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A Step Beyond Product Placement
April 25, 2013 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Branded Superheroes: sponsorships and marketing deals.
posted by OmieWise (32 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wonderbra Woman
posted by pracowity at 7:48 AM on April 25, 2013


So, Mystery Men.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:51 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nobody tell 'em about NFL Superpro

I thought the juxtaposition of Microsoft as Galactus and Apple as Silver Surfer was interesting. Captain Coke and Diet Coke Widow were nice too.
posted by davros42 at 7:51 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Having Galactus as Microsoft and Silver Surfer as Apple is pretty genius, although I'm not sure you could get Wolverine to shill for anyone other than Molson.
posted by fight or flight at 7:51 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mystery Men
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on April 25, 2013


Booster Gold, y'all.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:54 AM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, this is my favorite store on the Citadel.
posted by The Whelk at 7:56 AM on April 25, 2013 [5 favorites]


Those were funnier than I expected them to be.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:02 AM on April 25, 2013


What? No mention of the crucial role of Hostess Fruit Pies in giving superheroes the wholesome energy they need to battle against the forces of evil?
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:10 AM on April 25, 2013 [3 favorites]


This would actually be a very interesting premise for a mature comic book.

The business of being a superhero is damned expensive, you see; superheroes need sponsorships to supply their gadgetry and pay their licensing fees and insurance premiums.

Some superheroes do their best to work for the common good while abiding by the demands of their sponsors, although the two causes often conflict. Some heroes (villains, actually) present a facade of working for the common good while actually using any nefarious means to enrich themselves and give an advantage to their sponsors.

Some minor heroes remain unlicensed and unsponsored, but these are hunted and prosecuted with extraordinary vigor by the sponsored superheroes (as prodded by their sponsors) and the civil authorities to preserve the capitalistic system.

Does anyone know of a comic book that does something like that?
posted by The Confessor at 8:16 AM on April 25, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is surprisingly awesome.
posted by brain_drain at 8:32 AM on April 25, 2013


Yeah, there was a run of X-Force that had that as a subtext, back when Mike Alred was drawing it. I forget who the writer was on that run.
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 AM on April 25, 2013


Does anyone know of a comic book that does something like that?

Yes: Booster Gold. He's a glory-seeking showboat from the future who uses knowledge of history and future tech to pull off heroic feats, raking in endorsement deals in a desperate bid for wealth and fame, but getting swept up in the business of being an actual hero in spite of himself.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:33 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Old News

(This is why I tell people "I'm in IT," rather than "I'm in the promotional products industry.")
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:50 AM on April 25, 2013


So do any superheros do the opposite and license their own logos and images? I mean in this world DC owns the Superman logo but who owns it in Superman's world? Any superhero would have to file to protect trademarks just to keep someone else from doing it. Superman wouldn't want Lex Luthor to start marketing lunch buckets and t-shirts with the "S" logo on it, would he?
posted by octothorpe at 8:50 AM on April 25, 2013


As most superheroes have secret identities, it's rather impossible for them to enforce copyright and trademark. They might just go beat up whomever swiped their IP though.
posted by klangklangston at 8:52 AM on April 25, 2013


They might just go beat up whomever swiped their IP though.

This is basically what Bruce Wayne does at the start of The Dark Knight movie.
posted by The Whelk at 8:55 AM on April 25, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tidy Catwoman?
Adobe Flash?
Wonder Bread Woman?
The Fantastik Four?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:57 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now that's just the plot to Foodfight!
posted by The Whelk at 8:58 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


It seems to me that the whole crux of the first two Iron Man movies was Tony Stark defending his personal superhero-tech IP against piracy (Iron Monger), patent trolling (Whiplash), and trademark infringement (the Hammer-drones).
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:59 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Does anyone know of a comic book that does something like that?

Yes: Booster Gold.


There's also a plotline in Invincible when he and Atom Eve start up a private security company contracting out to places like prisons and nuclear power plants. That creates conflicts when they have to go fight aliens and there's a prison break or something.
posted by middleclasstool at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2013


And, of course, since Tony used his father's work with the SSR in research, the government can make a claim to it as well.
posted by The Whelk at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2013


Truffala Tree Friendly
posted by mrgrimm at 9:04 AM on April 25, 2013


There was an anime about this.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:14 AM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, there was a run of X-Force that had that as a subtext, back when Mike Alred was drawing it. I forget who the writer was on that run.

Peter Milligan, also it's really really good.
posted by davros42 at 9:46 AM on April 25, 2013


Yeah, it was by far the best X-Force run.
posted by klangklangston at 10:20 AM on April 25, 2013


Does anyone know of a comic book that does something like that?

I believe that V2 Flash (Wally West) was a shill at the very beginning of his book's run (Mike Baron writing, IIRC), but that was because he went through about eight pairs of shoes and 500 hamburgers a day and needed to pay the bills.

Later, he tapped into the Speed Force, a source of unlimited pure speed energy that Flashes can access and use to run really fast punching bad guys in the face instead of solving all of the world's energy problems forever.

There was a Gruenwald run on Captain America (or maybe just a couple of issues) where he was being used for a political campaign without his permission and he got super mad about it.

And I have super-fuzzy memories of a very young Lee/Ditko Spider-Man trying to make money this way, but being rejected because he wore a mask, or nobody could make a check out to "Spider-Man," or... something.
posted by Shepherd at 10:40 AM on April 25, 2013


Have we learned nothing from poor Dollar Bill?
posted by McCoy Pauley at 12:31 PM on April 25, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that you could go back at least as far as the Spider-Mobile, which dates back to 1974. (Basically, a dune buggy that could climb up walls, which I'm sure thrilled all those NYC property owners who found tire tracks on the brownstones that they were lovingly restoring.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:15 PM on April 25, 2013


This is entirely appropriate. I don't want taxpayer funds spent on the vigilante fantasies of the rich and the aliens. The repair bills for the damage done to public infrastructure during their "adventures" should also be sent to their sponsors.
posted by vidur at 4:50 PM on April 25, 2013


Does anyone know of a comic book that does something like that?

It's the premise of Tiger & Bunny, which started as an anime but does have a manga spinoff (inevitably). It gets weird because some of the characters are actually advertising real brands - the ice girl shills for Pepsi.
posted by 23 at 8:26 PM on April 25, 2013


Union Dues stories.

Velveteen stories.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:03 PM on April 25, 2013


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