The economics of pumpkin bombs

By Felix Salmon
May 27, 2009

How fabulous is Ecocomics, a new blog about the economics of comic books? Well, here’s a taster:

In the world of comic books any individual who has more than 5 million dollars in saving or assets immediately becomes bat-shit insane. It’s a strange rule, but it seems that every independently wealthy individual in superhero comics decides that fighting/committing crime is the best way to spend their free time. They ignore possible hobbies like golfing, yachting, and collecting antique cars and go straight into wearing a mask and creating a global organization designed to save/destroy/conquer the world. The examples in comic book fiction are nearly limitless.

Of course, the author ignores the problem of sampling error: millionaires in comic books cannot be considered a representative sample of millionaires in the alternative worlds they inhabit. But still, he has a point.


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Not to mention the millionaires who become vigilantes.

Posted by Alexis Nicasio | Report as abusive

Neither Bruce Wayne nor Oliver Queen–both millionaires the old-fashioned way, iirc–created a Global Organization, or even attempted to form one.

The Legion of SuperHeroes was =financed= by a multimillionaire after Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy combined to help him and find the reason for the crime, but that was a one-off from direct results, and the financier took no active management role in the organization.

Marvel’s SuperHero squad (name escapes me at the moment) pays $1,000/week to its heroes–not chump change, but hardly even the Gates Foundation.

Those are off the top of my head, and show my age as much as anything else, but if that’s a sample of the insights and conclusions of the writer, it’s going to be difficult to take the book seriously.

Come to think of it, riffing on your headline, multimillionaires may be more likely to become Supervillians (e.g., The Hobgoblin) than form a League.

But I suppose you’ll get to the chapter where the author argues that all Science-studying college professors (Kurt Connors, Otto Octavius, etc.) become SuperVillians because they don’t understand that technology is Always a Force for Good.

Why limit the condition of becoming bat-shit insane solely to wealthy comic book characters? From my work experience, personal acquaintances, and the news stories I read every day, I am convinced that anyone in the real world who accumulates more than $5 million automatically becomes certifiably wacko. This novel theory may go a long way toward explaining the current state of the economy and financial system.

I have extensive files backing this up.

I hope this won’t be considered threadjacking, but it is related. Whenever I watch a movie like Deep Impact or Independence Day or War of the Worlds, I always think a much more interesting movie (to me) would be about what happens after the events in the first movie. What happens to the economy if New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Houston, and several other major cities in the U.S. are vaporized by alien death rays? How quickly do we recover (if we recover)? Can the country hold together politically or economically after this? Being pessimistic, I figure that even after we defeat the Martians, we find it impossible to regain our previous levels of economic prosperity and security.