F*ck It, You’re All Getting Socks

While saying so is probably tantamount to confessing that I’m a hopelessly materialistic person, I love giving and receiving presents. Birthdays, graduations, housewarmings, congratulations-on-finally-dumping-that-slimy-douchebag celebrations — it’s all fair game for my impulse to foist things on people.

The one kind of gift I’m definitely less fond of: souvenirs. They’re pretty much obligatory when you or someone else has gone overseas, and that “checking off a list” quality usually results in a tacky bauble picked up last thing at the airport. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve given my fair share of Mt Fuji fridge magnets and Space Needle pens too, but when I have the time and money I like to splash out and get something both practical and unique to the country I’m visiting that my loved ones will treasure forever — or at least until their dog eats it.

Luckily for me, this time the universe (and/or the local textile industry) provided. I’ve been to Taiwan enough times now that I was starting to run out of souvenir ideas, short of terrorising people with another attempt at making felt finger puppets of their favourite TV characters (last time, so very tragically, all of Stiles’ freckles fell off).

10402494_10202728587468248_6498064143391283652_n

But then I started to notice a strange phenomenon: loads of stores I passed in Taipei had started selling superhero socks! Yes, even though every day was providing new ways for me to complain about the 90% humidity. Many of the major DC and Marvel characters were accounted for in diminutive knitted form too, from The Hulk to Catwoman to Wolverine. Unlicensed merchandise or no, I had stumbled across the perfect combination of cute, practical and highly portable souvenirs for all my fannish friends. My one quibble? When’s the last time you saw Batman look that contented about anything?

Adventures in Distracting Public Sculpture

So there I was, escaping the terrible heat of downtown Taipei (they claim it’s springtime at the moment but my sweat glands know better) by walking through an underground mall that’s part of the country’s biggest train station.

And then…

spidey ass

A lifesize statue of a costumed Andrew Garfield that’s positioned in such a way so that it’s impossible not to ogle his bum when you’re walking down the stairs.

And sure, Spider-Man fever is sweeping Taiwan right now, but surely there are better ways to burn his image onto our retinas and brainwash us into buying more movie tickets? Like a normal, 2D poster?

(Oh, who the hell am I kidding–this is my new favourite route through the train station.)

“Tremble, mortals, beneath my mighty plastic hammer!”

The Marvel movies seem to be as popular in Taiwan as they are in every country with a movie-going public — at least judging by the way the entire weekday programming of one cable channel here is devoted to alternating reruns of Iron Man 2 and Spider-man 2. So I probably shouldn’t have been surprised when I stumbled on a random Avengers showcase at the Miramar (美麗華) mall complex the other week. Continue reading