There’s something about Superheroes that sticks in my craw. It’s this attitude that one exceptional individual can stand above the rest. That one individual, alone, can stand above all of us. They need no one else. The implication is that those who succeed, do so alone. Every person who stands on top of the pile does so alone, because they’re so much better than the rest of us.
It turns out that, without that pile, everyone on top of it would fall on their arses pretty damned quick. And I don’t mean Alfred or the Avengers who aren’t quite literally gods.
This is Justin Clements. He works for Wayne Tech., doing data entry. To be honest, he really doesn’t like the fact he’s working for one of the biggest companies in the world, a company who’s portfolio includes arms manufacturing. And he’s annoyed at being stuck in a data entry job. But his degree is in Fine Art and, well, any job in this economy, right? He also thinks Batman’s a self-righteous dick whose violent vigilantism is everything that’s wrong with the U.S. of A. He spends his days sketching his co-workers on Post-It notes.
Sylvia Lyn, accountant for Stark Industries. Working for Iron Man’s company? Boo-YAH! It’s one hell of a pickup line. And, every day when she goes into work, she is keeping peace in the world. How many people can say that? She has a sister she rarely talks to and parents that call her once a month because she’s their daughter and they have to. And while numbers are nice and all–and she’s on track to a very well-paid job in the next ten years–she only feels alive when ballroom dancing. There’s something about the movement of the body, the purity of the moment, that transcends the mundane world and creates something beyond human.
The guy in the middle is John Ollerhead. He’s been working to keep the streets of Metropolis in good nick for twenty years. To be honest, it’s a pretty sweet gig. The streets of Metropolis always need patching up. He was born and raised in Metropolis, and will tell you it’s the best city in the world. Five years ago, his wife convinced him to go to Europe on vacation. They stayed in Limerick in Ireland for two weeks. He didn’t like it. Somewhere, he knows that without him, the shops of Metropolis wouldn’t be visited by supply trucks and would run out of food, the Daily Planet would run out of highlighters and Post-It notes, and people wouldn’t be able to get to work. But, to be honest, he just gets a thrill out of a perfectly laid piece of tarmac.
These are Peter Parker’s bins. They’re emptied every week by a woman called Isabelle Ross. Well, Isabelle is one of the people who empties them. She’s is proud to be Italian-American. She has a husband and three children. She constantly worries about her kids getting into trouble at school and harangues them about doing their homework. They’re smart, you know? They deserve better than waking up every morning with shit under their fingernails. Most of Isabelle’s money goes on electronics. The woman knows more about hooking up and optimizing stereos and TVs than most professionals. Not that she’d admit that. She’s been told her whole life that she’s stupid, so she must be, right? But her kids, her kids are smart. They deserve better.
This is Jeff. He’s homeless. He used to play the penny-whistle for change, but the penny-whistle was stolen so now he simple sits with his hat on the floor in-front of him. He wasn’t born homeless. His wife was shot and killed, he couldn’t make the rent payments and no one cared enough to worry where he went from there. He dreams big dreams. He dreams of being a mutant and fighting for his right to live. As it is, all he feels he can do is shuffle through life and keep his head down. The change he gets he spends buying the cheapest food and clothes he can. He pays sales tax on everything he buys. He never thinks about it, but without this sales tax money, Captain America would be just as cold and hungry as he is.
And it’s probably best we don’t talk about the Batcave.