Posts Tagged ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’

No Female Characters In McDonald’s Beware The Batman Happy Meal Toys

September 4, 2013

happymealThis is just getting ridiculous.  Since starting this blog a couple years back, I’ve done four different posts about the complete lack of female characters in McDonald’s Happy Meal toy lines based on DC characters.  This will be the fifth, with their new Beware the Batman line.

Before we get to that, let’s do a quick recap.  First, a series of Young Justice toys in March 2011 only included male characters, despite the team prominently featuring several female members:


Their multitudinous Batman: The Brave and the Bold toy line didn’t fare any better in May 2011:


Almost a year later, the Green Lantern: The Animated Series toy collection had no ladies at all:


And then in November 2012 we got a second Young Justice line that again ignored the show’s many female character’s:


Now McDonald’s is set to launch a Beware the Batman toy line, based on the new Cartoon Network show.  Not surprisingly, there are no gals whatsoever.  In fact, there’s only one guy, over and over:


We all love Batman, of course, but that’s a lot of Batman.  Who does a toy line with only one character?  How are you supposed to play with those?  You need sidekicks and villains so you can make your own awesome stories.

Speaking of sidekicks, Batman’s main sidekick in the show is Katana, a female character.  She’s on all the posters and everything, and she’s really cool.  She’s got a sword even!  But no, it’s just Batman, and McDonald’s already has a second line of toys for girls anyway, based on The Wizard of Oz:


Which oddly enough actually features some male characters.  Half of the “girl” line are males, while none of the “boy” line is.

That McDonald’s regularly features two different lines based on some rather stereotypical and reductive concepts of gender is annoying enough, but the complete lack of female representation in their superhero-based toys is just dumb.  Notice how the Wizard of Oz toys include the male characters that feature prominently in the story, while ALL of their superhero lines exclude the many female characters who are key parts of each program.  You’ve got to go out of your way to not include a single female character over five different lines of superhero toys. They’re really hard to miss, but it seems that DC and McDonald’s have learned how to expertly turn a blind eye.  It shouldn’t be so hard to get a female superhero with your chicken nuggets.


McDonald’s Yet Again Excludes Female Characters In Young Justice Toy Line

November 7, 2012

This is, sadly, the fourth post in what’s become a series about McDonald’s and DC Comics’ poor/non-existent treatment of their female characters in their Happy Meal toy lines.  Let’s start with a quick refresher.

In March 2011, McDonald’s first line of Young Justice toys featured no female characters at all, despite there being several ladies on the team:

Then in May 2011, their numerous Batman: The Brave and the Bold figures didn’t have any women either:

Then in April 2012, McDonald’s put out toys based on Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which also didn’t include a single female character:

And now they’re back at it.  They have a new line of Young Justice figures comprised of skateboards featuring some of the cast of the show.  Let’s see if there are any female characters this time:

Not a one.  We have Robin, Batman, Superboy, Superman, Aqualad, and Kid Flash, and that’s it.

First off, they’re WAY behind.  The show jumped ahead five years a while ago and became Young Justice: Invasion.  Robin is Nightwing now, Aqualad is a secret bad guy, and Kid Flash is retired.  Superboy looks about the same, but regardless, these are some very poorly-planned tie-ins.  And it’s made even worse by the fact that the show isn’t even on the air right now.  Well done, everyone.

Second, no ladies!!  Young Justice has several great, starring female characters.  Miss Martian, Artemis, Zatanna, Batgirl, Wonder Girl, Bumblebee… there are options, and most of them are on the show more than Batman and Superman are.  But no.  McDonald’s and DC Comics have shown yet again that they don’t think girls and superheroes go together.

They also clearly don’t think that girls want to get superhero toys either, since alongside the Young Justice toys there’s this very pink and purple line of Littlest Pet Shop toys:

The Young Justice line is for boys, and the Littlest Pet Shop line is for girls, because I guess it’s 1952 and that’s just how things roll.

