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Off My Mind: Should Super Heroes be Hounded by the Paparazzi?

Do they have paparazzi following them around?

In our world, people and the press love celebrities. There's no end to the coverage of which actor or sports figure is dating who and where are they going for dinner. The paparazzi sit outside their house, hoping to get a picture of these media figures, even if it's just taking out the trash. In comic books, celebrities may be a focus for attention but clearly the public would be far more interested in the lives of superheroes.

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People may be impressed with superstars but nothing they do can compare to the feats of superheroes. People look up to heroes (literally when they're flying overhead). We see the fascination with celebrities because we want to know more about them. Imagine how this would be even more intense for masked heroes.

When superheroes try to keep their identity a secret, would this become even more difficult if tabloids were watching their every move?

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Every now and then we see signs of merchandising in comics. We'll see the occasional kid wearing a Spider-Man or Superman shirt. There has also been mention of comic book adventures within the comic universe. This just proves that the public in comic books does have an interest in superheroes.

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The paparazzi can make millions off of one photo. When the cry goes out for help, if a hero is in his or her civilian guise, they'll need to change quickly into their superhero costume. Doing so many times, they've become experts at doing it away from the prying eyes of the public. But not even a hero like Spider-Man with spider-senses can always be on their toes. In Amazing Spider-Man #262, Peter was changing and a photographer had the incredible luck of being able to snap a photo before he could put his mask on (maybe that should be the first thing he puts on?). If that photographer managed to sell that picture, he would have been set for life. He would just have to decide if it'd be worth more to the newspapers or to Spider-Man's enemies.

Not all superheroes have secret identities. The Fantastic Four have been open with who they are from the beginning. They may live high up on the top floors of the Baxter Building and have a robot receptionist and private elevator, but it's strange that you never see any photographers around.

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The same goes with the Avengers Mansion and Avengers Tower. With the Avengers, not all members have openly disclosed their identities. With the mansion, you would think that a high powered lens would be able to catch something juicy through the windows.

How much does this app cost?
How much does this app cost?

Batman used to be an urban myth. He was a story that kept criminals on edge. He was thought to be a demon. Now that the idea of Batman, Inc is known to the world, it's accepted that Batman is just a normal guy (extremely well trained, of course) that dresses up in a costume. The publicity for Batman could be good for Wayne Enterprises. Since everyone knows Bruce Wayne has been funding Batman, the value of stock for Wayne Enterprises has most likely gone up.

There was also hint of how their every moment could be captured and tracked in Supergirl #60. An app for smart phones was invented and users were encouraged to take a photo and tag the superhero when they managed to see one. Anyone exploiting this data would soon be familiar with the heroes normal patrol patterns. Eventually the hero would slip up and someone would catch them changing or flying into their home.

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What is surprising is that we don't see more super-powered photographers. When Peter Parker was in need of money (in Amazing Spider-Man #559) and shady newspaperman Dexter Bennett took over the Daily Bugle, Peter had a short stint as a paparazzi. With his abilities, it was easy to get the money shot. We see most individuals that gain superpowers use them to either be a hero or a villain. You don't often see characters exploit their powers for financial gain.

Of course there are some heroes that would crave the attention. The first that naturally comes to mind is Booster Gold. He would welcome the attention and any chance of the Booster Gold Fan Club to be a reality.

There's also the villain Screwball. She was the first live streaming super-villain and was mainly concerned with the number of hits she would get on her webpage.

It's probably for the best that the hunger for intimate details in their private lives isn't a factor for superheroes. You would think speculation would run rampant if heroes of the opposite sex (like Spider-Man and Spider-Woman) were seen teaming up together. Superheroes have enough to worry about. They don't need to be concern with someone snapping a picture of them fixing their costume if they happen to get a wedgie. Then again, this could just be a part of comics we simply aren't seeing. Heroes deserve praise and recognition for the hard work they do but they shouldn't have to worry about their privacy being invaded.

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