Since the invention of the Happy Meal in 1979, McDonalds and its kids meal-packing competition have released countless licensed toys. As the most coveted collectible meal, however, McDonald's Happy Meals have seen an abundance of top-tier superhero brands in their boxes and bags over the years. As such, it's worth exploring which of the fast food titan's toys most appeal to the superhero comics reading sensibility.
In the spirit of celebrating the comic characters included by a toy/meal line more than 30 years in the making, we've assembled ten of the most recognizable Happy Meals from around the world. Take a look after the jump, but don't blame us if you start craving some of the world's least-healthy food.
I mean it.
Super Looney Tunes: These dual-purpose figurines snapped DC Comics' flagship character likenesses onto Bugs, Daffy, Tazz and Petunia Pig. They're an early example of Warner Bros.' toy synergy in a context that's kind of fun. Well, as long as you know Petunia is an actual character rather than Porky in drag. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
TMNT: There've been many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles kids meal toy lines at a number of fast food chains, but McDonald's most recent TMNT line (based on iMagi's CGI film) is probably the most acceptable. Half of the line is represented by statuesque ninjas containing small cars within their removable shells, while the other four toys are figures armed with weapons and action features. It's kind of bogus that Michelangelo and Raphael don't come with weapons, but they do kid and punch more prominently than the bo and katana swinging Donatello and Leonardo.
Spectacular Spider-Man: Based on the Webslinger's latest animated incarnation, this line included various Spideys plus guys like Doc Ock, all with suction cup or missile-firing action. The scale of the toys even made the decent shelf-surfers.
Lego Batman:While the toys are admittedly free of actual Lego blocks, these quasi Lego dude versions of Batman, Robin, Mr. Freeze and The Joker tie the toys to the game with movement and accessories unavailable in standard Lego sets.
Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes: Other than the lame omission of Saturn Girl (who likely got axed given that the "girl's" HM component came from Build-a-Bear that month), this line provided collectors with eight characters, including key villains like Thorak in a competent scale. Hopefully McDonalds will do a better job of including girls on the next round, but altogether not a bad set.
Marvel Superheroes: This mid '90s line included its share of cars and novelty toys, but also included action figure versions of the Hulk, the Human Torch and the Invisible Woman that can still be found at garage sales today. Not that you'd want to sell them - they're all kind of rad.
Batman Returns: In terms of kids meals, Batman movies have historically bounced between McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell. None of the toy lines are spectacular, but McDonald's "Batman Returns" offerings have a Catwomanmobile that wags its tail as it drives. Not even Kenner was daring enough for that. Hilariously, this line was eventually withdrawn because of BR's PG-13 rating (which didn't do a thing to keep me and my friends from seeing it in elementary school).
Astro Boy: While iMagi's CGI "Astro Boy" film may have earned every bit of the scorn it received from fans, kids could do a whole lot worse when it comes to functioning HM toys. There's a variety of characters with likenesses generic enough to fit in with the more mediocre Tezuka-based toys of a similar scale, meaning the toys aren't a complete wash.
Spider-Man: The Animated Series: Based on Spidey's mid-90s adventures, this HM collection boasted four car-themed toys and four action figures. Interestingly, there's toys depicting Peter Parker and Mary Jane, which rest now either in collectors' glass cases or at the bottom of sandboxes.
Doraemon: Not a superhero in the traditional sense, but a time-traveling robot cat with a fourth-dimensional pocket nonetheless, Doraemon's Japan-exclusive Happy Meal features' Hiroshi Fujimoto and Moto Abiko's most popular creation along with members of the long running manga/anime series' supporting feline cast. If you're lucky enough to obtain the Doraemon figure, be sure to pit it against the Terminator.
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