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Marvel’s 1999 ‘Got Milk’ Trading Cards Are Inexplicable, Nutritious

The “Got Milk?” ads have been one of the most successful and enduring marketing campaigns of the last two decades, ever since that first commercial about a peanut butter-loving amateur historian aired in 1993, as directed — no joke — by Michael Bay.

Since then, it’s cropped up pretty much everywhere, and comics are no exception, which makes perfect sense. After all, kids do look up to super-heroes, and if there’s a better spokesman for the deliciousness of chocolate milk than Batman, I haven’t seen him. What doesn’t quite make sense, though, is a marketing effort from 1999 that was brought to our attention by Andertoons’ Mark Anderson, was an attempt to get this message in the hands of kids with a series of nine trading cards, presumably with the idea that children would be trading them.Even stranger was the fact that these cards featured not just milk moustaches, but the art of superstars Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert, and Steve “The Dude” Rude! Check out the whole bizarre enterprise after the jump!

If you’re going to pick any Marvel super-hero to be a spokesman for Milk, Captain America makes for a pretty obvious choice:

What’s weird, though, is how darn meloncholy cap looks here. It’s like Andy Kubert chose to draw him just after Cap set down his glass of milk and started reflecting on how the wholesome taste made him think of his childhood in the days before World War II, how he spent days with his mother and his friends, poor but carefree on the streets of Brooklyn… and how now, everyone he knew then is dead from the ravage of time that he somehow managed to escape.

Fortunately, Cap’s cure for depression is to go out and bust some Nazi heads, so it all works out.

Next up, we have The Hulk, who is a pretty dubious role model:

“Hey kids! Want to experience uncontrollable rage? Drink milk!” Plus, while Cap seems depressed, the Hulk is straight up smarmy. “That right, Wolverine. Hulk’s bones getting stronger thanks to Calcium. Hulk will have toughest bones!

And for the final member of the Avengers, we have She-Hulk:

Now, is it just me, or does Shulkie’s milk moustache totally make her look like a green-skinned, gender-swapped version of Mark Twain? Of course, this being the Internet, I’m sure that’s someone out there who has that exact fetish, so you’re welcome, creeps!

It’s worth noting that for a triptych of the Avengers, this one is awfully Hulk-centric, and skips over the more obvious choice of Iron Man. One assumes they’re holding him in reserve for the dairy industry’s next ad campaign, “Milk: It’s Good Even Without Vodka and Kahlua!”

The set of nine also incldued Steve Rude’s scene centered on Spider-Man:

In addition to a surprisingly happy Daredevil — “The great taste of mik makes me forget that every woman I love ends up dead, insane, a ninja, or all three!” –Rude also gives us the answer to something I’ve always wondered about:

Turns out that stuff that’s always dripping from Venom’s chops is actually milk. Which is somehow even more gross than when I thought it was just alien monster drool. Bleh.

Finally, we have a set depicting the residents of Marvel’s ill-fated “MC2″ imprint, which focused on Spider-Girl:

Personally, I’m more mystified than anything else that there was a time in the relatively recent past where Avengers Next was considered to be enough of a tastemaker that the dairy industry threw their cash behind J2 and Thunderstrike Jr. The best bit, however is unquestionably Dr. Doom’s totally sweet handlebar milk-stache.

“You DARE interrupt Doom’s enjoyment of Double-Stuf Oreos?! CURSE YOU, RICHAAAAAARDS!”

For a closer look at the whole set, including the fronts and backs of the cards, check out Anderson’s shots on Flickr!

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