Superman Meets the Quik Bunny

“Quik Thinking”

Writer: Mike Carlin
Layout art: Carmine Infantino
Finished art: Dick Giordano
Letterer:John Costanza
Colorist: Liz Berúbé
Editor: Joey Cavalieri

Via tregoweth’s LJ, I read this comment in Mark Evanier’s blog. Evanier is interesting on just about any topic, and here he’s taking about, of all things, the Quik Bunny. The Quik Bunny is that annoying anthropomorphic bunny who hawks Nesquik (formerly Nestle’s Quik) and wears a giant Q dangling from his neck like Flavor Flav wears a big clock.

Evanier writes about said bunny:

“He's been around for a while and he even teamed up with Superman in a 1987 promotional comic. There are few famous names, real or fictional, who who have not met Superman or met some other character who has met Superman. It's kind of like the Kevin Bacon game. Since Muhammad Ali, Albert Einstein, Adolf Hitler and John F. Kennedy all met Superman in one comic or another, they all must live in the same universe as the Quik Bunny.”

And instantly I remembered, “Hey, I own this comic.”

My collection has a lot of things I am proud of and a lot of things I am not so proud to have spent money on. Unfortunately, I have much more of the latter. This book I tend to file under amusing oddity rather than embarrassment, though. I didn’t buy this oddity on the back issue market, I’ve owned this book since 1987, when I sent in my UPC symbols or receipts or whatever hoops Nestle made me jump through to get my grubby little mitts on this book. It also came with a replica edition of Action Comics #1, and I suspect that’s what I was really interested in back then. It looks fairly authentic at first glance, but it’s not going to fool anyone, as it only reprints the 13 page Superman story and has a giant Quik Bunny on the back cover.

But back to “Superman Meets the Quik Bunny”. Today, I slipped it out from between a couple Superman annuals and pulled it out of its bag. It’s still in mint condition, not because I took scrupulous care of my collection when I was a kid, but because I probably have not read it since 1987. And surprise, surprise, it actually looks like an authentic Superman comic. No Curt Swan art, unfortunately, but Carmine Infantino and Dick Giordano are not half bad either, and that pairing alone puts this head and shoulders above most promotional giveaway books. A dubious honor, to be sure, but at least Superman isn’t being drawn by an amateur.

It’s another daily grind for Superman as flash floods have deluged Metropolis and he has to rescue helpless city dwellers. In the suburbs, the “Quik Qlub” is putting the finishing touches on the most technologically advanced treehouse in the history of mankind. The “Qlub” is an ethnically diverse collection of child geniuses, none of whom apparently are smart enough to know not to spell “club” with a “Q”. Ronnie is the geography expert, Patty is the science queen, Miguel can translate languages and crack codes, and Maureen is the computer jockey.

And then there’s the Quik Bunny, mascot, cheerleader, annoyance. The Quik Bunny is drawn in funny animal style, as he appears on Quik products and promotional material, so he looks oddly out of place among Infantino’s realistically drawn characters and settings, almost as if he’d been cut and pasted in. The Quik Bunny spurs the “Qlub” into action to help Superman, because we all know what a second stringer Superman is and how he constantly needs rescuing by groups of ethnically diverse children. But they don’t have to ride their bikes or take the bus to Metropolis, because the Quik Qlub treehouse turns into a “Quik Qopter” (yes, they spell it like that) and Quikly flies away.

In Metropolis, the Weather Wizard shoots a bolt of lightning at Superman. Despite his lameness, the Weather Wizard was not a throwaway character created for this book, but actually a real DC supervillain who spent most of his time annoying the Flash. So Superman decides to run away! This uncharacteristic act is an excuse for Superman to fly through the maze of buildings they’ve drawn on the bottom of the page. But put those pens away kids! According to Overstreet, in mint condition this book is worth a whole dollar!

Why is there lightning chasing superheroes? Why are their flash floods in a city which presumably has some sort of rudimentary drainage capability? To find the answers, the Quik Qlub feeds all the data into their computer. Apparently the Quik Qlub has constructed a vintage sci-fi computer into which you can just dump piles of random information into and the computer quickly spits out an answer. I can practically hear the whirring processing sounds of the computers on the original Star Trek. “Working!” But something’s wrong and the computer spits out the answer in some sort of half-assed version of a daily newspaper word scramble. No, put those pens away, the answer is “Weather Wizard”, of course.

The Weather Wizard freezes Superman in a block of ice and the Quik Qlub saves the day by snagging him with a mechanical arm, complete with a nifty “Clamp!” sound effect. Since the Weather Wizard, like the Riddler and all the lame villains who talk like him, obviously speaks in code, they deduce that he’s going to Washington DC since he said he would “capitalize on the situation”. Superman speeds ahead and the Quik Qlub HQ sprouts a helium balloon so they can follow, albeit much more slowly.

In DC, a tornado is making objects fly into the air. Without looking back at page 10, can you make a list of all the objects that have disappeared in this panel? Oh, who cares, let’s get to the action! The Weather Wizard is trying to topple the Washington Monument! So the Quik Bunny jumps out of the Quik balloon, not to his certain death, unfortunately, but to distract the Weather Wizard by jumping around him and being generally annoying. Since the Quik Bunny really is annoying, it works, the tornado stops, and Superman restores the Monument to its original phallic position.

Instead of leaving a clever clue to his next destination, the Weather Wizard simply cuts to the chase and says he’s going to Egypt. When the Quik Jet arrives in Egypt, the Qlub accosts some random passerby in stereotypical desert gear. Miguel deduces that the guy is not speaking “ordinary Egyptian” but a “weird dialect”, which is actually English in a simple letter substitution code. In case you don’t feel like translating, it says “The weather wizard is in the old pyramid”. The “old pyramid”, eh? Good thing Egypt only has a few dozen pyramids. But they find it on the first try, probably because it’s covered with snow and Superman is fighting a mummy outside of it. This time using a ladder to exit the jet, the Quik Bunny saves the day by yanking on the mummy’s wrappings and unraveling it. Don’t try this at home kids. I recommend a healthy dose of fire next time you face a mummy infestation.

Superman, heedless of the fact that he’s destroying a priceless ancient monument, begins to dismantle the pyramid to get at the Weather Wizard. Couldn’t he use his X-Ray Vision to find the entrance? Or was this a lead pyramid? A flash flood created by the Weather Wizard delays the heroes while he makes off with a pictograph, but carelessly drops it in his escape. The Quik Qlub reassembles the pictograph without commenting on the advanced geographical knowledge the Egyptians must have had to make an accurate map of the entire world. Yet reassembling this map was a waste of time since they finally remember the Weather Wizard pretty much said he was going to China. So Superman reassembles the Pyramid (good as new, right?) and everyone heads East.

A fierce hailstorm forces the Quik Jet into the Yangtze River. Good thing it can turn into a Quik Boat. Ronnie demonstrates his mad map reading skills and, one maze later, they show up at the Great Wall of China, where Superman is preventing gigantic hailstones from damaging the Wall. So now he’s all concerned about ancient monuments. The Quik Qlub constructs a Quik Bunny decoy out of scrap metal. The Weather Wizard promptly zaps it with lightning. I admit, the bunny is so damn annoying I’d do the same thing. But somehow the metal bunny reflects the lightning back at the Weather Wizard, who is apparently not immune to weather himself and gets zapped. The villain is caught and everyone goes back to Metropolis to drink Quik. And I’m putting this comic book away for another 15 years.

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