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Author Topic: Working class heroes?  (Read 261 times)

Offline HarryTrotter

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Working class heroes?
« on: February 01, 2018, 08:57:53 AM »
I was watching some Patt Mills interviews on youtube,and there was something interesting.Mills doesnt like superheroes,as we all know,but his take here is that they are all billionaires or tycoons or at least upper-middle class (lawyers,doctors).And after some brainstorming I still couldnt think of a superhero who punches the clock then goes to punch bad guys.Anyone else thought of somebody?
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Offline daglob

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 02:57:27 PM »
Does that include professional men? Barry Allen was a lab tech for the police, Hal Jordan was a test pilot, Carter Hall was a museum coordinator, Diana Prince was a Navy nurse, Clark Kent was a reporter, Ray Palmer was a college professor, what is Spider-Man, a teacher?

I'm not sure if he would call those "upper middle class" or not, and in the comic book universe they are more glamorous than in reality.

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2018, 04:45:03 PM »
Well, Rorschach kind of fits the working class idea seeing as he lives in squalor and spends his days as the "crazy End is Near sign" guy.  Also Steeljack - since reforming - in Astro City also fits. Toss Blue Devil and Ragman in there too. I can't remember but would The Goon also fit?
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 04:48:10 PM by Deaths Jester »
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2018, 06:21:29 PM »
Does that include professional men? Barry Allen was a lab tech for the police, Hal Jordan was a test pilot, Carter Hall was a museum coordinator, Diana Prince was a Navy nurse, Clark Kent was a reporter, Ray Palmer was a college professor, what is Spider-Man, a teacher?

I'm not sure if he would call those "upper middle class" or not, and in the comic book universe they are more glamorous than in reality.
I think everyone except Diana would qualify for upper middle class.And Im pretty sure Peter Parker is a billionaire tycoon these days.
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Offline daglob

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #4 on: February 01, 2018, 07:51:06 PM »
Captain America may not count, but originally he was just an Army private (although that could be considered his "cover"). Dan Garrett and Kip Burland were policemen, while John Jones was a detective, "Eel" O'Brian was a crook (not a clock puncher, but not a millionaire playboy, either), Bob White (Nightmare) and Ted Grant were boxers, Don Wickett (Shaman), Tony Trent (The Face), Vic Sage (Question), Jack Ryder (Creeper),  Walt Whitney (Bob Phantom), Gene West (Power Nelson-Futureman), Billy Batson and probably others were involved in radio, and may have been too upper-middle class for consideration. Sgt. Bill Norton (Alias: The Dragon) and Jim Barr (Bulletman) were, like Barry Allen, police scientists, Jay Garrick was a chemistry student, so I guess he became a chemist. Diana Drake (Black Canary) ran a flower shop, Lee Travis (Crimson Avenger) was a newspaper reporter, Pen Miller was a cartoonist, John Wallace (Music Master), and Omar Kavat (Spark Man) were musicians/band leaders (and they may have all been wealthy; Spark Man probably was), Jack Bradley (Flint Man) was a construction worker, and Pat Dempsey (Man O' Metal) was a steel worker (both drawn by Harry Peters). During WW II, a lot of heroes were some variation of "secret agent" and quite a few were somehow attached to one branch of service or another. Many more had no real occupation, other than "costumed adventurer".

Still, as I said, any and all of these occupations are probably a lot more glamorous and have a lot more spare time in  comics than in reality.

Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2018, 08:20:08 PM »
Since Doc Oc was in his body, he turned Peter into a tycoon billionaire. I dunno if that's still going, but yeah. He USED to be the sort of dude who worried about rent all the time.
Now we have new Spider characters. What's Miles do? Student still? I dunno how rich his family is. What's Spider-Gwen do? That Silk character was an intern somewhere. She didn't make a lot.
I mention these because I think they were suppose to evoke the feel of earlier era Spider-Man. "Born loser, that Parker luck..."
Kyle Rayner was an aspiring comicbook artist. I am pretty sure he was suppose to not have much money.
Are Luke Cage and Jessica Jones rich? I don't know their current situation.

