SUPER-HERO STOCKS SLUMP IN BEAR MARKET
By King Kirby, Financial Editor
New York (AP) – The sluggish U.S. economy is finally taking its
toll on the super-hero community. Yesterday, the stock of the Justice League of
America (NYSE: JLA) lost another 2-3/4 points, ending the day at a new two year
low of 15 1/16 per share. The United Nations sponsored team began selling
shares of JLA, Inc. two and a half years ago to provide adequate capital for
the development of crime-fighting tools. JLA, Inc., is involved with the
licensing of team member related materials including action figures, trading
cards and the entire series of comic books produced by New York based DC Comics
"We are, of course, concerned about the recent
slowdown in the economy, " JLA chairman Superman was quoted as saying at a
recent press conference. "We want our major investors to feel confident in our
venture and so we are taking a look at our basic operations and seeing what
cost-saving measures we can employ." The Man of Steel would not elaborate on
what actions the JLA may take, but speculation from other super-hero licensing
corporations has gone from one end of the corporate spectrum to the other.
Booster Gold, the first super-hero to actually
license his image, stated, "I can't see any other way besides major cutbacks."
However, Arsenal, representing Titans Toys (NYSE: TiTy) had other ideas. "All
they need to do is come out with some better lines of products. The money is
there, its just people are holding onto it to see of they can get a better deal
some time down the road." Titans Toys has recently dominated the super-hero toy
market with its recent joint venture with Barbie™. The recent released
"Starfire Barbie" has met with some controversy even as it sells out throughout
the country. The doll, designed by Arsenal, is the first Barbie™ to come with
"erect nipples". "Hey, there is nothing wrong with nipples! Your mother has
nipples!" was the response from Arsenal.
However, Lucious Fox, CEO of Wayne Enterprises,
which has invested heavily into JLA, Inc., went on the record as stating that
unless the JLA cut back on the overhead and improved their product lines, even
he would be hard-pressed not to pull out. "We all love the JLA, but this is
business. People are tired of same products with different colors each quarter.
It's time to breathe some new life into the League."
***** ***** *****
"Kyle," Superman extended his hand
to the young Green Lantern," so good of you to join us."
Kyle Rayner, the man behind the
green mask, stepped into the meeting room in the JLA, deep within the
Watchtower, the teams' headquarters on the moon. The current active membership
was present: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Plastic Man and
Martian Manhunter. He noted that his chair, with the Green Lantern emblem on
the back, was positioned at the end of the table, by itself. Slowly, he took
his seat as Superman walked to his own place at the other end.
"Wassup?" he asked, nervous.
"Kyle," Wonder Woman began,
batting her eyes. "I guess we shouldn't beat around the bush here."
"You know that our stock has
recently taken a beating?" Aquaman asked.
Green Lantern nodded. "Yeah, I've been
thinking about that…what we can do to cut back on costs and everything. Like
for instance, do we really need to maintain a batplane hanger here on the moon?
It isn't like you could actually fly the thing here."
Batman was silent and turned
slowly to Superman. The Kryptonian smiled. "That's a very good suggestion,
Kyle, but that's not really going to make our investors happy."
"Yeah, but I thought this team was
about doing the right thing…what is it you are always telling the other
heroes…that we're a family and family is the most important thing? Maybe we
should just shut down the whole business and get back to the…"
Laughter cut him off as the
assembled heroes considered his words. "I have most of Atlantis's retirement
funding wrapped up in the U.S. stock market," Aquaman said, wiping a tear from
his eye. "I know, I'll go back and tell my people I'm getting back to my moral
The laughter continued until
Superman called for order. "We are a family, Kyle, and we want you to know that
we will always consider you a part of it…"
The Flash began to snicker and
Plastic Man elbowed him as Superman gave them both a serious look. "What is
this?" Kyle asked, standing up.
"Kyle, sit down, please," Superman
said, even as Batman pressed a small button under the meeting table.
"Unfortunately, our investors are demanding that we 'shake things up a bit'.
So, we have evaluated everyone's job…"
"What? I'm useless?" Kyle was now
raising his voice.
"We don't feel that you have
growth potential with us," Wonder Woman said. "We're stifling you, keeping you
from reaching your career path climax."
"'Career path climax'? What the
hell is that? Sounds like a dental plan for a porn star! You can't fire me…"
"Actually," Batman said, a smug
expression on his face, "we can. It only takes a majority vote of the
membership and, well, you don't have the votes."
Kyle was screaming by now. "I'm a
"This is strictly business, Kyle,"
Superman said as the doors opened behind Green Lantern. The hero quickly turned
to see reserve members Black Canary and Captain Marvel waiting to escort him
Kyle considered making a bigger
scene, but finally decided it wasn't worth it. As he turned, Captain Marvel
grabbed his arm and Kyle pushed him back. Green Lantern exited the meeting
room, his head hanging low.
***** ***** *****
MAJOR CHANGES ANNOUNCED AT JLA, INC.
New York (AP) – Only days after a major reshuffling of the upper
management of the company, JLA, Inc., has come out with an economic proposal
that has investors scrambling to pick up the stock. Superman, chairman of the
team, announced the plan at a meeting with all of the major stockholders.
Though his exact comments are unknown, one stockholder, Maxwell Lord III, did
take time to speak to reporters. "We are very excited about what the JLA has
come up with as far as a way to cutback expenses and increase profits over the
next fiscal year."
The internet has been alive with rumors concerning
what projects the team will undertake to generate new revenues. Last Thursday,
the team roster was changed for the first time in over a year. Founding member
Green Lantern was let go. Citing failing sales in the hero's group, Superman
stated, "We will miss Green Lantern…our decision to ask him to leave the team
was very difficult, requiring hours of debate between the rest of the
membership. We wish him well in his future ventures."
Green Lantern action figure sales were the lowest
this past Christmas for the entire JLA line, with the variant "silicon action
Wonder Woman" outselling all other figures on eBay. Sales from T-shirts and
other apparel were down 63% from one year ago. Experts cite "Green Lantern
Boredom" as the reason for poor sales results. "We're used to seeing a new
Green Lantern pop up every other years or so," one youth was quoted at a recent
toy convention. "This guy is boring…we want a girl figure now!"
As if in response to the overwhelming cry of their
economic base (12 – 35 year old males), the team membership was altered by the
addition of several female members: Huntress, Black Canary, Moon Maiden and a
mysterious heroine referred to as "Juggs". The day after the announced change
in the roster, the JLA stock (NYSE: JLA) jumped twenty points to close at 40
1/8 per share.
However, the economic changes in the JLA have not
met with approving nods from everyone. Oliver Queen, the former head of the
Queen Fund, stated,"Man, I can't believe you fat-cats would stoop to using sex
appeal as a crime fighting tool! Women are being used as objects in order to
increase corporate profits!" Mr. Queen was later that day slapped with a
paternity suit by a woman who claimed to have bore Mr. Queen a son. This is the
fifth suit in the past year since Mr. Queen has returned from obscurity.