Holy geekgasm, Batman! Nerds collide!

USA 2014 Batman BatsignalThis probably won’t be news to my American friends (so many of you now! Hi!), but when this ginormous collision of nerd cultures occurred last year, I didn’t even exist.

Postal administrations worldwide are short of a dollar, so they’re replacing worthy topics with themes they hope will appeal to the masses beyond their base of stamp-collector suckers. This can lead to horrendous results, like the use of stamps to report sports results. But sometimes, it totally works.

The US Postal Service reported a $2 billion loss in the quarter to June last year, so come October, they sent up the Batsignal. Happy 75th Anniversary, Batman!

USA 2014 Batman SheetThe 20 stamps and 8 different designs on this Batman sheet trace the evolution of everyone’s favourite cosplay billionaire.

The four Batsignals from different eras are all stamps, and the four hero images depict Batman as seen in the Modern Age, Bronze Age, Silver Age and Golden Age of comics.

USA 2014 Batman Row 1 Modern AgeUSA 2014 Batman Row 2 Bronze AgeUSA 2014 Batman Row 3 Silver AgeUSA 2014 Batman Row 4 Golden Age

I like this issue. It does its subject proud. The natural rectangular shapes of the stamps call to mind the panels of a comic book. And it manages to retain Batman’s general darkness, which will keep Batfans happy. It’s a marked difference from the riotous colour of the USPS’s action-packed twin Superheroes issues of 2006-07, celebrating DC and Marvel superheroes respectively.

USA 2006 DC Superheroes Sheet
These sheets each depicted 10 superheroes – an action shot, and a comic book cover to prove that they totally existed.

USA 2007 Marvel Superheroes SheetAm I the only one surprised to learn that Batman beat all-American hero Superman in the race to get a stamp issue all to himself? Superman was part of the USA’s late-90s ‘Celebrate the Century’ series, his 1938 arrival hailed as one of the notable moments of the 1900s. Er, guys, you DO know Superman is make-believe, don’t you?

USA 1998 Celebrate the Century - Superman Arrives
Don’t look now, America, but while you’re thumbing your nose at the Man of Steel, Canada Post is digging its polar bear claws into him, on the flimsy pretext that one of his creators, Joe Shuster, was Canadian. This sheetlet was issued in 2013:

Canada 2013 Superman sheetlet
Canada 2013 Superman coilThis issue also included coil stamps showing the iconic S being revealed beneath Clark Kent’s suit. It looks fantastic. There should definitely be more stamps with abs on them.

Superman had already gatecrashed a 1997 Canadian issue celebrating its home-grown superheroes. Being (a) Australian and (b) not that kind of geek, I’m not familiar with any of them. But I must say that Nelvana and Fleur de Lys look rather cool – nice nod to those Montreal Francophones, Fleur. But I’m sorry Canadia, I know you call yourselves Canucks and that these characters have a proud pedigree, but… if either of Johnny Canuck or Captain Canuck turned up in the nick of time to rescue this damsel in distress, I’d probably burst out laughing in their faces, eh.

Canada 1997 SuperheroesThen again, I come from a country whose national superhero was called The Crocodile Hunter. And he was real.

USA 2014 Spideman Flat Rate BoxBut wait, who’s this swinging in from above, spaffing cobwebs everywhere? It’s Spider-Man! He was featured on a 2014 USPS Priority Mail promotion which included his image on stamps from DIY kiosks, Priority Mail boxes, and even on USPS trucks in 14 major cities. Hardcore collectors would consider these issues fair game. But they were entirely a paid promotion for a film, and, being a purist, I spit on them. Paying your way onto a kiosk stamp is NOT the same as having the USPS put you on a proper stamp because you damn well deserved it for your crime fighting! Bugger off, corporate Spider-Man, before I reach for the insect repellent.

There was, however, a lighter side to this corporate whoredom. The USPS came up with a neat hashtag to promote this release.

#AmazingUSPS? That’s catchy. A little too catchy. Would any of my very clever tech-savvy readers like to guess what happened next? That’s right!

Oh dear. Sometimes, all the superheroes in the world can’t save you from yourself.

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2 thoughts on “Holy geekgasm, Batman! Nerds collide!

  1. Thanks for the information…just started a new collection on the theme Avengers..this information has helped me tremendously.

    Like

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