Comic Books #45: Hostess Heroes

The greatest pairing of paper media and advertiser has to be the comic book and Hostess junk food. Superheroes selling Twinkies?.... Are you kidding me? It doesn't get any better than that.  Not since the Marlborough Man was united with the cancer stick has there been a better pair-up.  The only possible explanation is that Don Draper really existed and he came up with this.

True, superheroes have been shilling junk food since the Tootsie Roll, but there was something magical about the 1-2-punch of the Hostess ads.  Perhaps I'm biased because I was in its prime target demographic, so I was completely brainwashed.  Like Pavlov's dogs, I salivated on command for the sweet, sweet ambrosia within each fruit pie, Twinkie and cupcake.

Part of the appeal, of course, was that the ads were formatted to look like a real comic book page. This was done with marvelous perfection for tobacco products (see previous post), but those didn't involve superheroes.  If they'd used Captain Marvel to sell Doral cigarettes, they would've made a killing.

Anyway, here's a few ads featuring superheroes hawking Hostess junk food.  Enjoy.

click on images to view full size


  1. AnonymousJuly 25, 2012

    I want a twinkie!

  2. AnonymousJuly 26, 2012


  3. AnonymousJuly 26, 2012

    The Chairman! His superpower? Turn you into a chair! A chair that maintains your human consciousness, and the ability to speak, and apparently your clothes. Children will not be asking themselves why they are talking to furniture, or why it is talking back.

    Unfortunately for The Chairman, (who's plan involved cornering the market on antique seats, then they'll have to let him be on Antiques Road Show!) is defenseless against Hostess pies, as they turn him into a chair.

    Menawhile, Chair-cop is assigned to desk duty.

  4. I remember being a bit confused as to why superheroes (or rather the creators) would sell out. Of course, now I know better, but I was pretty naive back then.

  5. Check out this wicked parody:

  6. I think a certain recent comic book plot would have worked better as a one-page Hostess ad than a multi-year company-wide crossover event.

    "The Guardians kicked me out of the Green Lanterns, but I'll start my own group! The Sinestro Corps!"
    "Me, too! The Red Lantern Corps! We'll crush those namby-pamby Green Lanterns!"
    "Here, boys; maybe these will take your minds off such nefarious plans!"

  7. What a great post! I remember all these (eif I didn't actually remember Prof. Plutonium's name)- next you'll have to find the various Spidey comics when he promoted the Electric Company. Much better than Spiderman here, where he actually rewards villains who kidnap and threaten Aunt May with death.
    This does remind me why I never got into Green Lantern- he has to power his ring before he goes to bed every night?!
    But what classic lines!
    "Hulk no understand."
    "What's to understand?! The Mad Magician (original name, that...) has decided, with all his power, to turn himself into a gigantic hideous frog! Look, damn it!"

  8. Magic KennyJuly 30, 2012

    I have a ton of golden-age comics (Marvel) with these ads in them. The cool thing to me was the artists they used - just about everyone in the "Marvel Bullpen" was drawing them (rather than some faceless staff artist at Hostess). Also, I'm always stunned that guys like Gil Kane, Ross Andru and Sal and John Buscema had time to draw these things. The money for doing 'em must've been huge.

  9. Seanbaby has documented (and mocked) these ads thoroughly. Great scans here. I remember being slightly annoyed by the lameness of these ads, especially when it was a hero I liked. Fun nostalgia now though.