The year 2014 technically marks the 75th anniversary of the dark knight detective, Batman, as created in 1939 by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. It can be hard to remember that since DC Comics and Warner Brothers have been running full tilt on “Batmania” from comics to cartoons to film for over a third of that time. As a part of that celebration, DC Comics has teamed up with the United States Postal Service to produce a sheet of twenty “forever” stamps at 49 cents a pop to immortalize Batman in the service of one of the only federal programs mentioned in the constitution. This is not a first for DC Comics and stamps; a sheet full of them were produced in 2006 (when a stamp was 39 cents) and other heroes such as Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Aquaman have been immortalized on postage. As USA Today reports, the new Bat-stamp will be officially revealed to the world in a special ceremony on October 9th at the start of the New York Comic Con festivities.
In the press release, both DC Comics co-publisher Jim Lee and the USPS director of stamp services and corporate licensing Susan McGowan had nothing but praise for immortalizing Batman in such a way. McGowan stated that he is, “the quintessential American superhero” while Lee stated, “Batman has inspired and influenced fans around the world for generations and will continue to do so for the next 75 years and beyond”. Considering some of the financial trouble that the USPS has been in for a few years, something such as this should only help increase sales as well as aid in this year’s celebration of all things Batman.
Unfortunately, not all public relations efforts have gone well for DC Comics today. As chronicled by Robot 6, two of DC Comics’ newest licensed t-shirts have been revealed to the internet and have gained infamy for some sexist imagery. One shirt features Superman and Wonder Woman embracing with the text, “Score! Superman does it again!” while another is a woman’s shirt which reads, “training to be Batman’s wife” (rather than “sidekick” or the better phrased, “partner”). Suffice it to say, many online were not pleased; DC Women Kicking Ass and the Mary Sue were merely the largest samples. The former shirt is especially troubling as it paints Wonder Woman – who has been a heroine of her own since 1941 – as little more than a conquest of Superman. The most troubling thing is that DC Comics had to be shamed into allowing a monument to a child who died of abuse to feature Superman’s s-shield without threat of legal action, yet there was no such hesitancy with plastering their characters’ images on shirts like this. It seems with every step forward with trying to appeal to the women in their fan base – such as with the upcoming “Gotham Academy” comic – DC Comics takes a step back somewhere or other.