What is Civil about War? U.N. to Join Marvel.

Posted: January 4, 2008 in Scifi
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I happened to be listening to NPR last friday where there was a piece about the United Nations (U.N.) plan to use Marvel superheroes to help bolster their image. Two thoughts that came to mind; one of which had an eerie sense of timing. At the library, I checked out the Road to Civil War graphic novel. I have not read anything books about the Civil War story arc but I was familiar enough with it to be interested in reading it. The book starts off with Iron Man who brought together a small group of heroes together, Dr. Strange, Reed Richards, Thunderbolt, Namor, Professor X, and Black Panther who hosted the meeting on his land. 

At this time, Iron Man went on to discuss the Kree/Skrull war as a basis of forming a super-super group to be prepared for such external threats. Of course, Namor backs out of the idea who really couldn’t give two sea shells about surface dwellers but he does bring up this point, “You can’t even control the groups you’re already in. How on Earth could you hope to control them as a larger body.” Several panels later, Dr. Strange chimes in with, ” Look at how much the U.N. actually gets done versus how much time they spend just running the U.N.” Just as this was an interesting comment to read, this was only moments before I heard the NPR piece on the radio.

I am going pose a question to you while treating the Marvel Universe as a real entity. If the Marvel heroes see the problems in the U.N., how does one think that by employing them will help to change the U.N.’s public image? Granted, not everyone will give the same consideration as these two subjects are not really connected on the same level. However, I would argue the juxtaposition is just as valid as one could contemplate who would win in a fight between Star War’s Death Star vs. Star Trek’s Borg cube ship. If this makes sense, then you can understand my reasoning on that level and that level alone. 

I read further on MSNBC.COM, which had this to say about this campaign:

The U.N.’s goals are somewhat different: According to its Web site, it hopes the comics will teach children the value of international cooperation and sensitize them to the problems faced in other parts of the world.

radio-shack.jpgWhile I think this sentiment is noble in its approach and application, the second thought I had about this plan was this. Many, many moons and suns ago, back when I could buy comics for only 35 cents, Radio Shack had a promotion comic book with a couple of DC heroes. Take a look at the picture on the right. While I grew up loving comics, free ones were even better. But when I read the hokey plot line about the TRS-80 Computer Whiz Kids saving the day I couldn’t help to groan. However, from a marketing point of view, Marvel may benefit in the long run from introducing their Heroes on a more youthful level that will leave a lasting impression to one day buy Marvel products and merchandise; granted when they can afford such luxuries. Now, since this is not the first time comic books have been used to address much larger and worldly issues, are comic books taking a step backwards as nothing more than a public image ploy?

Another point to consider, who is the targeted audience? If the audience are children, does this mean this is no further attempt to change the mindset of adults? Shouldn’t the focus on us here and now rather than them tomorrow and beyond? What’s next, the Teen Titans will be used by the White House in  the Iraq surge to tell us that the war is going well and will be won? Or do we see a PSA of Wonder Woman revealing her pro-life stance to support the fight against those who are pro-choice? I think there is such a disconnect from reality that the intention will sound like nothing more than an ad from Radio Shack. I am not knocking them but there has to be better symbols and options to represent and resolve the U.N. problems.

  1. War says:

    […] What is Civil about War? UN to Join Marvel. […]


  2. […] What is Civil about War? UN to Join Marvel. […]


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