THE GREAT HOSTESS AD CAMPAIGN
We all know Ted’s love of PSA’s in comics and while I like them too, because who doesn’t want to learn that old people can be your friend too, there’s nothing that tops the real star of Bronze Age Comics– The Hostess Comic Book Ads!
Starting in January 1975 in titles with an April cover date Hostess, the company responsible for unleashing Twinkies, Fruit Pies, the beloved Hostess Cupcake, probably Ding Dong’s and Suzy Q’s ran a series of ads featuring our favorite comic book characters from Batman to The Road Runner enjoying the sugary goodness of these highly processed but no less delicious lunch box essentials! The first ad in the series was BATMAN AND THE MUMMY (Pictured above) in which the Dynamic Duo must stop a rampaging Mummy works only by giving him a box of Twinkies (after Robin fails with the Bat-Anti Mummy Ray Gun).
At the same time over in Harvey Comics Richie Rich was having his own troubles solved by a chance run in with some tasty snacks! Archie Comics got into the act as Archie is lured by a new girl named Gwen only to be lured back to Veronica by some fruit pies (he must have never tried the Lemon ones).
One of Spider-Man’s adventures with Hostess Twinkies included a run in with “Madame Web” in 1977– not the same character who would be introduced as a villain a few years later, this version was more Black Widow like in costuming and design but she was easily overcome by the lure of those golden sponge cakes!
In 1981 the only double page spread Hostess Ad was presented in Harvey Comics with the little devil Hot Stuff! You would have thought he would have been a sucker for one of the devil’s food cake related snacks, but no, he loved the fruit pies too (didn’t we all?).
I couldn’t talk about the Hostess Ads without a mention of a character near and dear to my heart, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch appeared in several of the ads this one featuring Aunt Hilda and of course the magic of Hostess Twinkies!
Casper traveled to outer space and met some aliens who were not going to scare Sigourney Weaver, and I wondered why a ghost needed a rocket ship to travel to another planet, but once again we’re too distracted by Hostess Twinkies to really wonder.
One of Daredevil’s adventures in snack advertising found hi with a Dare-double in an adventure that looked like it might have been drawn by Ross Andru. Some of the other very interesting ones included Road Runner in an adventure called HELTER SKELTER (too soon!) and Gold Key’s unfortunately named mascot Cracky.
In all the Hostess ads mimicked the writing style of Adam West’s campy BATMAN TV show but overall there were over 300 individual pages produced! Wow! Harvey Comics had the most ads coming in at 128 total while Richie Rich appeared in the most with 36– I guess it paid to have a lot of money to buy snack cakes. Marvel beat DC with 87/67 but if you add up all the Batman related ads he dominates the superhero genre at 23. Spider-Man who was then the star of his own live action TV series comes in with an impressive 22 ads while The Hulk, who also had a show has only 12.
Here’s a breakdown of appearances by Company & Character:
ARCHIE COMICS Total- 49
Archie (16) First one: Good Deal
Josie (28) First one: Josie and the Cup Cakes
Jughead (1) First (and only) one: Jughead and the Best Sellers
Sabrina (4) First one: A Little Golden Magic
DC COMICS Total- 67
Aquaman (7) First one: Twinkies and Kelp
Batgirl (2) First one: A Matter of Good Taste
Batman (16) First one: Batman and the Mummy
Flash (4) First one: The Stony-Eyed Medusa
Green Arrow (1) An Arrow in Time
Green Lantern (5) First one: The Fruit Pie Scene
Hawkman (3) First one: Hawkman Makes a Safe Landing
Joker (3) First one: Clowning Around
Penguin (2) First one: The Cuckoo Cuckoos
Plastic Man (1) Gold for Dessert
Red Tornado (1) Clean Sweep
Shazam (2) First one: Cup Cake Caper
Superman (10) First one: The Spy
Wonder Woman (10) First one: The Maltese Cup Cake
GOLD KEY COMICS Total-13
Bugs Bunny (3) First one: Scatter Shot
Cracky (1) Time on My Hands
Road Runner (5) First one: Treat to Eat
Tweety (4) First one: A Real Brick
HARVEY COMICS COMICS Total – 128
Casper (33) First one: Ghostly Trio
Hot Stuff (19) First one: Frozen Forest
Richie Rich (36) First one: What Money Can’t Buy
Sad Sack (18) First one: Escaped Tiger
Spooky (4) First one: One Big Boo Boo
Wendy (18) First one: Wendy and the Ugly Monster
MARVEL COMICS Total – 87
Captain America (11) First one: The Red Skull
Captain Marvel (9) First one: The Big Bang
Daredevil (6) First one: Dare-Double
Fantastic Four (1): Wonders of Nature
The Hulk (12) First one: Twins of Evil
Human Torch (6) First one: Sparks Fly
Iron Man (8) First: City Crisis
Mr. Fantastic (2) First: A Passion for Gold
Spider-Man (22) First: The Trap
The Thing (4) First: Thing and the Ultimate Weapon
Thor (6) First: False Immortal
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