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Delicious Fruit Pies

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No criminal can resist them.

Dexter: Thanks, Major Glory!
Major Glory: Don't thank me, thank Justice Fruit Pies!

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, the Hostess snack company had a long-running comic book advertising campaign, with story pages produced by the comic book companies themselves. They appeared in comic books published by Marvel, DC, Gold Key, Archie, and Harvey. The Marvel and DC ads, featuring prominent superhero characters, would normally have plots along the lines of:

  1. The villain comes in, and starts ruining everyone's fun. The villain is typically a ridiculously themed one created specifically for that ad. (But a few of them feature mainstream ones, like The Joker.note )
  2. The hero pops up.
  3. The hero gives the villain delicious Hostess Fruit Pies/Ding-Dongs/Twinkies in exchange for being turned in, or to distract the villain long enough to be captured.
  4. The villain complies, not being able to resist the real fruit filling.
  5. (optional) Everybody Laughs Ending

(The non-Marvel/DC ads generally appeared in humor books, which allowed for more variety in their plots.)

As well as the "villain causes trouble, hero averts trouble with Twinkies" plot, there was also the plot that the villain would simply try to steal the treats himself, and either be defeated outright, or be defeated by the very confections he was coveting.

One Superman story, "The Spy," illustrates how silly these stories could get. It begins with a reporter discovering Clark Kent's secret closet with his Superman costume (and a spare). Superman himself sees the reporter snooping, and refills the closet with Hostess Fruit Pies before the reporter reveals his "big scoop."

While DC and Marvel let their superheroes shill shamelessly for Hostess products, one action was curiously "over the line": the heroes could never be shown actually eating Hostess products. Supporting characters like Lois Lane and Mary Jane Watson and villains like The Penguin were apparently exempt from this rule, though, and other publishers' characters (e.g., shameless capitalist Richie Rich) could chomp away freely.


The Hostess ads are the most numerous and infamous of the type, but other advertisers got into the act occasionally (e.g. four Marvel and DC heroes shilling for the "Magic Snake" puzzle). Because of their absurdity, even by the standards of superhero comics, this is a Dead Horse Trope nowadays and parodied far more often than played straight.

Related to Product as Superhero. Antiparticle of Cereal Vice Reward. Compare/see also Delicious Distraction and Bribed With Food. Not related to the Delicious Fruit of I Wanna Be the Guy or to the Delicious Cake of Portal. Also not related to Pie in the Face.


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  • Appears oddly enough in the second season of Darker Than Black — a character who carries around a bag of hamburgers from which he has to eat after using his powers tells another Contractor that he will share his burgers if she cooperates with him. Given that this is a Darker and Edgier superhero series, this doesn't really work.

