?Like Coke and Pepsi, McDonald’s and Burger King are locked in a seemingly-eternal battle over their slice of the food galaxy. Of course, that extends past their bland, factory-made burgers to their toy offerings, too. McDonald’s struck first with its Happy Meal and its accompanying goodies (you can check out our favorites here), but Burger King was quick to respond with its own brightly colored cardboard box full of greasy kids’ grub and equally greasy, cheap plastic toys once they realized kids will happily psychologically torture their parents for them.
Of course, even though they were cheap, that doesn’t mean that some of their Kids Meal toys still weren’t pretty darned cool. Indeed, the King gave his subjects a lot of great figures and figurines over the years, especially when it came to the DC animated universe. Hit the jump to check out some of our picks!
10) Superman: The Animated Series
Superman: TAS is often lost in the titanic shadow cast by the animated work done for his more brooding Justice League teammate. That said, the S-Man’s show would’ve made Ma and Pa Kent proud (if they’d watched it), and the BK tie-ins were qually worthy, featuring numerous Supermen and Lois in her sports car, because… I don’t know, but at least it wasn’t a toy of her hanging off a ledge or something. Our personal favorite is the transforming phone booth, because let’s face it, no hero disrobes in public quite like Supes.
9) The Twilight Saga: Eclipse
Leave it to fast food to mesh consuming fattening patties with the adventures of pale dudes and bland ladies in search of love. Obviously, girl nerds got the lion’s share of fulfillment out of these, but that didn’t stop Burger King from trying (hilariously) to make them appeal to guys as well. We think a UV reveal wristband could be a cool idea, but c’mon, few self-respecting dudes would sport it, the Eclipse morphin’ wallet or the Taylor Lautner backpack clip. That said, nerdettes had plenty to enjoy here, including the Edward Cullen crest hologram ring, and the set’s charm bracelet.
8) Batman Beyond
This group included three sweet figures of future Batman, and a host of other solid options to reenact Terry McGinnis’s futuristic crusade against crime, but that’s not to say there wasn’t room for a few unfulfilled entries from our wishlist. For one, we’re still lamenting the absence of Old Man Grumpy-Pants Wayne (with growl sound effect). Also, where the heck’s Ace the Bat-Hound?! Sigh, ya can’t win ’em all, eh?
7) SpongeBob SquarePants: Lost in Time
Following SpongeBob through time is a pretty epic idea. We have to give the King a high five for committing so wholeheartedly to the concept — there were 20 different SpongeBob figures to collect, including cowboy, viking, and knight versions of the cheery sea sponge. With all that variety, it’s pretty much a time-hoppin’ dream come true. And the fact that there’s a Don Quixote SpongeBob figure totally blows our minds.
This classic ThunderCats treasure trove looks pretty weird when compared to most of this list’s other groupings, but that’s okay. It’s here mostly because of the ridiculously sweet lenticular Lion-O ring. Or was that the Snarf straw holder? The lightswitch plate? Actually, this whole thing’s pretty much a must-have for any T-Cats fan, right down to the collector cup. Burger King, hoooooo!
5) TMNT Bike Gear
Fast food may be ridiculously unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean the toys have to be. Leo and the rest of the turtle brothers wanted to help kids burn off calories in style with these bike accessories, which included a “Cowabunga!” license plate and TMNT horn. Hey, the TV ad even showed the Turtles pedaling their way out of the Burger King parking lot — way to lead by example, guys! Extra points for managing to ride a bicycle in those costumes. Incidentally, has there ever been anyone more personally satisfied with not having pickles on his burger than the kid at the beginning?
4) Justice League
?If you like your Justice Leaguers in dramatic action poses, look no further. This promotion came with the seven usual suspects, each with an action feature that highlighted their superpowers (with the notable exception of hovering Batman). If that weren’t enough DC delectable-ness, each toy also included its own mini-comic book.
3) Dragonball Z andPowerPuff Girls
We dig this set because it’s friendly to both sides of the nerd gender divide. Each pack came with two toys, combining a pair of Cartoon Network’s most popular shows at the time — namely, Dragon Ball Z and Powerpuff Girls — for BK’s “Big Kids Meal” (because only big kids can handle the excitement of getting two toys instead of one.. .or something). Still, an epic idea.
2) The Simpsons Spooky Light-Ups/Creepy Classics (Tie)
Inspired by the beloved “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, Burger King produced two lines of Halloween-y Simpsons toys for its kids meals. The Spooky Light-Ups came with costumed figures on detachable bases and featured puns that were revealed by flipping a switch. Some of this wordplay was appropriately horrifying, like Bart’s “BONE (flip-switch) TO BE WILD!” signage (ugh).
? 2002’s Creepy Classics also featured characters on stands, but instead of lights, the bases came with panels that revealed the castmembers in punchlines and transformations with the pull of a lever. If you missed them the first time around, you can still empty your wallet on eBay for a priceless boost to your Simpsons cred.
1) Lord of the Rings
Nerds love collecting stuff that connects together to form bigger stuff. Since they’re known to also mildly enjoy Tolkien’s writing (and the movies based on it), releasing a Lord of the Rings set where all the figures click together to form what is essentially a big plastic light-up pie was a no-brainer. With 19 toys in all, they’re as collectibles as those rings Gandalf kept talking about!