The Weekly Geek: Unemployed Superheroes of Occupy Wall Street

 
 

No matter what you think of Occupy Wall Street (and the many related “occupy” protests popping up around the US and the world), one thing is for certain: The movement is well-served by a little super hero action.

I’m not joking: Underwire recently posted about the exploits of Unemployed Man, comic book writer and activist Gan Golan, the voice behind last year’s The Adventures of Unemployed Man graphic novel, who has been appearing at OWS central in Zucotti park, dressed as his creation. The photos accompanying the post show Golan in his full hero get-up, fighting a massive robot parodying the New York Stock Exchange – in an event actually called “Superheroes versus Economic Supervillains.”


Photo by Bryan Derballa/Wired.com

“Golan donned Unemployed Man’s custom orange-and-blue fetish costume for Monday’s event and joined others dressed as economic warriors from the book: undocumented worker Fantasma, student-debt-burdened Master of Degrees, Captain Generica and Wonder Mother. They waged battle against dark forces of the Just Us League, including such scoundrels as The Outsourcerer, Pink Slip and a the giant Slot Bot — part robot, part casino, with a head shaped like the New York Stock Exchange building and a menacing vacuum arm that hoovered up money.”

This is performance art of the best, nerdiest variety – and it’s coming from a pretty genuine place – Golan really, really cares about this fight:

“’People at Occupy are fighting incredible forces in our society — that’s a perfect description of what you find in a superhero,” Golan told Wired.com.”

He and Eric Origen created the character and the world as an obvious statement against corporate greed and the global recession – and the subject matter has proved pretty much perfect for the OWS movement. So perfect, in fact, that a copy of the book has been a part of the organization’s library since nearly the beginning of the protest.

So this is social commentary meets activist crusade and comic and cosplay nerdery – what’s not to love? You really have to admire Golan’s dedication here, and his belief that comics, like all stories, “are a powerful way to guide us and keep us strong.”

Well said. We are a culture that thrives on symbols and stories of all sorts, and superhero mythology has never been more popular (or relevant) than it is today. Why can’t a team of super-charged 99-percenters change the world?

 
 

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