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X-Men declared nonhuman
January 22, 2003 7:29 PM   Subscribe

Judge rules: X-Men are not human. Prof. Xavier could not be reached for comment.
posted by Tlogmer (19 comments total)

 
Basically, Marvel pressed for the declaration to reduce import tariffs on action figures. (There's a thread at Slashdot, of course.)
posted by Tlogmer at 7:32 PM on January 22, 2003


But what about the clones? Are they human, or monsters? And do they qualify for lower tariffs, or is that double taxation?
posted by pekar wood at 7:43 PM on January 22, 2003


Heck, they're not dolls anyway--they're action figures...
posted by Shane at 8:27 PM on January 22, 2003


Wow. I guess. I left X-Men a while ago because Marvel was driving it too much to business ends at the cost of quality.
posted by holycola at 8:27 PM on January 22, 2003


Irony used to be ordering large fries and a diet coke. Now it is this.
posted by Hildago at 8:37 PM on January 22, 2003


Marvel subsidiary Toy Biz Inc. pushed Judge Barzilay to declare its heroes nonhuman so it could win a lower duty rate on action figures imported from China in the mid-1990s. At the time, tariffs put higher duties on dolls than toys. According to the U.S. tariff code, human figures are dolls, while figures representing animals or "creatures," such as monsters and robots, are deemed toys.

All right, help me understand:

1) A doll is not a toy as far as the U.S. tariff code. What is the reason behind this? My GoogleTM search skills are insufficient to come up with an answer.

2) According to the quoted paragraph, this all started because there were higher duties on dolls than toys "at the time" that this lawsuit started. Does this mean that the duties are the same now? If they are, why did this case continue?

3) Who would win in a fight: Judge Barzilay or the Mole Man?
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:41 PM on January 22, 2003


I left X-Men a while ago because Marvel was driving it too much to business ends at the cost of quality.

Really? I just picked it up a while ago to follow the current Grant Morrison run, pretty good so far.
posted by bobo123 at 8:44 PM on January 22, 2003


My comicbook-loving boyfriend says the new Ultimate X-Men books have restored his faith in Marvel.

But, uh, I don't read comic books. Except for Knights of the Dinner Table.
posted by katieinshoes at 8:51 PM on January 22, 2003


Eh, maybe not Morrison's best. But Peter Milligan's X-Statix (formerly X-Force), is great. Milligan brilliantly skewers the crass commercialism of the X-Titles as well as our current BoyBand/PopStars culture in general. Mike Allred art, too! I'm loving Milligan's Vertigo Pop London as well, and his run on Shade: the Changing Man is being collected in trade paperback.

Great stuff. Doop!
posted by Shane at 9:05 PM on January 22, 2003


Does this mean that the duties are the same now? If they are, why did this case continue?

Yes, they are, so no one has to make these kinds of distinctions again. The case continued, though, because Uncle Sam said "pay", and the only way to "win" in a case like this is to first pay the duties (taxes) that are owed, then sue and get your money back if you win.

/gross oversimplification
posted by yhbc at 9:08 PM on January 22, 2003


These people are sad. Someone should remind them we're talking about paper comics and plastic dolls, not real people.
posted by tiamat at 9:36 PM on January 22, 2003


The point is that X-Men, throughout its existence, has been a sort of anti-discrimination parable. The characters, rather than being revered for their superpowers (insert ironic comment to save credibility here), are persecuted for being different, "inhuman"; one major message of the series is that they are indeed human, and that by extention blacks, women, gays, etc. are as well. Their parent company having them declared non-human for financial reasons is, as someone pointed out, ironic.
posted by Tlogmer at 10:22 PM on January 22, 2003


The most hilarious, likely unintentionally funny story I've read all day.
posted by kevspace at 3:33 AM on January 23, 2003


Fo the sake of further obscuring the point (if there ever really was one anyway) the ruling does not rule the X-Men themselves are inhuman, only that actionfiguresdollstoys of them are.

So, the real Wolverine already has a ready avenue for appeals should he choose to pursue it.
posted by Dagobert at 4:48 AM on January 23, 2003


A doll is not a toy as far as the U.S. tariff code. What is the reason behind this?

When the different tarriffs were in place, it was probably because of the huge market in collectible dolls which aren't meant for a child to breathe too close to, let alone play with. Since price alone isn't a good indicator (some collectible dolls start out very reasonably priced, but appreciate in value very quickly) it was likely easier to simply classify all dolls as a special class of item.
posted by Dreama at 4:55 AM on January 23, 2003


According to the U.S. tariff code, human figures are dolls, while figures representing animals or "creatures," such as monsters and robots, are deemed toys.


G.I. Joe IS a doll! I guess Hasbro has a "don't ask, don't tell policy."
posted by agentfresh at 6:06 AM on January 23, 2003


I think they should gather every geek who cares about this issue and launch them all onto a spaceship towards the sun.
posted by bondcliff at 6:50 AM on January 23, 2003


Dreama: Thanks. That is as good a theory as I've read.
posted by Joey Michaels at 11:38 AM on January 23, 2003


Most asinine case ever!

Wolverine has known many forms in his more than 40 years as a Marvel character. In some comics, he resembles a futuristic robot. In the movie "X-Men," he's a scruffy Canadian who drives a camper

*ack, choke* Jesus, who is the fact checker at the Chronicle? For the record (letting one's geek flag fly for a mo') Wolverine first popped up in Incredible Hulk #181 in 1974, and has never, as far as I can remember, resembled a "futuristic robot."

This article wasn't from 10 years into the future, was it?
posted by mikrophon at 2:59 PM on January 24, 2003


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