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.