January 31, 2012

Mutants ruled "not human"

In a decade-long court battle, mutants were ruled "not human" ... or more precisely, they’re not dolls:

Saving the world is ordinary fare for superheroes, especially teams like the Avengers and the X-Men. But one of the biggest battles ever fought in the Marvel universe took place in the real world, a historic fight that lasted 10 years and crossed America.

The clash ended quietly in 2003, with a monumental, six-figure legal ruling by the U.S. government: The X-Men and many other superheroes simply aren’t human.

Or more precisely, they’re not dolls, which, according to the U.S. Customs Bureau, represent “only human beings.” They’re toys, which represent “animals or non-human creatures.”

What’s the difference? Gazillions of dollars.

The U.S. government waded into the “mutant or mortal” battle 19 years ago at ports in Los Angeles and Seattle after Customs officials there classified several large shipments of action figures, including the X-Men, as “dolls” instead of “toys.”

But labeling the figures as “dolls” made importing the X-Men nearly twice as expensive as they would have been as “toys,” facing a 12 percent tax rather than a 6.8 percent tax.

It wasn't that easy, though. "'Humans have eyes, and ears, and mouths, and noses, and legs, and arms,' [lawyer Sherry] Singer explained to FoxNews.com. 'It was other features these figures had that, we believe, made them non-human.'" So, while many superheroes, including mutants, look human enough, characters like the Beast (blue fur), Wolverine (claws) and Hulk (huge, green skin) are, well, "non-human."

Interestingly, in the comics themselves, mutants are human -- they're the next step in human evolution, dubbed "homo sapiens superior." And why did the article use a picture of the Avengers at the top of the article? There's only one character in the pic that could be considered a "non-human creature": The Hulk. From left to right, the Black Widow is "merely" a highly trained super-spy; Thor is a very human-looking alien "god;" Captain America is a medically enhanced regular joe; Iron Man and War Machine (is he even in "The Avengers" movie?) are regular guys in powered suits of armor; and, lastly, Nick Fury is just a regular dude.

Posted by Hube at January 31, 2012 06:49 PM | TrackBack

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