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A little Superman history -
In 1940 the Superman was represented in the annual Macy's parade for the
first time. In fact Superman had become popular to the extent that in
1942, with sales of the character's three titles standing at a combined
total of over 1.5 million, Time was reporting that "the Navy Department
(had) ruled that Superman comic books should be included among essential
supplies destined for the Marine garrison at Midway Islands."
The character was soon licensed by companies keen to cash in on this
success through merchandising. The earliest paraphernalia appeared in
1939, a button proclaiming membership in the Supermen of America club.
By 1940 the amount of merchandise available increased dramatically, with
jigsaw puzzles, paper dolls, bubble gum and trading cards available, as
well as wooden or metal figures. The popularity of such merchandise
increased when Superman was licensed to appear in other media, and Les
Daniels has written that this represents "the start of the process that
media moguls of later decades would describe as 'synergy.'" By the
release of Superman Returns, Warner Bros. had arranged a cross promotion
with Burger King, and licensed many other products for sale.
Superman's appeal to licensees rests upon the character's continuing
popularity, cross market appeal and the status of the "S" shield, the
stylized magenta and gold "S" emblem Superman wears on his chest, as a
fashion symbol. The "S" shield by itself is often used in media to
symbolize the Superman character.
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