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied in Deadpool volume 4 where Deadpool distracts a mugger in this manner with bottles Party Time Fruit Liquor ("It's refreshing, and delicious, and allows me to talk to women."). As the mugger is distracted, Deadpool apprehends the mugger and prepares to turn him over to the authorities. Then he remembers that he's on a strict time limit to finish another job and simply kills him instead.
  • An issue of E-Man comics had an ad for "Hostess Tweakies" featuring Cutey Bunny, a parody of Cutie Honey. She defeated the villains by force-feeding them so many Tweakies that they could barely move.
  • Alan Moore's First American strip, being a parody of both superhero tropes and American culture, also did a take-off of these.
  • Parodied in Green Lantern Secret Files And Origins, which featured "the tastiest Green Lantern/The Flash team-ups ever!" First the Golden Age GL and Flash defeat Nazi saboteurs with the aid of Secret Files candy bars, and their secret ingredient. Then the Silver Age incarnations use the "space age taste" of Secret Files bars to expose alien criminals disguised as alien policemen (the real policemen absorb energy). Finally the Modern Age versions (Kyle Rayner and Walter Westnote ) are halfway through an ad for Secret Files Powerbars, before Kyle starts complaining it doesn't make sense. "We defeat the bad guy by giving him food? And why is he standing at ground zero of his own weapon anyway? Who wrote this?" While Kyle argues with the director of what now turns out to be a TV ad, and learns they're still working off Alan and Jay's contracts, Walter learns that the "secret ingredient" is sugar.
  • 2000 AD
    • The Free Comic Book Day 2011 issue featured "Obmoz™ Battles the Twinklie® Winkler!", in which a camp Silver Age villain in a typical 2000 AD Dystopia steals the official Government™ snackfood, only to be stopped by the Government™'s zombie crimefighter, Obmoz™. Rather permanently.
      Obmoz™: Light, tasty skull ... creamy brain filling!
    • The concept was parodied/deconstructed in the Judge Dredd storyline, The Pit, where a gang of clearly unbalanced criminals calling themselves the "John Prescott Block Social, Welfare and Leisure Committee" stole a shipment of a nutrition-free but multi-flavoured junk food called Grot Pot. This being Judge Dredd, their plan involved shooting a flying delivery truck with a rocket launcher, which then crashed into a monorail and derailed a train, causing mass destruction and the deaths of several people including a judge. Dredd was not happy.
  • The first issue of Limekiller at Large opens with an ad for "Lil' Dolly Fruit Pies".
  • Parodied by Marvel Comics in the issue of Marvel Team-Up released as part of the infamous mid-80's "Assistant Editor's Month", entitled "Aunt May and Franklin Richards vs. Galactus". In this particular story Galactus took Aunt May as his new herald (under the name "Golden Oldie") after which she halted his latest attempt to devour the earth by serving him "Grosstest Twinkles".
    • Marvel also parodied this in their early-90's comedy title "WHAT THE..?!", where a hero offers "Stinkies" cupcakes to The Blob, whose whole gimmick is that he's fat. The Blob is initially overjoyed, but after reading the full list of ingredients of the wrapper and seeing that the treat is full of saturated fats, he proceeds to beat the stuffing out of the hero. "I'm trying to lose weight, you're not helping!"
    • Marvel again in Age of the Sentry, with advertisements for Marvel Fruit Pies with Fruit-like Filling.
  • One issue of The Powerpuff Girls comic ends this way. After several pages of the girls fighting Mojo Jojo in a power suit, the girls get him to surrender with 'Mostest Fruit Pies' in a finale that pretty much rips off the Dexter's Laboratory example.
  • In PS238, after Revenant buys some fruit pies to help the very exhausted Rainmaker kids:
    "Heh. A guy in a cape gave us fruit pies. I thought that only happened in old comic books."
  • The Simpsons Comics parodied this, with Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy in "Catch of the Day."
  • One Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog story features Tails reading a comic within the comic that casts the Freedom Fighters as parodies of the Fantastic Four, with Robotnik serving in the Galactus role. Parodying the ads, Sonic manages to keep from Robotnik from eating the planet by giving him "Twinkles," which has the tagline "You avoid a fight with every bite!"
  • Dan Slott's Spider-Man/Human Torch mini-series had a scene in one issue where Spider-Man distracted the Red Ghost's Super Apes (who had stolen the infamous Spider-Mobile) by snagging a store display of fruit pies with his webbing and yanking the display into the street. The apes immediately attacked the fruit pies and forgot about Spider-Man and the Torch. Spidey immediately calls the ad agency that gave him the car and tells them that the deal's off, but he's got an idea for an ad campaign they can use...
  • Spider-Verse has Morlun step into a world that runs on this during his universe-hopping (with a matching Art Shift to boot). Unfortunately for that universe's Spider-Man, his favorite snack happens to be Spider Totems instead.
  • A collection of Watchmen Delicious Fruit Pies parodies.
  • Welcome to Tranquility gives us an ad for Minxy Millions Mini-Pies. In "Maxi Man vs. the Vampire," Maxi-Man helps some disco-loving teens escape a vampire's bite by giving the vampire Minxy Fruit Mini-Pies (oh, and also by knocking out the vampire's fangs.) "It tastes similar to real fruit!"note 
  • An interlude ad in the Wildguard: Casting Call TPB shows Four-Teen stopping a robbery by Speeding Skull with Hostris Fruit Pies.
  • A 1943 comic book ad for Wheaties included a single-panel comic with a variation on the theme: "Look, Fritz! Dose Americans are capturing our storm troopers mit free samples Wheaties again!"
    • Inverted in a different ad: "The Japs are getting smart - they're putting Wheaties in the boobytraps." Most commentators are more concerned with how the commander's assistant is apparently trained to spout Wheaties adlines on command than how the Japanese are baiting traps with cereal.
  • Also parodied by God-Man.
  • Surprisingly played straight in one of the ComicBook.Justice League Famous Friends Subway ad insert comics from 2011, when the possibility of getting a sandwich distracts Black Manta from his actual plan.
  • One of the characters in Lethargic Lad always attempts to stop the villains by throwing snackfood cakes at them, and is always baffled when this fails to work.
  • There is a parody strip where Omaha the Cat Dancer is accosted by a mugger and notices he has his head wrapped in a towel to hold an ice pack to a toothache. In response, she pulls out a unwrapped Twonkie from her purse and (after picking off some of the lint) shoves it in his mouth. As he is writhing in pain, Omaha makes her escape while you see the slogan "You get an oral blight in every bite of "Hotsizz Twonkies""
  • Twisted Toyfare Theatre featured a parody in which the Punisher gives the Green Goblin a Hostess Fruit Pie that's rigged with a bomb.
  • In an example of What Could Have Been, Patton Oswalt once wrote another parody where The Punisher uses Pink Pants Fruit Pies to stop a villain called the Hooker Hacker. Fans later turned his script into a fan film.
    The Punisher: I’m going to cauterize your rectum, sealing it shut, so when you turn those delicious Pink Pants Fruit Pies into waste products the bilirubin in your feces will leach into your bloodstream and you’ll die screaming! And I’ll watch while having sex with this grateful prostitute!
    Prostitute: Cherry is my favorite!
  • One early issue of Thunderbolts features a parody ad where Citizen V/Baron Zemo is convinced to abandon his plan to take over the world when he's given fruit pies instead.
  • In the sixth issue of the Joe Books revival of the Darkwing Duck comic book, Darkwing Duck defeats the revived Splatter Phoenix by trapping her inside an ad for Mostess Veggie Pies. It plays out exactly like any superhero comic-endorsed Hostess ad you've ever seen.
  • A surprisingly straight example has turned up in several post-DC Rebirth ads for Snickers. Superman and Batman are shown battling Doomsday until Batman offers him a Snickers. Doomsday then turns into a satisfied Wonder Woman, tying into Snicker's ad slogan, "You're not you when you're hungry."
  • Mentioned by Gwen Pool in the retro-style ads attached to 2017's Marvel Legacy one-shot. She urged readers to buy her comic so that she wouldn't be forced to shill fruit pies.

