Superman and the fight against tobacco!
In the early 1980’s Superman had a new villain to deal with. An evil tall and skinny character with yellow teeth and an extraordinary cigarette shaped hat. Nick O’Teen. O’Teen’s evil plan was to get children addicted to cigarettes but with Superman on the scene, his dastardly plan would soon be “put out”!
The Health Education Council (HEC) used a marketing print campaign to steer children away from the dangers of cigarettes and it was a big hit. Children could cut out coupons and send them off for information packs which included comics and posters. Over 800,000 children sent off for them.
I can remember seeing them hanging in doctor’s offices and in dentist waiting rooms. The bold colours really jump off the poster and the yellow used in it was a ghastly colour. I have one of the posters in my collection framed and also one of the mini-comics.
In the comic, Superman loses his X-Ray vision after the explosion of Krypton’s seventh moon fills up the night sky with a huge flash. What a story! The smelly villain uses this to his advantage and uses a clever disguise to hide from Supes and then has the nerve to challenge the Man Of Steel to penetrate his clever disguise!
Eventually some clever kids who pledged to join Superman’s campaign figure out that a sinister old man, giving out free cigarettes, is in fact Nick O’Teen in disguise! The “Louse Of The Lung” had been caught by some heroic children. Superman puts an end to the stinky villains plans by throwing him into a vat of tar. Brutally ironic!
It seems I was one of the children that Superman couldn’t save, and I was a smoker for quite some time. Superman, forgive me. Don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. Quite a few years ago I beat my addiction to cigarettes and purchased the poster and comic as a reward for defeating the wicked Nick O’Teen. Whenever I see that evil, yellow toothed villain I smile in the fact that I beat him and you can too.
Kid’s, never say yes to a cigarette!