Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Marvel lawyers deny humanity of mutants

Anyone who has ever read an X-Men comic book, or at least watched the Uncanny X-Men animated series back in the 90's, would know that the issue of equal rights for mutants and non-mutants is a central theme in the series. In fact, when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby co-created the X-Men in the 1960's, it was against the backdrop of the African-American civil rights movement; the mutants were actually metaphors for minority groups that were victimized by racism and segregation.

In the real world, however, Marvel maintains that mutants are not humans. But this isn’t an ideological or a moral stance. Instead, it is a financial one. In order to get a 5.2-percent tax cut on Marvel’s imported action figures, the company lawyers claimed that the toys--which included characters from the X-Men--represent non-human creatures. Apparently, there’s a distinction between two categories of products imported into the US as defined by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule. “Dolls” are toys representing humans, whereas “toys” represent non-humans. While dolls are taxed at 12.8 percent, toys are taxed at just 6.8 percent. Two shrewd trade lawyers noticed the distinction and successfully argued to US Customs officials that Marvel’s licensed products don’t represent human beings. A series of court cases ensued, which went on for 10 years, before the judge sustained the position of Marvel. Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers.

Now, I wonder if the court erred in ruling that mutants are not humans, given the events of House of M.*

Source: Radiolab

*Actually, the judge’s ruling stated that all Marvel heroes were classified as non-human, not just the X-Men. Just went on geek-mode there for a sec.

Francis Paolo Tiopianco, Entry #4


Eli said...

but humans are homo sapiens, mutants are homo superior? So technically, Marvel is right, right?

Francis Paolo Tiopianco said...

i guess from magneto's standpoint that conclusion would be correct. but even he has bowed down to cyclops now, so i'm not sure if his homo superior ideology still holds.

Trisha Isabelle Fernandez said...

I just read your post now and i actually listened to a radio interview of the lawyers before. i just find it funny/ironic/sad because the very point of xmen is to achieve a time of peace when they are perceived as equal to humans. and now, we have jurisprudence that they're not. :p

ronel john bunag said...

After reading this post, na-excite ako bigla na mapanuod ang X-Men: Apocalypse, May 27, 2016 kaso sa US pa.

Hey, you often ride LRT? Parang may naalala ako/nakita ID na may Paolo Tiopianco yung name na nakalagay. Ikaw siguro yun.