Ding-Dong Daddy

Ding-Dong Daddy
The comic book history of Ding-Dong Daddy, an enemy of the Teen Titans, from DC Comics.

Before we start off, yeah. Ding Dong Daddy is either a terrible name or an amazing one, and it's tough to say anyone would really pull of Ding Dong Daddy, but this character gets about as close as anyone could. I will say that it does get worse. Wikipedia abbreviates it as DDD which...no. To the comics' credit I've read all two issues with Ding-Dong Daddy and neither of them call him triple-D. That being said it looks like Ding-Dong Daddy makes an appearance in the Teen Titans animated show and there he might go by triple-D... Regardless, definitely don't Google either of his names at work.

Who's your...nope. Not even going to do that.

Before we get to Ding Dong Daddy watching teenage girls dance...yes, that's a thing, the Teen Titans were called in to the President's Commission on Education to help with teen dropout rates.

And yeah, the stakes for this issue were...low. High school dropout rates in the 60s were pretty high, and at first glance, it doesn't seem like it's a reason people read superhero comics. That being said, this was 1966, right at the fevered, holy unexpected popularity of the Batman TV show, so people weren't opening DC Comics for gritty realism. They wanted a squeaky-clean, brightly lit Gotham and a Robin dressed in the style of Burt Ward with his tight green underwear. You can actually see the illustrators struggle with drawing shadows in the only panel in which they make an appearance.

Is this how you do shadows? Image copyright DC Comics.

Anyway, the Teen Titans, consisting of Robin, Aqualad, Wonder Girl, and Kid Flash, needed to go check out Harrison High in, quote, Averagetown, America.

Kid Flash rightfully raises an objection after the meeting - should they, teen vigilantes, really just do whatever the Federal Government asks of them. Robin, from the Stanley Milgrim school of civic duty, shut him down, saying that an authority figure asked them to do it, so they're going to do it.

If the man tells us to give him 400 volts, Kid Flash, WE GIVE HIM 400 VOLTS OR DO YOU NOT LOVE AMERICA? Image copyright DC Comics.

Dropout Rates Above Average in Averagetown

At Harrison High, they learned the truth. Dropout rates were so high because the kids...were all getting awesome jobs. As soon as they were legally able to drop out, they would go to Ding Dong Daddy's hot rod shop for a job that paid way too much.

Ding Dong Daddy was a large, goateed super cool cat who spoke in the slang of the time and brought that out in Robin who said stuff like "we dig," and Kid Flash who took to calling his teammate Wonder Girl, "Wonder Chick."

I've always wondered how the villains with no engineering background or technical know-how end up having the machines they need to do crime, and the answer is Ding Dong Daddy.

And, I should say, Ding-Dong Daddy's name was an homage to illustrator and hot rod designer Ed "Bid Daddy" Roth. It's also about as subtle as a sledgehammer, because he's a Ding-Dong, get it? It's like they named him "bad guy you shouldn't be like, children."

That being said, Ding-Dong Daddy owned it, wearing his name across his chest and...he might have been kind of a genius because his crime machines - ha - managed to get away from Batman.

We were exposed to his work on the first couple of pages where one of his hot rods robbed a Gotham bank. The car drove right in, the robotic arms emptied the till without the driver having to leave the car, and, because this was a Gotham City bank, the automatic machine gun turrets owned and operated by the bank didn't leave a scratch on the car as they sprayed bullets around the enclosed, customer-packed bank.

There are literally three civilians in this panel right next to the target. Image copyright DC Comics.

He also made an electrified car that downs Wonder Girl when she tried to lasso it and a wagon that shot surfboards at Kid Flash because surfing is cool, right? Kids like surfing?

The Teen Titans realized something was up when, touring Ding Dong Daddy's factory, they saw a minigun being mounted on an ice cream truck which, yeah, that should raise some questions.

I Am Become Dropout, the Dropper of Out

They knew they had to blend in, though, and so they were going to do the one thing the government asked them to stop. Become drop-outs.

There's a...not really explained bit where there's a rival hotrot shop called the Scorchers and there's an actual gang war between Ding Dong Daddy's dropouts and the Scorchers who are both adults and look like the artist wanted to draw a top hat, a jughead hat, and a German World War I helmet all in the same panel. Also posted on the site.

They apparently raided a costume shop right before this fight. Image copyright DC Comics.

Anyway, the Teen Titans help Ding Dong Daddy's guys beat the Scorchers, and they tell the dropouts that the guy who employs them is only using them to build weapons for supercriminals.

He's...paying them, remember. They're not having a wider conversation about capitalism, but Robin does say multiple times that the 18-year-olds are being exploited despite being paid several times the market rate.

Short story even shorter, the Teen Titans sneak in, gather evidence while the teenage Wonder Girl danced for Ding-Dong Daddy, get Ding Dong Daddy to confess on the PA, and he's arrested. His all-drop-out workforce decides to go back to school, and everything is again right with the world.

So yeah, if you meet a guy who calls himself Ding Dong Daddy, or, less tastefully, triple-D, employs only teens who drop out of schools, leers at teen girls dancing, and stocks a lot more ammunition than any other hot rod shop...yeah, that guy might not be on the level.

Yiiiiikes. Image copyright DC Comics.

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