Monday, January 10, 2011

Long tails and unsaturated fats

Batman '66It's one of the most controversial points of discussion within comics fandom: what is the best movie ever based on a comic book (or strip)? And sure, lots of people will tell you it's The Dark Knight or Spider-Man 2. You can make a case in your argument for Iron Man or Superman II or maybe something a little more recent: Scott Pilgrim or Watchmen, or maybe you're the kinda moviewatcher/comic book reader who prefers the more sedate cinematic translations of Ghost World, Persepolis or American Splendor. Or take yer pick: X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Spirit, Elektra, Jonah Hex, Ghost Rider, The Phantom, The Shadow, or Dick Tracy...Barb Wire, Men in Black, Catwoman, Brenda Starr. Don't forget Tank Girl. (I actually kinda really liked Tank Girl.) Fantastic Four, several Punisher movies, all those Batman flicks (don't forget Batman: Mask of the Phantasm!), League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Over the Hedge, Steel or Daredevil. Or that Roger Corman FF flick. You know, since taste is subjective, I'm not even going to argue if you want to tell me that the greatest movie ever based on a comic book was Howard the Duck or that Captain America movie where the Red Skull was Italian and he has a nose.

However, you're all wrong.

Josie and the Pussycats movieYep! Based on the characters created by Dan DeCarlo (and we darn well know they are, Archie Comics!), the 2001 Josie and the Pussycats movie is a heckuva lotta fun with a light comedic touch spoofing subliminal advertising. Not to mention it features several of my favorite contemporary pop actors: Rosario Dawson Alan Cumming, Parker Posey...heck, even just the three of them put together outweight the casting of Tara Reid, prior to the complete replacement of every one of her body parts with plastic and silicon. You know that conspiracy theory guy who comments every time Scarlett Johansson is mentioned on the internet? Telling us that Ms. J is a scientifically-created, mind-controlled clone of a "nice" girl (coincidentally also named Scarlett)? Heck, every time this Mr. Sergei Galabekian comments on a website, I can believe that he practically wrote all the mid-nineties Spider-Man comics, what with the expertise he has on cloning! Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is that maybe we need to get Sergei on the case right now of what happened to all the original discarded parts of Tara Reid, and can we reconstruct them back into this version?

Anyways. The plot of the Josie and the Pussycats movie simultaneously spoofs the rise of pre-fabricated bands while at the same time it parodies the brand-oriented youth culture. The B-plot concerns Parker Posey's plan...hey, that's pretty good, but it needs a little souping up. Let's see...Parker Posey's pernicious plan...better! insert subliminal advertising into the Pussycats' songs to brainwash the youth of America. (You're gonna need a lotta sponges, Miss Posey.) A product placement gag throughout the movie "casually" highlights dozens of brand-name products, and hoo boy, if you didn't come out of that movie wanting to buy a Swiffer, you're made of stronger stuff than this little bull is.

DD HostessBut of all the products fake-hyped in the film—you can count a stack-load just in that trailer above—the one very obvious one is delicious snack cakes. Who doesn't love sweet treats, pies and cakes to nosh on, full of rich creamy frosting and covered in delicious glistening sugar? In other words, why aren't Josie & Co. hawking for Hostess Cupcakes, Fruit Pies, and Twinkies?

Well, because they already have.

(They will now be a slight pause while your brains explode.)

Got 'em stuffed back in your head yet? Good. Of course you remember those famous...should we say infamous 1970s Hostess Snack Cake comic book advertisements in which the Hulk, Spider-Man, Flash, Batman, and Thor defeated crooks, thieves, super-villains and the DIng-a-Ling Family through the judicious usage of those creamy, smooth, delicious pastries. But it wasn't only superheroes who could wield a mean Hostess, you know! So let's go back, through the magic of Betty and Veronica comics, to the age of Steve Austin and Charlie's Angels, the Bicentennial and the Hotel California to re-discover, or experience for the first time, the powerhouse team-up that is Josie and the Pussycats with Hostess Snack Cakes!

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #245 (May 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #247 (July 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #251 (November 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #252 (December 1976)

Josie and the Pussycats
Ad from Betty and Veronica #254 (February 1977)

Later, of course, the Pussycats went to outer space.

Is that it, you ask? And I answer, no! More Pussycats eating snack cakes tomorrow! Be there or be Alexandra Cabot!


Ron Hogan said...

By the time I got through all those wonderful ads, I forgot to be upset that you didn't even mention the Modesty Blaise movie!

Michael Jones said...

Any Sabrina cupcake ads? Maybe you can do Comic-TV adaptations next.
(btw, it's Roger Corman not Forman.)

Bill D. said...

Wow, the power of Hostess Cupcakes are making Barry Gibb float above the stage!

Adam Farrar said...

Josie & The Pussycats is a really underrated movie. I saw it Spring Break of my freshman year at college in a theater packed with teen and preteen girls. My friends and I laughed throughout the movie but the girls were silent. The movie about advertising did a poor job of advertising what it was really about. How subversive!

Your Obedient Serpent said...

I'm afraid I can't really appreciate the movie, because of the egregious way that Archiecorp screwed DeCarlo out of screen credits and royalties, and basically stole the property (which was NOT created under the usual work-for-hire contract) outright.

It makes me growl.

Anonymous said...

One of the many awesome thing about the Josie and the pussycats movie is that Parker Posey appears to be playing Miss Dwyer, a baddie from the Invisibles comicbook.