The newest superhero stepping into the spotlight owes all of his powers to: nutrition?
Marvel has recently paired with Florida’s citrus industry to create Captain Citrus, a green-haired, orange-clad hero who has adopted the “values of the Florida citrus grower,” according to an introductory ad on YouTube.
Print and digital comics featuring Captain Citrus will be distributed to more than 4,000 schools in the US, along with special instruction packets for teachers to use when introducing the new superhero to students. These classroom materials are aimed toward teaching the next generation about “everything from nutrition to making the right choice.”
Is this for real?
Due to a dwindling demand for orange juice and a recent disease among the fruits, this new superhero is burdened with the task of saving Florida’s citrus industry as well as the world. Apparently, sunshine state farmers aren’t the first to seek Marvel’s help, either. Lexus and M&Ms are two among many other companies who believe Marvel publicity could boost their sales.
I’m not sure if I buy into it. “John Pulp” – who lives in Florida on an Orange grove – just doesn’t feel as exciting as Peter Parker’s life-changing spider bite or the Hulk bursting out of his t-shirt. While Marvel artist Mike Perkins explains in an article in NPR that these “custom stories” (not always distributed to the same extent) aren’t particularly out of the ordinary, the concept still seems too contrived for my taste.
I understand that Florida’s citrus farmers needed to find a new way to get consumers interested in oranges, but is this really the best way to do it?
On one hand, Marvel has become increasingly popular lately, especially with the recent “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie being released over the summer. Teaming with such a relevant company gives Florida farmers a much louder voice than they might have had on their own. Also, the creative spin on the industry’s needs does make the idea of paying attention to fruit a bit more exciting.
On the other hand, is this stunt depreciating the authenticity of all the “real” Marvel heroes? More importantly, will a student pick up a Captain Citrus comic and actually be motivated to make more health-conscious choices, or flip through it and write it off as a far-stretched marketing tactic?
Allen, G. (2014, September 21). Marvel’s New Hero Wants To Save The World – And The Citrus Industry. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
Introducing Captain Citrus. (2014, September 17). Retrieved September 24, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5wJGHxNcw8
(photo from http://www.tampabay.com )