Licensing and Regulation For Costumed Characters in Times Square?

WarmSleepy / photo on flickrWarmSleepy / photo on flickrIf you've spent any time in New York's Times Square recently, you've probably noticed the profusion of costumed characters—people dressed as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and more. 

There are a lot of these spandex-clad, not-so-super folks in midtown these days, and with so many around, it's unfortunately the case that a few have caused a bit of trouble. And that, inevitably, has led local leaders to push for, you guessed it, costumed-character regulation. 

After a string of incidents involving people in costume (not always as superheroes), the head of the Times Square Alliance has called for a licensing and regulatory scheme to be put in place, according to CBS New York:

Now, the president of the Times Square Alliance is calling for regulations on costumed characters, saying they’ve gotten out of control.

"In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square,” Tim Tompkins said in a statement on Saturday. "The situation is out of control and a licensing and regulatory scheme must be put in place."

Marvel ComicsMarvel Comics

Tompkins isn't the first New Yorker to call for costuming rules. Last year, an NYPD officer and head of the Sergeant Benevolent Association said he thought they should all be licensed and fingerprinted. 

We know what happened when the (fictional) federal government tried to license costumed heroes in the Marvel Comics universe: The heroes split into two camps, one, led by Captain America, opposed to working under the banner of the government, and one, led by Iron Man, eager to turn the hero business into a government-licensed cartel. We ended up with a super civil war! 

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  • PRX||

    sounds like plot to an incredible movie. I'd watchmen it.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Can't believe I voted for Nixon four times!

  • GILMORE||

    "If you've spent any time in New York's Times Square recently, you've probably noticed the profusion of costumed characters—people dressed as Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and more."

    You try licensing *that*. I dare you. Unless you brought the whole Wu-Tang with you, that is going to get uglier right quick.

    also, who's to say being Spiderman isn't a religion?

  • Rich||

    Tompkins isn't the first New Yorker to call for costuming rules. Last year, an NYPD officer and head of the Sergeant Benevolent Association said he thought they should all be licensed and fingerprinted.

    I thought cops were *already* all licensed and fingerprinted.

  • UnCivilServant||

    The requirements are clearly not stringent enough.

  • PapayaSF||

    Well, cabbies are all licensed and fingerprinted, and they never get into fights, right?

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Let me segue into the National Socialist cab driver in NYC -

    "Who says you have to be white to be a National Socialist?” [actual quote]

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the....._nazi.html

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    NYC's mayor has long sounded like a villian out of a Rand novel, now's his chance to branch out to real comic book villian.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Doesn't New York state already have an ant-mask law?

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli....._wall.html

    Oh, it only applies to gatherings of 2 or more people.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    anti-mask

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I'm still not sure how licensing will stop the shenanigans.

  • DEATFBIRSECIA||

    "...we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested..."

    To be fair, they were trying to torch the place!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    +1

  • C. Anacreon||

    Here's an interesting quote in the synopsis of the true Marvel adventure that is linked in the story about superheroes having to register and work for the government:

    "Naturally, this is a terribly unconstitutional move that eliminates the most American of all values, freedom, from every superbeings' life."

    Hmm. So freedom is the most American of all values? There may be hope for us yet.

    I could see an interesting comic crossover where libertarian superheroes fought for freedom, while prog toadies tried to make them register for the government and pay higher taxes. Couldn't actually envision any prog superheroes, not the way they despise the individual.

  • Paul.||

    This will probably fail even by New York's stop-and-grope standards.

    Demanding a licensing scheme based on the clothes you wear couldn't possibly get past even the weakest constitutional test.

  • ||

    Who owns the copyright on the Statue of Liberty?

  • UnCivilServant||

    It's public domain, because it was made in the 19th century.

  • Seamus||

    In Virginia, we have a law against going about in public with your face masked, unless you are a child participating in a holiday observance (which means trick-or-treating). The law was passed to fight the Klan, but I suspect it could be used just as effectively on costumed super-heroes.

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