When they’re not wearing their capes or masks, our favorite supers have to do SOMETHING to pay the bills! Welcome to Ten Things: Ten Common Super Jobs!
Whooshman-Bicarbonate Films, in conjunction with An Amateur Comics Historian and Percival “Fruitman” Pineapple, perhaps the only superhero grocer in existence, Presents:
TEN THINGS: TEN COMMON SUPER JOBS!
10) JOURNALIST – DREAMER
A gifted young speechwriter for the White House press secretary Cat Grant, Nia Nal was sent to National City to learn the ropes of journalism under the tutelage of Kara “Supergirl” Zor-El. Initially believed to be narcoleptic, Nia discovered instead that she has inherited her family’s strange dream manipulation powers, and uses them to not only see the future, but do generic blasty/energy stuff, much like a Green Lantern ring. The idea of a superhero being a reporter is among the earliest tropes of the genre, thanks to Clark Kent’s old-school job at the Daily Planet, with many modern stories struggling to make it a valid choice for a 21st Century character.
9) GOVERNMENT AGENT – THE WHITE TIGER
First seen in the employ of the FBI, Angela del Toro quickly fell into the superhero world after inheriting the mystical amulets worn by her Uncle Hector, the original White Tiger. She relocated to New York, joined the NYPD but fell prey to the influences of evil and the amulets, moving her back-and-forth from hero to villain several times before another member of the family, Ava Ayala, officially took possession of the amulets from her. The idea of superheroes as government agents/spies/secret agents is another go-to for the industry, ranging from the Nick Fury, Agent of SHIELD to Perry the Platypus.
8) ASTRONAUT – BOLT
After his craft passed through an anomaly called ‘The Enigma Cloud’, Mitchell Cameron was transformed into a being of pure energy with no memory of his life. Upon returning to Earth, he fights with local heroes until he meets his wife, triggering his memories to return. Eventually, Mitch and Bolt learn to co-exist, and occasionally guest-star throughout the AC Comics universe. In the wake of the American space program, a number of superheroes got their powers through space adventures and/or misadventures, including Captain Atom, The Six Million Dollar Man and Astro City’s beautifully named team, The Apollo 11.
7) STUDENT – CONNIE MAHESWARAN
A young tween/teen woman living near Beach City, Connie encountered Steven Universe and wacky hijinks ensued. She eventually began training with a sword to be Steven’s partner/knight, she worked to overcome her shyness while showing off both her intellect and her athleticism. Connie is the first human being to ever fuse with a Crystal Gem, and has become an integral part of Steven’s support network. Though initially always the sidekick, young student superheroes got a huge boost in 1961 with the debut of Spider-Man, after which a flood of young people began putting on the metaphorical cape and cowl, including The New Warriors, The Runaways and a dozen iterations of the Teen Titans, may they rest in peace.
Sure, they’re not all dead NOW, but give DC time…
6) SOLDIER – MINUTE-MAN
Army private and crown champion in the “Best Use of Star & Stripes Motifs In A Superhero Costume” 80 years running, Jack Weston punched crime with his two good non-super fists and the courage of the Greatest Generation. A member of the Crime Crusaders Club, he is one of the Fawcett Comics characters that never got a sustained revival by DC, which is a shame, as the appearances he has had have been pretty amazing. Super soldiers (and, for that matter, super-soldiers) are a cornerstone of heroic fiction, thanks in part to the example of Captain America, and account for an outsize number of modern origins, thanks to post-modern cynicism.
5) POLICE OFFICER – ARMOR HERO TECHNO
An ally of Armor Hero Lava, from the Chinese television program of the same name, Du Xiaomi seems to be all-business in his demeanor, even sporting the traditional Joe Friday haircut. I don’t speak enough (or indead, ANY) Chinese, so it’s somewhat hard to research him, but super-police are everywhere in comics. Alan Moore’s Top 10 provides a realistic look, while Marshal Law is a dark and cynical take on the same thing, while various iterations of the Savage Dragon have been combining police work and super-powers for nearly 30 years.
4) SCIENTIST – SASQUATCH
An honor student and athlete, Dr. Walter Langkowski chose to follow in the footsteps of Bruce Banner’s Gamma Ray experiments. He ended up doing so in more ways than one, getting his own Gamma-powered transformation, into the massive furry super, Sasquatch! Through a complex series of events, he died and was somehow resurrected into the body of his teammate Snowbird, spending a period of time as Wanda Langkowski with the same powers. Later retcons returned both heroes to the status quo, but super-scientists abound in comics since the Golden Age, as one of the easiest ways to explain the unexplainable, from The American Crusader to Air-Male to modern forensic scientist Barry Allen.
80% of Marvel’s top-tier heroes are in this line of work, as well.
3) MUSICIAN – ROCKSTAR
Known to her friends as “The Hammer”, Megan Lee is remarkably powerful and uses her stage presence to show off in the field as well, as a member of Daybreak. Which Sentinels of the Multiverse continuity this is, I’m not 100% sure, since they sprout alternate realities more often than I have a hot meal (and I’m not skipping breakfast, if you know what I mean.) She follows in the skate-tracks of Dazzler and her disco-ball necklace, but examples of the musician-as-superhero go back to at least 1942, with The Music Master. There’s also a phenomenon of real-life musicians getting comic adaptations, with KISS, Billy Ray Cyrus and others fighting for the weirdest adventure, while Tenacious D are, in fact, real-life superheroes.
2) GOD – HERCULES
The actual “historical” demigod, surviving to the present day, Herakles is one of a literal legion of illegitimate sons and daughters of Zeus, whose lightning bolt flew fast, free and often, if you catch my drift. Legendary for completing twelve epic labors, he eventually fell in with the modern-day Avengers, and has served in their ranks off and on ever since. Though Thor is perhaps the most obvious example of the trope, literal gods masquerading as superheroes have been a common theme in comics since the very beginning, with Mercury, Ares, Hippolyta and a host of others (including Valhallen, Viking God of Rock in the Justice Friends) just walking among us like a stranger on the bus, tryin’ to make their way home.
1) RICH IDIOT WITH NO DAY JOB – NIGHT THRASHER
Inheriting his later father’s multi-million dollar company, Dwayne Taylor turns his attention and fortune to the punching of crime, preferably after a wicked Olly grind. As the founder of the New Warriors, he brought other young heroes together in an idealistic crusade. Predating the modern superhero, thanks to The Scarlet Pimpernel (which also originates much of the modern secret identity trope), the idea of a rich guy becoming a superhero is usually seen without super-powers, i.e. Batman or Green Arrow. When it does involve big-time powers, as in the case of Iron Man, it’s often a question of expensive-technology-that-might-as-well-be-super-powers.
Thanks to Faithful Spoilerite @J_Michael_T for this week’s topic. Feel free to follow along @MightyKingCobra for more Ten Things madness on 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 we didn’t mention lawyer, carny or yogurt-store-counter-worker. Either way, the comments section is below for just such an emergency, but, as always: Please, no wagering!