Food needs mascots. It’s scientific fact. You got Tony the Tiger. You got Aunt Jemimah. You got the Grimace, you got the Munchies, you got Red and Yellow M&Ms. You got the Twix Rabbit, the Noid and Chester Cheetah. And you got Quaker Oats Guy, the Chiquita Banana Lady and Toucan Sam.
And you had Strand Man.
Heinz Spaghetti had its own superhero. This was at least a decade ago, but I’ve still got a can of the stuff featuring the guy. I can’t find a lick of information on the Internet about him, so I feel it is my sacred duty to make sure he is not forgotten.
The label on the can is a little faded thanks to a few months sitting on my window sill. Nonetheless, that’s our boy there. Strand Man. Anthopomorphized Pasta In Tights. And check out those sunglasses… So cool.
But how could such a hero come into being? Is he an alien? An irradiated can of Heinz products? Could he be a scientist whose experiment went awry? Cursed by gypsies? I don’t know and I doubt it was ever revealed one way for sure. All I can say is that I’m sure, in my heart, that Strand Man’s crusade for justice is no doubt the result of some horrible tragedy. Probably the death of a loved one such as his wife or uncle or meatballs.
I can’t find any clues to when this can is from. Not a copyright, not a best before. Nothing. I have no idea when Strand Man began his heroic exploits (nor how long this thing sat in the pantry in my basement), but I’d have to suspect the early nineties’ comic popularity could have had something to do with the idea to use a superhero. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m right. Superheroes shall never be out of fashion. A code reads “MS – 2 -95”, so maybe we’re looking at 1995? Beyond that I can tell you nothing.
I can tell you this, however: Strand Man was no poser! He was not content to sit around and pose on a box like some food mascots. No, Strand Man had adventures. As the box boasts: “Voir au verso pour la bande comique de Brin D’homme”!
In normal-human speak that means that inside the can’s label you get a comic strip starring Brin D’homme himself! And as a bonus, it’s printed in eye-straining blue ink! Score!
Meet Billy and Donna. I guess they’re children, because Billy is wearing his hat backwards and Donna has yet to develop secondary sex characteristics. But they’s industrious and independant children, because they spent a whole morning hiking in the woods without parental supervision (I bet they each told their parents some lie about going to a friends house and then went out to fool around in the woods).
Hiking? I guess this was back in the day enough that kids were still physically active. Not like today. Anyone under eighteen who is reading this: Screw You. Friggin’ newbies.
Holy smokes a rope bridge! Sweet deal! Those things are great. Anyway, this one got broked. The kids can’t make it home now. I’m sure that these kids are out without their parent’s knowledge now, because there is no way they’d let them cross a rope bridge that is missing every fifth board. Unless they hate them. I could buy that excuse too, actually.
But the bridge is broken now. I bet Billy was jumping on it earlier. Friggin’ kid’s a no-good punk is what he is.
The kids were well-stocked for their trip at least. And at the first sign of trouble they reach for the most important thing a kid can carry: Canned Spaghetti. These days Donna would just whip out her cell and text her friend Suzie who’d get her mom to go pick them up in the SUV. Kids today are so friggin’ spoiled.
As they prepare to eat, they also call out for help.
And there he is! Strand Man stides out of the forest like a man with a cause. I’d accuse him of spying on kids in the woods if I didn’t know he can’t take his eyes off the camera.
Wait… wait… Strand Man can turn to a hot air balloon? Seriously? What the chunks has that to do with pasta? Seriously, I’m confused. Is… Is he just a shapechanger? If so, why does he spend so much time looking like a noodleman? He must just be in it for the money.
Anyway, he flies the friggin’ kids over the gorge…
…But he doesn’t fly them all the way home. Strand Man is a superhero, not a bus. And will you check out that guy’s smile? He’s the hottest piece of Humanoid Pasta I’ve ever seen.
So there you have it. One full adventure of Strand Man a hero who will always help those in need… provided they have purchased Heinz Spaghetti. Other kids lost in woods can rot.
I wonder if he can turn to other stuff, or if he is limited to balloons… and wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to have just stretched himself across the gorge and acted as a bridge? I sense a real lack of vision here…
So where is Strand Man now? None can be sure. We know he isn’t on the cans anymore. I like to think he’s still out there, somewhere. Waiting for the appropriate time to return. Or maybe he tried to fight hunger in Africa and got ate. Brin D’homme, we miss you.
Patrick D Ryall, the D is for Eternity
Originally done for Contains2 on Monday 27 June 2005
Comments from Contains2:
July 7th, 2005 at 1:57 pm
I remember him!!!
You are AMAZING, this officially makes you my hero of the day.
December 16th, 2005 at 6:44 pm
Wow, I remember eating the strand man’s kids in the can when I was kid. They were so good. Do they taste as good without the Strand Man on the can? Maybe you should start a petition about bringing the Strand Man back. I don’t know how my brother and I, started to talk about Strand Man, we were looking for pictures on him. So I searched Spaghetti Super Hero, and I found your picture, then went on your site. Good luck finding Strand Man, he has a home in all of our hearts… and bellies.