In 1977, Hostess started an ad campaign that featured superheroes fighting crime with fruit pies, Twinkies and cup cakes. As you might imagine, they were insane. Mega-powered beings were facing off against criminals whose plans fell apart every time someone tossed them a snack. Writers had to invent spectacularly ridiculous villains for this to work, and here are the six greatest.
The Borrower's superpower was leaving signed documentation at the scene of all his robberies. That's like being a regular criminal only easier to convict -- like, suspiciously easier. His escape vehicle is a chatty stroll and he's dressed like an embedded reporter in a war between leprechauns. If a rookie superhero saw The Borrower, he'd probably say, "Oh, fuck. This is all some kind of Make a Wish Foundation stunt. I'm ... I'm dying, aren't I?"
The Borrower's crime spree was doomed from the start, but it's a special kind of shitty luck when you snatch Wonder Woman's purse. She spends most of her superhero days being chloroformed and hogtied by Egg Fu or Baron Blitzkrieg, so a normal guy with a pile of napkins and a pen is like Christmas. It was such a relaxing day of crimefighting that she went shopping before she bothered to put on her costume.
What Message Did This Ad Send?
Hostess-brand snacks were involved in the apprehending of The Borrower, but I don't think we should give them too much credit. At best, Wonder Woman or her pastries gave the arresting officers something to think about while they slept with their wives later. Besides showing a future generation the criminal stupidity of a subprime mortgage-based economy, this ad only drives home how difficult it is to find any kind of practical use for a Twinkie. They're great for lubricating the insides of a digestive system, but if you look at the nutritional information on one, it's just a transcription of a doctor laughing. Twinkies were originally invented to smuggle hog factory runoff into children.
Now that I think about it, why are 60 Twinkies the only thing that Wonder Woman carries in her purse? I guess a comic writer thought about a woman's needs and only came up with "unsaturated fat and dick shapes."
If you were told that you were about to read a '70s Hulk comic about selling pies, this is exactly what you'd expect: Hulk sees some bad guys, disco, Hulk kicks their asses and Hulk enjoys a pie. But after five years of Hostess superhero advertisements, this is the only one with a plot anywhere close to that. That's because there was a strict rule that the superheroes themselves could never eat the snacks. It's one of the many reasons these things are so insane. After all, how does Batman convince you a cupcake is good when he's not allowed to put it in his mouth? Jam it up Robin and kiss him for an hour?
This no-eating-the-snacks rule was so important that you can see in the final panel where someone clumsily erased a fruit pie from the Incredible Hulk's hand, yet they left in the scene where he brutally executed six men over a noise ordinance violation. I mean, this massacre is an overreaction even by Hulk standards:
What Message did this Ad Send?
Hostess fruit pies taste so good that getting between them and children, even unintentionally, is punishable by death. Also, what kind of a city is held hostage by disco roller skaters? The people in that town are such pussies that their water faucets are labelled "Breast Milk" and "Massengil."
"Spindly" Klutz might have the stupidest origin story in the history of comic books. He wasn't good at football, so they only let him play half the time. This drove him to revenge. What makes football a strange choice for his origin is that there are offensive and defensive squads on each team. So basically, the author picked the one sport where every player only plays half the time. It's not surprising, I guess. If a person's areas of expertise are Green Lantern and Twinkies, his idea of athletics is probably lifting flaps until he finds his penis.
What Message did this Ad Send?
I honestly have no idea. If you tried to type this garbage today, your word processing software would autocorrect it to "I am a fucking idiot." I do wish we knew more about "Spindly" Klutz's insane abilities, though. Are these half-people dying? Is that opaque privacy screen over his victims' internal organs part of his super power, or is flat, gray nothingness just what a human body looks like while it digests a Twinkie?