal band was created and called themselves Green Jello and toured around performing silly and heavy songs and building a small following. Their big break came in 1992 when they released the song “Three Little Pigs” and metal fans as well as fans of pop rock music went crazy for it! The song was off their Cereal Killer album and because of the popularity of the song, Kraft Foods swooped in and filed a lawsuit against the band as they claimed a trademark infringement on the name Jell-O. Of course the band lost and had to change their name to Green Jelly and all their music releases as well as their merchandise had to have the name change. While the band’s name is one of the factors that made Kraft mad, it was the slogan they used “Green Jello Sucks” that really set them off. The band was a one hit winder with Three Little Pigs being their claim to fame, but keep in mind, they are still a band to this day and still have a cult following. I also want to say that the band was also sued by Metallica for stealing a rift from the song Enter Sandman as well as Kellogg Company for the use of Toucan Sam that they used in art and video and called him “Toucan Son Of Sam”.

So as you can seem Kraft is very protective of their Jell-O brand and have always tried to keep up their family friendly image safe and untarnished, but they cannot stop culture. The rumor going around the campfire is that they dislike the popular party drink called Jell-O Shots that takes the product and mixes it with mostly vodka. This “drink” is very popular at college bars, parties and even Horror, Comic and Anime Conventions. But the thing that bothers them the most is Jell-O Wrestling, a sports entertainment activity that mostly has young women in skimpy cloths rolling around an inflatable pool filled with Jell-O as men cheer. This event goes hand and hand with mud wrestling and is played up as a sexy sport and has even spawned many leagues as well as websites. I just wanted to touch on both of these things as they do go hand and hand with the legacy of Jell-O and is part of American culture.

From Bill Cosby to alcoholic drinks to a comedy metal band, we have talked about many different things connected to Jell-O, and now I feel it’s time we talk about their short lived mascot named Jell-O Man and his trusty dog Wobbly and their comic book adventure. And I think while I read this comic, I am also going to eat some lime Jell-O and enjoy this promo issue. I want to remind you readers that I grade this comic on a 1-4 star scale and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So if you’re ready, let’s see what Wobbly and Jell-O Man are all about.

Adventures Of Jell-O Man # 1  **
Released in 1991     Cover Price FREE     General Mills     # 1 of 1

“The Outrageous Origin Of Jell-O Man And Wobbly” Dr. Goodtaste along with his friend Snackens and robot Grabby are watching a computer that helps stock all the world’s stores with Jell-O products and this is upsetting Grabby who wants to also be able to eat some of this tasty snack and has an idea to do so and uses the energy from a experimental hologram laser cannon to super power his own robotic energy! Grabby traps his one time human friends in the lab and reroutes all the delivers of Jell-O products to be delivered to him as he wants it all for himself. But in the lab Goodtastse and Snackens watch in wonder as the hologram of the Jell-O logo transformers into to two beings made of the tasty snack, Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly! Jell-O Man helps the humans escape the lab and returns and tricks Grabby into self-exploding and allowing Goodtaste to set the delivers back on track. “The Natural History Mystery” this story has Mrs. Sherman and her fourth grade class on a field trip to the museum when someone steals all the Jell-O snacks that were for dessert! But one young man calls up Jell-O Man who, along with Wobbly, vows to get their snacks back, and after wandering around the museum, he finds that the dinosaur called Snackosaurus has stolen them and after tripping the beast up is able to take back the snacks and save the field trip. “The Outer Space Case” has Jell-O Man and Wobbly on the planet of Gumongo to introduce them to Jell-O, and unbeknownst to them the evil Shoveler has followed them and steals all the snack from their refrigerators while the aliens sleep. The next day Jell-O Man comes up with a plan to capture The Shoveler and uses Jigglers to do so, as Shoveler bounce around on the giant Jell-O Jigglers the aliens and Jell-O Man bring him down and save their tasty treat from being stolen ever again.

