One thing that's changed a lot since I was a kid: the quality of toys that come in a Happy Meal. When I was a youngster, a Happy Meal generally came with some super cheap toy that wasn't particularly exciting. Kids today, on the other hand, still get something cheap -- but it's usually a tie-in to a movie or something you'd actually care about keeping for longer than the car ride home. Case in point? These Marvel Heroes action figures that the Golden Arches are currently giving away.

Of course, since this is America, someone is complaining about these toys and how they're the end of civilization as we know it. The Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood has targeted the figures -- particularly The Thing and The Human Torch. What's wrong with two of The Fantastic Four's main members? "One action figure, The Thing, menacingly roars 'It's clobberin' time!' each time a child presses a button on its back. Another, The Human Torch, is a man on fire."

CCFC Director Dr. Susan Linn shows how little she understands boys by adding, "But now, for preschool boys, a so-called happy meal at McDonald's features the horrifying spectacle of a man engulfed in flames ..." Truth is, I've never met a boy who didn't find The Human Torch incredibly cool, which is about as far from horrifying as you can get. Linn further demonstrates a certain amount of short-sightedness by stating, "It's awful that this giveaway continues the troubling trend of fast food restaurants promoting toys linked to violent PG-13 movies." There's no movie coming out with these characters in it -- and it ignores the fact that The Fantastic Four have been around in comic form for years -- including Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four, a series for young kids that published until last year.

In the CCFC's defense, I agree with their argument that putting toys in junk food meals to entice kids to eat the dreck McDonalds' calls food is a terrible practice. Just leave the Marvel superheroes out of the crusade, please. Do you think we're about to see an outbreak of children lighting themselves on fire just to be like Johnny Storm, or is the CCFC overreacting?

[via Nerd Bastards]