Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Writers: Erich Origen and Gan Golan
Artists: Ramona Fradon, Rick Veitch, Michael Netzer, Benton Jew, and Thomas Yeates
Review by: Aaron Ray
Job loss and homelessness are serious business and are often no laughing mater. Comedy is the flipside of tragedy, however, and this is what makes Erich Origen and Gan Golan’s story so thought provoking, heartwrenching and fantastically hilarious. Using superheroes and villains as thinly veiled metaphors for social classes, abstract concepts and political/economical/social ideologies, The Adventures of Unemployed Man shows us how the crumbling economy affects real people every day.
Our story stars The Ultimatum, “The Dark Knight of Self Help.” He is millionaire Bruce Paine, the face of PaineCorp by day and by night scours the city streets with his sidekick Plan B, looking for downtrodden and homeless heroes to help. He helps by telling them that it is their own fault that they are in the position they are in, and that positive thinking will help them get back on their feet. One night, he finds corruption within his own company. When he attempts to correct this indecency, he is fired from the only job he knows, and what follows is the story of a hero who loses everything he has, and his journey to find a new cause to fight for.
This entire story is the epitome of satire; everything that is read or seen is thoroughly researched and very cleverly worked into the fold. At no point does the pace lag, or seem at a loss for direction. This book and its writers are very smart and it shows tenfold. It’s not only smart politically, but it’s obvious that Origen and Golan love comic books, especially the ones of yesteryear. There are a great number of parodies and homages to superheroes, which range from chuckleworthy to laugh-out-loud hilarious. These never get in the way of the story, and oftentimes propel it forward. The book deserves a second or third read-through, just to catch every reference.
Don’t let the cover of the book fool you, the art in this book is amazing. It is very much inspired by classic Golden and Silver Age comics. Everything from the rich colors and fantastic character designs to the paneling and lettering is in top form. Some time can be spent just looking through all of the pictures, finding jokes and details in the background of nearly every panel.
Everything about this book is great. Even the mock ads scattered throughout the book are beautiful and hilarious. The Adventures of Unemployed Man is a hilarious socio-economical satire that pays great homage to the great Golden and Silver Ages of comics while simultaneously providing a sharp, thought-provoking, and well-written look at disastrous economic woes. Any fan of comic books, satire, or good literature would do well by reading this, and then reading it again.
For more info, unemployedman.com
Pads and Panels received a copy of the book courtesy of the publisher for review purposes.