In mid-July 2009, Andrew Shirey’s Fast Food Mafia, original artwork of a handful of fast-food icons re-envisioned as mafia dons, took the web by storm. A few weeks later, he expanded the number of bosses to a lucky thirteen.
I reached out to him and purchased a print.
After having hosted my first food event at John Martin’s, I was about to announce my first big event celebrating the one-year blogiversary of my site, the Burger Beast Burgie Awards. I asked Andrew to design the poster, and he came up with a riff on the Lord of the Rings with a golden burger replacing the most sought-after ring in all the lands.
I loved it and would commission him to create the posters for three more Burgie Awards events. They’re all beautiful in their ways and film-based, which is a great nod to my past life.
The Artwork of Andrew Shirey
Andrew Shirey’s Fast Food Mafia was all over the internet in July 2009. His idea to recreate all the fast-food icons as mafia bosses was original and well done.
- Jack in the Box — Robert “Jack in the” Box
- McDonald’s — Ronald McDonald, Grimace, and Birdie
- Burger King — “The King”
- Wendy’s — Wendy
- Kentucky Fried Chicken — founder Harland Sanders
- Papa John’s Pizza — founder John Schnatter
- Little Caesars — Little Caesar
- Taco Bell — chihuahua dog
- Panda Express — panda
- Sonic Drive-in — founder Troy Smith and Katie, the carhop
- Quiznos — talking baby Bob
- Subway — spokesman Jared Fogle
- Dairy Queen — talking red lips
Here’s the revised and final version with some new Dons. I’ve included an explanation of each one by Andrew Shirey.
Going from top to bottom, left to right:
After seeing those commercials with the bus collision that results in Jack’s temporary coma, specifically the amateur report that reveals the accident was a hit job involving “The King” and “R. McD.”, it seemed very appropriate. According to the commercials, this is the second time he’s had facial reconstructive surgery after certain company board members had tried to dispose of him earlier. So leaving the scars seemed like a good touch.
I knew to be careful not to make Ron McDonald look like a rip-off of Dark Knight’s Joker. Still, comparisons have and will be made, but that can’t be helped.
After all, they both wear suits and clown makeup. I tried to go in a very different direction with Ronald and his crew. I kept thinking about how
lazymills1986 might design them. (she’s an awesome artist, for those who don’t know. Check her out.)
Felt like a cross between a Colombian drug lord and a robber baron with his design. If B.K. had a voice, he’d sound like Señor Esteban Vihaio from Kill Bill. However, B.K. is not a pimp. So I was making that known.
Went for a more Victorian aristocratic feel in her design, but with a touch of Southern belle.
Kentucky Fried Chicken
“The Colonel” was the easiest. It didn’t do anything to him, save for changing his suit gray and adding pinstripes.
Papa John’s Pizza
Like “the Colonel,” there wasn’t much to do with “Papa” John. But, honestly, having a real person to model them after takes the fun out of the creative process.
It looks like Clemenza from Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather, doesn’t it? I didn’t see it until now. But, of course, that was probably subconscious since I’m a die-hard Godfather fan.
Okay, yes, the resemblance here was intentional. Think Tony Montana, but with a Napoleon complex. The nickname comes from a combination of his short stature and the fact that he constantly twitches since he’s a user. Yes, friends, he’s a junk food junkie. As Frank Lopez says, “Rule number two: don’t get high on your supply.”
This was fun to do since all I had to go on was the panda in their logo. If you’re curious about the front of her dress, it’s part of a traditional Chinese (or traditional Chinese-style, at least) painting I found depicting a family; I’m assuming, of pandas amongst some vegetation. You catch just part of a tree here.
Now Troy, “the Trojan,” here is your legitimate pimp in the group. I didn’t want to make it particularly obvious since he’s not your cheap street hustler. He’s a man at the top of the flesh-peddling hierarchy. And yes, the nickname has a few meanings behind it. Also, Arada was pushing for a presence for Sonic because of the girl carhops. She asked for some “roller hoes,” so she got them. Sonic’s had an advertisement character called Katie the Carhop, but I’m buggered on where to find any actual pictures or footage of her.
Remember those Quizno commercials with the talking baby, Bob? They just took him and made him up like George Nelson. I still can’t help thinking of the latter in O Brother, Where Art Thou? He’s so bipolar in that movie, but that makes him memorable.
Jared Fogle made this one interesting since it presented me with the opportunity of doing a thin and thick version of the character as twin brothers. It reminded me a little bit of Laurel and Hardy. Also, note that the thin brother is wearing suspenders while the other is not.
When you see those red lips on the D.Q. commercials, and if you’ve seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, your mind can’t help jumping to that. Arada had a big part in this character’s creation since she was the one who introduced me to the film in the first place. The makeup was modeled to be like Tim Curry’s. I’m not into the drag queen scene myself, but that dude makes it work somehow. And I suppose watching plenty of Monty Python skits, too.