Saturday, October 24, 2015

Deadpool--The Merc With A Malternative?!?

So this is a thing:

In my civilian identity, I manage a liquor store. So I can assure you that this is a for real, actual product, actually sitting on my actual shelf.

Mike's Harder is a higher-alcohol spin-off from the Mike's Hard Lemonade brand. There's lot of different flavors and sizes...But don't worry, drinkers of fruity concoctions that hide the taste of your alcohol, Deadpool has you covered--this page shows you all 8 varieties, and all 8 Deadpool cans!!,

At least these guys know their comic book audience--"collectible series"?? I guess we're lucky there isn't a special "blank can" variant...Of course, they may be jumping the gun a bit, as the movie is 3 1/2 months away from release...

This particular bit of merchandising has me of two minds--maybe even three or 4 minds.

My first instinctive reaction is, "OMG, Marvel is putting their super-heroes on alcohol? WTF!?!"

Of course, with the state of Deadpool/X-Men rights, it may not have even been Marvel's decision. And given the sting from the flop of the Fantastic Four film, I can see Fox trying anything and everything to publicize their next attempt at a Marvel movie. If only they had thought to plaster the FF all over, oh, I don't know, Redd's Apple Ale packages!

But I'm still back to "OMG, Marvel is putting their super-heroes on alcohol? WTF!?!"

And yes, Deadpool probably isn't technically a super-hero...he's an anti-hero! There's a difference between putting Spider-Man on your Budweiser, and putting a murderous mercenary scumbag on Mike's Harder. And the Deadpool movie is R-rated, so it's not for the kiddies.

Then again, Deadpool regularly meets and teams-up with Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine...hell, he's an Avenger now!!

The again again, as we're so often reminded, comic books aren't for kiddies anymore, as the average age for readers is now somewhere north of John McCain. And it's not like our comics haven't shown Wolverine drinking plenty of beer over the years, or are MCU films haven't had our heroes (and Stan!) drinking.

I won't lie, my feelings are really mixed here. I'm no teatotaler. I will gladly take your money in exchange for alcoholic beverages. And I get really upset with irrational nanny-state regulation that restrict what we can see and drink in the name of "think about the children!"

At the same time, I have to admit that the thought of plastering portraits of the heroes of my youth onto alcohol containers has me feeling vaguely queasy, especially if this turns out to be not just a one-time deal. Maybe it's just me, but I don't relish seeing Superman in Miller High Life commercials, or Captain America pitching Jack Daniels. It just to me, you know? Or is it just me? Will the 2020 version of Hostess ads have our heroes throwing delicious liquor at bad guys to get them to desist?

And I also know, from long experience in the business, that this is the type of marketing that almost certainly will attract the attention of the nanny-state and the teatotalers, and cause some uproar, if not outright calls for some form of regulation--because they will see Deadpool as "comics" and comics are for kids and OMG we must act now because anything that might ever give the message to kids that drinking might not be evil must be stamped out immediately! And it could end up being a negative for Fox/Marvel in the long run.

So, anyway, I'm approximately nowhere on this issue, with no firm feelings on it...not exactly upset, but  feeling somewhat hesitant about the whole enterprise? I don't think it's evil, but is some kind of line being crossed? Is this OK with everyone, or will it lead to some type of Wertham-like backlash? Are there some types of super-hero marketing that, maybe, should be out-of-bounds? And what's next? Superman-Cialis commercials (Clark and Diana in adjoining bathtubs, narrator intoning "even after you've lost your super-powers, you don't have to lose your power in bed!)?!?

That's all I got. I'm confused. I throw this one out to the masses for discussion.


Wayne Allen Sallee said...

Perhaps the idea is to get adults to look up Deadpool and decide it would be a movie they might see. Seeing the Avengers on cans of pop is different, everyone drinks soda. I've never read a Deadpool comic and couldn't even "hear" his voice in my head, the delivery, the tone. So I don't plan on seeing the movie. I'd lay odds that we see Mike's Hard in the movie.

Having said that about Deadpool, it would make me angry to see others heroes on liquor or cigarettes. Maybe the Punisher. I'm sure Dan Late To The Party DiDio will decide that making Harley Quinn condoms with the Joker's face on them in the next few months. I'm kidding. I think. As I type this, I realized that putting Suicide Squad on different cans would be a good marketing ploy. I still don't like it on booze.

Jonathan Hendry said...

Just wait until the X-Men comics get a new mutant colleague, Dogfish Head.

Dan said...

Just think about it. It's lemonade with alcohol in it. You can't get much more "for kids" than that.