Wednesday, November 29, 2017

(Almost) All Superheroes are Orphans

My son and I were discussing the dearth of superheroes with parents in the DC Universe. We do a schtick where Batman is being all self-pitying and the other heroes admit that they're all orphans, too; and it didn't reduce them to brooding psychopaths. And since the trend in comics is toward social justice, I figured, why don't they just go all in and stop pussy-footing around?
FLASH: Hey, Batman. 
BATMAN: Flash. Where've you been? 
FLASH: Oh, I've been scouring the Multiverse, looking for superheroes who aren't orphans. 
BATMAN: Let me guess... you didn't find any. 
FLASH: Well, I found this guy. 
NEW GUY: Hello. 
BATMAN: You have parents? 
NEW GUY: Oh, yeah. Mom AND Dad! 
BATMAN: And they're not dead? 
NEW GUY: Nope! Safe and sound. 
BATMAN: But they're evil or something, right? 
NEW GUY: Uhm, no... they're pretty great, actually. They really love me and support everything I'm doing! I don't know how I'd get along without them. Came pretty close one time, though... 
FLASH: Oh, this is a good story! 
BATMAN: (glares) 
NEW GUY: Well, this one time my parents took me to the movies, and then a petty crook pulled a gun on us in a back alley! I thought we were goners! But I pushed Mom and Dad out of the way at the last minute. The crook ran away. I was only eight years old, but I decided then and there that I'd devote my life to making it so that guys like that wouldn't have to stoop to a life of crime. 
BATMAN: So your powers are... what, exactly? 
NEW GUY: Well, I'm rich. I fight crime by building shelters for the homeless, and by giving away money. 
BATMAN: You said this guy was a superhero. 
FLASH: In all fairness, he builds a lot of shelters. 
NEW GUY: I give away a lot of money, too. 
FLASH: Yeah, there's that. 
BATMAN: But... criminals... 
NEW GUY: The "bad guys" usually just turn out to be needy. I remember my first case. There was this nightclub comic. He was having a really bad night. Looked like he was preoccupied, and it was messing up his act. So I bought him a drink and asked him what was wrong. Turns out his wife was pregnant and he was desperate. And when a guy gets desperate like that there's no telling what sort of trouble he might get into. So I gave him ten grand on the spot. Oh, man, was he grateful! It was like a huge weight had been lifted off of him! And it showed in his act! His timing picked up, his delivery improved... he had the crowd in stitches. Went on to become the biggest name in show biz. There are a lot of comics in the world, but this guy is THE Joker! Named his kid after me! 

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