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A memorial forgotten

There is a story circulating throughout Canadian press recently about Jeffrey Baldwin. The story of this kid is a tragedy, as he was starved to death by his neglectful grandparents, locked in a room with little other than his own body waste. The one thing which brought some solace to this young boy was Superman. From a young age he was said to be a huge fan, and used to try to jump off of chairs to try to copy the hero's flying. After word of this tragedy began to spread, some people thought that it would be fitting to create a memorial for the boy, as a statement that child abuse is not ok. An Ottawa area man decided to combine the two together, that despite his tragedy, that Jeffrey might live on as a hero, being dressed like one, but DC said no.

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“For a variety of legal reasons, we are not able to accede to the request, nor many other incredibly worthy projects that come to our attention" - these were the words that DC used, but in them and in the reaction there is something telling about the company. Some might argue that it is their copyrighted material, and should be controlled by them in a way which they deem to be the most responsible. This is a valid point and one which shapes a lot of decisions by companies, but there is something deeper here. The Ottawa man with the plan, Todd Boyce also said that DC does not want their characters associated with child abuse, which is also a fair explanation. There is a bigger problem here, at least as I see it, and that is the duplicitous nature of the comics, or to put that another way, DC wants us to make believe that there is a world where heroes exist, but in the real world they can get away with acting a little bit like villains. The morals of a character like Superman would not allow the character to do something like this - even most anti-heroes as they are written have a soft spot for such stuff - but the morals when it comes to the business executives are missing. The real hero for the executives and the legal team is the bottom line, and the morals needed to get there are non-existent.

And so this reaction to the tragedy of a small boy is maybe why the comic companies continue to battle as sales reach lows. It is maybe not because the medium is "outdated" or "silly" as are two of the common complaints about it, but perhaps only because the vision of those behind the books does not match the morals of the heroes within. If you can answer the question honestly of whether Superman would allow this and then compare it to the decision of the company, it is evident that there is a divide, and so our comics are just marketed to us on values which make us gullible, because the companies don't hold the values themselves.

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deactivated-61bde0e570bb9

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Ahh, I was just trying to make a thread like this, sorry I didnt see this one.

Anyway, It's just dumb on DC's part. Sure, I get that they don't want their Characters asscociated with child abuse (rape and racism seems to be fine though), but come on. It's not a statue of a kid getting beaten, its a tribute to a kid who was murdered, by his own damn family.

Whoever made this decision at the DC office is a real scumbag. Just a corporate suit being pissy because they know they can't charge royalties on this. I'm willing to bet the writers would be ok with this.

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FearTheLiving

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DC is a company if they don't want the use of the logo it's their prerogative. That being said seems pretty stupid they'd refuse this. It's like saying "Hey fans! We know you like our characters and have followed them throughout your life and given us countless dollars, but if you ever think of putting anything that identifies that near or on your grave **** off. You can't give us any more money WHAHAHAHAHA." *Proceeds to walk away after pissing on your grave*

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RazzaTazz

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BumpyBoo

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BumpyBoo  Moderator

My word, that poor little boy. I never heard about this, it's such a horrible thing for any child to go through this and I can't even imagine how much he must have suffered.

@feartheliving said:

DC is a company if they don't want the use of the logo it's their prerogative. That being said seems pretty stupid they'd refuse this. It's like saying "Hey fans! We know you like our characters and have followed them throughout your life and given us countless dollars, but if you ever think of putting anything that identifies that near or on your grave **** off. You can't give us any more money WHAHAHAHAHA." *Proceeds to walk away after pissing on your grave*

This pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject. As stated in the OP the company have claimed they do not want their brand to be linked with child abuse - but as far as I can see, allowing this would have achieved precisely the opposite. It would have been not just a mark of respect to that poor child but also a statement against the kind of cruelty so many people suffer each day. A symbol of hope for the hurt and downtrodden, like Supes himself.

Aw man....thanks @razzatazz, now I'm crying ;P

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RazzaTazz

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@bumpyboo: Sorry about the crying, but it is kind of a serious subject :( It makes me rethink even reading comics, because the executives there are just after our money, because we are gullible people that believe in heroes, when they themselves admittedly don't think that there are any.

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FearTheLiving

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@razzatazz: Well if they don't I tweeted Marvel and said they should hop on it. Even though this kid my not have his favorite Superhero perhaps Marvel can step in and do something? It's probably a shot in the dark but oh well was worth a try.

@bumpyboo: My thoughts as well. I don't think anyone was gonna look at the statue and be like "Why didn't superman stop his child abuse?" they'd look at it as a kid who had a hero and looked up to him and that if anything would make people more aware of child abuse and to keep an eye out for something like that.

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BumpyBoo

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BumpyBoo  Moderator

@razzatazz: Hehe no problem, I'm teasing :) As upsetting as it is, it's also pretty important to talk about it.

And yes, that was my reaction too. Pretending that make believe people always do the right thing because it turns over a nice profit to do so...it's awful. I think the characters, if real, would be disgusted by this.

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BumpyBoo

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Edited By BumpyBoo  Moderator

@feartheliving: Exactly right, and very well said mate :) Seems like a cop out to give that as a reason, really.

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RazzaTazz

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@feartheliving: A lot of companies do that, and it is nice of them. I think in the 1970s that Disney sued a daycare that painted Disney characters on its walls without permission, and then Hanna Barbara offered for free to paint over the characters with their own. I think there is something deeper here though. DC paints Superman as infallible in his morals and pursuit of justice, but using the likeness of him for the same reason is denied. The character transcends comics and represents what are supposed to be superior American values of liberty and freedom, because people will associate Superman with the USA before they necessarily do with DC Comics. Operating opposite to that though is how they actually handle the character in a business sense, the character is essentially as corrupt as most businessmen in a real world sense, and only exists as a moral character in the stories.

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RazzaTazz

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@bumpyboo: What is troubling to me too, is that DC markets the character in part as a paragon of morality, super in morals along with the super powers. In the comic world even (anti-) heroes like the Punisher or Wolverine would likely be touched and want such a memorial, let alone Superman who never takes a wrong step. The traditional Kansas boy turns into just another real world copyrighted icon though when put in the hands of the bean counters.