Tag Archives: Comic Books

Essential Marvel Hostess Ads Vol. 1, Cupcakes 1976-1981

Well, it’s that time again, time to jump back into the wonderful world of Hostess comic book ads for some much needed advice on how to defeat both evil and our insatiable hunger with snack cakes so tasty that Batman refuses to eat them (for if he did, you know he’d spoil his bat-dinner and Alfred would have to scold him something awful.) Today though I’m going to switch gears a bit and take my first look at how the Merry Marvel Marching Society deals with the incredible power of moist chocolaty cake, topped with fudgy icing, and its real creamed filling. Without further to do I present the Essential Marvel Hostess Ads Vol. 1, Cupcakes 1976-1981.

Spiderman in The Champ 1976

So after reading my firs Marvel Hostess ad all I can really say is, holy crap that was action packed! Well compared to their DC brethren, which tend to roll between lazy to just plain weird. Every single panel in this ad has a beat of action; knife impact, the bell ringing the start of the fight, a real whammy of a punch, a cupcake in the mouth, and explosion on the mat, and faces stuffed with snack cakes. ACTION. I guess this is why I was a Marvel kid growing up, even their advertisements were action packed. On weird note, what nationality does the surname Moomjay fit into?

Captain America in Sore Sir’s Appetencies 1977

“…and that and that and that and that…” This Cap ad from 1977 is sort of a beast with two natures. At the beginning it’s all bif, bam, pow, and then it completely crumbles with Cap’s cupcake cunning. Did I mention that the alliteration was out of hand in this ad? I love the extensive back story as well, though I think the Sorcerer’s Apprentice reference was muddled to a point of, well, pointlessness.

Spiderman in Legal Eagle 1977

I Object to this ad! Actually, that’s not true, and my fake true nature is shinning through because I love this ad. Holy crap, I didn’t think there would ever be a more convoluted Hostess ad than the World’s Upside Down one, but this one is right up there. I’m not sure if the writer intended for the “legal speak” to be quite as confusing as it actually came out. But before I can deconstruct that, I have to mention that this has to be the worst rip-off of an already existing character yet. The Legal Eagle? Really? Was the writer so desperate to use the Vulture that he had to stoop to this level? Things I absolutely love about this ad: LE’s manical mid-sentence laughter in panel 2, Today I’m on it, Tomorrow I’ll be in it (just sounds dirty), “…trapped by your own false true nature…” What does that last line mean?

Spiderman in Spoils a Snatch 1977

I swear, the word snatch is so ruined on me. Anyway, this is way more in line with the DC versions of these ads as total insanity replaces any semblance of natural plotting. You know, it’s kind of disconcerting to hear Peter thinking in the third person. Maybe eating too many Hostess cupcakes can do that to you, leaving you with a brain that functions just above the level of the Hulk’s. Also, way to go on winning MJ’s heart and trust by excusing your “ditching her” with stories of a crazy cupcake craving.

The Incredible Hulk Changes his Mind 1978

Speaking of the Hulk, here’s a weird ad from 1978 where the big green gut gets to exhibit his penchant for punching and karate chopping trees. I hear it’s great for anger management, and oft times you’ll be rewarded with falling kids and Hostess cupcakes to drive those evil puny humans away. Hey, I don’t want to be a wet blanket, but if you throw a bunch of cupcakes to some guys you want to stay away from you, won’t this have the opposite effect? Oh crap, now I think the hulk is gonna get pissed at me because I dissed his little friend’s brilliant plan…

The Human Torch in Blown About 1980

So, um, are they like, going to do it? I mean, Johnny didn’t mention prison or anything. Maybe I’m reading too much into it. Oh, and last I head fire lives on oxygen, so like, that’s just a silly plot point.

Spiderman’s Dream Girl 1981

Remind me to refer to my wife from now on by her first and last names. Seriously, who is writing the dialogue for Peter in these ads? Witty my ass. Also, what was the aim of that gang of thugs? Like I mean, were they going to like take Lisa Skye out for coffee and a movie, or where they going to like, gang rape her? This is just sort of an odd and somewhat inappropriate version of the bully kicking sand in the nerd’s face I guess. Man, in the 80s whole gangs of bullies stole your girl I guess.

Spiderman vs. the Human Computer 1981

Jesus, just stop saying “chip” already, and way to go mixing your metaphors to an insane degree. This ad lost me when Spidey repeated the plot set up narration in the first panel.

The Thing in A Lesson to be Learned 1981

I’m walking away from this ad with the firm belief that something evil is about to happen to that mugger. Look in the background of that last panel. Thing is giving that guy the “Hey, welcome to prison, and I’m so glad YOU’RE going to be my bunk-mate” look. It’s clobbering time indeed.

Well don’t you know that there are plenty more of these Marvel Hostess ads on the way? We’ve still got plenty of Fruit Pie and Twinkie puns to wade through, so until then, Make Mike Marvel!

Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 3, Part 2: Fruit Pies 1979-1981

So here we are again with another installment of the Essential Hostess Ads, Vol. 3 part 2 1979-1981. I hope to start work on compiling enough of the Marvel versions of these ads to put together some Essentials of those as well.

