Mr. Bubble’s Tub Tales (1989)
Art – Dan DeCarlo
Yanked from Mister Miracle (vol.2) #7 (August, 1989)
Doing something very different today… which, I suppose might require a bit of an explanation.
If you’re following me on various social medias you’ll likely already know what I’m about to say… and that is, that we recently lost our eldest pup (Oscar, 14) to a very aggressive cancer. I don’t really have it in me right now to write at length about him… though, I very likely will in the coming days and weeks. That said, I’ve tried several times over the past few days to continue podcasting — I thought a few days away would allow me to process my feelings, and try and find a new sense of “normal”.
It might be pretty obvious to those reading right now that… this is the first pet I’ve ever lost, and it was absolutely going to take more than a “few days” to sort out the torrent of emotion that I have turned into. I’m, for lack of a better term, in “no condition to perform” on the air right now. I’m having a difficult time even talking with my wife right now without breaking down… to belly up to my mic and put on a 45 minute episode just seems like an impossibility at the moment.
That’s not to say that the show(s) going away… I am hopeful (and optimistic) that X-Lapsed 300 will be dropping on January 31, which will coincide with the six-year anniversary of this very site.
So, I think that’s about all I want to say “housekeeping” wise… but, I still do have a bit of a pre-ramble to attempt to introduce this little side project we’re about to embark on.
Sequential Ads, as I’m calling it, has been something I’ve had in mind for quite a while at this point. If you’ve been following this site for any length of time, you’ll know my fondness for ads of all sorts that appear in comics — those with an actual “sequential art” bent especially.
Fast-forward to 2019 and the first few episodes of Morituri Mondays, where Chris Bailey and I spent quite a bit of time (probably too much time) talking about a certain Gum-Dinger Lollipop ad, featuring an adventure of Gumby and Pokey. Upon revisiting that weird series of ads (there were three parts to it!), I had quite the urge to put something like this together. I’m not sure anybody but me will care about this sorta stuff… but, hey — sometimes ya gotta scratch yer own itches, right?
Now, here’s the thing — I already had the first “article” for this series written… I wrote it up probably mid-late 2019… it’s nothing spectacular, and I mostly did it to amuse myself. I never published it here, but kinda kept it in my back pocket… a “rainy day” share of sorts.
So, when I came to the conclusion that I’d be using it as a “gimme” during this personal crisis, I set to digging it out of my little journal archives… and prepared to toss it up as today’s piece.
And well… it was the Meatloaf Special Olympics ad from Marvel. And, if you’re following the news, you’ll likely know that Meatloaf just passed away. If you know me, I’m not the sorta guy who tries to exploit the death of a celebrity for views. That just makes me feel scuzzy, and I don’t wanna be viewed as trying to latch on to something like that for the sake of some clicks.
And so, I needed a different Sequential Ad. I could’a done the easy thing and grabbed the first Hostess Ad I saw… but, hey, this project is already a “gimme” as it is! And so, I just went through my own Chris is on Infinite Earths Archive… and found the first Sequential Ad that I shared — Mr. Bubble’s Tub Tales from 1989!
Let’s do da t’ang!
Our (tub) tale opens with a boy and girl… going to assume they’re brother and sister, not that I suppose it matters all that much. They apparently had a very good time getting each other dirty down by the pond, and so their perky mom lays down the law, and tells them it’s bath-time.
Much to her surprise, this command is met with… joy? Jack and Jill run up the hill and can’t wait to hop into a tub’a bubbles. Thankfully, they’re not bathing together… though, the young lad does share his tub-time with the family dog.
Mr. Bubble’s pink hoo-doo makes getting clean almost as fun as getting dirty, exclaims the boy – which, was actually one of Mr. Bubble’s original taglines! Ya see, back in 1961, Mr. Bubble was created by Harold Schafer from the Gold Seal Company. Back then, bubble bath was quite the boutique product, often kept just out of reach of common riff-raff like you and I. Bubble bath was often exclusive to department stores — which was something Schafer and Co. wanted to change. And they did! The original Mr. Bubble, if you can believe it, was a box of powder… that promised not to leave a ring around the bathtub.
Bathtub rings must’ve been kind of a big deal, as they even dropped the villainous Dirty Bert and his “Bathtub Ring Gang” into the TV commercials for the stuff!
It also promised that it makes… getting clean almost as much fun as getting dirty! Which, I suppose we’ll have to drop a “citation needed” into the strip on that one.
Following his bath, our bro and sis proudly don their bubbly apparel… because, you don’t necessarily have to be pruning up in a tub to have fun with Mr. Bubble! You can be the envy of your entire neighborhood when you order your Mr. Bubble T-Shirt, Sweatshirt, and/or Watch!
The craziest part about these items is… I think we’ve reached a point in society where it’d be perfectly acceptable to be seen wearing them. I would imagine, had I tried to wear this to school back in ye old 1988, I’d have gotten my ass kicked — or at the very least, driven to the brink of tears and beyond. Nowadays? I think you could get away with it!
Well, maybe not the watch… but the t-shirt and sweatshirt for sure. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out they sell Mr. Bubble attire at Hot Topi… waitasec, is Hot Topic still a… well, wouldja lookit that, Hot Topic IS still a thing. So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised if they sold Mr. Bubble attire there. Probably right next to the Twinkie the Kid ringer and Toucan Sam boxer shorts.
So yeah… Mr. Bubble’s Tub Tales! A fun little piece of 80’s comics ephemera… and an ad I don’t think I’ll ever forget! I got to learn a little bit about the history of the product… and even come to the realization that they still make the stuff! They also apparently make a Mr. Bubble-scented cologne, if you’re a real savage!
To wrap up, these are the kinds of ads that always stick with me — ones where you have to send away for something… and wait. And wait. And, ya know — wait. Toward the end, your entire day seems to revolve around what time the mailman is going to arrive… especially if the end of your 6-8 week wait happens to fall during Summer vacation. Then, all’s you’ve got is time! Imagine being that kid, waiting… day after day… driving yourself crazy with anticipation. Then, the day arrives… and you tear open that package… and, well… you now own a Mr. Bubble T-Shirt.
Anyways, I think that’s where we’ll leave it for today. Apologies if this is too much of a deviation from the usual fare… I’m just needing to engage in some “gimme” content for the next few days. Thank you for understanding.
And hey, if you have any Sequential Ads you’d like me to look into, learn the history of, or just talk about – please don’t hesitate to send ’em my way! Thanks!