The last thing that you would think about whenever you see a comic book is gambling. What usually comes to mind are heroes and their evil archrivals, their incredible superpowers, the supernatural, aliens or perhaps even talking ninja turtles.
However, unbeknownst to many, comics and gambling have been intertwined for a long time and their relationship has grown quite dramatically in recent years. At the moment, there are a fair number of gambling comic books that boast of storylines involving gambling and characters that like to gamble.
As a matter of fact, the relationship between comic books and gambling has become so deep that there are many slot games in both brick-and-mortar casinos as well as online ones that feature popular comic book characters, the most popular of which is DC’s main man, Superman.
So, what is the origin of this unique link between comic books and gambling? Let’s take a closer look.
The War on Gambling That Was Waged by Superman
During the turn of the 20th century, comic books did not just provide readers with entertainment; they were also used as a platform to deliver messages and moral lessons. One of those lessons was the evils and dangers of gambling that were found in two storylines in DC’s Superman. These were “Superman and the Number’s Racket” and “The Gambling Racket in Metropolis.” Both stories concentrated on suicidal gamblers that were saved by who else but the Man of Steel.
As a matter of fact, in the story arc of “Superman and the Number Racket,” the Kryptonian became so bothered by gambling activities that he actively waged war against the gambling syndicates in the fictional city of Metropolis. In all, the negative depiction of gambling and the obvious moral lesson geared to caution young people about betting activity was the same for both comics: gambling does nothing but ruin your life.
As the years went by, villains who were invested in gambling began to make their presence felt in comic books. One of the most recognizable ones during that era was an enemy of the Green Lantern named The Gambler (what else would his name be?). If this character’s name was not obvious enough, he was well-known for his addiction to gambling, which ironically was the cause of his demise.
However, the tides seemingly turned when one of Batman’s most famous adversaries, Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face, came to fore in the 1960s. Whereas gambling villains in the past were frowned upon, characters that gambled suddenly became popular and a hit amongst comic book readers and collectors.
While gambling was still linked to villains, in the case of the obsessive coin-tossing Two-Face, he wasn’t just a one-dimensional character that had a gambling habit. He was a complicated man that had a lot of ebbs and flows about him, along with flaws, fears and inner demons that made him real and more relatable. Even though it was a crucial part of his character, gambling didn’t define him. It was simply one piece to the puzzle of a broken madman.
Even Heroes Gambled
The popular mutant hero Gambit was introduced in the 90s and soon rose to prominence especially for his love of poker and gambling in general. Although not as squeaky clean as most of his fellow colleagues on the X-Men are, Gambit is an antihero that featured a dark and horrid past and had flaws that added depth to his character.
Whether he’s playing cards or lighting them up as a weapon with his mutant power, Gambit is a jack-of-all-trades kind of hero, skilled in saving the world as he is with wooing the ladies. When it comes to gambling, Gambit’s character paints it in neither a negative or positive light. If anything, his love of card playing is one of the more natural and relatable demonstrations of gambling in comics that expresses it clearly: it’s a game that is meant to be fun.
Comics and Casinos
With the evolution of technology and the warm reception of comics nowadays, the relationship between comic books and gambling has gone beyond the page. In the past few years, the link between the two, as well as the standing of such famous comic book characters like Batman, Superman, Iron Man and Spiderman just to name a few has resulted in casinos paying homage to superheroes and comics by offering their players games based on these hot trends.
It all began with comic and superhero-themed slots hitting the floors of land-based casinos in Las Vegas. One of the most well-received was the Iron Man slot, which is based on the first Iron Man movie that starred Robert Downey Jr. Another popular game is Superman the Movie slot which was based on the first film starring Christopher Reeve.
Of course, with the advancement of online casinos, it was expected that these comic-based and superhero-themed titles would eventually cross over into the digital realm. Among this online casino’s comic slots, you’ll find the player favorites Superman Last Son of Krypton, and Jack Hammer, which was a 1920’s comic strip adventure.
Other games that were born out of comic books that you can find at online casinos include the Hellboy Slot, Wonder Woman Slot, Green Lantern Slot, The Flash Slot, Justice League Slot, Goldenman Slot and Kick Ass Slot.
Putting up these comic book-themed slots has been advantageous for both casinos and players alike. It has helped casinos develop a stronger following and bond with their clients, while comic book fans get to play real money games that take after their favorite heroes and characters.
What once began as the one-dimensional depiction of gambling in comic books – a platform for wicked activity geared to teach young people a moral lesson – eventually developed into an enjoyable and natural part of popular multi-dimensional characters and storylines.