Wonder Woman Saves the Astronauts 1979

You know I don’t want to continue ragging on all of these Hostess ads, but c’mon man, a trail of fruit pies is the solution to this space dust problem? If they can’t see out of their windows to see a giant blue planet, how they hell are they going to see those fruit pies? Wonder Woman would have been better off flying up to the shuttle and wiping the windows with one of the damn tasty pastries!

Green Arrow An Arrow in Time 1979

Oh my god. The first speech bubble in this ad is the definition of obvious. It’s the equivalent of witnessing someone get shot and saying, “Look, that guy got shot, no wonder he’s howling in pain with a big bloody hole clear through his hip!” Come on Green Arrow, I thought you were snarkier than that. You know, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s probably not a bright idea to be slinging fruit pies on arrows towards a bunch of kids. I can just see little Suzie, who didn’t make it out of the tram because there’s an arrow through her head with a fruit pie on it.

Flash The Stony-Eyed Medusa 1979

Okay, here’s the problem with super heroes in a nutshell, if you don’t strip the villain of their powers somehow, how do you expect to keep them captive? I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen villains like the Rhino or the Scorpion (Spider-Man comics) in some sort of holding cell, completely suited up but in manacles or something. Dude, strip them down so they can’t break out. If you arrest Mr. Freeze, destroy his freeze gun; don’t store it in a box next to the manacled Mr. Freeze. I’m not clear as to how tying up Medusa will keep her from proceeding to stare that parade into stone after she’s done eating that tasty pastry. Lazy, pure and simple.

Superman in the Ionic Storm 1979

Man, the entire strip here is such a MacGuffin. I mean, Supes didn’t use the fruit pies for crap. In fact, this is the perfect example of the no eating Hostess products clause DC had in their contract. “Screw you and your Hostess fruit pies, I’ve got shit to do. In fact, let me fly around Planetoid RM a few times to turn back time so that I can watch that ionic meteor shower tear your dumb picnic to shreds.”

Aquaman and the Space Capsule 1980

Once again, Aquaman proves that he’s about as useful as an anus right here (pointing to my elbow.) Why is his first thought kidnapping the capsule? Why not help it get to the surface of the water? And why in the hell are those astronauts so dumb that they thought that after coming down on Earth, into the sea no less as protocol would dictate, that they would be confronting aliens? As for the payoff to the whole strip, I’m sorry Aquaman, but didn’t you read the Superman strip about the family picnicking on Planetoid RM? Didn’t you see them eating their tasty fruit pies at the end? Hostess doesn’t in fact equal Earth, it equals bad storytelling.

Batgirl Fruit Pies For Magpies 1981

Sigh. So where exactly did these girls think they were going to stash their pick-pocketed loot? These chicks are about as brilliant as that group that wanted to steal the city’s oil supply. Hey maybe they’re the same super intelligent theft outfit. Also, is it just me, or is this like one of the most sexist Hostess ads ever?

Penguin in Penguins on Parade 1981

First off, this strip was doing pretty well up until the end. Straight forward with a slightly silly bent to it. Then the gag had to be emperor penguins and an emperor sword. You know, I believe the Penguin’s gag is that he involves ornithological elements in his crimes, not regal ones. I love that the writer (like the writer of this Batman Hostess ad) broke convention and has the Penguin munching on that flaky, tasty pastry. I hope it’s the same dude, some young buck of a writer thumbing his nose at the bureaucratic ad department establishment at DC. “Ha ha, you bourgeois panty waists, I’ll have the whole DCU eating fruit pies before I’m done!”

Superman in the Laughing Gas Bandits 1981

Okay I’m lost here. Didn’t the crooks cover themselves with the whole Superman angle by disseminating Kryptonite into the nearby area? I mean, Clark changing into Hostess fruit pie salesman duds doesn’t counteract the effects of the fabled green rock does it? Anyway, I have to give the writer some credit on this strip, it’s freaking weird and fun and I was so hoping the bad guys would win with a plot this thick. I mean do you know how much it probably cost them to secure that Kryptonite? More than they would have netted picking pockets. To me that just means that these thieves are more concerned with quality than quality; the act itself is reward enough.

I can wait to start breaking out with a bunch of the Marvel versions of these ads, as it should be enlightening.

The Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 3: Fruit Pies, 1975-1978

There really were a ton of these Hostess ads published between 1975 and 1981. I keep finding more, and I haven’t even gotten into the Marvel series yet. I think I’ve mentioned this, but I still think it’s really funny how on the one hand, since DC writers and artists took the time to script and draw these full page comic ads starring all the major (and some minor) comic characters, that DC would seem to be fully behind the Hostess product. I mean it’s one thing to sell ad space, but to have the ad feature so much of the creative DC content, it just screams that DC endorses Hostess. When you think of it, the modern equivalent would be something like a series of say Frito Lay commercials starring the cast of C.S.I Las Vegas, set in their world with the crew trying to find corn chip thieves based on analysis of snack food finger dust or something.

