First, note that all material posted on this site is copyrighted Nathaniel Hellerstein, 2012.
This week's blogs start today with four days about "Working Joe"; then on the 5th I'll post an "Inadequate Kaddish" in honor of my mother for her 7th yartzeit; then I'll end the week on Friday with an Unchain Letter.
My daughter Hannah and I have, between us, invented an alternate comic-book superbeing; "Working Joe". He's not a superhero, nor a supervillain; more like a super-worker. He has the usual superpowers, but he uses them strictly for heavy construction work. He's the guy who cleans up the mess after the superheros and supervillains stop battling. Unlike superheros, he's in it for the money; unlike supervillains, he wants only honest jobs.
Working Joe neither fights crime nor commits it; he just works, very very hard. Don't call him a superworker, he doesn't like being set apart. He's a Union man, of course. His contract with the Metroville Reconstruction Authority states that after a superfight, he does the heavy lifting and the dangerous labor, and the other Union people do detailing. What with all the superfights, all the time, it's steady work.
I envision an episode consisting of nothing but him cleaning up after an action-packed sequence, all off-stage; we see him pick up the pieces afterwards, commenting all the while on the super-fighter's super-carelessness. After restoring the city to its pre-fight glory, Working Joe says, "Another job well done!" and flies home.
No secret identity for him; but he has a wife and kids (all of them super) so he can't afford to antagonize anyone. He'll do honest work if the pay is good. So Working Joe moonlights as an independent contractor, building fortresses for both superheros and supervillains! The superheros look down on him for his mercenary streak; the supervillains despise him for his habitual honesty; he consoles himself that they need him more than he needs them.
Wife and kids also have superpowers. The wife is Home-Maker. She has super-endurance, she can read minds, and she can see out of the back of her head. The boy is Hyper; he has superspeed and ADHD; the girl is Goth; a moody teen with the power of invisibility. Raising superkids is super-expensive - so many home repairs! - so that's why Working Joe has that mercenary streak. Part of the hidden joke of the comic is that he always needs money. He has wealth-creating superpowers, yet the system is rigged so that he constantly has to keep hustling.
And how did he get those superpowers? His origin story is that his maternal grandmother was not only an alien, she was an illegal alien!
Other characters in Working Joe's Metroville: GoodCop/BadCop, Bankster, superlawyer Suxel, and supersalesman "Bob".
I visualize Working Joe as wearing denim overalls and a helmet, and drawn in angular buff Socialist Realist style. Something like Spain's "Trashman".
Over the next few days I will blog some Working Joe stories, like this:
Once Working Joe met a boyhood hero of his; Fireman. Working Joe stammers his admiration, Fireman graciously returns the compliment. "Who built all the firetraps I rescue people from? Guys like you! Who do I rescue from those firetraps? Guys like you! Who pays my pension? Guys like you!"