Blogging, Law Professors, Weirdness

Dork Ecstasy: Superheroes and the Law

Does the Justice League know anything about justice?

As we mentioned in Morning Docket, the New York Times profiled the most dork-tastic new blog: Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, supervillains, and the law. The blog brings a legal focus to various superhero universes from comics and movies.

I have a few thoughts, in no particular order:

  • Wasn’t this the plot to the generally unwatchable Hancock? Doesn’t Will Smith goes into an alcoholic funk after he gets sued?
  • Wasn’t this also the set up of The Incredibles? They outlaw superheroes because of all the property damage they’re causing?
  • How long before the History Channel turns this blog into a television series? I say it’s out no later than the release date of the next Spiderman movie.
  • Speaking of Spiderman, did you hear that one of the actors in the Spiderman musical on Broadway fell out of the sky last night? It’s kind of horrifying, but you know: tonight thank God it’s them, instead of you.

Anyway, let’s take a look at these law dorks who have given up trying to ever impress a woman…

Let me be clear, I’d still be a lawyer today if my clients were superheroes. When I was in high school and not getting laid anyway, this blog would have single-handedly made me want to go to law school. Even more than L.A. Law. From the Times:

“We look for something that has a good legal hook and a good in-universe hook” and then rev up the cultural blender, [creator James Daily] explained. “We start from the premise that the comic book universe — most comic book universes — seem to be pretty similar to the real world,” with their police and courts and prisons.

And so Mr. Daily and [co-creator Ryan Davidson] asked whether it was possible to reconcile the imaginary and the real, things like immortal superheroes and estate law. “To our surprise often it is reconcilable,” Mr. Daily said, whether in modern legal doctrines or centuries-old legal arcana like the British common-law rule against perpetuities and the law of outlawry.

Oooohhh, I’ve got one! Can our super universes be reconciled with the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Because it seems to me that the distribution of superpowers favors Caucasians as opposed to men and women of color. If equal access to superpowers cannot be guaranteed, can the entire Justice League be viewed as unconstitutional because of disparate impact? The Ghostbusters are more integrated than the New York City Fire Department, but the Justice League really looks like an old boys network with some token, scantily clad females mixed in.

:). (What do you want from me? Little black boys like superheroes too. I can go on rants like this for days.)

As I said above, there is a 100% chance this blog will be turned into one of those History Channel programs. They’ve already got various programs on “the science of science fiction” and stuff like that (yes, I watch entirely too much History/Discovery/Nat Geo). I bet the program “Do Superheroes Promote Justice?” went into pre-production the minute a producer picked up the NYT.

There’s also a 100% chance that this blog will be turned into a law school class. It sounds like George Mason professor Ilya Somin is already planning out the curriculum:

Professor Somin added that debating the legal ramifications of superpowers might bring a smile, but might also prove the foundation for something more important some day. “Over the next several decades we’re going to see technology and powers emerge that today only exist in science fiction and comic books,” he said, citing Arthur C. Clarke’s famous saying that “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

“It may be reasonable to ask,” Professor Somin said, “how should the law treat those kinds of issues when they emerge?”

I’m positive Clarke stole that “technology is magic” line from Star Trek, probably one of the Q episodes. But he’s right — and when you’re a 3L looking to preserve your GPA, this would be exactly the kind of class you’re looking for.

Congratulations on your fun idea, Daily and Davidson. You’re lawyers, so I’m confident that you’ll make sure you get all the royalties you deserve as this idea gets rebranded for different audiences.

And if Superman ever enters my secret lair without a warrant and busts me for “researching doomsday laser devices, while black” you guys are the first people I’m calling.

Law and the Multiverse: Superheroes, supervillains, and the law
Blog Gives Superheroes and Supervillains Their Day in Court [New York Times]

(hidden for your protection)

comments sponsored by

Show all comments