Are you ready to meet the Sultan of Sauce? Cover up your clothing to protect it from wayward shots of mustard and ketchup and have a seat. We need to talk about Condiment King, and I hope you'll relish the experience.
If you saw The LEGO Batman Movie this weekend, you were introduced to this wielder of weapons that dispense substances usually used as food enhancement. The Joker included the unlikely rogue in his list of allies attacking Gotham City, and even though the Captain thinks Joker's making some of the villains up because of how ridiculous they sound, they're all real.
Yes, the Condiment King is actually a DC villain. And no, we don’t think he’s keeping Batman up nights. Or Nightwing, Robin or Batgirl. Maybe Alfred, since it’s probably on him to remove any stains left on the Batsuit, but even that’s debatable.
Condiment King was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series, giving him at least one thing in common with Harley Quinn. He was a throwback to the wacky denizens of evil that debuted in the '60s live-action Batman show. He didn't actively pursue an appetizing life of crime. No, the Condiment King got into character because the Joker took control of his mind and came up with the half-baked idea of forcing him to wield condiments as weapons. (Actually, the fact that he fell under the influence of the Joker would give him two things in common with Harley Quinn. Hey, you’re moving up in the super-villain world, CK!)
Before his spicy turn as a scoundrel, the Condiment King was Buddy Standler, a famous comedian who eventually crossed paths with the Joker. Under the Joker's brainwashing influence, Standler attached hoses to squirt guns and connected the unassuming firearms with containers of ketchup and mustard. He went to a fancy schmancy restaurant and held up the patrons by threatening them with condiments. The Condiment King pulled out the big guns and attacked with a packet of hot sauce.
Silliness aside, that's actually pretty clever. I mean, have you ever rubbed your eyes after using Sriracha sauce? It's serious business.
Condiment King didn't win the day because Batman showed up, but he did get to deliver this classic line: "Parting is such sweet and sour sorrow." But, it wasn't goodbye. Condiment King persisted and continued into the comics.
On the page, Condiment King's real name was Mitchell Mayo. It's not the sort of surname that commands respect, and Mayo struggled with being taken seriously while he cooked up dastardly plots. It's almost as if heroes aren't intimidated by a lowlife toting burger and hot dog accoutrements as though they're dangerous. Condiment King stopped by BATGIRL: YEAR ONE and ROBIN #171. The lack of fear he instilled in, well, anyone frustrated him.
However, in BIRDS OF PREY #37, Condiment King found the right recipe. He picked up a thing or two from Poison Ivy while they were both serving a stint in Arkham. Mayo stirred the pot and came up with a concoction that caused Blue Beetle, Black Canary and Robin to go into anaphylactic shock. How deliciously evil.
Most recently, the flavorful foe made a cameo alongside several other villains in Tom King and Mitch Gerad’s BATMAN #14 (above). You can also unlock the unsavory character in LEGO Batman 3: Beyond Gotham and hear DC All Access’s Tiffany Smith sing his name (along with many other equally obscure characters) in this video promoting the game. Seriously, it’s worth a watch. I mean, it’s no “Who’s the (Bat)Man,” but it’s still pretty amazing.
Remember: even though squirting ketchup and mustard out of a weapon sounds like a fun and harmless idea, it's potentially harmful! If nothing else, consider all the stains you'd have to spend hours scrubbing away. Don't try this at home, but DO go see The LEGO Batman Movie if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s funny, exciting and (as you can clearly see) full of geeky references. In fact, you can say it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread—and you know what goes great on sliced bread, right?
The LEGO Batman Movie is now in theaters. Click here for tickets.