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Sunday, February 22, 2009 

Is economic recession finding its way into Batman and Iron Man?

The New York Daily News writes that DC and Marvel are writing the recession into the pages of the Caped Crusader and Shellhead's books:
While Batman has yet to have to tighten his utility belt, his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, has disappeared in a recent story line, leaving the board of Wayne Enterprises struggling to keep the company afloat.

And he's just one of several superheroes looking to get up, up and away from their financial problems.

"I don't see how it doesn't work into our storytelling if not only our readers are feeling it, but our creators are feeling it," said Dan DiDio, executive editor at DC Comics.
A really bothersome thing about this part of the article is how it almost makes it sound like the heroes are deliberately running away from their financial problems instead of trying to fix them. Which is hardly at all heroic. And considering how pointless Batman RIP is, that's why readers now may be saving their money so they won't have to feel too much financial strain, if this is how DiDio is going to run things.
The economic downturn has hit some of Marvel Comics' characters hard: Tony Stark, the billionaire behind Iron Man, is on the run with all his assets frozen after being blamed by authorities for failing to stop an alien invasion.

"Tony Stark is having a bad time of it in comic-book land ... he's kind of like Donald Trump after the first bankruptcy," said "The New Avengers" writer Brian Michael Bendis. "But you get the sense, like Trump, he'll recover."
He may recover financially, but what about the writing? I'm sorry to say, but whatever they're planning here, it cannot disguise the pointlessness of Batman RIP or the character destruction heaped on Tony Stark since Civil War went to press. What's more, hasn't Tony been through a couple situations like this before, where he's suffered financially and had to climb back up the hard way?

And if prices are getting higher, and the writing quality lower, then Marvel and DC shouldn't be surprised that they'll be feeling the recession quite a bit in the near future.
Mark D. White, professor of philosophy at the College of Staten Island and a comic fan, said superheroes' greatest power is helping worried readers escape into a fantasy world.

"Comic books are a way for people to get away from the real world," said White. "They don't want to be reminded of wars or tragedies or economic catastrophes."
I think he's right. And they certainly don't want contrived and forced storylines messing things up and preventing them from finding decent escapist entertainment.

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