But still, on the other hand, these DC characters never ever come into contact with any unwrapped Hostess product, and if a villain does, then it’s invariably one created specifically for these ads, ala Cat Man or something. It actually sort of makes a statement for anti-advertising, where subconsciously maybe kids think that the product isn’t all that good because it’s obviously not good enough to cross Batman’s lips. Of course, much like bad press, I’m sure negative advertising is just as good as any other advertising, getting the word out in any manner possible. I’ve had this argument a lot, but I tend to fully agree that even the most vile and annoying commercial is doing it’s job well, because that one time you need that product it’s the first thing you’ll think of. There are these horrible jewelry store ads all over the radio here in Atlanta (much like everywhere else I assume) that make me want to strangle the store owners, all of ‘em, but I guarantee that the first time I ever needed to (I say need but I mean want) buy a ring or something that would be the first place I went even though I’m sure there are plenty of independent jewelers that have fine product. I think I prefer my product placement/food ads to lean in the other direction. Like in the horrible Ghost Rider movie for instance, when Nic Cage/Johnny Blaze is promoting Jelly Belly jelly beans, he really promotes the hell out of ‘em. Eats the damn things by the bucketful and everything.

Anyway, this is all beside the point, which is discussing the third volume in the Essential Hostess Ads series, of course this time focusing on Fruit Pies. Though I associate Hostess with Twinkies, their line of Fruit Pies must have been a huge part of their business at the time considering their large range of flavors, at least six during the 70′s (apple, cherry, blueberry, blackberry, lemon, and peach.) It’s also kind of interesting that the company focused only their Twinkies, Cupcakes, and Fruit Pies, but neglected the Ding Dongs, HoHos, and Chocodiles. I mean since a Chocodile is basically a chocolate covered Twinkie you’d think that, that would make for some awesome DC comics adventures, if not a nice twist on the villain speech, mixing dark, chocolate, creamed, and golden into a thousand possible combinations (or maybe just sixteen.) So before I write the encyclopedia Britannica of my thoughts on Hostess comic ads, lets get into the meat, er, real fruit filling of this week’s Essential Hostess volume.

Superman in The Spy 1975

Ah Clark, you sly bastard, you filled your closet with fruit pies. Obviously it would be insane for a dude to have a Superman costume in his closet, but a boatload of fruit pies? Standard operating procedure. At least he didn’t spin the world around backwards to make the “spy” forget, or kiss him. Man, all my knowledge of Superman is pretty much derived from that first Donner film.

Batman and the Captive Commissioner 1976

First off, Robin sure is being lewd in that first panel. Real, Deep, Big trouble is it Robin? Is it a Hot, Sticky, Load of trouble as well? Now did the writer of this comic just previously lean the definition of Svengali, because he sure goes to pains to both define it and massacre the reference all at the same time. I know I looked it up, because I’m a dork and I was tied of hearing the reference and not knowing exactly what it meant. This comic is also another perfect example of how Hostess Fruit Pies did absolutely nothing to help save the day, yet everyone seems to think otherwise. Apparently Batman can’t knock out two thugs without the help of real fruit and tender crust that you just wouldn’t believe.

Penguin in the Cuckoo Cuckoos 1976

What the hell is going on in this ad? There are ideas flying all over the place, the dissident cuckoos, hell, cuckoo clocks with talons and wings, double hell, talking cuckoo clocks with talons and wings, no super heroes with closets full of Hostess Pies, the police actually thwarting the Penguin? Jezz this thing is all over the place. Also what’s up with the last panel full of cats and stuff? This is just the first of a slew of villain starring Hostess Fruit Pie ads, so I guess that flaky tender crust must bring out the flaky tender headed evil of the DC universe…

Batman in The Whole World’s Upside Down 1977

Okay, this now wins, hands down, as my favorite DC Hostess ad of all time. Where do I begin commenting on this masterpiece of literature? I know that if I had the power to completely flip perception, gravity and the laws of physics as Mr. Topsy Turvy Man apparently can, I’d spend my days picking up loose change and fruit pies. Actually let me get this straight. Now, it’s not that TT man is upside down and floating in the air, it’s that he’s managed to flip the entire earth upside down, gravity-wise I assume as it’s kind of impossible to flip the earth upside down since there really is no up and down in space, I mean as I’m right side up in the US right now, Asia is technically “upside down” at the same time. So he has the unique ability to make everyone perceive that they are upside down by creating a second source of gravity working on the body, one that concentrates on clothing and one’s sense of balance, while not disrupting the normal gravity that keeps people grounded on earth. So in reality, he is floating upside down and all fruit pies and loose change are losing gravity and floating up, and since he’s upside down he can catch them, making him, well, the worst criminal in the history of stupid villains. I feel like I did after trying to describe Donnie Darko to a friend. This whole comic would have made so much more sense if TT man was making ladies skirts fly up around their heads or something.

By the way, that dumb kid never lost hold of his damn fruit pie so he should just shut his, well pie hole.

Green Lantern in the Fruit Pie Scene 1977

Two panels into this Green Lantern ad and I had high hopes. Already the writer has made both an awesome homage to a brilliant film (Bride of Frankenstein) and one of the worst “name explanation” gags ever. It started out with a high camp bang, and I was hoping it’d just get all John Waters from there, but alas it ended pretty weak. So Green Lantern’s ring can just bigify him and the others? Well what can’t it do then? Also, I’m getting to point where I believe that the DC universe of cities is populated by idiotic dorks that have no idea what they are talking about. They couldn’t eat their fruit pies because they were small and their mouths were not large enough to bite into that tasty tender crust to get to all of that real fruit filling? Well, weren’t the pies shrunk-ified as well? I didn’t see those guys straddling giant fruit pies in those jars. I guess this strip was just gnitnioppasid (spell that backwards to see how I feel.)

