Super Working Stiffs

Even superheroes gotta earn a living. (Billionaire Bruce Wayne excepted.)

Like Ant Man. Gets out of prison, tries to earn a living with a private security company, and doesn’t do well at it. Poor guy. I love it.


I also love Marvel’s new Hellcat! comic book. The art is fun, the writing is funny and warm. Issue #1 had Hellcat encounter a low-level super villain. He had money troubles, “I’m just trying to live my life, y’know?” Instead of a huge fight, she talked him out of stealing and rented a room from him, she needed a place to live. Then she visited a comic book shop, had a beer, and started a super(hero) temp agency. She ended issue #1 with: “I, Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat, am going to work retail.” That is VERY refreshing!

It reminds me of Harvey Pekar. In his comic book American Splendor, Harvey wrote about his life as a file clerk in Cleveland: “Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Many of his stories were about his different jobs, and how his file clerk job was a cornerstone of his life. As a real life person, Harvey never put on a cape.

I take that into account in my story writing. My superheroine, Super Holly Hansson, is paid to put on her cape and do super heroics, Holly considers herself a working stiff. Unlike the current movie Superman, calling her any kind of god would be a great way to get a fat lip. Like Harvey Pekar, Holly’s comic book writing also earns money. It is a huge cornerstone of her life that she loves a lot more than punching out Harry Headbutt when he tries to “ROB BANK, GET MONEY, BUY TEN POUND STEAK, AND NOT LEAVE TIP!” And Holly’s love interest, Cal “The Intellectual” Critbert, became far more human when I finally gave him his day job as a movie critic.

My supers can get government-funded jobs and be paid for putting on the cape and doing super heroics. Beats putting on masks and running around looking for trouble at three o’clock in the morning. The police get to do that.

P.S. Why do my supers put on capes? Same reason cops wear a badge.


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