Punching evil may be satisfying, but it doesn’t always pay the bills.  Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Small-Business Owners!

Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and a startup loan from the SBA, Presents:



Upon his escape from prison, the man born Carl Lucas made his way back home to Harlem, where he decided to set up shop as a Hero for Hire.  Working out of a theatre in Times Square, Cage tried to be a hero for the common man, doing superhero jobs for a price.  During this time, he was hired to join the Fantastic Four and The Defenders, in addition to solo jobs.  Notably, he was hired by Doctor Doom to take out a group of renegade Doombots, only to have the monarch of Laveria skip out on his fee.

Luke followed him to his palace and roughed Doom up (!!) for his two hundred bucks, all the while bellowing, “Where’s my money, honey?”


Lobo (whose name is a Khundian word meaning “he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it”) killed his people and destroyed his idyllic home world out of sheer bastardry.  In order to make his way in the galaxy, Lobo started his own bounty hunting agency, taking on the most difficult skip-traces and operative by his own strict code of honor.  It’s a pretty successful gig all around, allowing him to keep his beloved space-dolphins in…  Whatever it is space-dolphins eat?

I’m gonna say space shrimp.


After years of working for the corrupt corporate jerk Edwin Alva, Curtis Metcalf demanded a share of the profits from Alva’s sales of his ideas and innovations.  Instead, he discovered that his boss of many years had no respect for him at all, overtly referring to him as equivalent to a dog unhappy with it’s master.  Curtis was even forbidden from using his skills at another company, and so created his armored alter-ego out of Alva’s out basement labs.  Eventually, he successfully divested himself of Edwin Alva, and formed his own tech firm, The Hard Corporation, to finally own his own ideas outright.


As a member of the nigh-immortal Destine family, Walter Destine is the son of a genie and a man who cannot die.  He has the ability to switch into a monstrous superhuman form, though it’s not always entirely by design and can take days or even weeks to subside.  When not punching with the Fire of Mahkala, Walter (don’t call him Wally) made his living as an author of romance novels under the pen name “Sabrina Bentley”, a lucrative side business that allowed him to live comfortably and support his niece and nephew, who were as yet unaware of the family’s secrets.


Briefly seen during the events of Watchmen, The Twilight Lady was described as a “vice queen” that Nite-Owl sent to jail in 1968.  During the fan fiction sequel, Before Watchmen, she was given the name Liz Lane and we were shown a much more graphic description of her work running a brothel. including her flirtations and dominating nature.  An entrepreneuring young woman, The Twilight Lady ran her own illegal operation in the face of crime lords and thugs, and even worked with Nite-Owl when a criminal began targeting her employees.


Owner/operator of the Kent Family General Store in Smallville, Jonathan Kent did all he could to make sure that his son Clark had a normal life, setting a hard-working example for the future Superman.  On occasion, he even got powers of his own, as when Superboy brought home a strange power item from space, but still remained the same solid Midwestern salt of the Earth we all know and love.  On his deathbed, he gave his son one last piece of advice: “Son, you did your best for us! Now listen to my last words! You must always use your super-powers to do good… Uphold law and order! Good luck, my son… And goodbye!”

Kevin Costner should take note.


After leaving the Justice League to settle in Seattle with her long-time beau Green Arrow, Dinah Lance bought a cool building and opened her own flower shop, Sherwood Florist.  During this time, she lived a quiet life, with her own apartment upstairs.  Green Arrow also had living space in the building, allowing them to “live together” without actually living together, with the business serving as their base of operations during their time in the Pacific Northwest.


Thanks to Dr. Raymond Stantz’s family home (“Everybody has three mortgages these days”), parapsychologists Venkman, Spengler and Stantz were able to open their own business (along with everyman Winston Zeddemore) dealing with the phantoms, wraiths and roaming vapors of New York.  Their timing was fortuitous, as an ancient Sumerian deity was preparing to march on the city, with only their Proton Packs standing in the way.

Nobody steps on a church in Peter Venkman’s town.


Much like Luke Cage, Scott Lang was sent to prison, though Scott actually committed the crimes he was convicted of.  Upon getting out, he stole Ant-Man’s adventuring gear to help pay for surgery for his daughter, only to have Hank Pym give him his blessing to continue adventuring in his old helmet.  Scott eventually opened his own business, Ant-Man Security Solutions, banking on his ability to case for burglary and using it to help other prevent OTHER burglars.  He eventually ended up employing other former villains trying to go straight, including The Beetle, The Porcupine and The Grizzly.


Initially embarrassed by his father’s Golden Age career as Starman, Jack Knight instead devoted his energies to collectibles and antiques, opening his own shop to deal in various tchotchkes.  After his brother’s death as Starman, Jack grudgingly agreed to take up the mantle and cosmic rod and be a new Starman, so long as his father would devote his scientific energies to helping the world.  Even as he adventured across the galaxy, coming to terms with his father’s legacy, his dead brother and his place in the world, he kept his store in Opal City, only closing it when he retired to raise his son, Kyle.

Thanks to Faithful Spoilerite Vistapa for this week’s topic, Ten Small-Business Owners!  As always, feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra to suggest your own!  There’s always more Ten Things madness on my Twitter or check out the full Twitter archive here! As with any set of like items, these aren’t meant to be hard and fast or absolutely complete, if only because not everyone can be a billionaire playboy.  Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!

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About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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