Joker in the Cornered Clown 1977

The fruit pies are really starting to bring the evil side of the DC universe out to play as we get the first ad starring the Joker. Now even though they probably can’t have him winning in this ad, I thought it would have been so cool to see this ruse work. I mean honestly, the reverse is true for most of the other ads. Throw a maniacal villain a fruit pie and he’s libel to not only stop the crime he’s committing but also put himself in handcuffs just to get at the damn flaky crusts and real fruit filling.

Also, on a side note, the first panel just reminds me of Spielberg’s quest to ungunify the E.T. movie. Guns are neat, an this Hostess fruit pie ad shows how pointless it is to have cops standing around with walkie talkies instead of 12 gauge shotguns. I mean these awesome flatfoots managed to hold their rifles, eat some fruit pies AND catch the Joker (possibly with other limbs that weren’t featured), all without seeming menacing, so I call bunk on you Spielberg.

Aquaman Mera Meets the Manta Men 1978

Sigh. So like why is this an Aquaman comic? Shouldn’t it be an Aqualad and Mera comic? That is Aqualad right? There’s just so much wrong with this comic. First we have some really pointless narration that says exactly what the characters will say, then there are Manta Men emitting deadly stun blows that work as mind control on sharks (jeez, couldn’t they just pick a type of ray to emit, I mean these are neither deadly or stunning, they just blow), all of which is followed by the coupe de grace of a giant hand materializing out of water (I’ll buy that as Mera’s power), but where in the hell did the fruit pies come into the picture? Okay, so there are fruit pies as well, but aren’t they freaking soggy underwater? You know, I believe I can think of about a million better things to do with my fingers, hands and mouth than eat fruit pies, Manta Men. I hate this ad.

Batman in the Corsair of Crime 1978

HA! Finally, a mainstay DC character eating a damn fruit pie! I can see that the artist on this piece was a maverick.

Joker in Clowning Around 1978

Joker, Joker, Joker, is crime paying off so badly that you have to stoop so low as to audition for the freaking Gotham circus? At least we get a tale of revenge in this fruit pie ad from 1978. Too bad there weren’t clowns dying akimbo in mass amounts of real fruit filling, now that would have made for an exploitation masterpiece. Instead we get a very cinematic story where the plot is told in monologue flashback and we see that the Joker never had a chance. Um, so exactly how does this work. See apparently the Joker hates him some fruit pies. So since Joker didn’t accept any deliciously tender and flaky pastry, and thus wasn’t distracted, when exactly did these clowns switch darts on him? I wish the ending was worth the amount of plot they put in this ad.

Joker in Laugh, Clown, Laugh 1978

In this second Joker ad from 1978 we had a writer that totally screwed the pooch on the previous built up of the back-story on Joker’s feelings towards fruit pies. Doesn’t he hate fruit pies? Why would he be so glad he kept some at the end? Has that dude in the crown never seen five clowns all together at once? These questions sadly have no answers. Oh well.

And on this sad note, I’ll end our investigation of this installment of the Essential Hostess Ads Vol. 3: Fruit Pies. Fear not though, because I have unearthed enough material for 3 more volumes of DC Hostess ads, not to mention at least as many posts on the Marvel ads (I don’t think that’s the sound of rejoicing I hear), so I’m sure we’ll continue this dialogue another day.

Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 2: Cupcakes 1979-1981

As promised in the Twinkie entry, though a week late, here is Vol. 2 in the Essential Hostess Ads series, this time centering on the Hostess Cupcakes and the DC heroes who love to use them for fighting crime and stuff.

I don’t know what it is about cupcakes, but it brought out some of the lesser-known DC heroes, at least from my perception as I never really read DC comics and I’d wager a bet that most people wouldn’t recognize characters like Red Tornado and possibly even Hawkman, though he did get his own US postage stamp so what do I know. I also think it’s kind of funny that Batman shows up three times in these ads, and I know there must be more since I found twice as many for Twinkies (so there are possibly even more starring the dark knight); so all in all Bruce Wayne is a cupcake man at heart, which is nice.

What have I learned from reading these ads? Why those cupcakes are dark, rich and creamed (not creamy.) So without any further to-do, let’s get into those creamed cakes.

1979 Hawkman Makes a Safe Landing

Okay, so we’re running out of the gate with a bang on this one. The cupcakes are so secondary to the plot here, in fact the entire plot is so…well for lack of a better idea, it’s just so much like a normal ad. Why does Hawkman even need to be in this ad? I mean the dude might as well have been able to open his chute at the last second and it would have been just as effective. I’m probably reading way too much into this considering he’s a fictional character with his back turned and all, but Hawkman just seems pissed that he had to take a break in his normal lazy afternoon soaring to catch that dweb and his damn Hostess cupcakes…

1980 Batman in Catman on the Prowl

This 1980 ad is sort of misleading, as it’s really a Robin story at heart. Robin, who through his love of his mentor and friend sacrifices his bagged lunch dessert, gets stiffed by the “big name” in the title. What a shame. Seriously though, what’s up with this first panel? Where the hell does Batman find the strength to hold up two man-eating panthers by the throats? I guess this is no worse than that shark attack scene in the Adam West Batman movie. “Robin, hand me the Bat-Shark-Repellant!”

