Spiderman to the rescue

Where would be without Spiderman? Wherever he goes, god-fearing Americans gasp in awe and bad guys wet their pants. Such is his ubiquitous reputation for rooting out evil, that the UN have enlisted his help, via Marvel Comics, to boost their image and to help them fight global conflict and disease.

Apparently 1 million copies of a special comic will be distributed free to US schoolchildren, with a storyline based in a fictitious country, ravaged by war and portraying Spiderman and other superheroes, battling the ills of the 21st century alongside Unicef and the UN’s blue hat peacekeepers.

The FT reports: “The UN’s goals are somewhat different: according to its website, it hopes the comics will teach children the value of international co-operation and sensitise them to the problems faced in other parts of the world.”

Of course, this is not the first time US comics have been used for political ends. During World War 2, superheroes were shown taking on the Nazi Wehrmacht, with Superman and Captain America seen kicking the shit out of Hitler (they never did that good a job, incidentally, for Hitler took his own life).

If capitalism can now call upon superheroes to perpetuate the idea that war, poverty, hunger and disease can be tackled via the usual mechanisms, and which have failed miserably for the last 100 years, what future for the socialist cause? Just where can socialists look for a similar ally? Hold on a sec, a clue comes from the November issue of the Socialist Standard. Seems old JC himself is sanctioning the publication, so there may be hope yet. A million copies of the Standard being distributed free to US schoolchildren? Now you’re talking!

And I jest not. Who is best placed to teach kids the "value of international co-operation" and to "sensitise them to the problems faced in other parts of the world"? A Socialist or a UN worker?

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