In 1991, I was 9 years old and the novelty of Happy Meal toys at McDonald’s was starting to wear thin. We had gone from Changeables and Super Mario Bros to Barbie, Hot Wheels and Nature’s Helpers Gardening Tools. But one night, my friend’s Mom took us out to McDonald’s and I laid eyes on the best Happy Meal premium I had ever seen. It was Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Taz and a “female Porky Pig” (I had never heard of Petunia Pig), but they were dressed as DC Comics super heroes!
That “wascally wabbit” could snap on tights and a cape to become Super Bugs! Daffy Duck donned a cowl to prowl the night at Bat-Duck, Taz took on the persona of my favorite canceled comic book TV show, as Taz-Flash, while Petunia threw on some star-spangled Underoos and a grabbed a lasso to become Wonder Pig! Each toy came with a black and white mini-comic to explain their heroic identity and having just started collecting comics, I was in heaven.
There was even a toys for kids 3 and under featuring Bat-Duck driving in his Duckmobile as one solid piece of soft rubber, as opposed to the hard plastic costumes that could break apart into two halves, that were a possible choking hazard. With 5 toys in all, this was a simple but beautifully conceived set of toys.
In the decades since first encountering Super Looney Tunes, my appreciation for them has only grown and I have managed to pick up the original in-store display, the translite ad that went on the menu boards and a couple of the original Happy Meal bags. Every time I look at these fast food treasures, I am instantly transported back to that night in the early 90’s. I’ve been milking that nostalgia for over 30 years, but little did I know that the Super Looney Tunes would return!
Beyond the era of the radical Burger King Kids Club, the only time I have thought about that charbroiled burger establishment’s Kids Meals was in 2007 during the release of Spider-Man 3. I was supremely hyped for that films and hit up many BK locations to get the whole set of toys and other promo items. But my kids love a Burger King play place, and in taking them for a special lunch trip at the beginning of July 2023, I noticed something very special on the menu as I ordered their food…
It had to be a mirage created by the grease-soaked air inside the restaurant. Was I really seeing Bugs Bunny in a Superman costume? Had Daffy dared to suit up in his cape and cowl again? It was no delusion, the Super Looney Tunes were back, baby! After distributing the meals to my kids and excitedly explaining the monumental occasion they were bearing witness to, I was met with blank stares. They had fries to eat and slides to enjoy. Meanwhile I was buzzing with excitement.
I quickly Googled the promotion and was panicked to find out that the toys had started being offered a month prior, which didn’t bode well for me assembling a full set. Plus, since they were offering 8 figures total, the cost to travel to all nearby Burger King locations to purchase each toy separately would be ridiculous. Luckily an eBay seller was offering a full lot of these glorious toys at a fair price and just a few days later I had them in hand. Of course the comparisons of old and new began immediately.
Starting with Super Bugs, you can see that the BK version is taller and has a more complete costume with boots and leggings that is not removable. Which is fine, since the action feature this time around finds Bugs raising his arms to fly, while a sculpted whoosh of air appears below him. This is a very cool mechanism, but unfortunately it only works in motion, so you can’t set the “Bunny of Steel” up to look like he’s taking off for the skies.
Bat-Duck 2023 has not only opted for a lighter shade of blue for his cowl, boots and expandable cape, but he seems to have been officially endorsed by Bruce Wayne, allowing him to bear the official Bat-Emblem instead of a duck silhouette. I have to admit that this figure looks a bit more complete because he’s painted with a full mask, as opposed to the McDonald’s version that just looks like Daffy is wearing a Bat-Hood. Not great for the old secret identity, y’know?
I can understand why Petunia was chosen to wear the Wonder Woman costume initially, since the Looney Tunes really didn’t have any prominent female characters in 1991, even after more than 50 years of producing cartoons! Luckily, Space Jam (and its sequel) had come out in the 30 years since and now Lola Bunny is suited up in her tiara to take on evil with her Lasso of Justice. Wonder Pig is a funnier name than Wonder Bunny, but Lola definitely feels like she has more athletic prowess than Petunia.
Taz has taken a interesting turn in the 21st century, since he has now been assimilated by a mother box to become Cy-Taz/Taz-Borg, which doesn’t make a whole lotta sense. Honestly, it would have been more on-brand if Taz had been Red Tornado to begin with, but even 30 years after that missed opportunity, DC’s twirling android is hardly a household name. Making Roadrunner The Flash is pure genius though. I only wish they could have added Wile E. Coyote into the mix as Flash villain, Captain Boomerang, because Mr. Meep-Meep is nothing without his hungry adversary.
Like I said, we’ve gone from an original count of just 4 (or 5, if you count the under 3 toy) to a total of 8 figures and the final trio all hail from Gotham City. Though due to the inclusion of Porky Pig as Robin, The Pork Wonder, maybe it should be “Got-Ham City”, am I right? Porky is wonderful because he hearkens back to the original removable costume gimmick, while Sylvester as The Joker is like one of those mooing sound tubes that kind of squeaks out a feline cackle if you shake it. But choosing Tweety to be costumed as Harley Quinn has got to be the most bonkers decision in my opinion. The only connection I can make is that in the original Suicide Squad movie, Margot Robbie does create a swing out of sheets in her cell and rides it like a swinging bar bird in a cage. But this is the Batman The Animated Series costume design, so even that stretch doesn’t really work. The figure has lenticular eyes that move back and forth at different angles, in case you were curious.
I really have no complaints about this set and Burger King deserves a few more jewels in their crown for bringing back this very fun mash-up. It just fills me with joy that some executive in Warner Bros or Burger King licensing shared my fondness for the McDonald’s originals enough to coordinate the return of the Super Looney Tunes and make them better than ever. I can’t wait to see how they revive the concept in another 30 years as I enjoy the fun with a side of fries.