How Seriously Do Super-Heroes Take Their Day Jobs?

Posted by No_name_here (1247 posts) - - Show Bio
 In another life, Peter Parker could've been the Marvel Universe's answer to David LaChappelle.

Tony’s recent Off My Mind’s regarding superheroes’ day-to-day got me thinking again. How seriously do super-heroes take their day jobs? It sounds like a silly question, sure, but it's actually got some dramatic implications. Think of all the commentary there’s been about how Bruce Wayne is really the mask that Batman wears or how Clark Kent is really just a role Superman plays to critique and parody normal beings. Questions of identity (secret or otherwise) are central to the superhero mythos, but I can’t think of too many examples where this particular piece of the puzzle has been explored that far. 

It’s less of a question for the billionaires and the professionals. Tony Stark is Iron Man - - they’re one-and-the-same. Being Captain America is Steve Rogers' job. But what about the part-timers? Thor was a doctor, Kyle Rayner was a comics penciler... and the list of day jobs goes on, ad infinitum, without even mentioning all the student-vigilantes. Hell, the core of Spidey's drama is about how his superhero duties get in the way of his schooling and his job (among many other commitments.) Super-heroics are quite dangerous, time-consuming and arduous for what's essentially a hobby at the end of the day.  == TEASER ==

See, most people you meet do a number of things, but they prefer to be defined in respect to just one of those things. The bassist of the local band probably won’t want to identify himself as a courier, even if he spends far more hours a week delivering packages than slapping strings. So, if most capes are reluctant heroes whose "great power and responsibility" gets in the way of their real vocations, then what are they in the long run, as the years accrue? Working stiffs who do high-profile charity work? Or adventurers who're holding down 9-to-5 until they get big enough to do this kind of stuff full-time?

Actually, do any of you remember  that ASTRO CITY story that reveals how Samaritan lets a machine do all his work at the Newspaper for him? Maybe the real answer is that all these heroes just half-ass it.

Tom Pinchuk’s the writer of HYBRID BASTARDS! & UNIMAGINABLE. Order them on Amazon here & here.

#1 Posted by The Fastest Man Alive (87 posts) - - Show Bio


#2 Posted by ComicMan24 (147456 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree that superheroics  interfere a lot of times with their jobs. I mean how are going to be the best in your job, when you have to save the world every now and then?

#3 Posted by Pizawle (1080 posts) - - Show Bio

Superheroes should not have to do regular work.

#4 Posted by Hawkeye446 (3975 posts) - - Show Bio

haha, well, some heroes get paid for their superhero work.
#5 Posted by GT-Man (4039 posts) - - Show Bio

I dont know
#6 Posted by Mediant (366 posts) - - Show Bio

To the heroes, they are as they define themselves. To everyone else, they would naturally be defined by the role in which they make the most impact. 

#7 Posted by Eyz (3184 posts) - - Show Bio

I'm surprised not a lot more of them lose their job due to their late arrivals or not showing-up-at-work after a big super fight.

#8 Posted by LiamRawson (51 posts) - - Show Bio

Anyone that's been in a major punch up would know how this can have an impact the following day at college/work. Knuckles swollen like hamburgers, bruises around the eyes/cheeks - Remember that great scene in Fight Club, with Norton's character - The Boss asks him if that's his blood on his shirt. He replies deadpan, "Some of it." I'd love to see more of that in comics. Kick Ass got the balance right. Pure gold.

#9 Posted by Alicabob (96 posts) - - Show Bio


#10 Posted by Lvenger (23440 posts) - - Show Bio

A machine duplicate working whilst the superhero is out fighting crime and vice versa... Why hasn't any superhero come up with doing this yet? It'd save em a lot of trouble!

#11 Posted by longbowhunter (8515 posts) - - Show Bio

Yeah, I remember when I first read Huntress was a teacher. My first thought was, "She should be at home grading papers".
#12 Posted by xerox_kitty (17338 posts) - - Show Bio

I never understood how Thor could be a doctor in his secret identity.  It's a nice touch, but it's impractical... Doctor's need to be available for all kinds of crazy shifts, but heroes don't take turns to save the world.

#13 Posted by imaginaryman (196 posts) - - Show Bio

because the authors said so :P

#14 Posted by Aspenite (935 posts) - - Show Bio

That´s what makes this stories interesting. I don´t think it would be cool to read stories in which Spidey can do both things without struggling a bit.

#15 Posted by Danial79 (2522 posts) - - Show Bio

I can't imagine that Matt Murdock or Jennifer Walters get to spend too much time doing all the paperwork and reading that real lawyers have to do :)

#16 Posted by Danial79 (2522 posts) - - Show Bio
@LiamRawson said:
" Anyone that's been in a major punch up would know how this can have an impact the following day at college/work. Knuckles swollen like hamburgers, bruises around the eyes/cheeks - Remember that great scene in Fight Club, with Norton's character - The Boss asks him if that's his blood on his shirt. He replies deadpan, "Some of it." I'd love to see more of that in comics.
I remember Peter Parker having his broken arm in a sling the day following the Raft breakout in New Avengers. I was left wondering if his colleagues wouldn't think it was strange that he had fully healed only a day later...
#17 Posted by DarthStorm (161 posts) - - Show Bio

You've do your job get ends meet and spiderman is the best eg. of that. Superman has a fortress for his home and Batman a huge manor and a Batcave but spiderman has to work to get his apartment.

#18 Posted by dondasch (930 posts) - - Show Bio
@Danial79:   Was actually just thinking that.  Matt Murdoch always tried to balance out his lawyer responsbilities with being Daredevil.  Going to have to re read Millers work on Daredevil now.  Good stuff
#19 Posted by G'bandit (13664 posts) - - Show Bio

Superman's secret Identity is Clark Kent. Bill taught us that 

#20 Posted by DarkSyde79 (213 posts) - - Show Bio

Do they take their jobs seriously... most, NO. Can that skate on their jobs because of their abilities and resources... HELL YES!!! 

