The Case of the Chemicals Indicated


I’d say that a funny thing happened on my way back from a long-overdue visit to family in California, but it involves the Transportation Security Administration and wasn’t funny — except insofar as it was Batman’s fault.

NJCroce Batman figure in packaging

During a stop at Bay Area fixture Cost Plus World Market, I got the bendable figure above* as an early holiday gift to myself. I had seen this line of figures before, on the Interwebs, in two varieties: a Batman ’66 set modeled on the characters as portrayed in that show, and Justice League members in the style of Darwyn Cooke’s designs for his miniseries The New Frontier. The figures are made in China, which I don’t love, and the faces on most of the ones in the store were disappointing enough that I only got a single figure, this Batman, for my small and now rarely expanding collection. (Fellow comics aficionados will surely note that the logo used here is “wrong”. The New Frontier takes place in the 1950s and this logo debuted in 1970. So it’s retro; it’s just not the proper vintage of retro.) [*Image cadged from the manufacturer's website since mine didn't photograph well.]

Anyway, I had exactly one thing in my carry-on luggage flying home that wasn’t there flying out to San Francisco, and spoiler alert it was the figure. When TSA flagged my bag for inspection, I just assumed they were doing a random check. The screeners were apparently looking for something in particular, though, and didn't know what until they started removing and swabbing various articles. I guess the figure's plastic shares a chemical signature with stuff that, in certain quantities or combinations, one does not want on one’s airplane. We did make our flight, thankfully, figure included.

So, yeah, Batman got detained by TSA, which — darker incarnations notwithstanding, perhaps — is close enough to ironic for Alanis Morissette.

The play on words in this post’s title is among both the most tortured and least likely to be recognized in the history of this blog, incidentally, so it’s good I chiefly do that to amuse myself.




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