Monday, January 23, 2012

DC Entertainment Puts Its Money Where Its Mouth Is

In a move that has been lauded by comics enthusiasts the Internet over, DC Entertainment has announced its We Can Be Heroes campaign to combat hunger in the Horn of Africa.  Featuring the current lineup of the Justice League as its spokes-characters, the campaign benefits three Africa-based humanitarian organizations: Save the Children, International Rescue Committee, and Mercy Corps.

Its website offers more information on the campaign, and features two significant ways for interested Internet superheroes to contribute.  There is, of course, directly donating to the cause, of which DC has pledged to match 100%.  The other option is to purchase We Can Be Heroes branded merchandise (which, I have to say, looks pretty spiffy), the proceeds of which 50% will be matched by DC.

While I've always been a Marvel boy in terms of my overall enthusiasm for comic book publishers and their various stories and characters, I have to really give DC the thumbs-up for their philanthropic efforts here.  I'm no expert, of course, but this is the first major humanitarian effort I can recall from a comic book company on this scale (though I'm willing to learn if there have been others--just let me know about them!).  In using their brand, resources and other abilities to aid a portion of the world that seriously needs help, DC is in a sense working to live out the types of stories they tell in their comics.

It's putting its money where its mouth is, basically.

I'm sure there will be plenty of discussion about the impact this effort will ultimately have.  Will it be enough?  Should DC even be worrying about another part of the world? Just how altruistic are DC's motives behind this campaign?  Will it affect comic book prices or quality?

My thoughts on the matter are fairly simple: whether it's a publicity stunt or not doesn't matter.  This is an opportunity for comics fans of all stripes to unite in an effort to show the world that we are a generous, socially aware cross-section of the world's people.  We shouldn't worry about whether or not this will ultimately save the innocents it aims to help, or whether or not we should be involved.  As with so many things in life, the outcome matters far less than the effort.  

We should donate, or at least buy some of the cool merchandise and support the cause.  We should, in short, put our money where our mouths are.

And, perhaps, I'll give more DC titles a discerning look when I'm at the comic shops.  Teen Titans has looked promising so far...

And, of course, Justice League.

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