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With Marvel makeover, Captain Citrus has his day in the sun

The Florida Department of Citrus today unveiled -- at a comics store, no less -- the $1 million Marvel makeover of its three-year-old mascot Captain Citrus.

Gone is the cartoonish anthropomorphized orange, replaced by muscular, Spandex-clad superhero who fights alongside the Avengers in a special comic created by writer Ralph Macchio, penciler Kevin Sharpe and a host of others. The aim is to market orange juice to children and teens. As The Associated Press reports, the U.S. demand for orange juice peaked in 1998 with annual per-capita consumption close to 6 gallons; now it's about 3.5 gallons.

While the old Captain Citrus was, again, and anthropomorphized orange (who, somewhat disturbingly, drank orange juice), the new version is John Polk, the son of citrus growers, who has sun-nourished pods on the back of each hand that can create "hard light" weapons and shields.

Produced by Marvel Custom Solutions, the comic will be distributed to schools across the country. Two additional digital comics will be released online. The first can be read on the Florida Department of Citrus website.

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