Robot 6

Hostess, offbeat staple of ’70s and ’80s comics, to file for bankruptcy

Wonder Woman in Cooky La Moo on Broadway

Hostess Brands, whose quirky full-page ads for Twinkies, CupCakes and Fruit Pies were a hallmark of American comic books from 1975 to 1982, is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as early as this week.

The Wall Street Journal reports the move will be the second significant court restructuring for the wholesale baker and distributor, which employs about 19,000 people and carries more than $860 million in debt. The Irving, Texas-based Hostess, formerly Interstate Bakeries Corporation, has been struggling since it emerged in February 2009 from four years of bankruptcy proceedings. High labor costs and rising prices of sugar, flour and other ingredients are being blamed for its financial woes, which include more than $50 million owed to anxious vendors.

Although the company’s brands include Drake’s, Dolly Madison and Wonder Bread, it’s perhaps best known — certainly to comic readers of a certain age — for its Hostess line. The snack cakes became a staple of American comics during a seven-year advertising campaign that featured such characters as Aquaman, Archie, Batman, Bugs Bunny, Iron Man and Spider-Man in one-page adventures in which Hostess products played a key role.

In the aptly named “Fruit Pies for Magpies,” three would-be thieves are distracted by (you guessed it!) Fruit Pies, providing Batgirl with an opportunity to lasso them. In another installment, Captain America saves Nick Fury from the steely grip of “the Trapster’s goon” by hurling his Fruit Pie-covered shield at the criminal. And then there was that time Captain Marvel lured a giant flea market-eating flea — let that soak in — into a net by using Twinkies as bait.

Tomorrow’s Heroes has an archive of 204 Hostess ads, if you’re looking to kill a little time.

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Comments

20 Comments

The silliness of Batman shilling Twinkies aside, these are great examples of done-in-one (page) storytelling.

On the other hand, if Bendis wrote a Hostess ad, it would take four issues and STILL not get to the point.

i love twinkies and will there be a collection of all hostess comic pages soon? i would love to buy that at cheap soft cover format.

Thou speakest the truth, Mitch.

And there goes another piece of my childhood. Soon all I’ll have left will be my Micronauts (which I don’t actually have anymore.)

I wish a TPB of the comic pages could be released. Or maybe a nice coffeetable book.

I went to the tomorrow’s heroes site, but all their ad links went to empty boxes with the ominous red x in the corner :(

Ah, but Dolly Madison sponsored the Peanuts animated specials! Also, the Zingers and fruit pies were all branded with Peanuts characters, and included special premiums like stickers and inflatables! (What did Hostess offer? Cut-out trading cards on the boxes?)

The pies had better variety of flavor, as well! Coconut Creme (Sally), Strawberry (Peppermint Patty), Chocolate (Frieda)…

Oh, and the plain Zingers were much better than Twinkies. Moister, creamier. Three or four to a bag, not the two you get from Hostess! And the Raspberry coconut Zingers were even better! (They also cost less, an important consideration for kids and mothers packing lunches.)

Hostess also retired most of their cartoon characters. Fruit Pie the Magician? Happy Ho-Ho? Shame…

But how many city-poisoning plots by the Joker did Zingers prevent?

Ha! Mitchell Craig, I can see it now.

“So…”
“So.”
“Yeah, so this is a Twinkie.”
“A Twinkie?”
“A Twinkie.”
“So it’s like…”
“Yup.”
“Wow.”
“A Twinkie.”
“Go figure.”

TO BE CONTINUED!

No story about the 1970s Hostess ads is complete without a link to Seanbaby’s archive (complete with snarky commentary):
http://seanbaby.com/hostess.htm

My waistline is happy with this news.

This doesn’t necessarily mean Hostess will close down. After all, Marvel declared bankruptcy, too.

@Joe: perfect.

As a Brit, I’ve never actually tasted a Twinkie, a Fruit Pie or a Cup Cake. I don’t remember them being available in this country. Those ads really made me want them though.

My favorite is the Hulk vs. the Phoomie Goonies, who are apparently some kind of South American revolutionary movement.

Someone should do a cartoon where a superhero uses Hostess Fruit Pies to defeat the redoubtable Repo Men.

No more Twinkies? No more chocolate or orange cup cakes? Cruel fate!

I hear Hostess plans to reboot with 52 new snacks in the fall.

I figured Twinkies would outlast humanity :(

I now have called my aunt and uncle in NYC and told them they need to stock up on as many boxes of Drake’s Funny Bones, Ring Dings, Yodels, and Yankee Doodles they could find for me to ship them out here in AZ.

I will take no chances food of my childhood will be gone forever!

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