The Adventures of Unemployed Man
If you're going to take a lesson away from reading the new comic book 'The Adventures of Unemployed Man,' since teaching life lessons is what comic books do in an oversized way, it's that no one should feel ashamed of being unemployed.
As someone who was laid off during the Great Recession and hasn't yet found full-time work, that's what I got out of the latest book by Erich Origen and Gan Golan, the writers and artists of the New York Times bestseller 'Goodnight Bush,' a parody of the children's classic 'Goodnight Moon.' Their new 80-page book was released Oct. 18 and is drawn and reads like a comic book, although at $15 it's not as cheap as a regular comic book and probably not high on the list of expenses for anyone who's unemployed.
It's a fun tale of the recession and unemployment -- which you'd think would be difficult to do, but Origen and Golan do it well with great satire, with the drawings of a host of comic book artists who have worked at DC and Marvel Comics, giving it a 1950s classic comic book feel.
It features the jobless crusader Unemployed Man and his sidekick Plan B in a search for work that pits them against such villains as The Human Resource, Pink Slip, and The Invisible Hand. Other superheroes join them, including perpetual grad student Master of Degrees, checkbook unbalancer Zilch, and Wonder Mother, who built her invisible jet from pieces of the glass ceiling at her office after being fired for refusing to nurse her baby in the supply closet.
None of the heroes has any super powers "other than the everyday job of facing reality," Origen, 38, told AOL Jobs in a phone interview. That's part of the book's appeal -- every one of us can be a superhero, even the unemployed in a capitalist environment. The book's website has a link to Superhero Jobs, which are job listings with "superhero" in the description. One of the most common jobs on the site where employers are looking for a superhero are babysitters -- no surprise to moms and dads everywhere.
Throughout the book, Unemployed Man learns that the message he preached before he was fired from his job as The Ultimatum -- the unemployed are responsible for being out of work and should have a positive attitude, and being lazy and a freeloader won't lead to a better life -- was wrong.
"The book is kind of skewed to big economic issues and how he fits into all of that," Origen said.
Both authors said they still think people are responsible for their success, but the bank bailouts by the federal government highlighted the faults of capitalism and how a small percentage of people are rewarded for having no merit of their own.
"We wanted to address the economy, and we saw a lot of people doing it in a very dry way that wasn't too exciting," Origen said of their idea for the book, which they wanted to be an emotional catharsis for the unemployed. The book is a good way for the unemployed to talk about their situation before they get to their breaking point, he said.
"It gives them a tool to kind of have control over their own story and not go down that path," he said of the potential breaking point of being unemployed.-- YoUr Turn! Have an interesting story to tell? Submit it to AOL Jobs.
Aaron Crowe is a freelance journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area.