Rating the Justice League of Snack Cakes: Flash Cakes and Glo-Balls
Back when I used to work at a comic book store, my friend Scott and I would have these long, drawn-out conversations over lunch where we'd assign roles to everyday objects based on which super-hero in the Justice League they were most like. We had the Justice League of Pizza Toppings, the Justice League of Coworkers, we even had the Justice League of the McDonald's Menu (the Big Mac is Superman, the Quarter Pounder is Batman, and Green Arrow, of course, is the McRib), and now, finally all those hours of preparation has paid off, because Hostess has actually produced The Justice League of Snack Cakes!
We've already mentioned the wonderfully named Green Lantern GloBalls, but as part of their "Give Out Hostess on Halloween" promotion, the snack-cake company has rekindled their relationship with comics by decorating their packages with four members of the Justice League. Sadly, this has yet to result in a new wave of super-hero Hostess ads, it has given us an interesting take on the products, because after all, if there's one thing comics readers need, it's an excuse to eat some cupcakes.
But which ones should the discerning fan go for? We're glad you asked, hypothetical questioner.
Those are the questions that I'm here to answer as ComicsAlliance's resident Cupcakeologist, which is why tonight, I picked up a pack of each from my local grocery store, poured myself a tall glass of milk, and tested out each one to see just how well it fits into the Justice League of Snack Cakes, and where they should go from here!
Not only is the Hostess Twinkie one of the few products that Superman himself has actually endorsed in the past...
...it actually fits his character perfectly. It's certainly the most iconic of all snack cakes, it's often been imitated (that's right, Little Debbie Golden Cremes, I'm calling you out), and like its Kryptonian counterpart, it's well-known for its ability to survive even a nuclear explosion. Also, much like Superman, I'm pretty sure that there's nothing in a Twinkie that you could actually find in nature on the planet Earth.
Unfortunately, actually eating a Twinkie is also a lot like reading a Superman comic, in that it's usually a lot more disappointing than it should be. The elements are all there -- golden sponge cake and creme filling being the snack cake equivalent of flight and invulnerability -- but in practice, it often falls flat, and ends up being more of a baseline generic snack cake than the kind of experience that'll make you stop robbing a bank just to eat it, just like how Superman stories are often unremarkable.
Clearly, Hostess needs to find a baker with a real insight into what the essential concept of the Twinkie means to people and produce a line of high-quality versions that somehow manages to clear the slate and give a nod to all the great Twinkie experiences of the past. And Frank Quitely should draw it.
In brightest day, these tasty sweeties
Will totally give you diabetes
Let those concerned for teeth and gums
Beware Green Lantern's neon crumbs!
We've mentioned the Green Lantern GloBalls before here at ComicsAlliance, and of all the DC themed snacks, they seem to be getting the most attention. The reasoning here is pretty obvious: "Green Lantern's GloBalls" is quite possibly the best and most hilarious name of any food since Spotted Dick. Either way, the comic book connection here is pretty solid -- much like Green Lantern, the GloBall is something that I would've loved when I was a kid, but these days, the appeal is a little beyond me. Seriously, look at this thing:
Creme filling inside chocolate cake inside marshmallow inside shredded coconut that has been dyed neon green. If there's anything that better represents the kind of overkill involved in using the most powerful weapon in the universe to make a giant boxing glove, I haven't seen it. Also, it should be noted that it took all of my willpower to get through the second half, and I think I'd have to be totally without fear to eat another.
I've got to confess, though, that with the rampant popularity of "Blackest Night" and the fact that Hostess SnoBalls usually come in pink and white, with orange and yellow versions made for holidays, I am genuinely surprised that we didn't get a box set with nine different colors of these things.
No need to thank me, Hostess marketing department. It's what I'm here for.
Far and away the most disappointing of the Justice League Snack Cake offerings, the Flash Cakes just make absolutely no sense. They've sort of got the color scheme down, although the red icing and yellow sprinkles remind me more of pizza, and the whole effect is just a bittersweet reminder of the fact that a true pizza/cupcake hybrid is still years away from modern science. Also, these are the only ones that are identified -- for no particular reason that I can see -- as Scary Cakes.
Beyond that, though, there's nothing Flash-like about these things at all:
Beneath the icing, they're just the standard Hostess Cupcakes, and guys, cupcakes are already covered (see below). Yes, you could make a joke about how they're guaranteed to "go fast" at your Halloween party, but that's beneath all of us.
The thing is, though, Hostess doubled up on cupcakes when they already had the perfect snack for the flash: Zingers!
Seriously: You already have a product that not only matches the color scheme, but also comes in a package where the cakes in question are moving so fast that they're a blur, and you stick the Flash on some cupcakes?! Guys, if you've alreadu got Batman on cupcakes, then the ones with red and yellow icing aren't the Flash, they're Robin. Get with the friggin' program, Hostess. This ain't amateur hour.
Also, very disappointing that they didn't go with the ready-made advertising campaign from "Flash" #115:
Just a wasted opportunity all around, though you could make a case for a sugar high making you feel like you're running at super-speed.
These, however, are fantastic. Not only do they feature a package where Batman is totally about to chase down those cupcakes and end their reign of terror in the Gotham City underworld, but they perfectly fit his character.
Like Batman, Hostess Cupcakes are dark (being made of chocolate devil's food cake), mysterious (the package says that it may contain pecans and walnuts, but refuses to specify), and an encounter with them will most likely cause you to lose teeth. Plus, little known fact: Cupcakes' parents, Suzy Q and King Don, were gunned down in an alley in front of them, setting them on a path to vengeance. Clearly, it's a perfect fit.
The only thing I'd change? The cupcakes themselves could stand to be spruced up a little:
And yes. I do that to everything I eat.