The Condiment King: An Oral History

Alex M. Parker

Alex M. Parker

Alex Parker is a policy writer in Washington, D.C. with 15 years of journalism experience.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Deconstruction is all the rage these days.

    It’s changed how comics are written and our relationship to Batman’s relationship to villains.

    I mean, if I sat down to write a Batman story, I’m pretty sure that I could come up with a serviceable story involving, oh, The Joker. The crime would be Joker threatening a family and threatening to shoot the parents in front of the kid and have the Joker say something like “Could be the best thing that ever happened to the tyke!” before Batman beats the ever-living itshay out of him.

    A Two-Face story where Two-Face is killing his competition and Batman has to save a villain from a bigger villain.

    A Penguin story where Penguin sets up a crime as a decoy for another crime and Batman finds out that they were both decoys for a third crime (the crime that Penguin *REALLY* cared about succeeding).

    You know. Nothing really special… but competent enough, I’d think. Touch on the tragedy of the various characters involved. But not really post-modern. No super-hidden context.

    Condiment King, though… he gives the writer an opportunity to come up with something. I mean, the first time you read about CK, you think “that’s stupid!” and then you worry at it and worry at it and think “well, is it *POSSIBLE* to write a decent story about the Condiment King?”

    And, next thing you know… you’re writing one.

    What would happen in Arkham? Why, Chuck Dixon himself realized that he’d have a conversation with Poison Ivy about ingredients.

    And next thing you know, you’ve got a storyline. He’s a villain in a Batman comic who knows he’s a villain in a Batman comic and does what a villain in a Batman comic would do.

    Oh, my gosh. He’d show up at a State Fair and bring his own special madness to a contest involving chili or hot wings or hot sauce or something. Jeez. Now I’ve got one…Report

  2. Oh gosh I thought I commented, I guess not.

    Thanks for another fun piece Alex! I really enjoyed it!

    And I want to second what Jaybird said about the challenge it presents a writer – take it from the person who just wrote a 27 page story about a woman fighting a monster couch based on a 3 minute conversation. Sometimes the offbeat stuff is more fun to sink your teeth into than more mainstream ideas.

    Thanks for documenting the backstory of TCK!!Report