This promo comic features three silly stories featuring Jell-O Man and his dog Wobbly and does its job of making readers think that Jell-O is a tasty treat that all kids love to eat. The three stories are pretty normal, kids comic stuff and has Jell-O Man’s origin as well as takes him to a museum and space to show that people all over the universe love pudding and gelatin. Jell-O man is a cool as ice hero who only worries about making sure people have Jell-O snacks to eat! He also sports cool whip hair and can detach his head and use it as a weapon to take down his enemies. He also talks like a cool hipster of the time and even at one point seems to be hitting on the school teacher as I think he wanted to show her his wobbly jiggler…yeah, I know that’s a cheesy joke. Speaking of Wobbly, he is pretty useless and only runs around and says “Yeah, Yeah” lots, so in other words he is a useless sidekick. Our villains in this comic are the robot Grabby, the purple dinosaur Snackosaurus and the shovel handed freak named The Shoveler, and while they are all bad dudes, none of them are major threats to mankind as all they really care about is stealing Jell-O…but if I had to pick one that I would say could more easily turn rouge and bring down mankind, I would choose Grabby as he seems very power hungry. The over all feel of this comic is fun and upbeat but spends most of each story really hammering home the idea that Jell-O is what we all need to be eating at all times and if you don’t have it, your life is depressing. None of the adventures seem that dangerous nor do the stakes really feel that big making it really just one big commercial ad for the Kraft products. The cover for this one is pretty eye catching and showcases our hero Jell-O Man and his trusty sidekick dog Wobbly. The interior art is done by Richard Howell and has a very simple style to it and yet also very cartoonish in spots and is perfect for this style comic, you long time readers will also remember that Howell did the artwork for The Shadow War Of Hawkman that I covered sometime back. Over all this is a fun promo comic that is nothing special but serves its purpose in delivering a goofy good read for kids and promote the product it was based all around. Check out the artwork below to see the style Howell used for this comic.

Jell-O Man was not a major hit in the world of mascots, and while he starred in some commercials, his main claim to fame is this promo comic as over the years of comic book shopping at stores I have seen this comic in many of .25 and $1.00 bins. And doing this update about a promo comic makes me look forward to covering more of them in the future. My next update will take us away from the world of Jell-O and place us into the world of Horror as for Saint Patrick’s Day we will be re-looking at the one and only Leprechaun! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next time for a green beer good time!

Andy Capp Goes To Camp!

Here is a quick summer time update for all you Rotten Ink readers. Growing up, I used to love to eat junk food from time to time, and one of my weakness when it comes to this style of “food” is potato chips and other snacks like them. I can remember eating Mike-Sell’s chips while watching USA Saturday Nightmares and enjoying every bite. But I also have many great memories of watching WWF Wrestling or reading a Marvel comic while munching on some Andy Capp Hot Fries, and with that, this update will be about a comic based on Andy Capp.  While he didn’t have a full comic series based around him, he did have a comic that helped teach people about the do’s and don’ts of camping at a National Park! So let’s get ready to talk about snack food and the great outdoors!

andy capp Hot Fries LogoWhen it comes to Andy Capp Fries, I can safely say that I am a fan of this corn based snack and have eaten many bags in my life time thus far. In fact, for the longest time when it came to junk food all my brother and I wanted to eat was hot fries.  In late 2014, my dad even teased me about it, saying every time they went grocery shopping I would ask them to get me a bag of fries! To this day I get craving for them and will snack on them at work and very rarely at home. Andy Capp Fries come in many different flavors from the classic hot all the way to BBQ, and the best part about them is the very cheap price tag for a bag. The company that made this snack was Goodmark Foods Inc in 1971, and they licensed the character to make the snack based around him and would feature a comic strip of the character on the back of the package. But in 1998 ConAgra Foods bought out Goodmark and is now the company releasing the tasty snack to your local stores. The downside to ConAgra being the parent company to Andy Capp Fries is that it’s a company that’s been surrounded in negative vibes and press from things such as environmental issues from the factories. In 2004 five workers lost their lives when a shooter entered the Kanas City plant; they got caught weighing down grain with water to make more profit from buyers. They tore down historic structures to build plants, and they have even had outbreaks of sickness from some of their products…so yeah, they are not that good of a company. But man are the Andy Capp Fries so good! These are the flavors I like in order Hot Fries, Cheese Fries, Hot Chili Cheese Steak Fries, White Cheddar Steak Fries, Salsa Fries and in last, BBQ Fries. So let’s all go get a bag of Hot Fries and enjoy the goodness that is this cheaply made snack.

Hot FriesCheese FriesSteak FriesBBQ Fries

For those of you who don’t know who Andy Capp is, let me take this moment to introduce him to you. Andy Capp is a comic character created by Reg Smythe who is an unemployed/slacker bloke who lives in Hartlepool and spends most of his days at the pub drinking as well as playing darts, pigeon racing and football. Andy loves to sleep on the sofa and also puts a lot of stress on his wife who works and pays the bills as well as takes his threats of abuse if she doesn’t do what he wants her to do. Most of the time things don’t go well for Andy, and he ends up getting hurt in the likes of the football games he plays. Andy Capp is known for his flat cap and his black jacket and slacks, the hat always blocks his face never giving the readers a chance to see his appearance. He speaks with a thick English accent and loves to drink and can be seen with a glass of beer or booze most of the time. Love him or hate him, Andy Capp is who he is and he doesn’t care if you like him or not!

