Jobless superhero battles economic forces

Wed Nov 3, 2010 9:28am EDT
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By Nick Zieminski

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - When 18th century philosopher Adam Smith coined the term "invisible hand" to describe self-regulating markets, he could scarcely have imagined his idea would one day star in a superhero comic book.

Yet the Invisible Hand, after a brutal recession, is now an evil force in a satirical work called "The Adventures of Unemployed Man."

The witty, exhaustively-researched book, drawn in the style of classic comics like "Batman" and "Superman," tells the story of a self-help guru who loses his job, rebels against an unjust economic system and leads superheroes against villains like The Human Resource, Nickel & Dime and the Toxic Debt Blob. The Invisible Hand is eventually tamed by collective action.

Authors Erich Origen and Gan Golan, who earlier published the presidential satire "Goodnight Bush," are in talks to adapt "Unemployed Man" into a television show. They spoke with Reuters about what costumed superheroes can teach us about modern times.

Q: Why a comic book? Is it to make the point that the recession widened a gulf between the rich and everybody else?

Origen: "That's certainly one of the points, made by people like (Paul) Krug-Man and Robert Reich. But with their writing you don't get people encased in underwear. We have this accessible way of communicating similar ideas and allowing people a catharsis."

Q: You work with complex ideas, like the invisible hand of capitalism and the corporate obsession with deregulation. Will this go over people's heads? Who's the target audience?

Origen: "People who know who Adam Smith was will get it. But even those who don't, will get it. People feel that economic force and we're making it visible for them. The audience is people who are into politics, into economics, or anyone who's faced economic struggle -- and unemployed comic book collectors."   Continued...