American Honda Presents DC Comics’ Supergirl #2 (1986)
Story – Joe Orlando, Andrew Helfer & Barry Marx
Script – Andrew Helfer & Barry Marx
Layouts – Jose Delbo
Character Pencils – Joe Orlando
Background Pencils – Dave Hunt
Inker – Bob Oksner
Letterer – Gaspar
Colors – Joe & Karin Orlando
Editor – Barry Marx
Consultants – Toni Harrington & Rick Smith
With so few (attainable) “white whales” left in the wild… it’s always a treat to stumble across one.
During a late night bin-dive (we have a shop out my way that’s open until the wee hours), I managed to grab what might just be the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to DC Comics “Reagan era PSAs”. You might be saying to yourself, “Chris, didn’t we already discuss Supergirl and seatbelts?” I’d reply with a “Yeah”… and then totally blow your mind (or maybe not) by telling you there was a second Supergirl Seatbelt Spectacular!
… and it might just make those New Teen Titans PSAs we discussed awhile ago look like Watchmen.
Let’s get right to it.
We open with Linda Danvers driving down the road. In the backseat sit a boy, a girl, and a dog… and Linda is imposing upon them the importance of bucklin’ up. Her lecture is so interesting that they all fall asleep. Though, to be fair… at least one of the kids looks to have been drinking. I mean, look at Sally’s face… you can’t tell me she didn’t just tie one on. The kids then “wake up” in the far flung land of Motorville… where Walk/Don’t Walk signs change without a moments notice… or something. The kids are nearly run over by an impatient motorist when Supergirl swoops in and delivers them to safety.
Next we know, the kids, dog, and Supergirl are on a crowded sidewalk… surrounded by, as far as I can tell, a whole lot of extras from Angel Love. A nearby advertisement catches the kids’ eyes… there’s going to be and Amazing Dummy Show today at 3! We might think of them as the Incredible Crash Test Dummies… and I don’t know why they’re not being called that here. We’ll soon learn that they are supposed to be the same fellas (Vince and Larry) from the commercials a half-decade later.
Anyhoo, Supergirl decides taking in a show would be a capital idea… and so, she hails a cab to take them to the arena. The taxi pulls up, and it’s being driven by Fred Dumpty… brother of Humpty… pronounced with an Umpty, and he’s kind of an ass. He refuses to buckle his seat belt! I’d say that his failing to notice a woman with a baby stroller wandering in front of his cab might be a higher priority than his refusal to buckle up… but, what do I know?
Dumpty jams on the brakes at the last possible moment, and… since he didn’t buckle up, he smashes his dome against the windshield, cracking it but good. Of course, this leads to all of (Lieutenant) King’s horses and all of his men arriving to put him back together again. Is this the real life? Well, no… I suppose it’s the drunken dream of a toddler, but whattayagonnado?
Left without a ride, Supergirl and the kids start pounding the pavement to look for another. Gotta wonder if there’ll be a third part that focuses on the danger of hitchhiking? Anyhoo, they wind up before a shoe-shaped house that’s just bustlin’ with kids. They rush to their stretch station wagon, and our heroes get caught up in the stampede. The “little old lady”, who is of course just full of that mid-80’s “pep” (or COCAINE???) hops in, and we get a show of each and every passenger buckling their seat belts.
Once on the expressway, the entire car belts out a rousing chorus of “The Wheels on the Car Go…. blah blah blah”, not realizing that that song only works on the school bus. Anyhoo, they are then approached by a tailgating big bad (B.B.) wolf. Ya know, this might be more interesting if we look at it as though it were a Supergirl/Fables crossover.
Bigby Wolf runs the Old Lady off the road, causing one of her tires to pop. In retaliation, Supergirl… get this… uses her heat vision on one of the wolf’s tires. Oh, by the way… he’s driving an eighteen wheeler. You ever see one’a them blow out a tire? Again, seat belts might just be the least of our concern here! Supergirl then pulls the Wolf outta the wreck… by tearing it open… and he is summarily arrested by a police officer and a park ranger? Talk about overkill. What, did he run an old lady off the road and steal a pic-a-nic basket?
