It seems as if the villains and heroes who live in Gotham City have pretty sweet licensing deals. Based on the appearance of the fast food chain “Bat Burger” in Batman issue #16, the citizens of Gotham are not only aware of real superheroes, but they’re hungry for merchandising with their faces on it. Bat Burger, for instance, sells food based on real Batman villains, which is pretty messed up if you consider how Joker and Riddler are essentially domestic terrorists.
Thus far, comics writer Tom King has done an excellent job redefining Batman and Gotham City in his take on the Dark Knight. First, he explored Batman’s depression, then his romantic relationship with Catwoman. Now, he’s exploring a little bit of the city around Batman, showing readers a lunch meeting between Bruce Wayne and his many Robins at the Bat Burger. By the way, the Batman-themed joint sells a KGBLT, Riddle-Me-Fish, Two-Face Sandwich, and Ivy Salad (Not Poison).
There’s even an option to “Jokerize” your french fries, which means Bat Burger will season your fries with a red, white, and green seasoning, and Batman finds that option incredibly distasteful. On the other hand, Jason Todd, the Red Hood who was the former Robin murdered by the Joker at one point, actually really likes Jokerized fries, “despite the whole crowbar thing.” That joke, of course, refers to the fact that Joker beat him almost to death with a crowbar, and murdered his mother.
This development begs a lot of new questions about Gotham City. For example, are the citizens of Gotham so desensitized to the constant terrorism of their supervillains that they feel comfortable eating food based on actual murderers? Is branding supervillains a kind of nihilistic coping mechanism for Gothamites? Do the villains get a pay cut from licensing out their likeness to corporations?
What’s more, the supervillain brand might even extend beyond food. What’s stopping Poison Ivy from having a line of plant care products, or Mister Freeze’s series of refrigerators, or even, Catwoman-branded kitty litter? There’s a very real possibility that Gotham’s answer to constant terror is capitalism, which would explain the existence of Wayne Security, the Wayne Corporation in charge of selling consumer protection against superpowered dangers in NBC’s upcoming superhero comedy series, Powerless.
Batman #16 is currently available at comic book retailers.