6 Pathetic Attempts by Corporations to Create a Superhero
Some superheroes stand for truth and justice. Others stand for an incorporated product that's desperately and shamelessly targeting young children for their parents' money.
Combo Man was an early '90s rebuttal to the argument that Marvel sold out when they were bought by Disney. Created as a cross-promotion with Combos, the stuffed pretzel snacks typically purchased alongside Steel Reserve and pornography, Combo Man had the non-specific ability to copy the superpowers of every major character in the Marvel universe, meshing them together into a single ridiculous hero typically found doodled on the corner of a third grade math test.
As if his mere existence wasn't a clear enough advertisement, several different Marvel series featured mail order coupons for bodacious Combo Man gear that would in no way invite relentless schoolyard beatings. Please note that the T-shirt was only available in XL, which suggests that they knew exactly what type of child would read a comic book about a cheese pretzel superhero.
There was also a Cokeman, but he turned into John DeLorean.
Pepsiman, as his name suggests, was a slick, genitalia-barren Pepsi-fueled android that appeared in several gloriously psychotic television commercials. His superpower, as can best be determined, was to run full-tilt toward bored, thirsty adults and deranged children, bellow out a faceless terror-scream like a haunted soda-dispensing tugboat and injure himself while fleeing the scene (occasionally getting assaulted by the very people whose thirst he sought to quench). He later appeared in a Japan-exclusive PlayStation game, which should come as a surprise to literally zero people.
"That'll teach you to be poor!"
AAU Shuperstar was created by AAU Shoes in a bid to establish the most uninteresting foot-based superhero in history. This turned out to be no tall task when they accomplished it immediately with a handful of back cover installments in DC Comics. The Shuperstar had the ability to detect when evil was "a-foot," disco dance in a track suit and dropkick hobos into space. Additionally, every sentence in that first panel should have its own section in the Library of Congress.
The words "First" and "Collector's" are a bit optimistic.
Jell-O Man was Kraft Foods' effort to make Jell-O exciting by offering such riveting tales as "The Secret of Jell-O Man's Origin," which we assume involved plastic molds from Food Lion and a child with bronchitis. In addition to sporting a Brylcreem Buddy Ebsen pompadour, Jell-O Man could rip his own head off at will and lob it at foes while his talking Jell-O dog sidekick, Wobbly, terrified them into submission with his inexplicably human face.
Yep. Right in the dick.
In a cross-promotion with the NFL, Marvel published several issues of the adventures of SuperPro (see "selling out" above), because evidently children weren't sufficiently aware of professional sports. He was a pro football player who, after being involved in an accident with experimental chemicals, fire and ultra-rare football souvenirs, gained football-related superpowers, instead of burning asphyxiation-related death. Truly, almost too much thought was put into this.
Quick Kick fights with his blaxploitation.
Tiger and Bunny
Clearly, the one on the right is Tiger.
Tiger and Bunny is an anime show about superheroes who are blatantly sponsored by real-world corporations, sort of like NASCAR drivers. Each hero in the show represents an actual company (such as Bandai, Amazon.com and Domino's Pizza) that paid actual money to have their logos prominently featured in each episode. For example, here's the Pepsi-sponsored character, Blue Rose, in action, because while justice is a noble mistress, "Pepsi" is the signature on all the paychecks. In some ways, it's a brilliant piece of meta art, but in most ways, it's just a really, really long commercial disguised as a cartoon show.
Chris Snipes is also a promotional superhero that you can find at All Geeks Rejoice.