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How a Fruit Pie Loving Villain Made His Way Into the Marvel Universe!

Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.

Today, in honor of National Pi Day, I thought we'd look at the odd journey of the one Hostess Fruit Pies-themed villain who actually made the transition from ad-based storytelling to the actual Marvel Universe!

For readers of a certain generation, the Hostess ads that ran in comic books in the late 1970s were truly iconic. The concept was a simple one, comic book characters would have to defeat bad guys in such a way that the ad would talk about how awesome Hostess Brands snacks were. You know, like, "Oh man, I am totally going to kill this guy." "No, wait, wouldn't you prefer to have a Hostess Twinkie than to kill that guy?" "Oh man, you're totally right." Stuff like that.

The thing about these ads is that they were not controlled by the comic book companies in question, but by the ad company (just using the comic book companies to deliver them writers and artists). So these ads appeared in ALL of the major comic books of the era. This led to funny bits where ads featuring Marvel characters would appear in Gold Key comic books, because there were not enough Gold Key characters that got their own Hostess ads for it to be worth it.

Like most advertisement work, these ads paid better than normal rates, so all of Marvel's top artists did at least one ad during the late 1970s/early 1980s. Frank Miller had just recently become the artist on Daredevil when he did a Human Torch ad...

Amusingly, the ad company wanted the villain to be named "Iceman." Miller changed it to Icemaster on his own, as he obviously knew that Marvel, you know, had an Iceman already. That is how little the ad company was interested in these things. They weren't UNinterested, but they weren't exactly putting a ton of effort into them, either.

Anyhow, roughly two decades later, in Thunderbolts #24 (by Kurt Busiek, Mark Bagley and Scott Hanna), the Crimson Cowl put together a brand new Masters of Evil with a PILE of villains, including Icemaster!

In the next extra-sized 25th issue (inks by Al Vey and Bob Wiacek), we see Icemaster again...

However, he got taken out without much of a chance to talk all that much in the issue...

So that could be it for this minor return of Icemaster, but this was not to be his final appearance in the Marvel Universe!

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