In comic book stories reputation counts for less than nothing. It doesn’t matter if you’ve spent seventy years saving the world once a month and twice on Christmas, one grainy photo produced by Evil Geniuses Incorporated will have you on the run from your own allies and government, fighting to prove your innocence, with everything on the line, nothing to lose, and no time to worry about the world’s incredibly short attention span. Likewise, a villain can spend a semi-century trying to kill teenaged superheroes, but shoot one alien and they’re suddenly in charge of the world’s top security organization.

Luckily comic books themselves are defended by slightly longer memories. Every comic auction reflects on both buyer and seller. In the old days the thrill of hunting back issues was soured by slimy sellers listing loose-leafed dog ears as Near Mint, and arguing with customers instead of refunding their money. Now, with online reputations to maintain, a large seller must make sure every comic auction is accurate if they want to have another. An honest good condition is worthy more than a million minted lies, because online reviews mean that the buyers aren’t innocent civilians at the mercy of merchants. Nowadays you know if the buyer can be trusted before finding out for yourself.

Maybe the superheroes should start their own reputation tracking website. Then they could read reviews like “Do not put Doctor Druid in charge of the Avengers – it’ll be embarrassing, ineffective, and he’ll be under enemy mind control the entire time.”

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