New collections from Stan Lee and Bob Ross

Stan Lee accepts the Comic-Con Icon award onstage at Spike TV’s Scream in 2009, Bob Ross in an episode of The Joy of Painting. Image: Kevin Winter/Getty, WIPB

Earlier this year after the internet was briefly denounced an NFT minter’s Oscar season attempt when capitalizing on Death of Chadwick Boseman, it seemed for a while that maybe people should think better about such transparently opportunistic and morally bankrupt routes. Unfortunately, that turned out to be anything but the case, and with big brands going all in on these untouchable tokens, it seems like things are only going to get worse.

Because Stan Lee, Bob Ross and Dr. Seuss are all dead, none of them can share their thoughts on the fact that their likenesses and legacies have been co-opted by the three different companies that recently announced NFT collections linked to the creators’ works. This Week’s NFT Production Houses (because apparently that’s a thing now) Orange Comet and Brave Labs, like funko shared their plans to offer several NFT collections that they hope will make people want to give up their hard-earned cash.

Orange Comet’s Chakraverse, based on the Chakra brand that Lee co-developed with Sharad Devarajan and Gotham Chopra, features “6,880 unique generative artworks based on characters from the graphic novel,” according to the website. but if a couple of people have noted, along with randomized NFTs depicting scenes from the Chakra comic, the collection also features multiple illustrations by Lee himself, depicted as a costumed hero.

Funko, which is collaborating with Droppp for its Digital Pop! packs, offers over 32,000 Bob Ross-inspired NFTs, as well as physical facsimiles of them to collectors who either use particularly rare NFTs, or make it a point to collect one of each type of NFT with a lower rarity. Compared to the other two sets, Dapper Labs and Seussibles from Dr. Seuss Enterprises has far fewer NFTs of characters to collect, but the companies are already presenting the platform as a hub built for community growth — as well as a walled economy built on users trading their unusual Cats in the Hat for secret rare Loraxes, one imagines himself.

The companies behind these collections are marketing them all as fun, flashy collectibles of the future. But on the face of it, things like the Chakraverse and the Pop! pack Bobs Ross collectibles come across as the latest examples of companies using people’s feelings about beloved, deceased public figures to disguise intangible objects that serve no real purpose. What’s especially irritating about the way Stan Lee and Bob Ross play a part in this situation is how, before their deaths, both men became trapped in the center of exploitative, money-making ventures created by others. In the case of Ross, his survivor relatives have been co-founders of Bob Ross Inc. accused Annette and Walt Kowalski effectively took the company from him and after his death used his name to sell products and continue The Joy of Painting.

Likewise, Lee’s final months were marked by his business-related scandal and also: elder abuse allegations who were leveled against those closest to him, such as former manager Keya Morgan, all the time his own personal finances were affected. although Lee’s literal blood might not be involved in this particular scam, by plastering Lee’s face all over his site and using his image to sell NFTs one could make the argument that the Chakraverse, morally at least, is very much in the same vanity.

Image: Kevin Winter/Getty, WIPB

Despite there still being no real use case for what people should do with NFTs other than look at them on their screens, while out of sight server farms consume ungodly amounts of electricity to keep things going, companies are dead set on trying to be true. because it is a relatively easy, instant money maker. As with most easy money grabs, the doubt of NFTs becomes apparent the moment you really think about what they are and how they work, but what many of the brands pushing the digital assets are counting on right now is that consumers are too get caught up in the current hype and FOMO to use their common sense and critical thinking.

While that kind of business practice is horrific in itself, the culture emerging in NFT communities has also proven to be a far cry from that of empowering artists and creators, as investors and evangelists have insisted it is in reality. . The fact that so many artists have had horror stories of seeing their art stolen (because all NFTs are just urls pointing to images) and being posted in various markets without their permission makes it seem like shading is the rule rather than the exception when it comes to non-fungible tokens.

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