Some things never change. Just as youngsters today do, kids in the 1940′s loved soda pop. Many modern cola drinks flourished during the Depression and war years: Coca-Cola, Pepsi Cola, and Royal Crown Cola were all big during the Forties. Other brands were big sellers during the war years but are minor players today; although Moxie was popular enough to become a slang term in the American lexicon during the pre-war period, that soft drink is largely forgotten these days (although it’s still available in the North-eastern U.S.).
And then there was Kooba Cola. Good ol’ Kooba! Cold, refreshing, tasty, and good for you, packed full of Vitamin B! The company was so sure their product would be a hit with kids that they even gave away free samples,
What’s that you say? You never heard of Kooba Cola? Come on! There were ads for it in lots of comic books: Weird Comics, Mystery Man Comics, Wonderworld Comics…Kooba even sponsored the Blue Beetle radio show!
And that’s where you might start to smell a rat if you’re fairly knowledgeable on the subject of Golden Age Comics. All of the titles I mentioned were published by Fox Publications, one of the more controversial publishers of the era — and The Blue Beetle was a Fox character.
Victor Fox had, at one time, kept the books for Detective Comics which, at that time, was Superman’s publishing company. Fox saw the early sales numbers after Supes was first introduced and realized there might be some serious money to be made in the “costumed hero” business. So he quit his job at DC and started his own publishing company. He didn’t keep “in house” artists, but instead farmed out the work to studios.
In the 1940′s comics and soda pop went hand in hand together. We need to remember that “comics shops” didn’t exist back then – hell, there weren’t even 7-11s! Comics were sold at newsstands and “mom and pop” soda shops. As late as the 1970′s you could still buy comics at “soda fountains”. In my hometown we had a downtown soda shop called Cromer’s, which had a huge comics selection — Mom and Pop Cromer never sent comics back to the distributor, so a comic would potentially stay on the rack forever until somebody bought it. So, for example, when I started reading Marvel’s Doctor Strange in early 1976 and came into the story somewhere in the middle, I pedalled my bike down to Cromer’s in a successful hunt for back issues so I could get a “running start” into the story. Cromers’ was jam-packed with every small item you could think of, very cramped and crowded, but they still kept a small four stool counter and soda fountain. The mirror behind the fountain was festooned with scores of class photos of neighbourhood kids, including yellowed photos going the whole way back to the 1950′s. In fact, the store still had merchandise which went back that far – I once saw a plastic pack of girls’ bobby socks hanging on a peg, twenty years after they’d gone out of style.
Text from: fourcolorglasses.wordpress.com/