As much as I love mainstream super-heroes, I'm always on the lookout for the more bizarre oddities of the comic book world, and this month's Chick Fil-A Kids Meal giveaways certainly seem to qualify:
That's right, everybody: Chick Fil-A is getting into the comics game with five one-shots starring super-heroes who are also cows, and were kind enough to give us some exclusive pages. For those of you who aren't familiar with the restaurant, Chick Fil-A (which famously claims to be the restaurant that invented the very concept of the chicken sandwich) is already well-acquainted with the world of super-powers, having possessed the uncanny ability to make me start craving their food every single Sunday when their restaurants are closed.
The super-cows themselves have been part of their advertising campaign for over a decade, and are actually one of the direct precursors to the Internet's beloved LOLcats, as they're often depicted with hand (hoof?)-painted, semi-literate signs pleading with diners to not grind them up into hamburger, but rather choose chicken instead. As it turns out, there is way more schadenfruede in the barnyard than previously suspected.
The advertising has been so popular that every year, Chick Fil-A releases a calendar depicting cows in increasingly ludicrous situations, like last year's "Great Works of Cow Literature" (featuring "Three Brisketeers" and "Steerlock Holmes"), 2011's spoof on reality TV, and even one where the cows were cowboys in the old West, which, if you can figure that one out, you're a better man than I.
In 2004, though, the theme was super-heroes, and thus The Herd of Justice was born:
Six years and one appearance at the San Diego Comic-Con later...
...and they've finally broken into the world of comic books.
And I've got to say, while I'm surprised it's taken this long, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the stories. The biggest flaw I can see right off the bat is that they don't have any stories about Untippable (the Superman of the CFA universe) or Kowrate (who I swear to God was a cow dressed up as Marvel's Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu), but I imagine they're just saving them for the inevitable second volume.
Instead, the standout of the first round of five one-shots has got to be Gristle Missile...
...whose name succeeds in both describing his powers (he runs very fast) and making him sound like the least appetizing animal on the face of the planet.
Unfortunately, this is not a trait he shares with Cold Cuts...
...who, despite being a pretty impressive work of punnery, still sounds delicious.
There's also The Swatter, and while I don't know who he fights...
...I've got to assume that that much cow-tail has to be of interest to the evil makers of stadium hot dogs.
Also featured this time: deciBell...
...whose appearance in the at-this-point-pretty-much-inevitable Herd of Justice movie will require -- nay, demand -- a cameo from a More Cowbell-requesting Christopher Walken. As it stands, though, it looks like he (she?) is going to be using her supersonic moo to battle the hypnosis that leads Americans to crave hamburgers:
I do have to say, though, I'm pretty sure there aren't many people who need to be hypnotized into eating hamburgers. I mean, I like Chick Fil-A a lot, but have you ever had a hamburger? They're tasty! And saying that something shady's going on... well, that mudslinging is beneath you, deciBell.
Their origin as advertising tools make them the first characters to cross over from calendars to super-hero comics since "Jenna Jameson's Shadow Hunter," but I'm convinced that these guys -- er, cows are in a prime position to become the next breakout stars. I mean, they've already got a following so dedicated that they've been statted out for the Mutants and Masterminds roleplaying game.
At this point, the first Eisner to be awarded along with a side of waffle fries is only a matter of time.
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