The Goon does pretty well since his job is collecting all the debts owed to a dead criminal. But there are a bunch of other indie guys... The Atomics were homeless street beatniks. The Jam just lives in a normal apartment and his girlfriend always tells him to get a job. What did Kevin Matchstick do? The Maxx was a homeless guy. Does he count as a superhero? He's got a costume. I guess Spawn was homeless too, come to think of it. But he's a zombie. Does it count? Savage Dragon was a beat cop basically. Top Ten is about cops, but everybody in the city is a superhero, from burger slingers to billionaires. Arthur was an accountant but he quit is job... I don't know how people make money in The Tick's universe, but they all seem pretty blue collar. TMNT live in the sewers, do they count as superheroes?

Now I'm trying to think. Thor was briefly a construction worker, but he's also a god and doesn't really need a job. Hercules, also worked construction for a while, but again, is a god. Jack Staff is NOT a god, and works construction. This is actually a pretty decent job though.
If we're using watchmen, Nightowl 1 was a cop, then retired to be a mechanic. Black Canary was a florist. Johnny Quick, photographer. What did the Golden Age Atom do? Or Liberty Belle? I know there are more Golden Agers who were suppose to be working Joes, but can't think of them right now.
Jamie Madrox, PI. Quite a few golden agers were PIs. They get paid per case.
Ghost Rider was a stunt motorcylist with a travelling carnival. He wasn't rolling in cash. Deadman WAS an acrobat, but he's dead so he doesn't need a job.

What about all those superheroes who don't seem to have a job or real lives? Like, I can't see Quicksilver or Scarlet Witch holding down normal jobs anywhere. Where does the money for Xavier's school come from? Do the kids' families pay tuition? Aren't most of them running away from their families?

Okay, I've thought about this too much.

Oop: Daglob came in while I was posting with a bunch of people! Lots of duplicates.
But I will say, even though Billy Baston worked for a radio channel, wasn't he also a homeless orphan? Didn't he meet Shazam because he was going to kill himself on the subway tracks?
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 08:21:57 PM by UnkoMan »

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2018, 10:36:39 PM »
I forgot Jack Staff even existed...
I think reporter/journalist/radio personality were all glamorous jobs back in the day.Years of TV made being a cop/CSI look awesome.Same could be said about PIs.
I think construction worker and steel worker would probably fit Mills' definition best.
On the TMNT/superheros topic,see their own IDW thread.
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Offline daglob

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2018, 11:25:00 PM »
The problem with secret IDs is no one really wants to write about a boring guy who has to pay the rent and put groceries on the table. It's easier to just make him rich and you don't have to worry about that.

Offline Deaths Jester

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2018, 04:09:59 AM »
Darkhawk used to be a graveyard shift radio dj...

« Last Edit: February 02, 2018, 04:12:59 AM by Deaths Jester »
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Offline daglob

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2018, 05:07:43 AM »
Darkhawk used to be a graveyard shift radio dj...

Hey, and Night Man was a saxaphonist. Seems like Grenade and Atom Bob were college students or something.

Offline BentonGrey

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2018, 06:52:44 AM »
The problem with secret IDs is no one really wants to write about a boring guy who has to pay the rent and put groceries on the table. It's easier to just make him rich and you don't have to worry about that.

Except when they made Hal a traveling toy salesman or an insurance salesman.  What glamor!  What excitement!  What terrible ideas for the guy who was a freaking test pilot!
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Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2018, 12:23:09 PM »
Oh yeah,and the video in question.
https://youtu.be/Mht7Z0C_lQY
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Offline Red Fisser

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2018, 01:48:39 PM »
Now thats an interesting topic! Now I dont know whats going on in the most recent spiderman arcs
Since Doc Oc was in his body, he turned Peter into a tycoon billionaire. I dunno if that's still going, but yeah.
I wasnt even aware of that arc, but I remember that the classic peter parker belonged in the working class, and netflix's matt murdock is a lower middle class hero(he is not doing all that well on the lawyer job yet)definitely not upper middle class together with Jessica Jones. Also netflix's Frank Castlle belongs in the working class as well as netflix's Luke Cage(although I ve yet to finish that one) About spawn, he is below working class, and belongs to the luben proletariat most certainly, and I dont think thats by accident.
 Now about the definition of the term, working class is the class which has practically no means of production, hence the distinction of peter parker who sells his own working (spider)strength(since he has no means of production to hire workers to work) instead of say jessica jones,who even if shes poor,she owns her pi office,hence  being her selves "boss")
I think construction worker and steel worker would probably fit Mills' definition best.
in political economy, as a social science the definition of working class doesnt have anything to do with working on constructions or a factory but by having any means of production or not.(Through one can argue since its political,hence divisive opinions on that part too,obviously since we have classes)
About kal el's case, he is disguised as a working class lad,and besides having a farm in smallville(and godlike powers) he has the fortress of solitude, which contains more than enough (kryptonian) means of production to make kal a potentially wayne level capitalist.
 man do I love having that kind of conversations! Another great geek/social economic topic I love bring to the table on my nerd buddies is about which super heroes have class conscience of their class(hence fighting for their class benefits or against it)..

