web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Legends Revealed #281

1 2 3
Next »

Welcome to the two-hundred and eighty-first in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Click here for an archive of the previous two hundred and eighty.

Comic Book Legends Revealed is part of the larger Legends Revealed series, where I look into legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can check out here, at legendsrevealed.com. In honor of the Major League Baseball Playoffs, I’d especially recommend you check out these three special editions of Baseball Legends Revealed spotlighting legends about the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Minnesota Twins!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). As I’ve promised, at 2,000 Twitter followers I’ll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week we hit 2,000. So go follow us (here‘s the link to our Twitter page again)! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Special theme week this week! All the legends involve animation in some way, shape or form!

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: One of the reasons the Marvel G.I. Joe comic book was made was to get around advertising restrictions involving animation.


When it comes to misleading advertising, the government is concerned about the typical consumer. Do note that they are not worried about REASONABLE consumers, but rather, a typical consumer, so when a product is aimed at children, typically kids will surprise you with how much they are willing to believe.

As a result, the government has certain restrictions about the use of animation in commercials for kid’s toys. Animation makes the toys seem a lot cooler, because, you know, they’re animated! Since kids will be more swayed by commercials featuring animation, companies would love to use more and the government wants them to use as little as possible (and when they DO use it, they also make sure to throw in stuff like “Note: toy does not actually shoot lasers,” stuff like that). This is why so many toy companies want to have animated series featuring their toys – they know that this will sell their toys.

How does this affect the Marvel G.I. Joe comic book?

Well, the odds were pretty decent that Hasbro would have done a G.I. Joe comic book for their re-launched 1980s G.I. Joe toy line ANYways, as doing comic book tie-ins for toys were pretty normal (Micronauts being a notable example).

However, doing a comic book had an added benefit for Hasbro.

You see, while there is a limit to how much animation you can use in a TOY commercial, there are NO such limits for how much you can use animation in a COMIC BOOK commercial.

A sample G.I. Joe commercial from the mid-80s features five seconds of animation…

followed by 25 seconds of live action shots of kids playing with the actual toys…

But a comic book advertisement could have MUCH more animation. Larry Hama credits a Hasbro executive named Bob Pruprish for coming up with concept based on that notion.

So Hasbro’s deal with Marvel was that Marvel would come up with the backgrounds of the characters and do the actual comics, and in exchange, Hasbro would advertise the comic books on television. It was the proverbial win-win situation. Marvel got unheard of advertising and Hasbro got 30-second commercials that were 90% animation. It was like having a 30-second episode of G.I. Joe snuck into other show’s programming.

Since the toy line and the comic book were big hits, it’s pretty evident that the idea worked.

Here’s a sample G.I. Joe comic book commercial.

First, a series of cartoon action shots…

then a cartoon shot…

that turns into a comic book panel…

and we pull back to see the comic book as a whole…

Pretty cool commercial, huh?

Here’s the first issue of the series…

Hasbro did these for a few years (the best parts about them were the songs – the same fellow who sang the “Fighting for freedom wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there” line just sang new lyrics written to the same tune. It’s hilarious.

1 2 3
Next »


Interesting connection between Betty Boop and Doom Patrol. I’m a fan of both, but I never saw that Mr. Nobody cartoon!

I have read that Don Kirchner had decided to do The Archies as a musical group after being fired by The Monkees, he would have fewer problems with an animated band that a real one. The comics may have created the concept but Kirchner refined it and made it successful.

I remember those GI Joe comic book commercials. Still, I was into the toys before the comics, but I did enjoy the comics as well.

Actually, The Archies were created in an attempt to add some realism to the comic’s storylines.
They turned the lovable loser Archie into a rock star!
Why else would a ginger kid constantly have the two hottest girls in town fighting over him?

I want to see a band cover the “A is for Archies” song. It just seems like it would be so melodic and flow easily off the tongue.

DOOM PATROL SPOILER: Mr. Nobody is the villain of the current series, going under the name “Mr. Somebody”.

Anyone else notice the Archies singing look exactly like the Brady Kids singing?

While I do acknowledge the similarity of design in the two NOBODYs, I am willing to believe it was coincidental, particular given that the Doom Patrol character is supposed to have a body built from two-dimensional segments branching off in enough directions to suggest three dimensions; plus, a stylized question mark for a head.

(This, I understand, is not proof that the general design was not influenced by the Betty Boop cartoon. Still, I can’t help but wonder if Morrison wouldn’t have inserted even more overt clues than the name/body, if he was riffing.)

Right you are DoubleWide!
Also “Sugar, Sugar” was originally suppose to be a Monkeys song.
But they refused to record the song (among others) and wanted to record their own songs.

