The best comic books are the ones that make you let go of your sick desire to keep everything in mint condition by presenting a reason to throw ink all over the pages. The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man series was chock full of puzzles, coloring pages and other games that transformed your experience with the comics from a seven minute affair to an eight and a half minute affair.


Sharkleberry's Seaside Word Search: It's a seaworthy trove of salty wet words for you to reel in from a barnacle bustin' pile of red herrings and useless clamshells. It's one of those "super" word searches, where the words can even be found diagonal-backwards. Sharkleberry refused to utilize his role as a challenger to children's brains with a bunch of easy crap.


Kool Coloring Page: The giant octopus from the previous comic makes another appearance, and since he was also seen lurking around the aforementioned word search, I'd guess we'd have to call him a recurring character of Kool-Aid lore. A precursor to the Great Bluedini, if you will. He's big, he's nasty and he's filthy rich. More puzzling is the area below the coloring section, where kids were supposed to write in their name, age and phone number. Phone number? Why? Did the octopus want friends?


Kool-Aid Crossword Puzzle: While Sharkleberry sought to stimulate the mind with his damn-near-impossible word search, the Kool-Aid Man doesn't want to offend the sixty-million people who kneel by their beds at night to ask God if he's really a gatecrashing red pitcher. Thus, it's the easiest crossword puzzle in history.

Color By Numbers: Basic, simple, direct...I guess that's the point of coloring something by numbers, though. I'd still prefer to have magenta sand and orange gulls.


Connect The Dots: I love how Kool-Aid Man steers his raft using a paddleball racquet.

Draw A Fast Fish: Okay, fine, I'll do it.



At least my fast fish doesn't look like a spiky egg. F off, Kool-Aid Man.


The Sandy Beach Maze: Mazes can be really fun if they're tweaked up just right. Some present a genuine sense of adventure, first by offering a great reason why the characters drawn at the start point want to go through this torment (Free cake? Treasure? A new car?), followed by stuffing all sorts of cool obstacles within the maze, ending the drama with an awesome celebratory drawing near the finish line. With a few minutes of thought from the arteeeest behind it, a maze can really draw you in and make everything in your own personal world STOP until you drive a line of lead all the way through.

The Kool-Aid Man's maze isn't as grand. The "great reason" he has for entering the maze? He wants to go water skiing. Pish. The "cool obstacles" within the maze? Lousy sand traps -- the thing looks like the overview map of course #8 on a Commodore 64 golf game. And the "awesome celebratory drawing?" Just a couple of kids in a boat that's too small to seat Kool-Aid Man regardless of whether he makes it or not. Is it a-maze-ing? No. It's not. It's just a maze.

Zing! Oh yeah!!

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