1981 Batman in “Lights, Camera, Crime!”

Oh geez. I hope the artists and writers of this comic thought ahead enough to have their credits listed as Alan Smithee. Why pirates? Why not a giant cutting machine or some dude with a chainsaw or something. Pirates should have been in one of the Twinkie ads, I mean Golden cake and all…

1981 Batman in Hearts of Darkness

You know, Batman’s last line in this ad is probably strangely prophetic, “Sometimes good taste is a fatal flaw.” I’m sure all the great ad copywriters were thinking the same thing when their pitches for amazingly well written Hostess ads were passed over for the dregs like this one. Tell me, how in the hell do you fence a city’s oil supply?

1981 Flash in Marathon Madman

Jesus, what in the hell is Dr. Sorcery’s plan here? Does he hate competition running so much that he felt the need to use a magical stone on a bridge to stop a race? Maybe his entry was refused and this is his payback. Either way I think it’s kind of cool that the writer at least worked in both the Flash’s secret identity and job, not to mention joking around with his powers. I actually think this is probably the most well written Hostess ad so far, and that depresses me.

1981 Red Tornado in Clean Sweep

Seriously Red Tornado, take the damn credit for foiling this cantankerous cupcake caper my friend. What the hell did a Hostess cupcake ever do for you besides get you cast in an ad so your comic could get more exposure? My computer brain is telling me you’re a feeb, though a feeb with incredibly fast moving legs and a vast knowledge of criminal’s invaluable tastes.

I still have one more volume of Essential DC Hostess ads to explore, so this time next week we’ll be taking a gander at Vol. 3, Fruit Pies. I think I might even have some Marvel ads to throw in as well.

The Essential Saturday Morning Cartoon Ads, 1979-1989

So while I was spelunking though crap comic book bins at my local Book Nook looking for old Hostess ads, I kept running across other ads that I thought would be fun to share on the site. In particular I kept passing over some familiar Saturday Morning Cartoon ads, mostly for the later 80′s NBC lineup, and nothing I hadn’t seen before a million times while reading back issues of Ambush Bug and the Uncanny X-Men. Then I caught sight of an ad I’d never seen before, one for ABC in 1983, and I began to wonder if there were ads for all the big stations, ABC, CBS, and NBC, for every year.

So the search began anew, and I started digging for cartoon ads, year by year, and I managed to find a decent amount. Unfortunately I couldn’t find one for every station or for every year during the 80′s, but I’ll be damned if I can find them, and I’ve run out of cheap resources, so this’ll have to do for now. Without further ado I present the Essential Saturday Morning Cartoon Ads, Vol. 1 1979-1989.

This first ad is for ABC’s cartoon lineup form 1979. Though I was only two years old at the time, I do remember watching my fare share of both the Super Friends and the Plastic Man show. I also, of course, watched plenty of Scooby Doo, especially the Scrappy Doo episodes. I remember distinctly wanting to murderize Scrappy on many occasions. I don’t remember ever seeing any of the additional Plastic Man cartoons like Fang Face, Rickety Rocket or Mighty Man and Yukk, so I’m thinking maybe I caught Plas later when it was edited down or something. I’m dying to see some of the Spider Woman cartoon and have been since I used to stare at the one video copy my Blockbuster used to stock, though I never did rent it for some weird reason.

This CBS ad, also from 1979, is pretty much 50/50 in terms of what I remember seeing on TV as a kid. I definitely remember Mighty Mouse, Heckle and Jeckle, and, like Scooby Doo, obviously I remember watching the Looney Tunes. Scooby Doo and the Looney Tunes are pretty damn timeless though, and I think in one form or another have been playing since they were introduced in the 60′s and 30′s respectively.  That’s also the worst miss-coloring on Foghorn Leghorn I’ve ever seen.

The second half of this ad is pretty foreign to me though, at least for the time. The first Popeye show I remember watching was the Popeye and Son revamp that came a few years after this, though I’m sure I caught some of the really old stuff at one time or another. Though I do remember seeing an episode or two of Fat Albert, I want to say that it wasn’t on Saturday morning, but instead part of another show like Pinwheel, the Electric Company, or Kaptain Kangaroo or something. Bill Cosby was pretty much all over the place in the 80′s, especially on kids shows, what with Picture Pages and his appearances on the Electric Company, so I might be getting this mixed up. I didn’t discover Jason of Star Command until this past year from reading a bunch of other blogs like Bubblegum Fink. It’s definitely a show I’m dying to see because I want to see Sid Haig in a kid’s show; he’s got to be a pretty bad ass villain. As far as that bottom rung of shows, I’m completely baffled. I’ve never seen any of those and I’m surprised that there was a Batman show on ABC and CBS simultaneously.

Now in 1980, with this ABC ad, we’re getting into more familiar territory. Other than the crazy Fonz and the Happy Days Gang cartoon, I watched all of these shows. The introduction of Thundarr is pretty sweet, and goes to show that there was certainly precedent set before the Masters of the Universe toy line hit shelves 1983, much to Roger Sweet’s chagrin. Now, is that supposed to be Joni in the Happy Day’s cartoon? ‘Cause that’s a Joni that I could love like so many Chachis.