Offline daglob

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2018, 04:30:59 PM »
I'm not sure what "working class" would mean in this context. I've been in the "working class" my entire life, whether I was pouring concrete, laying asphalt, tracking assets for a tech school, acting as receptionist, or sorting traffic tickets.

I think Mills is aiming his scorn at billionaire playboys, like Bruce Wayne (who, if you think about it, is one of the hardest-working billionaires you will find), or Oliver Queen pre-Neal Adams, or Tony Stark, Elongated Man (who used his wife's money to travel around and solve crimes for fun), or a few others. He is, I believe, including highly-paid professionals, like Matt Murdock or Don Blake (who, as far as I can remember, wasn't really "rich"). We have a bunch of "scientists", like Ray Plamer, Hank Pym, Bruce Banner, Rex Tyler, Darrel Dane, Niles Caulder and the like, who may or may not be wealthy (Bruce and Ray were, I believe "working" scientists).

There is a British super called Paradax, who was a taxi driver. When someone left a costume that would allow him to walk through walls, he became a super... well.. as I understand it, not a hero. He's more or less a satire of "What would happen if a beer guzzling work-a-day shlub became a super-type?"

What does Dr. Strange or Dr. Fate do for a living? Hawkeye?  Blackhawk? The Scooby Crew? The Forever People?

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2018, 10:34:22 PM »
I think in this case he meant it more like an "ordinary Joe".But keep in mind that,in his own addmision,Mills isnt a fan of superheroes and is probably familiar only with the general gist of things.Weird for a guy who wrote Marshal Law.
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Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2018, 11:32:02 PM »
Oh yeah,and the video in question.
https://youtu.be/Mht7Z0C_lQY

Oh, I like this! I'm a fan of Pat Mills.

I don't know Paradax, but sounds interesting. [Edit: Oh wait! I have read some of this actually, and totally forgot.] Didn't Night Raven drive a cab at some point, or was that just a cover like with Moon Knight? I'd have to go back and read it, it's been a long time.
I love ordinary people with powers. Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman, on of my favourites. Not a hero in any way though. Flaming Carrot and other Bob Burden creations, now there are some working class heroes.

Dr. Strange was a brilliant, rich surgeon, so I assumed a bunch of his money was leftover from that? But I dunno how he still affords his fancy lifestyle. Dr. Fate depends on which one but, I always assumed after getting the helm they no longer require food or sleep like a normal person, and just magic up a sanctuary to live in, abandoning their human lives for the most part. I know some have had arguments with Nabu trying to take over their lives. The Eric/Linda Strauss era was pretty great. I should dig out those back issues, too.

I have no idea how the Scooby Gang affords to go all over the US, solving mysteries. Maybe they charge a fee per mystery solved?
« Last Edit: February 02, 2018, 11:37:16 PM by UnkoMan »

Offline UnkoMan

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #16 on: February 03, 2018, 12:16:26 AM »
Actually, I've just been thinking on this and... I think every generation's creation of superheroes sort of starts as "ordinary Joe."
Not Batman, who is the archetypal rich-guy superhero, but Superman? Superman is a wish fulfillment character of a couple of "regular guys" about what they would do if they had that kind of power. They could stand up for the little guy. They could beat up the next door neighbour who's always abusing his wife. They could fight for what's right. He is a reporter, but it isn't suppose to be in a glamorous way, originally. He's suppose to be relatable. Captain America was a weakling who wanted to fight for his country and got the chance. A lot of golden age people are suppose to be relatable people who decided to do what they thought was right... alongside all the freakin' Gods and Aliens and Weird Magic Entities.

