11 February 2005

Superhero economics

Jim Henley of Unqualified Offerings has been watching TV and has an interesting comment about the economics of a show I really like, Justice League.

Aging Leaguer Wildcat has secretly begun participating in Metabrawl, an illegal cage-match series among (mostly) “supervillains,” sponsored by the entrepreneurial Roulette. Black Canary recruits Green Arrow (they aren't dating yet in this continuity) to try to spring Wildcat on the QT, since he's flouting League rules and could get kicked out if caught.

There was some nice byplay among the characters, and Dennis Farina was good as the voice of Wildcat. I gotta say, as a libertarian, I was rooting for Roulette. In this incarnation of Metabrawl, everything is consensual. No one's been kidnapped; fighting is to “last man standing,” meaning submission is an option. (In Roulette's comics appearances, she gets contestants by drugging and kidnapping superheroes. The TV Roulette apparently has a better idea of the labor situation in the DC Comics universe.) Wildcat himself “has always been a fighter,” as he says; he likes the chance to whale on people he thinks have it coming; and he feels like the League is shoving him aside because of his age. As for the real villains, let's consider: in Metabrawl they're making money by beating up other villains who have chosen to be there. Other ways supervillains might make money: robbing; killing; blackmail. Yeah, I think Metabrawl is a nobler career path.

Hmmnn. Since Henley is a libertarian, he doesn't see the obvious implication of this thinking, that people with super-powers should be pensioned off by the government, like farm subsidies.

Ha! Henley responds on his blog

Snarf, I say! Snarf indeed!

... which I'm not sure how to interpret, but daresay deserves to be the last word.

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