Andy Capp BoozeAndy Capp Put Em UpAndy Capp Beer

How I first came to know about Mr. Capp was via the Sunday Funnies in the Dayton Daily News.  While he was not my favorite comic strip as that honor at the time would have went to Peanuts or Garfield, it was still one I enjoyed reading. I can also remember cutting out Andy Capp himself from the paper and feeding him to our bird Roxanne just like I did to Freddy via the Freddy’s Dead ad (for those who remember I spoke about that in my update for Innovasion’s Freddy’s Dead movie adaptation series in the update called “ Was Freddy Really Dead?”). Around this time I was also picking up old paperback versions of Andy Capp that collected the comic strips.  I would get them from garage sales, The Paperback Rack and Half Price Books.

Watch Your Step Andy Capp BookHard At Work Andy Capp BookHurray For Andy Capp Book

One very cool thing that I should also point out is that in Hartlepool, England in 2007 a cool statue was made to honor Andy Capp and was placed for tourist and townspeople to visit. So think about that, in England a statue for a character who’s a lazy bum and mistreats his wife is on display for the world to see.  I for one can stand by this cause; while the character does do some bad things, he still is iconic and a staple for Sunday newspapers around the world. So if you’re ever in Hartlepool, make sure to visit Andy Capp….and bring him a beer if you remember.

Andy Capp Statue

One other thing I should mention is that Andy Capp had a video game for the Commodore 64 that was released in 1987 and was made by Blitter Animations. The game was released on Christmas and was thought to be a huge seller for the company, and has Andy Capp having to find money to give to his wife after he spent his unemploment check on booze. One goal of the game is to not get arrested after you fight a cop or punch your wife! The game was praised by fans of the comic strip, and if you have a C64 maybe you should check it out…sadly I have not played this game.

Andy Capp C64 Video Game

So now that our fingers are stained red from the powder of the Hot Fries and the heat of the summer sun is shining down on us, I think it’s time for us to go to the park with the one and only Andy Capp and see what kind of outdoor adventures we can have.  I should also note that I voted that we visit John Candy at Camp Candy like we did last year but Andy vetoed that idea! I want to thank my pal Jason Young and his mom for getting me this comic to review and I must remind everyone that I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and base it on how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get that backpack on and get ready to hit the trail with Flo and Andy.

Andy Goes To The Parks 1

Andy Goes To The Parks  # 1  **1/2
Released in 1975   Cover Price Free   National Park Service   #1 of 1

Flo and Andy Capp are on vacation, and they are staying in a National Park.  This is not what Andy wanted to do because there are no pubs for him to drink at. When a Park Ranger comes by to offer them tips, Andy doesn’t wanna hear it and the Ranger leaves some information with Flo on what to do and not do while in the woods. Andy Capp does not listen to the rules and is attacked by a bear after feeding it, is swept away in a current when swimming in the stream and even sets his own tent on fire when starting a fire too close! The next day Andy leaves Flo to clean up the site as he goes to town and rents a trailer and stocks up on beer gearing up for fishing, and, being Andy, he overweighs the boat and sinks it! He also almost smothers them by having a heater lit in the trailer with no ventilation.  To blow off steam Andy goes for a hike in the wrong shoes and his feet swell as he is also bitten by a raccoon! Andy Capp and Flo end the vacation, and while Flo had a good time Andy didn’t but could have if only he would have listened and followed the rules of camping.

What a fun silly free comic giveaway that I am sure added to many kids’ fun time at the parks where this was given away. The story of this comic is Andy Capp won’t listen to the Park Ranger and the rules of the park and keeps finding himself in trouble.  All the while his wife Flo is trying her best to get him to listen and follow the rules. Andy Capp comes off as ego driven as ever and clearly has the he knows more then you do attitude. Andy also mistreats his wife even threatening to punch her at one point and is lazy and worries more about booze than spending time with nature. Flo just goes with the flow and tries her best to have Andy listen to what the Ranger has said, and also seems to get joy when something bad happens to her husband when he doesn’t. The Park Ranger is the voice of reason and an over all nice man who loves his job, and if not for him Andy could have died several times!

Andy Capp Art 1Andy Capp Art 2Andy Capp Art 3

If you’re going camping this summer, I hope you will not be an Andy Capp and will follow the rules of the parks and nature in general and not wind up with swollen feet and multiple animal bites. I have wanted to cover Andy Capp on Rotten Ink for sometime now and am glad I finally got the chance to do so in this quick summer time update! But next update we are walking away from the lazy bum Capp and taking a look at some really hot b-movie actresses from Alternative Cinema and some comics based on the films they made.  So make sure to come back for that one. Until then, go out and find a nice tree to sit under and read a comic or two.

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