Okay, I may have had a crack at the new DC Comics logo a few days ago, but credit where credit is due. Yesterday the company announced its We Can Be Heroes iniative, aimed at supporting organisations working to tackle the famine in the Horn of Africa. By donating $2 million to Save the Children, International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps, and establishing a dedicated website to accept donations from the public, the initiative is using the image of the Justice League – Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and company – to drive publicity for the campaign.
It’s a good move. Not only do people tend to respond to humanitarian crises (maybe not as much as we should, but events such as Live Aid do a lot of good), but they also respond to these characters. I’ve blogged before about the sort of reactions you get when you wear a Superman t-shirt, so focusing that empathy for the character and what he stands for is a positive move, and not one that’s unprecedented – heck, Superman was once used to fight the Ku Klux Klan for real.
So all the best to DC and Warner Brothers. The famine in Africa has been going on for so long that its dropped off the media radar so anything that brings it back to public attention is valuable. For decades these characters have been saving fictional lives in fictional cities – now they get to do it for real.