After fixing the Old Lady’s tire, Supergirl and the kids part ways with the crazy shoe family. As luck would have it, Three Little Pigs pull up in their convertible and offer ’em a lift. One of the pigs is… tanning, and I’d bet it’s starting to smell like bacon. Anyhoo, they load in to the car of iniquity… and learn that these pigs absolutely hate seat belts.
Which really sucks for them, because Bigby’s already made bail… and he’s back on the road in a different colored big rig! Okay, okay… this is a different Big Bad Wolf. Now our Fables crossover doesn’t make sense at all! Oh the horror of the thing. This new Wolf just plows into the rear-end of the pig-vertible, causing the porkers to go flying! Luckily Supergirl is able to catch them before they’re turned into a pair of sausage patties.
She then nyoinks this new Wolf out of his rig… and he introduces himself as “C.C. Wolf”, brother of B.B. He’s then also arrested. Wow, the Motorville Police Force is really on the ball… if only they had stricter seat belt laws!
Without a ride again… Supergirl and the kids have to go back to hitchhiking (it’s not like Supergirl can fly or anything). They are soon picked up by… Vince and Larry, the
Incredible Amazing Crash Test Dummies!
They’re swept away to the event… where they watch as Vince and Larry drive straight into a wall. Wow, whatta show! Hope there was free admission.
The crowd is then lectured on seat belt safety for a bit… and we wrap up with Supergirl being offered the Dummies’ “back up car” in order to get home.
At this point, the kids wake up from their Benadryl-bender and tell Linda all about their dream. Wonk wonk wonkkkkk.
I gotta tell ya… this was dumb in all the right ways! Sometimes you just need a book like this to remind you why you love comic books. I mean, we could run this up the flagpole and really tear into it… but, why? It’s just a silly fun book… and sometimes that’s all you really need.
Or maybe I’m just projecting.
It was weird looking at this… and checking the date in the indicia. This issue came out in 1986… two years after the last one! I mean, you almost have to wonder “what’s the point?”, right? My only guess is that a contract was signed… and it had to be fulfilled. This feels very much like a “fulfillment of a contract” and nothing more.
I felt similarly when we looked at the final New Teen Titans Anti-Drug PSA. It felt as though nobody’s hearts were really in it anymore. I know all of the PSAs get a bit of flack from the more enlightened of us online, but that first New Teen Titans issue (The Keebler one)… it actually felt like (Protector notwithstanding) it could’ve been just another issue from the Marv and George run.
Dropping Supergirl and the kids into the nursery rhyme land of Motorville… is, of course, silly. I am tickled at the fact that Supergirl herself seems to be the most dangerous thing around. I mean, just look at the damage she could’ve done… even just popping B.B. Wolf’s tire!
That could’ve caused one hell of an accident! People, Pigs and Eggs all burning up in their cars… all held captive in their vehicles by the very safety belts we’re trying to learn about here! I think we’d call that “dramatic irony”… or maybe not.
It was interesting to see the “Amazing Dummies” here. I wonder why they weren’t referred to as the “Incredible Crash Test Dummies”… but I’m sure the reasons behind that are probably as uninteresting as they come. Maybe the name wasn’t coined until a few years later, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) decided to “brand” them for cartoons, toys, video games, and the like. Who knows?
The art here is fun… I think this is the first book we’ve covered here that lists both “character” and “background” pencillers… not that you would tell by looking at the work. Orlando, Delbo, and Hunt work really well together… and it all “fits” without feeling jarring.
Overall… I know this is silly, you know this is silly… the people who put it together very likely know this is silly. That said… if you stumble across this (for a buck or two), I think you could have a lot of fun with it… and just think of the novelty-value you’d be adding to your collection.