News / USA

Unemployed Find Comic Relief in New Book

'Adventures of Unemployed Man' parodies classic superheroes

Multimedia

Audio
Faiza Elmasry

Writers Erich Origen and Gan Golan send Unemployed Man on a heroic search for work while he also wages an epic battle against economic super villains.
Writers Erich Origen and Gan Golan send Unemployed Man on a heroic search for work while he also wages an epic battle against economic super villains.

Sometimes, the best way to deal with a bad situation is to laugh at it. That's the idea behind "The Adventures of Unemployed Man," a parody of classic superhero comics, written for America's current economic meltdown.

In it, writers Erich Origen and Gan Golan send Unemployed Man on a heroic search for work. With the help of other down-on-their-luck superheroes, he wages an epic battle against economic super villains. Will Unemployed Man find a job? Will the villains prevail?

Ultimatum is a man with a mission. He teaches the power of positive thinking. If you can believe it, you can achieve it!

That's until he meets a woman foraging for food in a garbage dumpster. She explains she has a job and works hard, but is still paid too little and has to go dumpster-diving to survive. When Ultimatum tries to help her, he is fired, and becomes Unemployed Man. Despite his best efforts, he can't find a job.

Unemployed Man secretly lives under his former mansion in a cave called Rock Bottom.
Unemployed Man secretly lives under his former mansion in a cave called Rock Bottom.

"Unemployed Man lost his house in a fantastic foreclosure," Origen says. "He's living in a cave, Rock Bottom, which is the cave underneath his former mansion," says co-author Origen.

Co-author Origen explains that early on in "The Adventures of Unemployed Man," our hero meets his silver-haired sidekick, Plan B, who can't get hired because he's too old.

"They meet in a job line and of course Plan B has been in the business for decades and can't afford to go into retirement because the broker made a joke with his 401K."



Origen and Golan had fun with the names of their characters, making allusions to real superheroes and puns on terms from financial news headlines. Golan says Unemployed Man and Plan B meet others who also emerged from the economic crisis such as Wonder Mother, who built an invisible jet from pieces of the 'glass ceiling' that often keeps women from being promoted and shadow worker, Fantasma.

"Fantasma is perhaps one of the first undocumented immigrant superheroes ever in comics," Golan says. "She is from Oaxaca, Mexico. Her family loses their farm due to NAFTA and The Subsidizer is a villain flooding the market with cheap corn. So she comes to the United States to look for work and then finds out that she's starting to become invisible. So like a classic superhero her power is being invisible, only she realizes she can't be seen by the people who employ her and her humanity is not seen either."

Our superheroes wrestle with the economic crisis and a group of evil doers who are profiting from it. The villains include Outsource - which is happening to many U.S. jobs - and Pink Slip, the notice that you've been fired.

Unemployed Man's sidekick, Plan B, can't get a job because he's too old.
Unemployed Man's sidekick, Plan B, can't get a job because he's too old.

Classic American superheroes, like Superman and Batman, appeared in the late 1930's, in the wake of the Great Depression, as symbols of hope and determination. Origen says their out-of-work superheroes were also inspired by the economy. But unlike Superman and Wonder Woman, he says, none of Unemployed Man's friends has any superpower other than the ability to face reality.

"We really want people to see how super they are in their own lives," Origen explains. "For instance, Wonder Mother is a working mother who is having to fight economic villains at the same time that she's breastfeeding her baby. That's heroic. Getting up and looking for work and have these astounding interviews with the human resource, that's heroic. We want people to see how heroic they are."

Origen and Golan also co-authored a political parody of the children's classic, "Goodnight Moon." Their version features the former president and is called, "Goodnight Bush." Golan says this was their first experience with a comic book.

"Comic books are incredibly complicated medium," he says. "It's almost like making a small film and we had so many amazing artists working with us. Really the most rewarding part was to work with artists who began making comics on the 1950s and 1960s, legendary artists like Ramona Fradon, Rick Vietch, Mike Netzer and the whole group of artists."

As "The Adventures of Unemployed Man" ends, our hero is still looking for a job. The authors say they chose this ambiguous ending because they did not want to give readers false hope.

"A depression is not just an economic term, it's an emotional term," Golan says. "And I think we're providing a kind of comedic stimulus package for the country and for other people who are struggling right now.

Golan and Origen hope to provide relief in uncertain times by making people laugh as they confront their troubles.

You May Like

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

Studies point to possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More