Later, Marvel comes along and, sure Iron Man is their rich guy, but Reed Richards supposedly starts as more working science type, with his whole family coming for the ride. He's the father figure but you've got Human Torch as the snappy kid, Thing as the gruff but loveable (and tragic) everyman. Invisible Girl as... the girl because it's the '60s.
Dr. Blake is suppose to be a pretty normal and somewhat frail doctor. Hulk's basically on the run, but "working" scientist. Antman is also "working" scientist. Spider-Man is the epitome of this though, regular kid, sickly aunt, can hardly afford the rent. They try it again with Daredevil. Lawyer, sure, but tiny practice, barely afloat. His father was a poor working class boxer, he's from a small neighbourhood. Hawkeye, another circus performer (since superheroes were originally based on circus performers, makes sense), turned small time crook, coaxed into being a hero. Remember the Prowler? Dude's actually from '69. Fired from his window washer job.
They were trying to do relatable, but things get out of hand.

'70s happen, comic characters get political in an effort to get back to roots, back to common man. Things get political. Green Arrow gets all anti-establishment (dude, you are a millionaire back when that was super impressive). They have all the kooky, down on their luck, but still totally crazy stuff. Hellstrom. Defenders. There's a weird group of characters struggling with more personal feeling of outsidership than fighting things in space, though there is still a ton of this. But they try to bring in "real" issues, sort of.

'80s come and you have your deconstructions. Your superheroes as "real" people. In the mainstream it sort of backfires, leads to a plethora of "grim 'n' gritty" and a bunch of total garbage in the '90s, but on the other hand you have things like Paradax, or other British comics. Sandman comes out and goes the opposite way. Heighten the mythical aspects of a superhero. Make them LESS human.
But a lot of stuff tries to make them more human again. Justice League International (This is what I was raised on) comes and makes characters more human by having them joke around with one another. Treat each other more like humans. Still full of (rejected) space cops, millionaire industrialists, gods, aliens, but they try.

'90s you have people wearing jeans and jackets over spandex and "cool" stuff, but it's in an effort to be more human and distance from super heroy stuff, but, well... your mileage may vary. But also more indies. Madman comes along. The '80s lower class stuff sticks around. You just have to look harder for this sort of thing.

I stopped paying as much attention to mainstream in the 2000s. I know they had stuff like The Authority and the Ultimates as backlash against comics. I think they are trying to be more "realistic" but it's honestly just an extension of the '90s sort of, bigger, bolder, more violent as realistic. On the other hand, though, you have more stuff like Ex Machina. Dude is Mayor of New York! A lot more comics that don't even have superheroes get mainstream popular. People like reading about more slice of life. But you get superhero stuff that is only sort of superhero stuff, like Death Ray or Promethea. Normal people tossed into extraordinary situations. You get the TV show heroes.

2010s, what's been happening? Maybe more people know. Netflix shows, which feature "comic book characters" as more human. "Street level" characters, they used to be called. Yes, they still make Avengers movies, but what gets the real critical acclaim. The "subversive" stuff. The stuff "doing it differently."

So, yeah, I dunno. The more I think about it, the more I think... they have always been trying to make relatable characters, just as time goes on different things are relatable. It's very interesting to see.
On the other hand, I still love something like All Star Superman. He's a god. He can do nothing wrong, yet it's still very compelling. And, I do realize it is a reaction to grim n grity. It's full of hope, and I love that. Like Tom Strong as well. Rich, famous, perfect person with an equally perfect and loving family. The stories are still fantastic though. (in multiple ways!) I dunno, I guess I just love all sorts of comics. Did I get way off topic? Sorry if I did.

In other news, anybody ever read this?
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=258781

Offline Red Fisser

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #17 on: February 03, 2018, 10:45:05 PM »

In other news, anybody ever read this?
https://www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=258781

nope!But now I know I want to!

Offline daglob

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #18 on: February 03, 2018, 10:54:04 PM »
I think I looked through it and decided not to get it.

But, hey, I'm stuck in the Silver Age, so...

Offline HarryTrotter

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Re: Working class heroes?
« Reply #19 on: February 03, 2018, 10:58:26 PM »
Which reminds me,Batman Creature of the night is pretty great so far.But thats unrelated.
''Even our origin stories have gone sour.''
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