CBS’s lineup didn’t change much in 1980, but I’m really keen on some of the additions. Though I’ve never seen it, I’m really interested in the Drac Pack show. I’m curious if it’s in line with something like the Groovie Goolies? It sounds a lot more action packed, though I’m not sure how much, seeing as the rebirth of the “Action Cartoon” was still a couple years off. I also notice that Batman, Freedom Force, and Jason of Star Command were replaced by the Lone Ranger show. I don’t remember that one either, though I did have some of the toys that came out around then. I dug the hell out of the Lone Ranger toy because, if I remember correctly, his pistols would fit in his holsters, which was very uncommon for 3.75″ toys in the 80′s.

I wonder why they even bothered to throw in that bit about the 30 Minutes of news spot at 1:30. What self-respecting kid was watching news highlights on Saturday mornings?

Well, apparently NBC was in direct competition with CBS, as they both had variations on the Looney Tunes, and then NBC also introduced the Frankenstones, I assume to offset the Drac Pack. Their lineup was pretty heavily, classic Hanna Barbera laden, what with the Jetsons, the Flintstones, the Herculoids, and Space Ghost. Crazy, it was like a regular Boomerang on NBC in 1980.

Now, I couldn’t find an ABC ad for 1981, but I think the lineup stayed relatively the same, though I believe that Laverne and Shirley was added as a spin-off addition to the Happy Days cartoon much in the same way the original show was spun off of the live action Happy Days show.

CBS on the other hand dropped Heckle and Jeckle, the Drac Pack, and Tarzan in favor of some new blood including, Zorro, Blackstar (I assume to compete with ABC’s airings of Thundarr), the Trollkins, and the Kwicky Koala Show, none of which I’m all that familiar with. I had a few of the Blackstar toys, which I mentioned when I talked about the Blackstar puffy stickers, but other than that I don’t know much about these new shows. I know that Zorro, much like the Lone Ranger was at least strong enough to get one toy line release, but pretty much CBS is a mystery to me at age 4. I notice they’re still pimping the weekly news highlights though.

In 1981 NBC began to feel like more familiar ground in terms of my personal nostalgia for Saturday morning cartoons, what with the introduction of the Smurfs and Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends. I can recall associating the Spider-Man theme song, in particular, with waking up on the weekends.

Apparently, ABC was all about spinning off cartoon versions of their popular 70′s sitcoms as 1982 would see three shows, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Mork & Mindy all with animated counterparts. Mmmm, animated Pam Dawber. ABC also dove into programming based on video games with the introduction of Pac-Man. I wonder which station was playing Q*Bert and Donkey Kong in the 80′s? Well we’ll get to that.

Not to be outdone on the sitcom-to-cartoon-conversion front, CBS introduced a Gilligan’s Island cartoon in 1982. They also ditched half of the previous years lineup including all the news shows from 1981 like Zorro, the Trollkins, and that weird Koala show. I guess they were feeling boxed in by the other networks and were focusing on competition rather than sticking with new ideas, though they did introduce two new shows, the panda themed Pandamonium, and Meatballs and Spaghetti (not familiar with either.)

I didn’t find an ad for NBC for 1982, though I believe they added the Shirt Tales to the lineup as well as an Incredible Hulk cartoon. How do I know that? Context clues.

For 1983 ABC ditched all of it’s sitcom cartoon spin-offs in favor of some new material including a show based on the Rubik’s Cube, one on the Monchhichis, an awesome Littles cartoon, and the crazy Menudo show. Can you pick out Ricky Martin from this horribly printed ad?

For 1983 NBC ditched it’s classic Hanna Barbera lineup in favor of a half and half mix between action and cutsey. With the introduction of the Mr. T cartoon, added to their Spider-Man/Hulk hour and the Thundarr cartoon, they were going pretty strong with action. This was balanced by the introduction of Alvin and the Chipmunks, which joined by the Smurfs, the Shirt Tales and the Flintstones, whoch would fill out the more cute and cuddly earlier morning hours.

Though I didn’t find a CBS ad for 1983, I can tell by this 1984 ad, prominently featuring Richard Pryor, that they were picking up the slack on the video game-to-cartoon front with their Saturday Supercade shows including Q*Bert, Space Ace, Donkey Kong and Pole Position. I freaking loved the Pole Position cartoon. I’ve also noticed that there is a similar balancing act between cute and action packed shows this year on CBS, much like the 1983 NBC lineup, including the Supercade, and Dungeons and Dragons being offset by the Muppet Babies and the Get Along Gang. I’m pretty sure my eyes were glued to CBS on Saturday mornings during 1984 because I remember all of these shows very fondly.

Of course, just as soon as I say that I was only watching CBS, here comes the 1984 NBC AD, which has just as many shows that I remember watching as well, so maybe I would switch off week to week or something. Or maybe there was a clone Shawn that I was able to siphon off the memories of. Either way, 1984 was a great year for Saturday Morning cartoons with a few more of my favorite shows getting introduced including Kidd Video, which I’ve written about before, the Snorks and the Pink Panther and Sons. Oh, to have episodes of all these shows on DVD. Man, look at David Hasselhoff’s grinning mug in that One to Grow On segment…

After 1983 I couldn’t find anymore ABC ads.  I don’t know if they stopped running them, or if they’re just super rare.

