Collectors blast Batman stamps as 'prostituted' by the U.S. Postal Service

From videogames to comics, every little section of fandom seems to have its own tiffs and scrapes on occasion — and apparently Batman has riled up a boatload of stamp collectors. Wait, what?

If you don’t follow the United States Postal Service that closely, you might not be aware that they unveiled some nifty new commemorative Batman stamps in honor of the Dark Knight’s 75th anniversary. The stamps debuted this month — which is also National Stamp Collecting Month — and the USPS says they’re selling well. 

The idea is an obvious one: The USPS is hemorrhaging money, as people mail fewer and fewer items. So they’re hooking up with major properties to generate buzz any way they can (i.e. spiffy marketing tie-ins) in an effort to remind people the USPS still exists. Not a terrible plan, and USPS spokesman Mark Saunders notes the deal is a “great opportunity” to “make stamps more relevant to everyone.”

Innocent enough, right? Well, not for some hardcore stamp collectors. The Batman release is the latest in a line of mass-media collections (they did Harry Potter last year), and stamp collectors see it as yet another slap in the face to the hobby. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, traditionalists believe these tie-in stamps are devaluing a system that had previously been used to honor American achievements (i.e. the moon landing, presidents, etc.).

Former U.S. Postmaster General Benjamin Bailar, not surprisingly a prominent stamp collector himself, actually resigned from the USPS’s Citizens Stamp Advisory Committee (CSAC) because he so passionately opposed the current Batman run. According to Bailar, stamps featuring movie characters and superheroes have “prostituted” the system “in an effort to make money,” which has “ruined” the stamp program.

Which side of Batman Stamp-Gate do you fall on? “Prostituting,” or just a cool stamp?

(Via Bloomberg Businessweek)

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