Comic books have time and again proven their worth as a way to educate and raise awareness about social issues such as AIDS and sexual abuse. While some publishers have used famous superheroes, others have opted to create their own defenders of truth, justice and bicycle safety... often with regrettable results.

With that said, meet the Not-So-Super Superfriends:

Name: Ray Cycle

His Story: He was a drawing on a discarded piece of paper that transformed into a living, recycling superhero when subjected to strange chemicals in the city landfill.

His Arch Enemy: A creepy goblin named, "Waste."

Publisher: Department of Environmental Protection, State of Connecticut


Name: Captain Enviro

His Story: He's Canadian, but instead of Wolverine claws he wears a yellow hard hat and a "pollutant-free ecobelt" that enables him to fly to ecological disaster zones.

His Arch Enemy: Creatures from Planet Polluto, ruled by King Sewage III.

Publisher: Committee of Environment Ministers and Council of Maritime Premiers, Canada


Names: Nutri-Man and Vita-Woman

Their Story: Their secret identities are the gym teacher and school nurse at Center City Middle School. Nutri-Man has super strength due to his healthy eating habits. Vita-Woman just lectures people a lot.

Their Arch Enemy: Sugar Demon

Publisher: New York State Department of Health


Name: Captain Conservo

His Story: He helps the U.S. Army conserve energy and water. Origin unknown. (Presumably a creation of DARPA.)

His Arch Enemies: Thermotron, Dr. Watt, Drip-Tacon and E.Z. Waster.

Publisher: United States, Department of the Army


Name: SprocketMan

His Story: He pops up uninvited, offering weird advice on bicycle safety (always walk your bike when there's a herd of buffalo in town). He carries a Captain America-type shield made from bicycle sprockets. Ironically, as the city's defender of bicycle safety, he is portrayed riding his own bike one-handed while wielding this heavy hunk of metal.

His Arch Enemies: Irresponsible children

Publisher: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission

[Source: Government Comics Collection Database]