  • Believe it or not, this was done to one of Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels against his will by his old German publisher:
    Terry: There were a number of reasons for switching to Goldmann, but a deeply personal one for me was the way Heyne (in Sourcery, I think, although it may have been in other books) inserted a soup advert in the text ... a few black lines and then something like 'Around about now our heroes must be pretty hungry and what better than a nourishing bowl'... etc, etc. My editor was pretty sick about it, but the company wouldn't promise not to do it again, so that made it very easy to leave them. They did it to Iain Banks, too, and apparently at a con he tore out the offending page and ate it. Without croutons."
    • That was apparently common practice in their paperbacks for a while, with a number of authors... and yes, it was apparently always soup. Instant soup, even. Arguably, the segregation of the "soup" content to one full double-sided page kept them from feeling too intrusive, and made it easier for those so inclined to emulate Mr. Banks, above.

    Video Games 
  • The video game Spider-Man: Friend or Foe has a fun reference, as one of Spidey's post-battle quips is along the lines of "I could go for a fruit pie right about now."
    • The tie-in game for Spider-Man 3 had the Apocalypse gang stealing these at every frakking opportunity, with everyone openly referring to them with the full trope name. Spidey would actually lampshade this, by asking "without fruit pies, what'll I use to distract supervillains?" In addition, there'd occasionally be a truck driver with a dodgy Indian accent who would protest that he couldn't deliver Delicious Fruit Pies on time because the truck had broken down.
  • In Spider-Man (PS4), Spider-Man will sometimes ask random enemies if they'd surrender in exchange for a Delicious Fruit Pie.
  • Referenced in a magazine ad for Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death, where Marlow Briggs defeats a monster via the irresistible power of "Blasto Pies."

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Dexter's Laboratory had a segment with Captain America look-a-like Major Glory and his "Justice Fruit Pies".
    Mathemagician: Not Justice Fruit Pies! The Delicious treat you'd have to be crazy to hate! Oooh, I give up!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants once parodied this, with Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy advertising the "New Krusty Kids Meal" at the Krusty Krab.
    Man Ray: How can I be evil with flavors this good?
  • An odd example: When Canadian network Teletoon decided they were going to revamp their image in the spring of 2007, they chose to announce it via a short promo featuring some characters from their show 6teen (a Slice of Life series, oddly enough) that was done in this manner.
    • A straighter example came in the form of a one-off interstitial called "Jude the Movie Dude" from 2006, where Jude and Jen host a little movie review show in the mall's cinema. They introduce the trailer for the Curious George film, and after the trailer was shown Jen mentions that she had a plush toy of George as a child. The sketch goes off the rails when Jude asks her if she hugged the toy a lot. Jen facepalms and says "You are so fired."
  • Variation: This ABC interstitial about the Constitution featuring Looney Tunes characters. Usually it aired during The Bugs Bunny And Tweety Show, but this particular airing was during the Beetlejuice cartoon.

  • Parodied in Wizard magazine, which featured Jesse Custer and the cast of Preacher in a mock-Hostess fruit pies ad.
    • Another Wizard ad had this, featuring the 'heroes' of Marvel Zombies. Instead of fruit pies, they find two kids. Two tasty kids.
  • In Space Beasts, during a chase scene, Big Bad Bimbolurlina stops chasing the Fellowship crew for....Delicious Big Johnny's Ham Sandwiches

Alternative Title(s): Real Creme Filling


Example of: