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Superman, Batman Join Fight to Save Horn of Africa

 

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Justice League fights hunger. (DC Entertainment)

As the months of drought and famine drag on in the impoverished Horn of Africa, some heroes are coming to the rescue: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, along with the rest of DC Comics’ The Justice League, are the new face of a joint campaign called “We Can Be Heroes”.

A joint advertising campaign by corporate partners DC Entertainment and its parent company Time Warner, Inc, (which also includes Warner Bros.,Turner Broadcasting, Time Inc., HBO), and non-profits Save the Children, the International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps.,  seeks to use the famed comic book heroes to raise awareness and funds for the hunger crisis in severely affected regions of East Africa.

Time Warner Inc. has set a fundraising goal of $2 million over the next two years and will match any donations (up to $2 million). Each of the non-profit organizations will split evenly the funds donated by Time Warner.

The companies announced the campaign last week at a press conference in New York.

“We are a global company, and this is a global issue,” said Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.  ”By marshaling our expertise in consumer and fan engagement and creating global awareness, we hope we’re able to inspire others to join us in becoming ‘heroes’ and make a difference in the Horn of Africa.”

Time Warner will run ads and public service announcements featuring the Justice League online and in comics, television programs and possibly in theaters.  Special Justice League merchandise will also be available for sale.

 

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Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

According to the World Bank’s latest comprehensive statistics, drought has put nearly 13.3 million people in urgent need of humanitarian aid across Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti, and aid agencies have not been able to help all of them. The U.S. State Department estimates that as many as 4 million people will remain at risk of starvation through August.

Drought, in addition to pervasive war in countries outside of the Horn like  Sudan and Tanzania, has caused millions of refugees to flee to already resource-depleted areas of East Africa.

Carrie Welch, senior vice-president of external relations at the International Rescue Committee, thinks that the campaign will help turn public attention to the suffering in the region.

“It’s not on the front page, not the top of the news,” she said. “People will be affected by this for years to come, so any kind of creative, innovative thinking is good for us and very good for the people that we serve.”

Welch hopes that the advertising may attract the attention of children, who have the power to help influence where the charity dollars may go, though they are often forgotten by organizations seeking donations.

“Kids see this and they go home and begin to talk to their parents about the crisis in the horn of East Africa,” Welch said, adding that her 13-year-old daughter is excited about the campaign. “It adds a touch of coolness to what I do,” she said.

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From: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/02/superman-batman-join-fight-to-save-horn-of-africa/

Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman urge fans to help Africa

On January 23, DC Comics announced a new campaign to support humanitarian work in the Horn of Africa, where a confluence of drought, famine, and Islamist militia rule have led some 13 million people to starvation.

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The campaign, called “We Can Be Heroes,” is a partnership with Time Warner and Warner Bros. and features iconic characters from DC Comics’ “Justice League.” These familiar faces, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, will be broadcast widely on television, inviting viewers to go to the campaign website, where they can donate directly to aid humanitarian efforts in the Horn of Africa, or purchase goods like mugs or t-shirts whose proceeds partly (50 percent) will go to the campaign.

“While many individuals may feel powerless to effect change on their own, as part of a global campaign such as this, their efforts, combined with those of other donors, can create a world of change,” stated the campaign’s press release last week.

IN PICTURES: Monitor photographers in Africa

Alongside the advertising campaign, $2 million in cash donations, employee matching funds, and consumer matching funds will be donated to Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps over the next two years for their work in the Horn of Africa.

“We’re launching ‘We Can Be Heroes’ now because the situation in the Horn of Africa is dire, and the people there are suffering the worst drought and famine in 60 years. There is urgency to the crisis, and we want and need to help now,” Diane Nelson, the president of DC Comics, told Dowser. “We feel fundamentally that the more people know about what’s happening in the Horn of Africa, the more they will want to help. DC Comics’ Justice League characters are the perfect heroes to motivate awareness and action for this urgent crisis,” she added.

Critics of Western aid programs, like Dambisa Moyo, have argued that ongoing flows of aid to African countries have done nothing to reduce poverty there. The famine in the East Horn is a crisis of a deep, structural nature; it rests on pre-existing, interlocking problems such as the rule of Al-Shabaab, climate change, and agricultural-production systems that lack resilience.

What can 2 million dollars do to alleviate a crisis like that?

“I hope the campaign will draw more attention, more public awareness, and donations,” Michael Kocher, vice president of international programs at the International Rescue Committee, told Dowser. “It is difficult in situations where the onset of an emergency is slow, unlike the tsunami in Japan or the earthquake in Haiti, which got peoples’ attention very quickly,” he added. “Ethiopia was pre-provisioning livestock before the drought, which helped to avert crisis there. But without good governance and security, these preventative measures only do so much.”


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From: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2012/0202/Superman-Batman-Wonder-Woman-urge-fans-to-help-Africa

When Superman Learned To Fly; Last Day

Where do we begin? Are we in the past or in the present? It’s sort of both. With the Anti-Superman Army and bunch of Kryptonite, Superman might not be able to survive this issue.

The Good

It can be extremely frustrating seeing the characters we know so well undergo new stories and developments. Maybe it’s because Grant Morrison is involved but here it completely works. You never know what your going to get in an issue of ACTION COMICS and it feels like he keeps throwing curve balls our way.

Last issue we saw the Anti-Superman Army and the Legion of Superheroes show up. Throw in Kryptonite and time travel and you know things could get messy really fast. Seeing the present day Superman mixed in changes things up but at the same time, we delve even further back to see an even younger Superman/Clark Kent. We all know the story of how he grew up but because things are constantly being tweaked, it all has a new feel to it. You become glued to the pages to see what crazy things Grant might do with Superman’s history this time.

The location of the battle is a surprise and throughout the issue, there is plenty in the background that you’ll find yourself taking it all in trying to figure out what will come back later in a bigger role.

There is also a back up by Sholly Fisch and ChrisCross. This along with the other scenes from Clark’s youth really adds to his origin. Many questions are being answered as to what life was like for this Superman and how come he behaves so differently in the SUPERMAN comic.

The Bad

It’s an interesting ‘battle.’ At times you start wondering what’s really going on. Who are all these people? Why do they all hate Superman so much? The threat of Kryptonite can be a blessing and a curse for writers. If used too often, Superman loses some of his appeal. He becomes a hero that anyone can beat. There’s a slight abruptness to the story but there is plenty going on along with the back up that gives it all a nice feel.

The Verdict

ACTION COMICS continues to stand out as one of the more interesting “New 52” titles. While many gripe about the changes happening and elements that are getting lost, with ACTION COMICS, it’s like taking part in an adventure. With Grant Morrison at the helm, there’s always a sense that anything goes. Each issue is full of surprises and twists that evolves the character into an almost new one. As a long time reader, I don’t want to see Superman go through change after change but I can’t help myself sitting back and enjoying the stories as they unfold. There is plenty going on here. With both the present day Superman and an even younger one than we’ve seen before, get ready to learn a lot more about who this Superman is. If you’ve been wanting more answers about Superman’s origin, be prepared to get a few.

From: http://www.comicvine.com/action-comics-when-superman-learned-to-fly-last-day/37-313619/staff-review/

Comics: Justice League fights real-world hunger




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While comic-book-industry news is usually all about characters, creators and circulation, sometimes the real world intrudes — for good or ill. This week we have an example of each.

Heroes Against Hunger

On Jan. 23, DC Entertainment unleashed its superheroes on a real-world crisis: hunger in the Horn of Africa.

At a press conference, bigwigs at Warner Bros. (which owns DC Entertainment) announced the “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, which will support three aid groups working in Africa. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the rest of the Justice League will be used to raise awareness, not to mention millions of dollars.

Both of which are needful. According to DC, the Horn countries are suffering their worst drought in more than 60 years. Some 13 million Africans are in need of critical assistance and 250,000 are facing starvation in Somalia alone.

DC’s effort will extend across all of Time Warner’s properties, including the use of the Justice League members as spokespeople, and exposure through Warner Bros., Turner Broadcasting, Time Inc. and HBO. If I’m understanding properly how this works, DC’s goal is to raise a minimum of $2 million during the next two years through cash donations, employee matching funds and consumer matching funds, which will be split among Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps.

I’m assuming the way this will work will be advertising on all the Warner Bros. platforms that will direct people to the campaign’s website, www.WeCanBeHeroes.org. When you arrive, there’s a professional video that begins with the seven founding Justice Leaguers in silhouette that segues into quick interviews with ordinary people who have contributed. The point seems to be that they have become an unstoppable force for good by banding together, like the Justice League. How’s that for a snappy metaphor?

At the website you can contribute directly to the We Can Be Heroes fund, which DC Entertainment will match 100 percent, up to $1 million in total donations (which accounts for the $2 million goal). But you can also buy specially branded merchandise — We Can Be Heroes T-shirts, coffee mugs, that sort of thing — that will be matched at 50 percent. You can also join an online community and sign up for updates and information on the situation in the Horn and steps the campaign is taking.

I should note that comics have been involved in public service plenty of times before. The number of giveaway comic books featuring superheroes fighting ills like tooth decay or littering is legion. In the 1970s, Stan Lee famously ignored the draconian Comics Code to publish three anti-drug issues of “Amazing Spider-Man” in answer to a request from the then-Department of Health, Education and Welfare. During World War II, you’d be hard-pressed to find a comic book that didn’t urge kids to recycle metal and paper, grow a victory garden or “Keep ‘Em Flying!”

But there’s never been anything on this scale, and we should all salute DC Entertainment for its compassion and commitment. Oh, and throw a few bucks at ’em for a coffee mug, will ya? Tell ’em Captain Comics sent you.

They’re Ba-ack!

A shudder ran through the comics industry and fandom Jan. 18 when reporter Sherri Ly of “Fox 5” in Washington, D.C., raised the alarm over “plenty of blood, sex and violence” in DC’s superhero comics. The report on WTTG-TV Channel 5 begins with “most people think comics are for kids” and then concludes breathlessly that “psychologists point out the overexposure to sex and violence for young children can encourage aggression.” Then it quotes various people as saying the books are “scary” or “fictionalized Playboy for kids.”

This is all hooey, of course. Because most comics — like most movies, novels, magazines, video games and TV shows — are manifestly not for kids, and haven’t been for decades. The comics the report denounces are quite clearly marked for age 16 and above, so virtually all of Ly’s overheated rhetoric is simply irrelevant. There are comics for kids, which are also quite clearly marked, and those don’t contain a lick of what Ly finds so dangerous.

But comics people find this hard to laugh off, because we’ve been here before — specifically in 1954, when comic books were used as a scapegoat for every social ill in America. The resultant hysteria nearly destroyed the industry, a body blow from which comics are still recovering. We can only hope that this time around Ly’s trumped-up smear job finds fewer takers.

(Contact Andrew A. Smith of The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal at capncomics(AT)aol.com or on his Web site, http://captaincomics.ning.com.)

CAPTAIN COMICS

From: http://www.scrippsnews.com/node/67077

Superman’s old briefs end up in Malaysia — as a male sexual aid

Man of Steel? heh

From: http://robot6.comicbookresources.com/2012/01/supermans-old-briefs-end-up-in-malaysia-as-a-male-sexual-aid/

DC’s new logo: A fresh flag for company’s revolution

If you want to talk heroic history, no one can touch DC and its iconic troika of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, but these days, in the DC offices in Manhattan and Burbank, there’s never been less glowing talk about tradition — this is a company that believes its very survival depends on finding the future, finding it fast and taking the risks needed to do so.

The new logo will be hard to miss in the coming months. All the issues of DC Comics that hit shelves in March will have the publishing arm’s version of the new-look symbol and, that same month, DC Entertainment will unveil its massive new website, which one executive described as the “one-stop, be-all online location for everything DC Entertainment.” And, presumably, this is the logo that will flash on the screen this summer right before the biggest film of the year, “The Dark Knight Rises,” takes movie-goers back to Gotham City.

The logo was designed by Landor Associates, whose client list includes FedEx, Volkswagen, Old Spice, Juicy Couture and, believe it or not, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Nicolas Aparicio,  the executive director at Landor’s San Francisco office, says “the new identity is built for the digital age, and can easily be animated and customized to take full advantage of the interactivity offered across all media platforms.” The logo is also a public manifestation of the internal churn at DC; it’s a fresh new flag following a internal revolution of corporate culture.

In early 2010, there was a a sense in the company that publishing trends, audience tastes and Hollywood momentum were all working against it. It was rival Marvel that had the aura of innovation in publishing (where it was No. 1 in market share) and in Hollywood (where nimble Marvel Studios showed a flair for getting a wider array of characters on the screen in bankable franchises that could interlock). Certainly,  Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” was a colossal reminder of what DC properties could do in the right hands, but “The Losers” and ”Jonah Hex” were reminders that Warners couldn’t deliver a DC blockbuster without Nolan’s name on it.

DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson and Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment Geoff Johns at Warner Bros. in Burbank. ( Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times )

Warner Bros., DC’s corporate parent, made a yearlong reorganization of DC Entertainment, putting a new team in charge of the brand’s Hollywood projects and making a shift toward the West Coast. Then came the boldest move of all with The New 52, a seismic jolt to the DC comic book line that restarted every title with a new No. 1. When the new logo was announced, John Rood, the executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development for DC Entertainment, connected some of the dots.

“It’s a new era at DC Entertainment and the new look reflects a dynamic, bold approach while at the same time celebrates the company’s rich heritage and robust portfolio of characters,” he said. “It was just a few months ago that Superman, Batman and many of our other superheroes were updated when we launched DC Comics – the New 52 — and now it’s time to do the same for the company’s identity while remaining true to the power of storytelling which is still at the heart of DC Entertainment.”

DC Comics co-publishers Dan DiDio, left, and Jim Lee. (Mariah Tauger/Los Angeles Times)

Symbols and identity have a lot of mojo in the world of superheroes — who could imagine Superman without his red “S” or his Clark Kent day job? — but DC has to also prove it has special powers.

In a revealing survey of comics retailers, Vaneta Rogers of Newsarama found that The New 52 created the obvious (and massive) two-month spike in sales but also seems to have earned a readership foothold for some of the top titles. For many observers, meanwhile, the jury is still out on digital comics and their future upside, but DC has high hopes in that arena. Trickiest of all, though, is Hollywood, where Nolan is leaving Batman behind. Despite all of Warner Bros.’ willpower (and their galaxy-class commitment to toy-shelf tie-ins and licensing), “Green Lantern” was a bitter disappointment for the new DC team. Now they are focusing on next year’s “Man of Steel” and a slate of television ventures.

And, yes, only time will tell if they can make it all fly…

– Geoff  Boucher

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‘Man of Steel’ star baffled by fanboy culture

From: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/2012/01/27/dcs-new-logo-a-fresh-flag-for-company-revolution/

Will nerds feed starving kids in Africa?

Diane Nelson is not “technically” a nerd, she said, and neither are many of the people she works with. She’s the president of DC Entertainment and she just happens to hang out with comic book royalty, like Jim Lee and Geoff Johns. (So much for the theory that one can catch geeky cooties due to proximity.)

She may not be a nerd, but she runs a company whose media inspires nerdy devotion. And starting this week, DC Entertainment is hoping their characters from “The Justice League” will be a vehicle to educate fans about the very real famine in the Horn of Africa, and inspire them to donate money to the cause.

Time Warner and DC Entertainment have partnered with Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps in an awareness and fund-raising campaign called We Can Be Heroes, which uses the imagery of the Justice League. For every dollar that is donated to help the aid organizations on the ground in Africa at www.WeCanBeHeroes.org, DC will give a matching donation, up to $1 million per person. (Time Warner is the parent company of DC and CNN.)

The We Can Be Heroes website also offers specially branded merchandise for sale, featuring the silhouette of the Justice League against the outline of Africa. Fifty percent of the proceeds of this merchandise will also be donated.

“Actually, one of my favorite things about this completely insane geek community is seeing what happens when we try to band together to help,” said Daniel Dean, a manager for Titan Comics Games in Smyrna, Georgia, and a frequent Geek Out collaborator.

“See, to me this isn’t about ‘I like the Justice League, therefore I will help a 6-year-old girl not starve to death.’ It’s a case of believing in everything people like Superman and the Justice League are supposed to represent,” Dean said, “and standing ready and waiting to help so that when an opportunity like this comes along we can jump at the chance.”

He likens the initiative to Paul Dini and Alex Ross’ comic book “Superman: Peace on Earth,” which has Superman spend one day trying to make sure no one in the world goes hungry for one day, instead of fighting super-villains and crime.

“He is ultimately unsuccessful,” Dean said, “but his message in the book – that we can all come together to help and educate one another so that we can in effect save ourselves and accomplish what Superman could not – is absolutely something to strive for.”

But the special merchandise offered at the We Can Be Heroes website is something of a letdown for fans of Superman and the other superheroes in Justice League, he said.  The silhouette design is not something that directly speaks to a Superman fan’s motivation. The dollar-matching is a far bigger incentive, he said.

The initiative is already drawing comparisons to DC’s “Heroes Against Hunger” comic from 1986. It’s storyline focused on famine in Ethiopia, a Horn of Africa nation. Nelson said it was actually part of the pitch that convinced Time Warner to join the “We Can Be Heroes” initiative.

“It was a single book and not necessarily the greatest narrative we’ve ever had come out of DC, but there is a relevance to the legacy of addressing famine,” Nelson said. “It was that that caused one of the gentlemen who runs one of the aid organizations that we announced as one of our partners to approach our management.”

“This is a perfect example where we can make a difference with these characters. There isn’t as much awareness of how bad the crisis is and how fixable it is with the right attention and action by individuals,” she said.

“What I hope to see from We Can Be Heroes,” Dean said, “is something more reminiscent of Marvel and DC’s charity efforts in the wake of September 11, 2001, or the comics and RPG retail community’s fundraising efforts in the wake of the devastating Japanese tsunami,” Dean said.

The comic book industry made a strong and unified response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, as did the comic book-reading community. In January and February, 2002, DC published “9-11” Volumes 1 and 2 – two comic books that combine short stories and illustrations from some of the best writers and artists from DC, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics and Chaos! Comics as well as independent creators. The proceeds of the books went to the families of 9/11 victims.

In December 2001, Marvel Comics published the poster book “Heroes: The World’s Greatest Superhero Creators Honor the World’s Greatest Heroes,” the proceeds of which went to the Twin Tower Fund. That same month they dedicated an issue of “The Amazing Spider-Man” which featured a black cover and is known as “The Black Issue” to Marvel universe superheroes reacting with shock and sadness to the real-world event of the terrorist attacks. In February of 2008 they published another tribute, the “Moment of Silence” miniseries.

“They were inspirational efforts and for the most part great comics that let fans marry their extant contributions in the wake of the disaster with their favorite form of much-needed escapism,” Dean said.

And that seems to be the most public way nerds and fan bases deal with disasters.  In response to the Japanese tsunami disaster, cosplayers and comic book artists put together a fundraiser calendar to aid relief efforts because the anime and video games that inspire them come from Japan. But even nerds obsessed with their pets organize online communities and charity programs for their common inspiration.

The question is, how will nerds react to learning about the hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa?

From: http://geekout.blogs.cnn.com/2012/01/25/will-nerds-feed-starving-kids-in-africa/

Superman, Batman, Other DC Entertainment Superheroes Fight Famine In Horn Of …

As the famine and drought in Africa continue to rage, DC Entertainment is turning to its strongest superheroes to help the 13 million people in need of lifesaving aid.

DC Comics announced Monday that it will band together its Justice League characters — Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg — to promote its “We Can Be Heroes” campaign, an initiative that will donate $2 million to three humanitarian organizations working in Africa.

DC Entertainment will generate the funds for Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps with its 100 percent gift-matching campaign and specially branded merchandise.

“We are a global company, and this is a global issue,” Warner Bros., Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said in a statement. “By marshalling our expertise in consumer and fan engagement and creating global awareness, we hope we’re able to inspire others to join us in becoming ‘heroes’ and make a difference in the Horn of Africa.”

When it came to selecting which characters to represent the campaign, executives say the choice was obvious.

“The members of the Justice League are an international team of super heroes beloved by a broad range of fans,” DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, said in the release. “Their dedication to social justice and commitment to band together to defend the helpless brilliantly supports the ideals of the We Can Be Heroes campaign.”

To learn how you can get involved in the We Can Be Heroes campaign, click here.

Related on HuffPost:

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From: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/24/superman-batman-other-dc-_n_1228248.html

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman Team up to Fight Famine

superhero image

Batman, Superman and the rest of the Justice League of America are about to start fighting the famine in the Horn of Africa as part of We Can Be Heroes, a massive effort by DC Entertainment, Time Warner and three key NGOs to provide food and nourishment to those in need.

The campaign, announced on Monday, will donate up to $2 million over two years to three organizations working to stop the famine: MercyCorps, Save the Children and the the International Rescue Committee.

We Can Be Heroes uses the DC Comics line of superheroes — including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash and the Green Lantern — to help raise awareness (and money) for a good cause. DC has promised to match any and all donations made through WeCanBeHeroes.org up to $1 million.

DC and other Time Warner divisions, such as Warner Bros., will all participate in corporate matching plans wherein any money donated by employees will be matched by their parent organization.

There is also an eshop where you can purchase clothing or accessories with 50% of the profits going to the three charities.

The whole campaign centers around the idea of “heroes” and how anyone (not just a superbeing born on Krypton) can change the world. The campaign’s tagline — “One small act can make you a hero” — extends not just to the everyday people but to the African’s suffering on the ground, said George Rupp, International Rescue Committee’s president and CEO.

Such people often have to fight for survival or overcome great odds to provide for their families and are also heroes, Rupp says.

The odds are not in Africa’s favor. The famine is the worst to hit the region in 60 years with more than 13 million people currently at risk. More than 750,000 children under the age of five are malnourished and in Somalia alone, one child dies every six seconds.

Yet despite those stats, the famine in the Horn of Africa has received comparatively little media attention. The public mind and wallet is often drawn to acute and sudden disasters — the natural disasters in Haiti and Japan, for example — but it is harder to engage the public with slow burning or more complicated crises such as the famine in Africa.

That’s the real value of We Can Be Heroes. The hope is that by using recognizable superheroes, Times Warner and its NGO partners can leverage the DC brand to raise awareness and create mainstream interest in fighting the famine.

“America is a wonderful country about generosity when we know about the problem and that’s what this particular partnership is about,” said Cokie Roberts, political commentator and Board Trustee for Save the Children. “This campaign will have superheroic help which will make a tremendous difference.”

DC has been fighting famine for some time when, 20 years ago, it released “Heroes Against Hunger,” a comic book meant to shine a light on the hunger crisis in Ethiopia.

