Hey, it COULD happen.
As we covered in Part 1, Twinkies returned to store shelves last week — just in time, apparently, to help stave off the Age of Ultron.
Because as we all know from the dozens of Hostess ads that appeared in the 1970s and 1980s, snack cakes were the ultimate weapon against evil and tyranny.
Rather than just do a traditional print campaign, the
visionaries evil geniuses in Hostess’ marketing department came up with the idea of commissioning one-page comic book stories that enlisted Earth’s mightiest heroes as spokespeople for the villain-crushing wonders of Twinkies, Hostess Fruit Pies, and Ding-Dongs.
The result was some truly surreal ‘storytelling’ that seem like they might have stemmed from some epic Mad Men-style boozing at the ad agency.
These ‘adverticomics’ put the ‘comic’ back in comic books.
Also, the abnormally ludicrous.
The Incredible Hulk was a frequent star in the Hostess Superhero Theatre of the Absurd, no doubt partly due to his highly increased media profile from the hit live-action CBS TV series with Lou Ferrigno and the late Bill Bixby that aired during the time period these print ads were being produced.
Also, the comics incarnation of the Hulk at the time, with his limited, child-like intellect, wasn’t aware of how demeaning it was to a pop-culture icon of his status – let alone a superhero – to be appearing in ridiculous scenarios to help pimp confectionaries, and never bothered calling his agent to complain.
Living in a city like New York, Gotham, or Metropolis that has a rather robust and active superhuman community isn’t easy. There’s only so many times your boss is going to accept ‘Magneto went on a rampage downtown’ as an acceptable excuse for you being late for work.
You could be out on a horrible blind date that only gets worse when Two-Face shows up and takes the whole restaurant hostage, all because your cheap-ass potential suitor insisted on going low-key, and there’s two Golden Arches on the sign to trigger Harvey Dent’s obsession.
And don’t even start on the insurance premiums. You know how much it is to get Galactus coverage on a new Mitsubishi?
Of course, the alternative to those inconveniences is to live in a vigilante and mutant-free burg where a roller disco-themed street gang engages in a reign of absolute terror, ruling the streets with a glittery fist, and absolutely no one to stop them.
Imagine the misery of an existence where the strains of “Do the hustle!” was followed by you immediately being mugged and beaten to within an inch of your life. When Soul Train came on Saturday mornings, the suicide rates went off the charts.
What I want to know is where the heck was Dazzler when this reign of WHOO-WHOO tyranny was going down? She missed out on a prime chance to have her very own thematically appropriate arch-enemies. No wonder she was always a Z-lister.
In any case, along stumbles the Hulk into this madness, having probably unwittingly leaped into the unspecified city on a cross-continental jaunt while being pursued by the U.S. Army, leaving a crater the size of a strip mall in the process.
Now, why do you suppose the Army was always after the Hulk? My theory is due to @#$% like this:
What’s missing here is the sound effect of every last bone in the Devils’ bodies being crushed and shattered. Especially that guy in yellow on the bottom, who, while the Hulk was making a street-thug-filled asphalt Swiss cake roll, just had his spine curled up like a snail’s shell, and barring some amazing technological innovation from Stark Industries, will never walk again.
Good show, jadejaws.
As our tale closes, the Hulk and his new friends are raving over the real fruit filling and great crust of their Hostess pies, while the entire staff of the Discoburg General Hospital is struggling to keep the mangled-beyond-recognition Roller Derby Devils alive.
Whatever became of the Devils, you might ask? They did eventually and quite miraculously recover from their Hulk-related injuries, but unfortunately developed an insatiable addiction to prescription painkillers, and eventually went to New York to seek ungainful employment by the Kingpin to support their new habit.
As their bad luck would have it, they ran into a little problem along the way:
In this Hostess-sponsored outing, Iron Man is fighting an armored convertible that is smashing through the gates of mansions belonging to Tony Stark’s 1% pals. Clearly this story takes place during the whole ‘Demon in a Bottle’ era where Stark was battling alcoholism.
Because that’s who you want pitching after-school snacks to kids.
How do we know this tale takes place during Tony’s drinking days?