This CBS ad from 1985 shows us that Cyndi Lauper was becoming so common place in pop culture that her popular song titles were being reworked into cartoon ads. That’s all right though, because also in this ad is the introduction of Hulk Hogan’s Rock ‘n’ Wrestling, yet another of my favorite shows as a kid, which featured Capt’n Lou who was a Lauper friend and mainstay. Though I was never all that into the actual wrestling shows, I dug the hell out of the cartoon, the trading cards, and those giant rubber action figures. George “the Animal” Steele anyone? Capt’n Lou was pretty awesome as well.  Yes, they were favorites of mine. Any wrestler that would pierce their cheek with rubber bands or dye their tongue green and eat turnbuckles were okay in my book.

 

Who in the hell are those purple monsters filming the Muppet Babies though? I don’t remember anyone other than Bunsen, Beaker, and that damn rabbit making guest appearances. This was also the last CBS ad I found, so from here on out it’s all about NBC.

I think this 1985 NBC ad is probably my favorite so far because I remember every single bit of this lineup. We get the Punky Brewster cartoon added (and even with Glomer I loved it) as well as the Gummi Bears cartoon, probably one of the best 30 minute Disney cartoons ever (at least on par with Ducktales.) Add to that Mr. T, the Smurfs, the Snorks, Kidd Video, Spider-Man and Alvin and the Chipmunks and you have a recipe for Shawn’s perfect Saturday morning.

I think it was around this time in 1986 when I began missing Saturday morning cartoons. Though I’d like to see what was on ABC or CBS to confirm this, I think I was losing interest in waking up for TV when a lot of the shows I loved were no longer on. This year NBC ditched practically every action show in favor of more cutsey fair like Kissyfur and Foofur. I mean, put ‘fur’ in every title why don’t ya? Smurfyfur, Punkyfur, Chipmunk-fur, everything was fucking furry or cute on NBC in 1986.

I think by this time I had switched my cartoon watching habits almost entirely to the syndicated fare on the weekday afternoons, stuff like G.I. Joe, the Transformers, the Silverhawks, Bravestarr, M.A.S.K., He-Man, and Turboteen.  I think I also discovered the joy of sleeping in until noon around this time as well.

Now as well as not finding any ABC or CBS ads for the later 80′s I also didn’t find many for NBC either. The only other ad I could find for Saturday mornings was this one from 1989.

Though I remember watching the Alf cartoon, all the rest of these are pretty foreign to me. I knew of these shows, but didn’t watch them, even though I was heavily into Nintendo, John Candy and the Karate Kid.

Though this is far from complete, there are at least six ads missing that I’m pretty sure are out there somewhere (NBC for 1979, ABC for 1981, NBC for 1982, CBS for 1983, ABC for 1984-85), this gives a pretty good idea of what was on Saturday Mornings through the early to mid 1980′s. Now I want these on DVD more than ever…

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Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 1: Twinkies 1978-1981

Recently, Savage over at his fun blog Old Man Musings posted an old Hostess Fruit Pies ad starring the Fantastic Four wherein the Four with Franklin in tow, pound and fire-blast the shit out of some falling rocks that are threatening the quintet’s lunch of luscious fruit pies. It was some sweet ass and quite extreme fruit pie rescuing I’ll tell you what.

Well, while I was sifting through some crap comic bins at a local used book store looking for some 80′s comic ads to write about I found a ton of the DC versions of these old ads, so I decided to share some of them. I’m not sure, there’s probably a booming web-ring dedicated to these ads, but I’m too lazy to look and see, so if this is redundant, too bad.

This week we’ll take a look at a myriad of ads dealing with the use of Twinkies as weapons of mass destruction, gifts of intergalactic well being, and the last sweet taste a bunch of crooks get before the bitterness of the upcoming horrors they’re sure to receive in jail. So without further ado, I present the Essential Hostess Ads Vol. 1: Twinkies.  Remember, you can click on the comics to enbiggen them for much better viewing…

1978 Batman vs. the Intergalactic Gold Eaters

I bet you didn’t know that Bruce Wayne’s keen sense of logic in crisis situations once led him to using a bag full of Twinkies as a weapon against intergalactic terror.

I know if I were a bipedal alligator-shaped alien that sustained itself with pure gold, I would gladly accept a pack of Twinkies instead. You know it was the scrumptious cream filling that kept them from eating that security guard and beating Batman senseless with his own bag of Twinkies.

1979 Batman and Professor Plutonium

It does make me wonder though, when just a year later our favorite caped crusader thwarted a hell-bent-on-blowing-up-Fort-Knox Professor Plutonium with yet another bag full of Twinkies, why the hell does Wayne keep a bag full of Twinkies with him? Is it to lure in unsuspecting new sidekicks with the succulent cream filling, or does he really just think there is no difference between gold and golden fried cakes full of creamy goodness?