DC is now throwing money and media behind their corporate responsibility. For Jeff Robinov, president of Warner Bros., it’s a way to show that corporations can also be heroes: “There’s a huge wealth gap in this country and I think corporations have an obligation to a bottom line, but they can also be enormously generous,” Robinov said.

After two years, DC will take a survey of whether We Can Be Heroes has made a difference — but that won’t be the end of the line. The partnership will continue to look for ways to help and to involve its own employees in causes around the world. As with like DC’s Justice League, Time Warner is hoping its individual divisions can form one unbeatable team.

We’ve heard of celebrities helping a cause, but should superheroes get involved? What about We Can Be Heroes do you like and what could be done better? Let us know in the comments below.


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From: http://mashable.com/2012/01/23/justice-league-horn-of-africa-famine/

Series explores how Superman can take on immigrant issues – OSU

If a group of people were asked to describe the iconic superhero Superman in three words, “immigrant” would most likely not be one of them. But an English professor at Ohio State says Superman, and many other comic book characters, are products of immigration in the United States.

As Republican presidential hopefuls battle each other in deciding who has the best strategy on immigration reform, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, in cooperation with the English Department at OSU, is bringing attention to the topic in their four-part series, “Immigration in Comics.”

The series’ first segment was held Jan. 9, but the second part will be hosted from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Mortar Board Centennial Suite (room 202) of the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library. The session will feature “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay” by Michael Chabon.

“It is important to realize that this issue of immigration is not new,” said Jenny Robb, curator at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum. “This is something that the United States has been dealing with for many, many decades since the 19th century.”

The idea to create a forum on immigration through comic books and graphic novels came when Robb and Jared Gardner, an English professor at OSU who is leading the series, heard about OSU’s campus-wide discussion, “Conversation on Immigration.”

“It struck me that there are a lot of comic books, or graphic novels as they are called now, that deal with the issue of immigration and would be very interesting to discuss,” Robb said. “So, I contacted Jared Gardner who is in the English department, and who is the director of the Popular Culture Studies program. … I asked him if he would be interested in leading this (series).”

Advanced registration is required to attend the series due to limited spacing. Robb said she was pleased with the audience’s size and diversity in the first reading and discussion. The registration list was full.

Steve Jones, a fourth-year in art, said the tales comic books tell will garner more attention for immigration because of the relative novelty of comic books as a medium.

“Using any kind of media that is not necessarily mainstream … would get people’s attention,” Jones said. “They would be like ‘Oh hey, what’s this?’ Instead of, ‘Oh yeah, on the news, whatever.'”

Where the first segment, “Immigration in Comics,” focused on the early 20th century migration of Japanese immigrants to the U.S., the second will be centered primarily on the role of first- and second-generation immigrants in the 1930s during the rise of the comic book industry. Featured in that category are Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the creators of the DC Comics’ character, Superman.

“Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster were both Jewish kids from Cleveland who created Superman in high school. And Superman himself is an immigrant story,” Gardner said. “It’s the story of a young boy who gets sent from his home planet to the middle of America and takes on a new identity and lives always like all immigrants, like all Americans torn between two different identities.”

Historically, animated cartoons and newspaper comic strips were used to promote racially charged stereotypes.

In Gardner’s mind, when immigrants, or children of immigrants, use the form of comics to tell their experiences of immigration, they are able to rewrite their stories that were once exploited by using the same form of media that was used against them.

“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay” is the story of Joe Kavalier and his escape from the Nazi occupation of Europe during the rise of the comic book industry in the U.S. In the story, Kavalier meets up with his cousin Clay in New York and they create their own Superman-esque comic book superhero who is a stand-in for the experience of being a Jewish-American immigrant in the late 1930s.

To register to attend the second reading and discussion of “Immigration in Comics” on Monday, email Nancy Courtney at courtney.24@osu.edu, or call (614) 688-8771. Name, phone number and email address, if available, are required for registration.

From: http://www.thelantern.com/a-e/series-explores-how-superman-can-take-on-immigrant-issues-1.2747291

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