Tag Archives: comics

Mutants Aren’t Human

The always entertaining and informative show Radiolab, brings us the strange case that according to Marvel Comics, mutants aren’t human. Which is ironic because the entire undercurrent of the X-Men universe is the bigotry and right of mutants to be seen as equals.

Why did Marvel do this? Tariffs. “Dolls representing only human beings and parts and accessories thereof: Dolls whether or not dressed: Other: Not over 33 cm in height” are taxed at 12%, while “Toys representing animals or other non-human creatures (for example, robots and monsters) and parts and accessories thereof” are taxed at 6.8%. Toy Biz, the company manufacturing the toys for Marvel, argued in court that since some of the X-Men were blue, they weren’t human, and therefore the “action figures” were “toys” and not “dolls.” Yglesias is right, in pointing out that there is absolutely no logical reason why there would be this discrepancy, but there it is.

When I heard this, I immediately thought of customs agents thumbing through containers and putting Wolverine in the 6.8% “toy” pile, putting Nick Fury in the 12% “doll” pile, and woe to the agent that puts Juggernaut in the “toy” pile. Cain Marko’s powers are magical, so he’s not a mutant. (However, Ultimate Juggernaut is a muttie.) Alas, I suspect customs just throws everything marked “Marvel” in the 6.8 pile.

Dennis the Menace

Dennis the Menace is 60 years old. Both of them. By a twist of fate, two men on opposite sides of the Atlantic both had an idea for a young boy named Dennis and his dog getting in trouble with adults.

I had no idea that there was a British Dennis the Menace until I read the BBC article.

Just looking at the characters, you get two very different impressions of the them. The American smiling while riding his dog Ruff. He looks happy. Sure, he’s “Dennis the Menace,” but you get the (correct) impression that while he may cause more than his fair share of problems, it’s because he’s too naive, ambitious, clumsy for his ideas. He doesn’t want to cause problems, they’re just unfortunate and unforeseen (to him) side effects.

The British Dennis is also smiling, as is his dog Gnasher, but it’s unsettling. He looks like the kind of kid that would torture rats with hacksaw, and pull the wings of flies, before he feeds them to his dog in preparation for a fight. It’s not just this picture, it’s almost all of them. Of course, there’s no episode where the British Dennis mortally wounds a stray cat with an M80, but even watching an episode of the recent cartoon, left me with the impression that Dennis would eventually graduate to yob, and then later to full fledged football hooligan.