Monday, February 05, 2007

Comic Book Ad: Fruit Pies & Propaganda

Making fun of the Hostess Fruit Pie ads that appeared in comic books of the 1970s has been done to death, sure. But this ad is here because of the righteous kick-buttery of Captain America. In comparing all the Hostess ads it is interesting that out of all them the character that most engages in a violent brawl is Captain America. I don't recall ever seeing a pie ad featuring Cap that didn't have him beating the crap out of someone.

Tragg and The Sky Gods #8 - Captain Propaganda
In most of the ads with Cap in them he always does two things before sharing pastry.
  1. Gets really, really ticked. Like, 'someone took over our embassy' or 'invaded our shores' angry.
  2. Beats people near to death.
Heaven forfend that the symbol of America use some diplomacy first. The ads with Batman, Captain Marvel and Superman usually show the heroes using minimum force to get the job of promoting treats done. Even 70s era stupid Hulk had him for most part talking it out with the enemy instead of throwing down. Not Cap!

In most of the ads that portray some violence the sound effect from a punch is usually on the order of a meek 'wam', as if the hero is tapping someone on the shoulder to get their attention. Aquaman of course delivered the most feeble punches ever portrayed in the ads when he hit that squid guy and ice giant in their respective necks.

Cap's punches are like Manifest Destiny! Like America, Cap doesn't fool around and lets you know who's the boss, whether it be in a rumpus room or geopolitical theater. A punch from Captain American is symbolic beyond delicious pastries and is backed by all the strength of the Declaration of Independence and a writ of Habeas Corpus combined.

Also, from the 'funny because it is true' department is the notion that people would not vote in a Presidential election because of inclement weather. This ad was published during the American Bicentennial so it is none too surprising that it contains strong rhetoric and propaganda.



  1. I stumbled across a Captain America Hostess ad last week, maybe in a back issue of Conan. It opens with some huge 4-armed green aliens just pounding the crap out of Cap. It was so brutal that Nick Fury, who was standing nearby, basically said "Oh, I am not getting into that scuffle. Maybe some pies will calm their asses down."

  2. I bet if free Hostess fruit pies were offered there'd be a 15-20% spike in voters.

  3. 1976 was a great year for tasty snack treats. Remember the special Bicentennial Dolly Madison Zingers? They were vanilla (off-white) with red and blue stars on them. Patriotic AND delicious!

    I bet they'd still be around if Captain America had been their spokeshero.

  4. "Cap's punches are like Manifest Destiny!"

    Genius. That should be your blog's tagline.

  5. See, that's the genius of your genius. Yes, Hostess ads have been doine to death in the blogosphere...then you come along and do a post that's funny, and completely new that proves you can still riff on a tried and true bit and yet do it entertainingly and originally.

    (tosses you a delicious Hostess Fruit Pie!)


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