The superhero genre is always ripe for parody. I mean, seriously, who among us can forget Ben Stiller and William H. Macy playing Mr. Furious and The Shoveler in Bob (Flaming Carrot) Burden's Mystery Men? But imagine if satirists could use their powers for good, not evil?
Turns out, they can: Published just this week, and surely bound for the big screen, is The Adventures of Unemployed Man. The graphic novel is the brainchild of Erich Origen and Gan Golan, who previously turned the classic children's book, Goodnight Moon, into the New York Times best-seller Goodnight Bush!
Existing in a world not unlike our own, Unemployed Man faces off against a merciless team of costumed super-villains including The Outsourcer, Nickel & Dime, The Human Resource, The Broker and, of course, The Free Marketeers.
The book is expertly rendered by a dozen artists whose credits include top titles for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and other heavyweight publishing houses.
And as funny as it all is, a Q&A on the authors' website lays to rest any doubts about how serious they are when it comes to the underlying issues:
"My parents were born in the Depression and it very much haunted them," recalls Origen. "Growing up, my mother was constantly giving us doom and gloom advice, like “ALWAYS save your bacon fat.” We had jars of it in the refrigerator, and a storehouse of dry goods in the garage. It seemed ridiculous at the time, but it was coming from a very real place. In the 80s, Reagan’s union-busting devastated our income and we slowly slid down the economic ladder, like so many have over the last 30 years as wages declined...
"We want people to see how heroic they are in the face of all they’re up against. One of my roles in life has been to help people who are stressed or grieving have a moment of levity—not by being glib and acting above it all, but by being happy within the sadness and the struggle. It's being authentic, not denying reality."