The Superhero cannot eat the product.
The Superhero cannot endorse the product.
The Superhero cannot say anything nice about the product. Forget then adjectives such as “Delicious,” “Nice,” “Good.”
Sometimes the Superhero can mention the attributes of the product, such as creamed filling, fudgy icing, creamed filling. If they do mention them – stick to the facts, no adjectives, no adverbs. It might be wise to let the minor characters mention the attributes.
Client wants the product to be an integral part of the plot, not dragged in at the end episode to be enjoyed by the participants because the plot is over.
We try to get the kids’ attention before bringing in the product. So the product usually appears in the 4th panel of a 6-panel story; in the 5th panel of a 7-panel story. This isn’t quite etched in stone; but is almost.
Product cannot do more than taste good and be food. Won’t change the villain’s outlook or change him from a bad guy into a good guy. It’s simply food.
Client seems to prefer tongue-in-cheek, flippant dialogue (if it’s in keeping with the characters). And he seems to prefer light-hearted plots.
Client doesn’t like plots or dialogue to be raunchy or low class. He has changed “dames” to “ladies” so there’s a fine line which is hard to define. It’s like deciding if Wonder Woman’s outfit is too revealing. You’ve gone too far when you’ve gone too far.
It might be better to err on the side of “niceness.”
That was the set of rules I was given in late 1980 when I received the assignment to write some of the advertisements for Hostess Bakeries which featured DC characters. (Up until that time, I believe the scripts were being generated by the advertising agency, with some “editorial input” – a.k.a. major rewriting — from E. Nelson Bridwell.)
Everybody who read comics in the 70s and 80s remembers these ads. Various heroes (DC ones in the DC books, Marvel characters in the Marvel titles) would use Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, or Fruit Pies to foil criminal plots, stop potential riots or capture escaping felons No matter how nefarious the villain or potentially dangerous the situation, there was nothing the taste of fudgy icing or creamy filling couldn’t stop.
Of course, as a writer, I was saddled with the restrictions listed above. You didn’t dare show Batman saying that a Hostess Fruit Pie tasted good or Superman enjoying a Twinkie with a captured Toyman. In the most literal definition of “pitchmen,” all they could do was throw the product to or at someone else.
In all, I wrote six of the ads:
In “Pirate’s Gold,” Aquaman stops treasure hunters from blowing up Atlantis by giving them a treasure chest filled with Hostess Twinkies.
Hawkman prevents a riot at a canceled rock concert in “Concerts and Cupcakes” by having his bird friends drop Hostess Cupcakes on the angry crowd.
To pick the real “Robot Master” from among his mechanical duplicates, Wonder Woman tosses Twinkies and only the real villain stops to eat them.
In “Lights…Camera…Crime” Batman foils the plans of the Crime Director by feeding his pirate-garbed henchmen Cupcakes.
Then, in “The K-9 Caper,” the Caped Crusader prevents a criminal in a dog costume from stealing all the prize pooches from the Kennel Club Show by giving him the human equivalent of a Milk-Bone… the cream-filled Twinkie.
And finally, Batgirl captures a trio of larcenous lady singers with “Fruit Pies for Magpies.”
One interesting sidelight of the Hostess deal that preceded my writing any of the ads: Back in 1976 when DC ran a New York City convention to celebrate Superman’s birthday, President Sol Harrison got Hostess to donate an enormous amount of Twinkies to give to attendees.
At first, everybody who entered the convention was given a Twinkie. (Nothing like a sugar rush to get you started.) But as the convention neared its conclusion, we discovered that we still had plenty of those tasty cream-filled treats left.
Suddenly, we were giving people boxes of them as they left. Dealers who were packing up their wares were given armloads. Staffers got as many as they could carry and many of us overdosed on that golden sponge cake and its rich creamy filling. [I don’t think I’ve eaten a Twinkie since.]
The remaining boxes (and there were still plenty) went back to the DC office, where they were used as the “birthday cake” for one of the secretaries. She was not amused… and carried on about it for days afterward. I guess if they’d been the Cupcakes, at least they would have looked better with the candles stuck in them.
By the way, if you want to check out the Hostess ads, jump on over to www.seanbaby.com/hostess. Site director Seanbaby has scanned and posted virtually all of the DC and Marvel ads for your enjoyment / amusement. It’s worth the trip, though reading too many at one time is kind of like eating an entire box of Twinkies in one sitting!
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ
1. Hogan and Terrill share this name; what is it?
2. Oracle and Black Canary join forces as part of what team?
3. Which member of Gotham’s Mystery Analysts is related to a former football star?
4. Apes may come and apes may go; which one works with an Angel?
5. Back in the Stone Age, a Cro-Magnon son was born to Neanderthal Ne-Ahn; name the boy.
6. One of the more bizarre sound effects in THE BLASTERS SPECIAL has a special place in my heart; what is it?
7. Up this high is where you’d find the pilots in a 1965 Dell Comics adaptation of what popular TV WWII program?
8. Tugboat Tessie, South Sea Girl, and Capt. Cutlass all appeared in what short-lived 1946 title set on the high seas?
9. This Warren publication took its title from a George Orwell classic; name it.
10. Hey, America’s first First Lady received a special greeting in what Frank Miller title?
11. A 1991 Marvel miniseries by Barbara Slate had a Roman numeral in the title; name the book.
12. The Freelance Police partner to Max is whom?
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. George Washington was Martha’s second husband; her first, Daniel Parke Custis, died in 1757.
2. George Orwell’s real name was Eric Arthur Blair; he died of tuberculosis in 1950.
3. George VI, the King of England from 1937 till 1952, visited many fronts during World War II
FROM THE EMAILBOX: HELP WANTED
Whatever happened to BORIS ADVENTURE MAGAZINE (published by Nickata?) and the people who worked on it?
Based on your email address, I am presuming that you are asking about a British magazine. Unfortunately, I have no knowledge of the title. Can anybody out there help us out with this one?
For the last few months, we have been trying to discover if there truly was a CAPTAIN AMERICA: DRUG WARS #2. This was a custom comic from a few years back starring the New Warriors. An image appeared on the web of the comic with a different cover and a #2 in the corner box. So far, no one has seen a copy nor will Marvel answer the question.
I can only find evidence of the 1994 CA:DW #1. What happens with custom comics sometimes is that a publisher will dummy up a cover or a few pages in an attempt to get a project rolling, but it never comes to fruition. In such a case, a cover might “leak” to the public, but the book might never appear.
However, as with the question about the BORIS magazine, if anybody can provide some information, I’ll be happy to run it here.
FROM THE EMAILBOX: HELP PROVIDED
My cousin had a “Crusher” toy and, to my best recollection, it worked pretty much the way you described it.
David S. Carter [email@example.com]
Thanks for the info, David..
David Carter and the surnameless Martin and Peter get 10% off anything they order from Comics Unlimited this week – maybe even a copy of BORIS ADVENTURE MAGAZINE! You can ask those questions that haunt you (and most times I can even answer them) and save yourself some bucks by using the convenient box in the column on the left.
In any case, don’t let fudgy icing or creamy filling distract you from being back here again next week.
My daughter Sammi turns 16 this week, so the trivia sends out a special message for her.
1. Happy (Hogan and Terrill)
2. BIRDS OF PREY
3. Kaye Daye (aunt of Steve Lombard)
4. Sam Simeon
7. 12 O’CLOCK HIGH
8. SEVEN SEAS COMICS
10. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTHA WASHINGTON
11. SWEET XVI
Every day is a trivia day! Check out BobRo’s daily Anything Goes Trivia at www.wfcomics.com/trivia.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.