Marvel's The Avengers, which has taken in more than $600 million in worldwide ticket sales, manufacturers say they can't keep up with the demand for Captain America shields, Thor hammers and Iron Man metal helmets among the movie's target audience, 40- to 55-year-old men.
"I got the last one they had!" said Mark Pender, 41, a Boise accountant
and father of two, as he brandished his official stainless steel Captain
America shield while waiting for the No. 17 bus on Bannock Street in
Boise. "It makes a neat clangy noise when you hit stuff against it," he
noted, whacking it with his lunchbox as other white-collar commuters
looked on with looks of barely contained jealousy.
In small towns and big cities all over the country, the streets are
filled with middle-aged men carrying Avengers
paraphernalia, according to Buck Frearson of the Super Hero Merchandise
Co. of Spartanburg, S.C.
"These Thor mallets are about 12 pounds each, so they're not that easy
to carry, but we've already sold more than 400,000 of them," said
Frearson, hefting a hammer up by its strap and noting that men can be
seen lugging them along the streets of Chicago and New York City in
"The only downside is the people who've accidentally broken their noses
spinning them around," said Frearson, who, amid rumbles of a class
action suit, says his company has started including warning labels that
state, "Do not spin these around near your nose."
"Gods of Thunder these people aren't," he noted.
The run on Avengers merchandise
by men in mid-life shouldn't be surprising, according Dr. Francis
Spitznagel of the Pew Research Center. His study of the Avengers' opening weekend audience
shows it was 80 percent made up of males who have been dreaming about
this movie since they first read an Avengers
comic book when they were 9.
"And the other 20 percent were wives and children dragged there by
them," noted Spitznagel, who commented that it's the same demographic
for whom improbably
busty superheroines were invented.
The demographic isn't entirely male, though - for instance, New Jersey
mother of three and Avengers
fan Barbara Linebach, 42, was wearing a skintight Black Widow jumpsuit
as she pushed her daughter, Madison, 4, down the produce aisle of the
Barnegat, N.J. Safeway this week.
"I haven't been this excited about a new outfit since I bought those assless chaps for
the Van Halen tour," said Linebach, adjusting the jumpsuit where her
midsection kept protruding from between the top and the pants as
frightened stock clerks scurried behind the deli counter.
[Read the rest at CAP News.]