Civil Liberties

Licensing and Regulation For Costumed Characters in Times Square?


WarmSleepy / photo on flickr

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. 

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 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!