Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kooba Cola: the Drink That NEVER Was...

In 1940, Victor Fox, publisher of WonderWorld Comics, Mystery Men Comics, Weird Comics, and other titles featuring The Blue Beetle, Samson, The Flame, among others, conceived an audacious marketing scheme.
Inspired by the success of Pepsi and Coca-Cola, he decided to promote Kooba Cola, "The World's Newest and Best-Tasting Soft Drink!" in ads in his entire line of comic books.
It was also "Delightfully Refreshing and Contained 35 USP units of Vitamin B-1 for the Sake of Health and Nutrition!"
When Fox's The Blue Beetle starred in a short-lived radio show that summer, he was sponsored by Kooba Cola!

Wait a second...
What's that?
You've never even heard of Kooba Cola?
That's because it didn't exist, except as a couple of mocked-up bottles used as props in ads and as art reference for illustrators.
(You'll note they couldn't even figure out what the color scheme for the label was!
It changed from ad to ad!)
Fox thought he could create a demand for Kooba, then license the name to one of the big soft drink companies, let them do the work of actually creating, bottling, and shipping the stuff, then he'd rake in royalties on the name!
It didn't work.
The "buzz" never developed.
The soda pop was never actually produced.
Even Kooba's "sponsorship" of The Blue Beetle radio show was just part of the show's script, not paid ads! (One of the reasons the show only lasted four months!)

But, such visionary hucksterness should not be forgotten!
(Besides, the ads were rather kool.)
So we at Atomic Kommie Comics™ decided to re-present the Soda That Would Not Die on collectibles ranging from Beachwear to mugs, messenger bags (and the irony of doing bags with "Kooba" on them hasn't escaped us!) and hoodies at KoobaCola 1 and KoobaCola 2!

So celebrate what could have been one of the bubbliest success stories of soft drink entepreneurship, but instead fizzled out and fell flat!
(You just knew we were gonna do a pun like that, didn't you?)  ;-)


  1. By the way, some of the ads I have (from various magazines) seem to have been illustrated by later industry giant Bill Everett.

  2. I curate a collection of comics that fell into the public domain and I believe another publisher tried to pull this trick with King Kola (which happens to be in with Mr. E who worships King Kolah)


Thanx for posting!