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Condiment King

Batman: The Animated Series
by yo go re

You've gotta win the sauce!

Not exactly the most ruthless or dangerous of supervillains, the Condiment King is a former stand-up comedian who commits crimes using his homemade costume and a set of custom-built condiment shooters that blast blobs of ketchup and mustard at his opponents. Although he may be a bit of a joke as super-crooks go, you should still watch your step around this sauce-slinging outlaw - after all, those tasty splats can be pretty slippery! Bat-Fact: I prefer ketchup. Wait, mustard. Alfred, what’s better on lobster thermidor?

Condiment King was, like Harley Quinn, created for Batman: the Animated Series. Also like Harley Quinn, his origin is tied directly to the Joker: wanting to prove that he was Gotham's greatest comedian, Joker entered the televised Laugh-Off competition incognito; the judges found "Smilin' Shecky Rimshot" tired and hackneyed, and booted him off the show; a year later, Joker came back for revenge, using tech stolen from Mad Hatter to turn the judges into pathetic supervillains. The first to appear was Buddy Standler, the uncanny Condiment King.

Condiment King is the first Build-A-Figure McFarlane Toys is doing for their resurrected BtAS line: buy several figures that are A) exclusive to Target, and 2) repaints of DC Direct molds released several years ago, and you can build the first-ever Condiment King action figure. Hey, at least there are only four of them; Todd does like to keep his BAFs simple. Make sure you put the backpack on before plugging in the arms, to save yourself the headache of trying to get it on after. Getting those arms into their sockets is a real pain, though: we suggest the ol' boil-n-pop, just in reverse. The hot water will soften the torso enough that you can push the arms in in seconds.

Considering Condiment King was just functioning under mind control, his costume does seem to have some real effort put into it. Sure, he's wearing actual tighty whities over his suit, a parody of the "superheroes wear their underwear on the outside" thing, and his "boots" appear to just be regular socks, but you've got to wonder where he got that pickle cowl he's wearing. Was it just a green ski mask he cut the face off of? Because it seems more professional than that. He's wearing dark glasses in lieu of a mask, and his face, with its prominent chin and long, thin nose, makes him look like a caricature of Bob Hope.

For a standup comic, Buddy Standler has a pretty healthy body - he's nearly as fit as any of the heroes, where you might expect at least a little beer belly. Considering the only three real-world comedians who are known for getting into fitness are also known for not being particularly funny (Joe Piscopo, Joe Rogan, and Joe Carrot Top), it's surprising Buddy Standler is still respected enough to not only judge a popular comedy competition, but also to have his own show that got cancelled when he was found to be a "costumed extremist" (as the police radio referred to him). The show did draw him a little bit pudgier, but the sculpt doesn't reflect that.

Because the four normal figures in this series were rereleases of existing figures, McFarlane Toys set theirs apart by giving them "cel shaded" paint - aka, cartoon-style shadows permanently painted on. Meh. The Prince of Pickles is a new creation, but it wouldn't really do to have him not blend in with the rest of the series, would it? Plus, if you don't like it, you can always pretend those are just stains on his teal suit. And the side of his face. The C logo and the little lightning bolts sticking out of it are a raised part of the sculpt, but the shadows are all smooth, meaning you could paint over them if you wanted. Technically the packets on his right arm should be red, not white - hot sauce on one side, mayo(?) on the other.

There's no paint or shading at all on Condiment King's backpack: it's pure grey, the ketchup gun is pure red, the mustard gun is pure yellow. The guns are attached to the pack by actual strings, rather than PVC hoses, which feels like a real throwback, and is great for poseability.

The articulation is on-par with the other DC Direct Animated Series figures, rather than McToys' DC Multiverse stuff. The Sultan of Sauce geta a balljointed head, balljoint/hinge shoulders (though with no more range than a swivel), swivel/hinge elbows, swivel/hinge wrists designed with up/​down movement to best aim his guns, a swivel waist, balljointed hips, double-hinge knees, and swivel/hinge ankles. The hips feel a little loose, so the weight of his backpack might pull him over weirdly if you aren't careful with the pose. The briefs he wears are separate from the body beneath them, and are soft, flexible PVC so they don't block the legs despite hanging over the joint slightly.

The idea behind Condiment King was to be a silly, Silver Age style villain like you'd see on Batman '66. A regular hangout for the Batman: the Animated Series was Mel's Diner in Universal Studios, which of course had those big monochrome ketchup and mustard bottles on every table, and thus was a legend born. As he put it himself: "Ah, the big bad Bat-guy. I knew you'd ketchup to me sooner or later! How I've relished this meeting! You, the dynamic Dark Knight, versus me, the conceptual Condiment King! Come, Batman, let's see if you can cut the mustard!" Also, "so long, suckers! Parting is such sweet and sour sorrow!"

Scarecrow | Batman | Robin | Mr. Freeze

-- 02/14/24

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