As you can see, the line was divided into four basic action figures and four characters riding their own personalized gimmicky vehicles, which always struck me as being like something out of Gotham's own version of Wacky Races. My favorite toy of the whole line was not the flippable Two-Face car, but rather the Riddler figure, which is still one of my very favorite plastic embodiments of Eddie.
I wish I could find a better picture of this. What I especially loved about this figure was how he had a half-smirk which gave him a different mood depending on which side you looked at him. Look at him from one side: frowny Eddie! From the other: smug Eddie! Look at him face on: snarky Eddie! Who knew that a Happy Meal could convey versatile personality?
Yes, I loved these toys, but more than that, I loved the Happy Meal boxes they came in, at least one of which featured original art by that MVP of DCAU Batman comics, Ty Templeton. Like coloring and activity books on crack, these were packed with games, puzzles, and awful jokes which must surely have been used by many a child to torment many a parent. To see what I mean, here’s the one that’s definitely by Templeton, which I know because he posted it over at his own blog. That's as official as it gets!
I don't know about some you young'un snappers of whippers, but this box gives me such a 90's nostalgic flashback. It's the little details I also love, like the fact that the Joker has a trunk full of stolen kittens. The only thing that bugs me is that Catwoman is more interested in stealing the bejeweled cat collars over saving all those cats from the clutches of the goddamned Joker, but maybe that's her ulterior motive to this ill-advised team-up. At least, I think they're teaming up.
I also love that Harvey (who always looks great under Templeton's pen) is apparently trying to woo Catwoman with an entire serving tray of stolen jewels, the only one of which that entices her are the "purrrr-ls!" Maybe it's just the fact that I'm now a Dad and therefore terminally uncool, but I am such a sucker for horrible puns like that.
So lucky me, I've found scans of all the other Happy Meal boxes (including the other half of the one above), all of which are filled with more lousy jokes and wacky character moments! Whee! With the exception of the next scan, which is also from Templeton's own blog, the rest of these are from the eBay store of D&K's Treasures from the Vault, which is selling each of these boxes for about ten bucks each.
Oh, and if you want to see the original artwork of the Templeton pieces, Ty the Guy's blog has also got you covered. Just in case you want to break out the Crayola and color them in yourself.
Okay, so she now has all the cats herself. So that was her plan all along, to betray the Joker and become the richest crazy cat lady of all time! Well, maybe second richest, depending on how much money Ernest Hemingway had by the time he moved to Key West. I am very happy to think of Ernest Hemingway being the richest crazy cat lady on the planet.
Damn it, Joker, just get a library card and don't return the books you take out! That's the smart way to do it!
I don't think this box is by Ty Templeton, as it lacks his usual crispness and the Joker seems a bit more off-model here. Well, whoever drew this, I give them credit for recreating the Riddler figure's half-smirk. I have to say, though, it's REALLY weird to see the Joker and the Riddler hanging out together considering that B:TAS!Eddie never really mingled with him, or any of the other rogues, for that matter. He isn't a team player, that Riddler. Or maybe he just doesn't have any friends.
From his background appearance in the awful egg joke panel, it looks like Eddie has been downgraded to being the Joker's own Paul Shaffer. I would make a joke here, but all I really know about David Letterman and Paul Shaffer is from parody versions of themselves on shows like Animaniacs and Family Guy. The important thing is, sidekick or not, Eddie still seems really happy to be involved here. The same can't be said when he teams up with Poison Ivy in the next box:
Yeah, that seems to be one disgruntled Riddler. And who can blame him? Eh, maybe he's just under Ivy's influence or something. Either way, you'd really think that the Happy Meal designers here would have been able to put the Riddler to better use, especially considering all of the puzzles, mazes, and bad jokes! Maybe Eddie was the one who secretly designed them all for Batman to solve, and these boxes are one great big overarching story where the Riddler is revealed to be the main villain, kinda like Hush but less stupid! Yes, I am seriously calling these boxes less stupid than Hush. Wanna fight about it?
Since that's Renee Montoya being forced to stand on her head and call out "HELP!" like Michael Anderson in Twin Peaks, I like to think of this as the DCAU kid's version of Gotham Central: Half a Life. It's stupider, yes, but at least it's far less depressing. Also, I appreciate that they spelled out the pun of "Tuesday" in the joke. I'm sure that no kids would have gotten it on their own. I'm not even sure if I'm being sarcastic or not there, but I really do prefer not to underestimate the intelligence of children.
Don't connect those dots. There's no point, we all know that there is no one better than Two-Face. No one. So why waste your time? Besides, if the Riddler is really behind all this, it might just be better not to play at all! Yes, that's the ticket!
Of course, no mention of Batman-related McDonald's tie-ins would be complete without a quick mention of my very favorite items of all: the Batman Forever collector's mugs!
I recently found all of mine during one of the several times I've had to move over the past year, and they're still as cool as I remember. Also, I apparently own two Riddler mugs and three Two-Face ones, because why wouldn't I? I hope you won't blame me, especially considering the awesome handle of the Two-Face mug in particular.
Sadly, I have been hesitant to use the mugs ever since those stories broke out about lead being found in pretty much all McDonald's glasses ever made. Does that extend to the Batman Forever glasses too, or just the glasses that had paint on them? I haven't been able to find out either way, but better safe than sorry. Oh well, at least they'll be safe high up on a shelf, away from the grabbing hands of my susceptible child.