Patton Oswalt in his blog recently pointed out three attempts to adapt a comic book script of his. The script is a parody of an ad campaign anybody who read comics in the 70s will immediately be familar with - a short one page story where superheroes foil crimes with Hostess Twinkies, Cupcakes and Fruit Pies (imagine supervillains yelling “Real Fruit Filling! Light, Tender Crust!”). Sean Baby has a wonderful site reprinting all of them with appropriately snarky commentary. The script was originally meant to run in a parody comic from Marvel, but never made it to press.
Two of them are draw it out comic book style - I’ll let you go to Patton Oswalt’s post to see them. But another was filmed, staying brutally faithful to Patton’s script. (Patton: “I feel violated and honored.”) Here it is (warning: the sound is a little off):
One of the interesting things about this, other than we’re getting to a point that we’ll create the media we want to see whether a big company will publish it or not, is that, as Patton points out, the two drawn pieces missed his first direction to the original artist to “try to replicate that dashed-out-in-an-afternoon, generic artwork you used to see in the Hostess Fruit Pies ads.” The filmed piece he said caught this original direction. He’s right, it’s the closest. But in my mind, there’s still so much darkness and shadow in it - it seems like the perfect tone would almost be the old Electric Company Spider-Man live action shorts (if you were going to film it).
I really want to see someone nail this the way Patton suggested - contrasting the tone of the darkness against the workman artwork and sunny tone that made the original ad campaign. To me these contradictions are why shows like Wonder Showzen are so brilliantly hysterical - they keep the look so faithfully and let the darkness swallow it from the inside.
(As an extra: check out this cool little interview with Patton by comics creator Brian Michael Bendis)