Just like “the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Statue of Liberty in New York City,” the Wolverine statue “would be a major boon for tourism in the city,” writes Brian LaBelle in his petition on Change.org. “It is also important because it is what is commonly referred to as a ‘catalyst project,’ meaning it will spur greater growth on the downtown of Alberta’s capital city and create numerous spin-off projects in much the same way that the X-Men comic book spun off dozens of other successful books.”
The petition couldn’t come at a better time, as there’s already a project happening to revitalize the downtown area of Edmonton — and build a new arena for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers. A commenter suggests that perhaps the petition is a parody and “provides a clear example of how poorly conceived the current Arena deal with [Oilers owner Daryl] Katz is.” I can only hope that isn’t the case, as I’ve never been to Edmonton myself, but a statue of Wolverine would certainly be enough to get me to renew my passport and head north.
Although signed by 34,435 people, a petition asking the U.S. government to build a Death Star didn’t bring the results its signers were looking for. But at least it gave the White House an excuse to have some fun … and maybe watch Star Wars again in the interest of “research.”
The petition was created last November on the White House’s “We the People” website by
Anakin S. from Tatooine John D. from Longmont Colo. He wanted the infamous space station built by 2016, noting “By focusing our defense resources into a space-superiority platform and weapon system such as a Death Star, the government can spur job creation in the fields of construction, engineering, space exploration, and more, and strengthen our national defense.”
Paul Shawcross, chief of the Science and Space Branch at the White House Office of Management and Budget, said a Death Star wasn’t in the government’s future, noting its potential cost, moral reasons (“The Administration does not support blowing up planets”) and design issues — “Why would we spend countless taxpayer dollars on a Death Star with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited by a one-man starship?” — but he left out the potential maintenance issues or copyright issues Disney might raise. Shawcross went on to tout the International Space Station, which already exists and probably isn’t in imminent danger of an X-wing strike anytime soon, as well as other aspects of the space program.
“Even though the United States doesn’t have anything that can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, we’ve got two spacecraft leaving the Solar System and we’re building a probe that will fly to the exterior layers of the Sun. We are discovering hundreds of new planets in other star systems and building a much more powerful successor to the Hubble Space Telescope that will see back to the early days of the universe,” Shawcross said. If that new Hubble Telescope doesn’t have a monster-inhabited trash compactor, I think it’s time for another petition.
If Twitter had existed back in the mid-1980s, things might have turned out differently for Jack Kirby and, ultimately, his heirs. Perhaps Marvel’s demand that he permanently sign away the copyright to all his work for them in return for very limited rights to his original art would have triggered the sort of online firestorm that scotched the Bank of America debit card fees, SOPA/PIPA, and the Susan G. Komen Foundation’s brief moment of collusion with the hard right. Then again, maybe not—the internet can be fickle.
A number of creators criticized Marvel’s actions at the time, and in the end they did soften a bit and come up with a deal Kirby could sign. More recently, Kirby’s heirs tried to claim ownership of a number of copyrights for characters he created, but the judge in that case ruled in Marvel’s favor without even going to trial. Now Change.org is giving it a second try, with an internet petition asking Marvel to make things right with Kirby and his heirs:
We strongly urge Marvel Entertainment and its owner Disney to acknowledge Jack Kirby’s authorship and primary role in the creation of these characters. As well, we urge Marvel to pay Kirby’s family royalties or other just compensation for the use of these characters and stories.
The petition calls on the signatories to boycott Marvel until that happens. So far, despite appearing on The Beat, the petition only has 229 signatures, which isn’t likely to move the sales needle enough for Marvel to notice.