#21 Posted by JCJQLB (2933 posts) - - Show Bio

Jesse Chambers was on college at same time she was managing her father's company.

#22 Posted by elevatorparty (113 posts) - - Show Bio

I always think that Reed Richards is a Scientist first then a super hero second.  
I also thought that if Thor's solo series spent more time in the hospital that his alter ego worked then the stories would be better. Afterall some doctors have a god-complex already... 
Daredevil is the only super hero i know who's other job (lawyer) is treated as something just as interesting and important as his job as a super.   
 Having a cool job is all part of having a fuller character just like having a good supporting cast and i think that it is often missed when writers dont give the heroes anything to do except fight crime (for example punisher)

#23 Posted by vegeto247 (15 posts) - - Show Bio

That's why being a super hero sucks most of the time. People with super natural powers or abilities want to live normal lives and blend in. Super Villains on the other hand are clocking in mayhem and destruction whenever they feel like it. Super Heroes = 9-5 M-F, Super Villains = Home Office.

#24 Posted by ArtisticNeedham (2490 posts) - - Show Bio

They dealt with Peter Parker's job stuff in the recent Spider-Mans.  He can not pull down a regular job, he could not become a teacher or even stay as a sub because he was unreliable.  He can not keep any job that is not freelance where he makes his own ours because being Spider-Man comes first.  Although no one knows this, they all think he is unreliable and can not be trusted or does not try hard enough.  And in the comics it started out as Peter just needed money so he used being Spider-man and took photos of himself.  He even has geared it so that the camera centers him no matter where he is in the shot because of a tracker he keeps in his suit.
But he constantly tries to make more money but can not.  When Peter was in high school, before being Spider-Man, he was on the fast track to becoming the next Reed Richards.  A super scientist genius.  He was even so smart that he was way ahead of the class in terms of homework and knowing what the teacher would be teaching and all that, so missing so much school did not matter.  But once he got to college, I hear, he could not handle the work load and being Spider-Man and his super scientist future was gone.
 I remember SNL made a joke about this once where Superman would turn back into Clark after saving the day and hand in a report he wrote and behind his back they would laugh at how terrible of a writer he was.
And they have often joked about how Parker's photos look like he just left the camera sitting and it snapped a few photos.  (pretty much exactly what he does).  And art and photo critiques hate his photos and think he is terrible.  And that he only has the photographer job because of the Spider-man photos he takes. 
Characters like Stark and Rogers, they are the superhero.  That is why it did not matter that they revealed their identities.  Being Captain America is like a job for Steve he even wears a uniform.  Being Iron Man is part of Stark's life.

I once thought of this question too, did Peter become a freelance photographer at the Daily Bugle because he loves taking photos and is an artist, or is it because it was easy and helped him be Spider-Man?
Did Clark Kent have a burning desire to be a writer growing up or is he a reporter because it helps him stay close to the action and helps him be Superman?
I remember hearing that Superman became a reporter at the Daily Bugle to be at the center of all the action and to help save the day.  But then how did he get the job?

#25 Posted by Calvin (3583 posts) - - Show Bio

Clark and Pete definably do a half-assed job. This has been mentioned many times in the comics! 

#26 Posted by Dro (929 posts) - - Show Bio

 Peter Parker has a Pulitzer. And while many of his shots are auto-snaps from the camera, he takes real pictures too. Those pictures just aren't of Spider-Man.
Just look at the shot in Invincible Iron Man #7 for an example. Peter Parker may be a superhero first, but he's not incompetent in his line of work.
I can't speak to Superman, as I've barely read any Superman at all.

#27 Posted by ImperiousRix (1144 posts) - - Show Bio

I've always seen heroes "day jobs" as their means to live.  Spidey isn't wealthy, he's a street-level hero with street-level credentials.  This I feel comes primarily from the fact he's worked low-income jobs, and whilst I think this comes MAINLY from the fact that he's busy with his primary job of protecting New York, it also still is what keeps him grounded. 
In a similar way, that's how I've always pictured Superman in his job as a reporter.  Having just read Superman For All Seasons (by far my favorite Superman story), I don't think Superman's job has anything to do with "critiquing" anyone.  The person I think Superman is MOST hard on is himself.  He took his "job" at the Daily Planet in order to be in the midst of the news flow of the big city in order to protect it more efficiently. 
So... in summation.  I think superheroes who have conventional jobs choose them and keep them as primarily a means of self sufficiency, but also as a way to more effectively do their ACTUAL job; IE... being a superhero.

#28 Posted by trvthseeker (11 posts) - - Show Bio

It also appears that most heroes who are on teams don't have to worry about day jobs. Parker is an exception, he still kept his day job even when he joined the Avengers. Look at Wolverine or any of the X men - pooled resources give them a place to stay and jets to fly. I've always wondered how Wolvie found his beer money tho... 
I liked the mid-90's New Warriors - because they had to find ways to keep their team afloat. Nova was a pizza delivery boy. But the X men seemed to never have to worry about money, neither did the Avengers. Has it ever been discussed who was the benefactors for the X men, or was it just explained away that Professor X had oodles of money socked away under his wheelchair? Perhaps the Shi'ar dropped a few gold bars in the back yard every so often?

#29 Edited by Major Canuck (49 posts) - - Show Bio

I always wondered why Superman doesn't use his robot doubles to do his daily work or vice versa for him. I mean doctor doom does it all the time!
#30 Posted by Catastrophic (334 posts) - - Show Bio
Ahh... I love that speech. Haha.

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