Only an inebriated, adult American male wearing a technologically advanced suit of powered battle armor capable of flight would think the absolute best strategy to stop a heavily-modified, super-charged Caddy with a six-inch-thick Adamantium ram bar for a front bumper is to charge at it HEAD-ON while on foot . . .
. . . while the driver and passengers of said vehicle are completely unprotected from an aerial repulsor ray bombardment — or, for that matter, a well-aimed chunk of mortar –delivered while hovering a mere, say, ten feet off the ground.
I don’t know if it was under their jurisdiction, but SHIELD probably should’ve been taking Stark’s keys, detaining him on the Helicarrier, and issuing him a DUI so he wasn’t zooming around three sheets to the wind dealing with crises like these.
Of course, as is par for the course in these snack cake sagas, the power of the protagonist can’t save the day, but golden sponge cake and creamy filling can:
Note that while Iron Man is tossing unopened cellophane wrapped Twinkies at the rest of Hy Torque’s gang, Hy’s actually got an unwrapped Twinkie IN his mouth, and we don’t see Iron Man’s other arm.
You do realize what that means, right?
Iron Man apparently has a TWINKIE LAUNCHER built into his armor, ready to make with high velocity, laser targeted snacks to be unleashed at his cybernetic command.
It’s probably a very good thing for Hy Torque that particular weapons system is handled by computer-assisted calculations and not direct manual control, especially given Tony’s inability to lay off the sauce.
Now, I’ve been reading comics for some thirty years. My disbelief is, at this point, suspended aloft by the same sort of arm-thick cables you’d find on the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s seen me through retcons and revamps, deaths, rebirths, and secret infinite civil invasion wars aplenty. I can take just about any craziness writers and editors can dream up and throw at me.
Where to begin? Maybe with the opening caption set up for our sordid little snack sponsored tale: ” By some mysterious quirk of space and time warp.”
It’s like grammar got smacked in the mouth with Mjolnir. Or, they hired some questionable celebrity copywriter.
So this is pretty much the deal: the Ding-a-Ling family, hillbilly Ozark trailer trash (I’m guessing that’s what the orange object that our antagonists are emerging from is, some sort of double wide inadvertently sucked up in the aforementioned mysterious quirky warp), complete with Jed Clampett felt hats, denim overalls, and ‘atomic shotguns’, ambushes Thor, Lady Sif, and Volstagg as they take a leisurely cruise in their space-boat somewhere off the shores of Asgard.
Just one more time, in case you didn’t get that.
The mighy Thor, son of Odin, noble heir to Asgard and valiant protector of Midgard, founding member of the Avengers, Norse god of thunder and the storm.
And the rednecks actually get the best of him, at least briefly.
That grinding rumble you just heard and quite possibly felt? That was ten thousand Viking warriors all spinning simultaneously in their graves.
And is it just me, or does Grandma Ding-a-Ling, the matriarch of this clan of barefoot, backwoods Time Lords, bear an uncanny resemblance to another iconic character?
The best part, though, is that the Ding-a-Lings get the upper hand on the Asgardians because two of the clan possess immunity to Thor’s might in the form of . . . ‘Cousin Power Secret Weapon’.
Where, you ask, did that amazing superhuman ability come from?
Of course, in the Hostessverse, there’s no long, drawn-out second act as the hero somehow manages to discover the villain’s weakness and then exploit it. Every bad guy’s Kryptonite is “cherry . . . great, light tender crust . . . real fruit filling.” All Lady Sif has to do is whip out the Fruit Pies, and problem solved.
And ol’ Goldilocks better heed Volstagg’s advice and save some pie for Odin, because I imagine the proud Allfalther will be none too pleased to hear about this whole debacle.
Join us next time when we wrap up our salute to Hostess comic book ads, same Ho-Ho time, same Ho-Ho channel.
In the meantime, I bribed Joss Whedon with a truckload of brand new, not even close to the expiation date Twinkies, and he was willing to share a early glimpse at the post-credits scene from Avengers: Age of Ultron:
Who says you need to travel all the way to Comic-Con to get the inside scoop?
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