Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Old Advertisements: RICOCHET TO FREEDOM!

Having seen a number of old, cheesy ads starring superheroes lampooned on the good ol' internets (most notably various Hostess cupcake ads), I decided to take a potshot at one I found in an old Spider-Man comic I've got.

(Full view unless you have microscopic vision or this gets bigger on the page than I think it will, or unless you zoom way in on your browser or something. Also, holy cheese Blogger you deleted this pic twice.)

Whoo. Let's take it from the top.

An alien ship departs, leaving behind a giant spidery web... to strangle the hopes of freedom.

Hm, who wrote this, Simon Furman? Look at that ellipsis. And am I the only one who thinks that that sentence needed to end with an exclamation point? (In effect, it should read: An alien ship departs, leaving behind a giant spidery web-to strangle the hopes of freedom! Am I alone in this?)

Anyway, it starts out at least okay. We get the impression stuff has happened, plunging into the so-called plot almost instantly. Then, suddenly!

The president has summoned Captain America and Spider-Man.

Shame on you, anonymous ad hack! Where are the exclamation points?!

Here, of course, is where stuff goes south. The president is giving orders to Spider-Man. (sigh) First, Spidey doesn't really answer to anybody, although if the president asked nicely, he might consider it. Second, Spidey and Cap against a giant alien, er, spidery web, which somehow vaguely maybe threatens freedom? Uh, no offense to Cap and Spidey, but I think I'd rather summon the Air Force, the Hulk (assuming he's friendly at the moment), and Iron Man. Or maybe Godzilla or Stephen Strange. Not a couple of guys whose primary superpowers involve fisticuffs.

Then, the president solemnly announces:

Gentlemen, the country turns to you in this time of crisis! We have only one hope... Project Ricochet!

Yay, exclamation points! And-wait, did the president just say "We have only one hope... Project Ricochet!"? Oh, for-if you're going to use some kind of project thingy, I could see Cap volunteering, but I'd think it'd be more likely if they just used two totally hapless peons instead of some of the foremost members of the superhero community.

Okay, I'll take a look-Oh my goodness. Giant yellow guns made to be held by human hands. Who's supposed to fire the blamed things, Ultraman? (Or Giant GPS Man? Thanks to snell for posting that little gem a couple weeks ago.) So do you guys need Cap and Spidey to pull the triggers or something? Because-

Oh. You're going to fire Cap and Spidey out of them. I don't think that would be very high on Spidey's to-do list.

To do:

  1. Save/propose to girlfriend.
  2. Make enough money to pay rent/get married/pay for Aunt May's thirteenth heart surgery.
  3. Get fired out of gigantic yellow handgun.
  4. Fight supervillains.

Hm, maybe it would be.


Okay, so then a bunch of soldiers get ropes and pull the triggers. Dude, just get the superheroes to do it, and fire some other volunteers out! More efficient use of manpower, you know?

At a speed beyond belief, the two superheroes race towards the ominous web.

Maybe it's just me, but there are two problems with this statement. (Actually, three-where's the exclamation point again?!)

"Speed beyond belief?" So, does it break the speed of light? I'd probably believe that happening in a superhero comic. The, um, tachyon barrier, then? (shrug) Of course, they don't even seem to be breaking the sound barrier.

The other is "the ominous web." That web looks like Spidey could have made it-in effect, it's not even very concerning, much less "ominous." I mean, what was it going to do, catch fire when they shot off Fourth of July fireworks or something?

In the last two panels, we have incredibly lame super-banter (I mean, "For sure, Spidey!"? Come on!) and a web that actually looks... well, stranger and less Spidey-ish than it did, anyway.

Then, there's the real coo de gra (no, I've got no idea how to spell that, and I don't care).

Kids--Have a Ricochet adventure of your own! Get the Ricochet Racers Spider-Man Set. It comes with Spider-Man and Captain America racers...launcher and spider web. WOW!! Available at a toy store near YOU!!

My goodness. So that's where all the exclamation points went! It kind of looks like the unexciting "meat" text of the advertisement (which tells you about the actual toy) must have viciously held up the rest of the ad at giant yellow handgunpoint, and robbed all the narration of its valuable exclamations. Also, marketing research may have indicated otherwise back then, but very few phrases/words are actually less exciting than WOW!! Very few phrases and words are more self-promotional, for that matter.

You know, even the Hostess ads were a little bit logical. This takes the cake.

Mmm, cake.

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