The Flash in "Marathon Madman" (Hostess Ads #12)

On a site dedicated to making a wiki history of all things comics, comics ads should not be forgotten. Especially the ads for Hostess Fruit Pies, Twinkies, and other snacks. Starting in 1975, Marvel and DC heroes (and the Harvey characters!) spent seven years throwing Hostess snacks at a bizarre line of villains to stop their crimes. Although many of the villains were completely silly, they were created specifically for these ads, and in many cases, not even the names have been used again, since the ads stopped in mid-1982.

So I thought I'd show an ad here, and make a list of the comics I find it in, as I run across them. This list features: The Flash in "Marathon Madman." As noted on the Hostess Superhero Advertisements page:

Possessed of the powerful Philosopher's Stone, Dr. Sorcery attempted to disrupt the Police Department Marathon by altering the metal bridge. Barry Allen quickly donned his Flash costume to distract Sorcery with Hostess Cupcakes - - and even convinced the madman to help restore the bridge.

9/14/13 Update: A question has come up in the comments: @kfhrfdu_89_76k asked "Why didn't they use Doctor Alchemy, who has the Philosopher's Stone?"

Not a bad question, and I have to confess, it took me back to preteen me, who wondered the same thing when I first read the ad. (You stop doing that math right now! You hate word problems, remember?) So I did a little checking. Mr. Element first became Dr. Alchemy in Showcase #14 (June, 1958) so he and the stone certainly predate the ad.

Over on Seanbaby.com, they interviewed Bob Rozakis (The Answer Man!), and he said:

We were instructed that the heroes could never eat the cupcakes, Twinkies or fruit pies, because that could be interpreted as an endorsement of the product. So, we were always pressed to come up with some interesting way to stop a crime or a riot or something else using a dessert.

Maybe there's a difference between "appearing in an ad" and "endorsing something in an ad." I dunno. Dr. Sorcery eats the cupcake at the end, so maybe the character had to be an "unknown" for that to happen. That doesn't totally jibe though, because Cheetah gets to eat the snack in Wonder Woman vs. "The Cheetah" (although in her non-costumed alias).

Another possibility is maybe it's a licensing issue? For instance, Batman/Bruce Wayne was licensed out for the Dark Knight movies, which meant Bruce Wayne couldn't appear on Smallville. So they used the then-unknown (to the general viewing public) Green Arrow/Oliver Queen. So maybe Doctor Alchemy was locked up in some other license.

Last thing I can think of: from the issues the wiki has him tagged in, Dr. Alchemy made an appearance in The Flash #300, in August, 1981- a 25th anniversary issue that tells brief origins of all of Flash's Rogues. He doesn't appear in any title again until The Flash #328, in December, 1983. Maybe DC forgot about him in the time between? Maybe he was dead? Maybe he had gone back to being Mr. Element during that period? Hard to say, but really, who cares? We got the name Dr. Sorcery out of it! Doctor frickin' Sorcery, man: Philosopher's Stone filcher. White haired wack job. Merlin with a medallion. You'd give all that up to see Dr. Alchemy again? Nay, my friend, nay- Dr. Sorcery all the way.

You Get A Big Delight In Every Bite <11 (Hostess Treats) 13> Enjoy.

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6 Comments
Edited by cbishop
Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k

Why not use Dr. Alchemy, who also has a philosophers stone?

Edited by cbishop

@kfhrfdu_89_76k: Y'know, I didn't look at this one that close. I actually seem to remember wondering the same thing when I was a kid, so I'm going to say Dr. A was around before this ad. I'm going to guess again that this might be licensing issues.

Edited by cbishop
@kfhrfdu_89_76k said:

Why not use Dr. Alchemy, who also has a philosophers stone?

Did a little further checking. I'm going to update the list intro a little.

Posted by kfhrfdu_89_76k
Posted by cbishop