The story Kirshner gave (on Later with Bob Costas– I remember seeing it when it was first on) is that after the problems he had with the Monkees, he noticed his son reading an Archie, and he realised that Archie would make a perfect fictitious singer for his records. He says he then contacted Archie comics and pitched the idea, and they published an issue in which Kirshner actually appeared (in which he was known as the ‘Man With The Golden Ear’) and that issue coincided with the release of ‘Sugar Sugar’ (sung by Ron Dante, who sang on many records released under different names).
I don’t know if that issue was the Life With Archie #60 shown above or a later one. Maybe his son was reading #60 and that was why Kirshner thought of the idea. Does anyone know?
I’ve also heard that the Archies appeared in some animated performances on the Ed Sullivan Show before the animated series began, but I don’t know if that’s true or not.

Man, I really wish Warner Bros. (they own the Fleischer cartoons now, right? I know they put out Superman and Popeye sets . . .) would go ahead a put out a complete Betty Boop collection. Or at least the complete black & white cartoons.

According to Archie Comics:


The Archies band/cartoon were directly inspired by the comics, so the above Legend would indeed be a “false”.

Thanks, Peter!

Tom Fitzpatrick

October 8, 2010 at 1:43 pm

Mr. Nobody was such a cool character. Has he been used since the days gone by when Morrison wrapped up his Doom Patrol run?

As Squashua noted, Mr. Nobody has returned in the current Keith Giffen run, but now he’s known as Mr. Somebody.

The site Yojoe.com has many of these commercials online, starting with the 1982 ads. The designs all seem to be prototypes for the animated series.


Hasbro did these for a few years (the best parts about them were the songs – the same fellow who sang the “Fighting for freedom wherever there’s trouble, G.I. Joe is there” line just sang new lyrics written to the same tune. It’s hilarious.

I remembered everything about these commercials EXCEPT that tidbit. But now that you mention it, YES those songs were incredibly hilarious!!

Here’s are 2 youtube compilations of them you may want to include in the original article:

From what I understand, the Micronauts was not a planned comic tie-in.

It all started when Bill Mantlo’s kids got a bunch of Micronauts toys for Christmas from their grandmother. Anyway, Mantlo thought they were ultra-cool and wanted to come up with a backstory for most of them. So he brought a box of Micronauts toys to the Marvel offices, showed the EIC, and asked about pursuing it further.

Apparently, Mego followed up by sending Marvel a whole boatload more toys and saying “sure.”

Hence, the Micronauts comic.

no discussion of The Archies’s Sugar Sugar would be complete without including jughead’s version from the Archie Reunion movie
aww yeaaaaa

Don’t forget that Hasbro pretty much followed the same formula for Transformers, though I don’t think they made many (if any) commercials for the comic.

So given all the added info from the comments which you’ve incorporated, why are you still “going with” false on the Archies legend instead of out-and-out saying “false?”

I always wondered why DC or marvel never di more advertising of comics on saturday and afternoon cartoon shows. For a long time in the 1990’s,the Wb re-ran Batman and Superman on weekday afternoons.They would have been great to run comic commercials with a little live action on.They are missing the boat. Say… Kudos to DC for lowering comics to $2.99.

Fascinating piece about Mr Nobody, I’ve just picked up the Showcase Presents Doom Patrol trades, which character is he based on in the original run?

Mr. Nobody started was originally supposed to be Mr. Morden of the Brotherhood of Evil from the original run. He apparently appeared in only one issue in that original identity.

Yeah, Mr. Morden had only one shot (though the giant robot he used got another go round)–a fact he emphasized when he became Mr. Nobody.
By the way, if you’ve never seen Archie’s spy adventures from the sixties, they’re quite an experience.

Well, with Mr Nobody, I’m wondering when/where Morrison would have seen the Betty Boop cartoon. Would they have shown them on British TV? Do you have a picture of the character that became the DP Mr Nobody? But if Morrison did see the cartoon, I can see him appropriating the design for the book (we know he does designs for his comics). Anyway to ask the DP artist about it? (Would that have been Richard Case?)

And I think no discussion of “Sugar Sugar” would be complete without mentioning the Germs version, but that’s just me…

Actually, I haven’t read it in ages, but there’s a book with the title “Bubblgum Music is” (and I can’t remember the rest of the title — the Reason, maybe?). It’s got a chapter about the Archies, I’m sure. There is also, I believe, a chapter by Peter Bagge about the Spice Girls. So there is another comics connection.

Fraser– Yeah, the Man From R.I.V.E.R.D.A.L.E. was fantastic. Were you aware there is a new book out right now? I haven’t read it, but I’ve seen it in the store.

Great article this week! Oddly enough, I already knew about two of these. There’s occasionally one I already knew, but having two in one entry is a first.
I remember the first time I saw that Betty Boop cartoon, and it absolutely floored me when Mr. Nobody appeared. It was so surreal.

Hope you’ve got some Halloween-friendly legends coming up in the next few weeks!

I too would love to see a Betty Boop cartoon boxed set similar to the excellent Popeye releases of the last few years, BUT, reproduction rights of the various Fleischer series are all owned by different companies. I think that Turner/Warner Bros. owns all the Popeye cartoons, including his 1st appearance which was actually in a Boop cartoon. The Superman series is public domain but there are restored re-releases by Warner home video, and the Betty Boop and Out of the Inkwell shorts are owned by Lionsgate.

Interestingly on the subject of animation and comics I picked up a copy of the Superman Back in Action graphic novel and on the cover to issue 842 there is a quote “take the whole bunch of them, heroes, villains, the whole kaboodle, and skedaddle, from Abraham Simpson, 92, of Springfield. Was this the first Simpsons/Superman crossover?

Yeah, i am prety sure Betty Boop was shown on British TV. Like you know you often see it on 100 greatest Tv cartoons ever.

Britain was definitely aware of Betty Boop, look at Betty Boo, pop rap/dance singer from the late 80s/early 90s, and I’ve vague memories of the cartoons been shown in the 80s, possibly as part of Stay Tooned or Rolf’s Cartoon Club.

Will look out for Mr Morden in the Showcases. Wonder if JMS got the name for the Babylon 5 character?


There’s a reason for that; Filmation was responsible for both THE ARCHIES and THE BRADY KIDS, and when it came time to do the later, they essentially re-drew the Bradys over the Archies to save time and money. Case in point is comparing the movements of both Reggie and Peter Brady when they are on screen playing the tambourine; both have the same silly expressions and body positioning.

And the sad part is, THE BRADY KIDS was a step higher for Filmation than it took when it went to doing the 30-minute homilies for SHAZAM and HE-MAN…

Yes, i was going to say Rolf’s Cartoon Club. that was a great show for teaching kids animation. They should get Aussie musician/Artist/comical tv personality/all-round entartaine/cartoonist (he did work for 2000ad creator’s IPC’s WOW) Rolf Harris to bring it back. he introduced Britain to John Lasseter and Pixar, even in the late 1980s. So, Brian, any new on the Vincent Price/jACK kIRBY CONNECTION. tHE PICTURE IS FROM 1970, and the phibes film came out in 1971.

I would just like to say, “Thank you” to CDK because Jughead and son rapping Sugar, Sugar might be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

I’d also like to thank T for providing those GI Joe commercial links.

“Mr. Nobody has returned in the current Keith Giffen run, but now he’s known as Mr. Somebody.”

I guess he promised to “make a somebody out of himself!” and succeeded :D

I remember that Betty Boop cartoon. I didn’t “get” his song when I was a kid -I didn’t speak English at the time, and even if I had those references (like the Milkman’s) would have flown over my head then. The impression I got was that when making the cartoon, they couldn’t decide which character to have running against Betty (who of course was going to win) and somebody must have said “Nobody would run against Betty!” No seriously, that’s what I believed back then. And who knows, stranger things have turned out to be true.

As for the Doom Patrol Nobody being based on him… I doubt it. I mean, the Boop Mr. N was just a STICK FIGURE. Hardly a unique idea. Now, if the Doom Patrol one had wore a bowler hat, or sang, MAYBE he could have been a rip-off. Right now I’m not convinced. Then again, with Morrison, you NEVER know where he comes up with his ideas…

(BTW that speech Mr. N gave -especially the part about being elected by those people who never vote- is hilarious.)

About The Archies, I think they had the lamest name of any band ever. It’s like calling The Beatles “The John Lennons!” Not to mention I don’t see Reggie (or Veronica for that matter) going along with it. I DO like the song Sugar Sugar, though.

Two things;
1) By their second appearance (as seen above), The Archies were wearing Monkees-style shirts!
1a) The Monkees had their own, short-lived, Dell comic book!
2) Ron Dante, who performed “Sugar Sugar” and other Archies songs, also performed the songs on the famous 1972 Spider-Man: From Beyond the Grave Rockomic LP!

“Man, I really wish Warner Bros. (they own the Fleischer cartoons now, right? I know they put out Superman and Popeye sets . . .) would go ahead a put out a complete Betty Boop collection. Or at least the complete black & white cartoons.”

Actually, all those Paramout/Fleisher cartoons are public domain.
Anyone can “put them out” (and have! Look on Google Shopping or Amazon for a large variety of releases on DVD and VHS!)
Warner has taken the time and money to acquire either original negatives or early-generation interpositives, and digitally-clean them up, making their editions the “must-have” versions.
But there are lots of other cheaper (and inferior-quality) versions out there…

“About The Archies, I think they had the lamest name of any band ever. It’s like calling The Beatles ‘The John Lennons!’ ”

Actually, it’s be like calling The Beatles “The Johns”!

Hey, THAT’D sell! ;-)

…Dos Pointas, Bryan:

1) There’s been a *LOT* of debate and story changing over the years regarding whether or not The Monkees ever heard “Sugar Sugar” before Kirchner was fired. Davy claims there was a reel-to-reel tape that Kirchner sat on a desk that had several songs listed, which he recalls included “Sugar Sugar”, “Jingle Jangle” and “Melody Hill”, and “Truck Driver” – the latter of which is the only one that’s been 100% confirmed. According to the story that’s been told by all present, this was the same meeting where Mike lost his cool and punched a hole in the wall, and that there was no time during all the arguing to have played the tape, much less any of the Monkees to actually pick it up and look at the label. Davy claims he was closest to the table and those first three were the song titles he’s actually named over the years. These days he just remembers “Sugar Sugar”, because that’s the Archies song most people remember anyway.

2) That last cover you posted just *screams* of a Mod band beating the shit out of – how did Pete Townsend describe them? – “a bunch of shitheaded, goatfucking, degenerate bunch of greasy fucking Rockers”. :P

“Actually, all those Paramout/Fleisher cartoons are public domain.”

…Not quite *all* of them. The Superman ones are, and most if not all of the Out of the Inkwell and Betty Boop ones, but the rights on the Popeye ones are still owned. We might need to check with Jerry Beck on this one, but I’m pretty certain at least King Features Syndicate still has total control over the Fleischer Popeye shorts.

“…but the rights on the Popeye ones are still owned. We might need to check with Jerry Beck on this one, but I’m pretty certain at least King Features Syndicate still has total control over the Fleischer Popeye shorts.”

I think AAP (which had the rights at the time) let them lapse during the period that the other properties (Berry Boop, Superman, et al) also lapsed.
Jerry supervised restorations of the original b/w toons which were then copyrighted, but the originals’ copyright lapsed.
In fact, the copyright on the WB Popeye DVD set reads:
Popeye and associated characters ©2007 King Features Syndicate Inc. Hearst Holdings Inc. Program & Supplementary Material Compilations & Package Design ©2007 King Features Syndicate Inc. Hearst Holdings Inc.
So the new, restored versions are copyrighted.
If the old ones were copyrighted, they’d have to have the original copyright date as well as the date of renewal before the 28th year.
For example:
the copyright on The Day the Earth Stood Still (the Michael Rennie/Patricia Neal original) DVD reads: ©1951 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Renewed ©1979. All Rights Reserved.
That’s the way it’s done! For pre-1978 copyrights, If it wasn’t renewed by the 28th year, it fell into public domain.

A search of your local video store or Amazon or eBay will show a plethora of PD Popeye releases on VHS and DVD.

King, of course, has the rights to the 1960s Brodax-produced animated series and all the ones after that.

I’ve been a fan of Comic Books Over the years. And I also worked in a company which doing flatting or coloring the base colors for comics. Its been so great experience for me. A comic book geek doing the coloring stuff for her favorite chracter.

Mr. Nobody rocks! Love this post. Thanks for this!

Gallifreyan Buccaneer

October 17, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Agreed, The Man from R. I. V. E. R. D. A. L. E. was quite brilliant. So were the superhero spoofs, which I can’t remember very well. Really, the only time a deviation from the regular Archie format didn’t work was the Little Archies. I hated that little twerp.

Thanks for the interesting piece. It’s amazing how corporate regulation, litigation and ‘skirting the rules’ can affect one’s childhood memories.


@Travis Pelkie Betty Boop cartoons were definitely being seen on British TV in the Seventies, in their own slots. What a tart that girl was.

For years, I bought into the rumor that “Sugar Sugar” was originally meant for The Monkees. Well that turned-out to be false. “Sugar Sugar” was always meant for The Archies. I heard it straight from Ron Dante himself. You can email him at rondante@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, so I’m 100% sure it was always meant to be for The Archies to record. (Besides, who’s to say The Monkees would have had the same degree of success with it)?

Leave a Comment



Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives