5 Famous Superhero Secret Identities Updated for Modern Life
On a recent Thursday morning, the Chicago Sun-Times hastily gathered its photography staff in a conference room to break the news that the entire department was being eliminated. Decades of Pulitzer Prize-winning work were rewarded with flaccid manila envelopes containing "Thanks, Champ -- now get lost" paperwork. And that sad gathering was essentially the death knell for Peter Parker's noble profession.
Naturally, this was found to be upsetting.
The times and the global economy have changed. No longer can some irradiated upstart or handsome alien show up at a newspaper and expect to get hired for cover. Everything's done by interns now. And if one of those guys is lucky enough to land a gig at the Huffington Post, he'll be so consumed by chasing clicks that there will be scant time left for superheroing.
Journalism was the perfect position for the cloaked crime fighter -- always on the go, a reporter is expected to be on location of every school-bus-teetering-on-a-bridge drama and freeze-ray-enveloped-skyscraper incident. But print is obsolete, and television news is a hollow joke reduced to Twitter feed recitations.
It's not just a matter of transitioning to paparazzi work like TMZ -- everyone hates those guys. And you'd have to be on a TV show with that water-swilling jerk, which doesn't do much for the "secret" part of your secret identity.
Military and spy gigs? They're reasonable fallbacks and do make some sense, as they keep those supermuscles flexing. Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Captain America, and others have made a go of it. But, really, who wants to spend their off time fighting more crime and villainy? That's like an accountant having a spreadsheet hobby.
There are certainly new opportunities out there for the mild-mannered. With a little investment and training, a superhero can make the transition to one of these rewarding new secret civilian careers.
Dog Walker, Not Photographer
Everyone's got a camera on their phone, and agencies are just as happy paying some kid for a newsworthy iPhoto as they are a pro with a Canon EOS. That doesn't mean photography isn't viable; it's just not viable as a full-time position. The sensible combination is photographer/dog walker.
Spider sense is a lifesaver when navigating the poop minefield that is your dog park.
No one's having kids anymore. They are having dogs. And fewer of these dog-havers are just letting their animals defecate on newspapers and bark all day in a stifling studio apartment. Those dogs need someone to take them out several times a day to defecate on and bark at the world at large. This isn't too hard to break into in urban areas. Put up a few tabbed fliers in the local pet food stores, get a couple referrals, and a superhero's got himself a dog-walking empire. Being out and about on the city sidewalks all day still affords plenty of photo opportunities.
This canine crusader just needs to ensure that none of his dog charges gets mixed up in battles. The second a Shih Tzu gets crushed by one of Doctor Octopus' mechanical claws, word will get around fast, and those dog-walking phone calls can dry up as quickly as they started coming in.
It was leaving him with the baby or risking him biting Mysterio again and having the city put him down.
Counterfeit-Purse Vendor, Not Professor or Scientist
Government austerity and university budget cuts are making huge dents in research programs. The alternative -- relying on private financing of your experimental serum -- is a crapshoot that can entail manipulative wallet-yanking and meddling in the scientific process.
The deal fell through when he asked Dr. Banner if gamma rays could be used in competitive cockfighting.
Counterfeit-purse vending is a good way to make a recession-friendly, tax-free buck on a flexible schedule. Seen in cities all over the world, shifty men spread bed sheets on the sidewalks and hastily arrange their knockoff Louis Vuitton and Coach wares. Technically this is illegal, but no one but fancy men in Paris is crying tears because someone bought a crap-ugly $30 sweatshop-produced hobo bag, not a $350 sweatshop-produced hobo bag. Given that, it would be perfect for the superscientist possessing a fungible sense of right and wrong. Maybe Bruce Banner. So long as people keep their aggressive haggling to a minimum.
"You want it for $15!?! Do you know how much purple pants cost?"
The guys who do this job are expected to appear and disappear at a moment's notice. The second there's even a whiff of Johnny Law, they scoop up their purse-laden sheets and scram. So there's no questions asked if someone needs to split to beat supervillain ass across town or head to his lair's basement lab when the itch to genome tinker strikes.
Taco Truck Entrepreneur, Not Wealthy Man About Town
Everyone despises rich people now, and it doesn't even matter if they keep eradicating diseases and building chimp orphanages. They've still got pitchfork targets on their backs. When your alter ego is publicly reviled, it doesn't seem worth the bother to put up a front.
Sometimes he wonders if being "Bruce Wayne" is even worth romancing all those models for.
But what America does love is tacos. Particularly those ordered while inhaling exhaust fumes. We've gone taco truck crazy!
Taco truck vendor is another perfect alternative due to its freedom of movement. The wealthy supergentleman should have no trouble purchasing all the necessary equipment and establishing sizable credit limits with food service suppliers to get his business up and running in no time at all. And since the truck will presumably be zipping from catastrophic crime scene to catastrophic crime scene, there will be hordes of hungry emergency and law enforcement personnel on hand to keep the operation flush.
With Alfred and Robin already under his employ, someone like Bruce Wayne could easily operate an around-the-clock mobile taqueria. This could conveniently double as a new Batmobile, utilizing cooking grease and habanero juice as organic crime-fighting weapons.
"Guys, just hear me out on this ad idea ..."
Home Health Aide, Not Newspaperman
Not only is print dead, but the only people who read it are slowly following.
As the baby boomers tumble over the ledge of 65+, our economy will be consumed with their care. This aging population could greatly benefit from the assistance of a superhero. Imagine the number of rubber sheets a man with superspeed could change per day versus a regular guy with a negligible work ethic and string of not-legally-required-to-report misdemeanors under his belt.
If his kids actually cared about things like that, they wouldn't have sent him to a home that was featured on Dateline.
Administering elder care at private homes throughout the city allows the superhero to take the temperature of the crime climate. Should there be nefariousness afoot, he can act quickly so long as he doesn't abandon any of the elderly in mid-bath, as that will result in, at best, a report to adult protective services and, at worst, a wrinkly drowning.
Superman would be particularly adept at this job. Compassionate and honest to a fault, he could save the bloated Medicare system untold dollars by using his X-ray vision to detect cancers and identify hip and knee joints requiring replacement.
"So what's your vision say?"
"Bad news: You'll need knee surgery in six months. Good news: You're not going to live long enough to have to get it."
Sports Book Runner, Not Lawyer
In the last five years, pretty much anyone who could separate their skin from the couch fabric but couldn't find gainful employment went to law school. Now, the glut of unemployed lawyers is staggering, and Daredevil and She-Hulk's legal eagle alter egos are soon to be washed up relics, trampled by the eager masses with ballooning student loan payments.
"I never saw it coming." -Matt Murdock, Esq.
If someone wants a will drawn up, who will he turn to? A blind guy charging $200 an hour, or a recent law school grad, nuances of current estate law fresh on the brain, who will work for a gift certificate to a tanning salon?
The solution to this problem is the solution to every problem since the dawn of man: legalized gambling. With many U.S. states in dire budgetary straits, gambling revenue is once again being looked upon as a fail-safe panacea. Debate the knuckleheaded logic of that all you want, but the upside is that a whole mess of jobs are opening up in the gaming industry.
A superhero with a sound and trustworthy legal background would do well on the floor of a casino or at the dog track running bets. While this doesn't offer the opportunity to roam the streets, it does provide tips on upcoming heists and plans to enslave the city by transforming its populace into rodents. Some two-bit henchman is always spilling the goods on incubating schemes while gambling.
"I really have to stop monologuing during craps games."