This is a big problem.  Dichotomous gender roles pigeonhole kids and teach them that it’s not okay to just be themselves and like what they like.  They have to match these prescribed roles.  I’m sure there’s lots of girls who’d want a Young Justice skateboard (my nieces sure would), and there’s lots of boys who’d prefer a cute animal from the Littlest Pet Shop, but two things happen:

a)  Kids aren’t given the choice, seeing as they are assigned toys based on their gender.

b)  If given the choice, kids are more likely to align themselves with their gender role when it’s presented to them so starkly, lest they be considered odd.

That’s just awful.  Plus, teaching them these gender roles at such a young age colours their thinking for the rest of their lives.  This stuff gets engrained.  Women are homemakers and mothers and they love pink and adorable things.  Men are big, strong breadwinners and they love sports and action.  Now, none of those things are bad at all.  It’s the idea that you’re SUPPOSED to fit a mould based solely on your gender that screws up a lot of people.

Anyway, McDonald’s may be delicious with their chicken nuggets and golden fries, but they’re awful when it comes to gender roles.  And DC Comics isn’t much better.  Give us some female characters next time, please.  They exist, and people like them.  Don’t pretend the show is all boys, for boys.

Wonder Woman Clip From Batman: The Brave And The Bold

May 25, 2011

Wonder Woman might not be on NBC this fall, but she’s set to appear in animated form on the next episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold… and it looks super fun:

I have some thoughts:

First off, using the classic theme song is awesome!!  It’s  enjoyably retro, AND it totally fits with Batman: The Brave and the Bold‘s vibe too. 

Second, Wonder Woman swooping in to save the day (jumping off of the invisible jet no less) is always a good time.  It’s fun when Wonder Woman has to save the fellows.

Third, Steve was hilariously into Wonder Woman… that dude loves being a damsel in distress.

Fourth, Vicki Lewis is Wonder Woman, and it totally works!!  Vicki Lewis is forever Beth from Newsradio in my mind, so when I heard that she would be voicing Wonder Woman, I couldn’t see it at all, but she pulled it off well (though I was hoping she’d say “Ah, sarcasm… the last refuge of sons of bitches”).

Fifth, I think the villain might be Baroness Paula von Gunther.  Those are some Nazi-looking bad guys, and their leader is a blonde woman Wonder Woman calls “Baroness”.  If I’m right, that’s a fun old school reference.

Sixth, it sounds like this is the opening of the show, the mini-episode before the credits and the real episode begins.  The show is entitled “The Scorn of the Star Sapphire!” and is going to have Green Lantern(s?) in it, so I assume that’ll be the bulk of the episode.  It’s a bummer Wonder Woman isn’t in the whole thing, but something’s better than nothing.  And maybe they’ll have her back on again soon.

Seventh, how is there not a Wonder Woman cartoon???!!!  It would be SO much fun… she could swoop in and kick some ass and save Steve, and they could have the Holliday girls and secret identity hilarity and everything.  It’s got everything you need for a fantastic cartoon!!  Batman’s been done in SO many ways, and he works so well in all of them, and I think Wonder Woman has the same malleability if DC would only give it a chance (they won’t, obviously… they passed on Ben Caldwell’s manga Wonder Woman pitch, which could have been HUGE… I don’t know how ANYONE could say no to Ben Caldwell).  Wonder Woman like a Brave and the Bold, Silver Age throwback could be so fun, though so could a more modern Wonder Woman like The Batman or a moodier show like Batman: The Animated Series (imagine a noirish Wonder Woman cartoon set during WW2… how awesome would that be??).  Anyway, I think she’s got mad potential.

This episode was scheduled to air this Friday, May 27th, but I’ve seen a few people saying it’s been pushed back to next Friday, June 3rd, so I’m not sure when it’s going to be on.  Check your local listings, I guess!!