Superman Eventually Got Involved in Gambling
When it comes to online gambling, the last character you would connect with it is the Man of Steel himself, Superman. As mentioned above, the Superman comic books were even used as a vessel to proclaim the evils of gambling. And so it comes as a shock that the hero now has his very own slot game. First off, the game has fifty pay lines. This comes at a time when the slot games are becoming more advanced, and increased pay line slots are becoming the norm at online casinos.
Superman also comes with an optional bonus bet in which players can take the chance to win additional money on their wins. The bonus is similar to what casinos have done with blackjack in the past couple of years.
The object of all slot games for players is to arrive at the bonus round. In Superman, the player gets a chance to save the world when they are in the bonus round, much like the title character does in the comics and in the movies.
The use of Superman remains very strange and ill-fitting considering how straight and narrow he's always portrayed. And when gambling is talked about, the last hero that you would expect to get involved with it is the Man of Steel.
Comic Book Characters That Like to Gamble
The 21st century looks at comic books and their respective big-budget blockbusters as crucial platforms of entertainment that explore great character development, appealing themes, and adventurous plots.
The characters are very typically human. They just also happen to have superhuman powers. These heroes and villains may go through a lot of difficult choices and save people from evil but at the same time, they also have hobbies.
One of the most overlooked activities comic book characters sometimes engage in is gambling. Either in the background or front and center, the topic of gambling has been involved in several comic book series and characterizations of various heroes or villains.
The sheer popularity of comic book characters changed the design of many different games offered on casino floors. If you are an avid fan of Marvel or DC comic books, below is a list of five characters who indulge in gambling.
Although he started as a villain and eventually turned into an antihero, Gambit has proven that his love for gambling and cards is not a negative trait. As part of the X-men team, Gambit mostly got his fortune with the help of a deck of cards. He has his own set of flaws that a layer of mystique to his character; skilled gambling is just another attribute that makes him a special hero to admire.
Burning a deck to show off his superpowers, the Gambit always uses cards as his weapon of choice. Besides, the occasional poker game in the comics paints Gambit’s character as a suave and debonair ladies man.
2. Iron Man
Billionaire genius and playboy, Tony Stark, who is popularly known all over the world as the so-called metalhead, Iron Man, dabbles in the occasional casino scene. From producing innovative warfare products to wooing women, casinos and gambling are never too far off from his lavish lifestyle. In the 2008 movie debut of the character, one of the beginning scenes introduces Iron Man in a casino. Rather than attending yet another awards ceremony honoring his accomplishments, Tony Stark decides to play craps to celebrate.
Instead of dwelling on some award, this fun and intelligent hero claims that he needs to focus on having a good time. Iron Man regards gambling as a favorite form of relaxation and entertainment once in a while.
People often forget about Batman’s brilliant skills in games that have something to do with gambling. Not only does Bruce Wayne come from a wealthy background that can easily allow an affluent hobby like gambling, but his enemies have an absolute love for games of chance. Both Two-Face and Joker are also well known for risking their money; Batman must play catch-up and compete with them on a casino floor.
Besides, Bruce Wayne has been to his fair share of charity casino functions in his lifetime, learning more about the games and gambling in the process. With these circumstances in mind, the character eventually circles this subject enough to become well versed with the intricacies involved within a skilled game.
Bruce Wayne would probably not have a losing hand with the kind of familiarity picked up over the years unless he deliberately loses as a way to distract the enemy.
Although he has often switched between the good and bad sides, this superhero consistently keeps his passion for gambling burning. With his photographic memory, Ozymandius, who also happens to be a scientific billionaire, businessman, and martial artist, can outfox any person in a round of poker, or any other game found in a casino.
Also, Ozymandius makes use of a card counting system that helps him emerge victorious in any casino game. He is able to predict the show of cards by memorizing cards thrown earlier in a game. With these great qualities, this superhero is nigh unbeatable on any casino table. Anyone playing against Ozymandius would long rue the day he or she went up against this gambling genius.
One of the most popular villains of Batman, Harvey Dent, or Two-Face, is absolutely obsessed with gambling and betting. One of the character’s fascinations is to engage in 50-50 coin-tossing bets, a quality that adds to Two-Face’s fears and demons. He has a knack for gambling and chance.
Every decision of this half-villain/half-superhero comes down to the result of a traditional coin toss. Hence, the split personality displayed in the character’s emotions and physical nature makes sense. Although not applied to an environment identical to a casino, Two-Face has gambling etched in his nature, and he takes the concept of chance seriously.