1979 Green Lantern vs. Triclops, three-eyed Keeper of the Cave

At least Green Lantern isn’t Twinkies obsessed in this curious ad from 1979. Though you’ve got to wonder if those few packages of Twinkies would satiate Mr. Triclops, I mean he was bound and determined to have a three-course meal of Hal Jordan. I’m thinking that was his shrewd attempt to get those kids alone as they’d put up less of a fight. Way to go protecting the kids Jordan…

1979 Superman Meets the Orbitrons

Clark Kent must be taking lessons from Batman, as on a strange mission into the “outermost galaxies? he brought a butt load of Twinkies, either on a hunch that every villain in the universe was trolling for gold that year, or that he too is in the market for a hot young Twinkie obsessed stud for a sidekick. I bet you didn’t know that Superman is cleared to negotiate distribution contracts on Hostess’ behalf did you? Just another tool in the arsenal against intergalactic crime I suppose.

1980 Batgirl in A Matter of Good Taste

By 1980, Batgirl had learned a thing or two from her mentor when she distracts Jessie, jewel thief extraordinaire, with a well-placed bat-a-rang full of moist spongy cream filled goodness, even after Jessie managed to side step taking it on the chin. Okay that’s enough double entendres…

1980 Batman vs. the League of Assassins

Okay, this is just getting ridiculous. What self-respecting assassin would choose to eat a Twinkie instead of killing batman with it? I mean it clearly states on page 231 of the Assassin’s Handbook, that any bakery item with a creamy center is a perfect substitute for killing a man if there are no other weapons around. Sheesh.

1980 Flash in A Flash in the Dam

So whatever copyboy they had writing these Hostess ads in the early 80′s didn’t even try and work Twinkies into the plot of this one page masterpiece. Flash has already taken care of business by the time he starts shilling for Twinkie the Kid and company. I would have at least had the Destroyer try and turn the dam into gold or something vaguely in theme with the other ads. This is just sloppy. SLOPPY COPY BOY, SLOPPY!

1980 Green Lantern in The Bobsled Run

Holy Hell these are getting bad. Does Jordan really refer to himself in the third person in inner monologues? I’ve never really read any DC comics. And what’s this shit about Twinkies believing in teamwork? Twinkies don’t believe in anything.  Couldn’t the writers have at least tried to tie this into the fact that there are two cakes in every pack of Twinkies? I’d also really like to know what two bobsledders in skintight bodysuits are doing waist-deep in a sled full of Twinkies. Scratch that, I just answered that question with the astounding power of my limitless imagination. Gooey.

1980 Wonder Woman in the Borrower

So let me get this straight, if I wanted to even look at what 250 million dollars looks like all I have to do is go into a bank and ask? And how exactly did he just blend into the crowd with two tons of cash? The only thing that would save this comic for me is if the Borrower borrowed Diana’s eagle-crested top so I could borrow a glimpse of, aw, never mind. You get the point.

1981 Batman in the K-9 Caper

Sigh…

1981 Plastic Man in Gold for Dessert

Jesus Plas, just let the dumbass have some Twinkies for crying out loud, they were free and everything. Is there a law against being greedy? Fascist!  Hell the way I see it, the more Twinkies that flunky steals the more that dinning hall has to order, and that equals more scratch for Plastic Man man. Jeez, think these things out man.

1981 Superman in Gold Mine Rescue

Could you imagine how bad the Goonies flick would have been if all of a sudden Superman had crashed down into the well while Mouth was expounding on his lost wishes and dreams just to give all the kids some Twinkies and set them on their way? I bet that’s what would have happened if Richard Donner tried to film two Goonies films back to back like he did with Superman, and I’d bet he would have been fired off that production too.

I’ll be honest, I hold no ill will toward Donner; I’m just running out of witty things to write about these damned Twinkie ads. Maybe Supes should have drilled his way in, and then in a pissed off huff, thrown Twinkies at all the kids while yelling, “Here’s your damn gold kids! I could be saving starving kids or something with my Twinkie goodness, but NOOOO, I had to save your greedy asses…?

1981 Wonder Woman in Old Gold

I saved the biggest WTF ad for last. Okay, let me get this straight. The Borrower flew all the way to Egypt to steal some old hag’s purse? And then Wonder Woman pulled a Goldfinger on him just to hand him some Twinkies? Seriously, wtf is going on is this strip?  And who had the privilege of slapping on the gold paint, hmmm?

I do think it’s interesting that they bothered to re-use a previous villain from the other Wonder Woman strip. Was he a character in the main book I wonder?

Next week I’ll continue this little foray into the world of Hostess comics, when I delve into the Essential DC Hostess Ads Vol. 2: Cupcakes.

Why dear, what’s the secret to that scrumptously Spectacular Spider-Ham you made for dinner?

Now here’s a blast from my comic collecting past. Over at XYZ Cosmonaut you can get your pork on and Spider-Pig Suit Up! I remember about a month ago trying to convince my fiancée that this comic existed, but I no longer had my childhood copies to prove it.

On an sort of related note, when I first started collecting comics I remember loving the covers to all the November 1986 Marvel 25th anniversary titles. There was just something about the uniformity and the character border that I just found awesome. I think my favorite was the cover to New Mutants #45 even though it’s kind of plain, I just loved the Barry Smith line work and the simplicity to it.