McDonald’s Is At It Again With Dichotomous Gender Roles

May 10, 2011

A little while back, I wrote a piece about McDonald’s toys and their practice of offering two different toy lines, one for girls and one for boys.  The divisions are remarkably rigid, and McDonald’s seems to be going out of its way to make each line as stereotypically male or female as possible.  Customers are not asked which toy their child would like by name, but rather if they want the “boy” toy or the “girl” toy.  It’s a very insidious set-up all around, and you can read more about it in the first article.

But now McDonald’s has some new superhero toys in their Happy Meals, and I thought it might be good to check them out and see if things have improved.  They’re based on the Batman: The Brave and the Bold TV show, and there’s quite an extensive collection:

Let’s run through them, in case you’re not familiar with all of the characters, starting with the top left and going clockwise:

  • Batman and the Penguin
  • Solomon Grundy, Firestorm, and Two-Face
  • Black Manta, Aquaman, and Batman Robot
  • Another Batman and the Riddler
  • The Spectre and Gentleman Ghost
  • Robin, Batman again, and Gorilla Grodd
  • Sportsmaster, one more Batman, and the Flash
  • Bat-Mite and the Joker

There are twenty different figures (and a few vehicles), and they’re ALL men.  Not a single lady in the whole line.  No Wonder Woman or Batgirl or Black Canary or Huntress or Zatanna or any of the many other female superheroes who have appeared on the show.  No female villains either.  Just a lot of dudes.  So not only is the line offered just to boys, there are no female characters in the line to break up the male hegemony.  Superheroes are only for boys, and only boys can be superheroes… good work, McDonald’s.

Here are the “girl” toys… they are something called Zoobles:

They pop up into cute, big eyed animals like this:

So, pastel colours, hearts, flowers, and cute little animals for little girls to love and care for.  They’re super stereotypical AND trying to bring out some maternal instincts.  Good lord, McDonald’s.

It seems that the food isn’t the only thing that’s bad for you at McDonald’s.  Know what’s the saddest thing about all of this?  I could REALLY go for some Chicken McNuggets right now.  You’re an evil, evil place, McDonald’s… even when I’m all sorts of irked with you, you get your delicious hooks into me!!

Awesome Dark Knight Returns References On Batman: The Brave And The Bold AND A Dirty Joke

March 26, 2011

I heard that Superman was going to be on the third season premiere of Batman: The Brave And The Bold tonight and so I tuned in, as I’m unable to pass up a Superman/Batman team-up.  Brave and the Bold is a really cute show, and it regularly references old Silver Age stories.  For example, the show began with Batman and Robin taking down King Tut dressed like so:

In a bit that referenced several elements of the 1960s Batman TV show AND this story from Detective Comics #320:

The whole aesthetic of the show is campy, Silver Age fun, and it’s a good time.

Tonight, however, the references got a little more modern.  Superman got infected with red kryptonite, which makes him evil, and he declared himself the king of Metropolis.  In the words of Batman, he was acting like a “rude, selfish, sadistic creep.”  And so Batman got armoured up to take Superman down in a SPECTACULAR homage to their battle in Frank Miller’s gritty The Dark Knight Returns.  Check out these great recreations of panels from the book.

First, here’s Batman kicking the hell out of Superman in DKR:

And here’s Batman doing the same on Batman: The Brave and the Bold:

Then, here’s Batman delivering a mighty blow to Superman in DKR:

And Batman doing the same on Brave and the Bold:

How fantastic is that?  It’s the EXACT same armour and the EXACT same image!!  I love that a bright, cheery kid’s show directly referenced one of the darkest and most violent Batman comics of all time… it’s super classy.

ALSO, Lois totally threw down an awesome double entendre that made me guffaw.  While writing an article praising Superman’s good works in Metropolis, Lois muses that:

The world would be a better place if we all had a little Superman within us.

Am I reading too much into that, or is that totally a dirty joke?  Let me add that the line was very quickly followed by Lois imagining her and Superman and their hypothetical children… and how are Super-children made?  By having a little Superman within you. 

So good work, folks at Batman: The Brave and the Bold… you amused the hell out of me tonight.  That was one crazy entertaining half hour.

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