Segment on the characters in The Adventures of Unemployed Man and their role in Occupy begins around the 6:48 mark.
JERVEY TERVALON, SUSAN OLDING, BRIAN ATTEBERY,
RACHEL NEWCOMB, and JAYNA BROWN with short takes on five new books.
Image from The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen and Gan Golan
Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company
Erich Origen and Gan Golan
The Adventures of Unemployed Man
Little, Brown, October 2010. 80 pp.
Let me tell you, nothing focuses one’s attention on the plight of the unemployed like humiliating, disorienting, emasculating unemployment, even if, now, the sting of it is mitigated by its sheer commonness. Who doesn’t know of horrible stories of rejection, tales of wholesale destruction of careers? For the last few years I’ve watched the slow-motion slaughter of the careers of my journalist friends, many of whom lost their jobs because of the super villainous machinations of one of the most despised men in journalism, The Zell, CEO of our dear, bankrupt hometown paper, the Los Angeles Times. Who among us, newspaper readers all, has not wanted to punch Zell in the kisser? And even so, he’s only a sidekick to the most evil of the bunch — Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch, the Darkseid of CEO’s — overseeing a ghoulish army of merciless minions impersonating journalists. As our time descends into economic chaos and general mayhem, the world often seems like an outsized comic book. And those who speak with the loudest and most hysterical voices seem as determined as any supervillain to set the entire country aflame.
The Adventures of Unemployed Man, by Erich Origen and Gan Golan, looks at the current economic tragedy with a comic book sensibility and a populist world view, bringing to mind the inventive genius of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, with a 1960s underground-comic vibe, wit, and good nature. It tells the story of the economic decline of the United States through the travails of the vainglorious Ultimatum, a Batman-like character, who is at first a defender of the status quo, branding unto the foreheads of the unfortunate a reminder in the shape of a U that they are solely responsible for their economic misfortune, but a moment’s painful awakening reveals his naivete and how rigged and unfair the economic system is, and everything is torn from him — including his standing in his father’s former company, his palatial estate, and his fortune. He becomes the Unemployed Man! Beaten and bested at every turn, he finds refuge among the denizens of Cape Town, penniless superheroes who have formed a squatter’s camp. Eventually, Unemployed Man finds himself in the middle of rebellion against the unmitigated greed of Just Us, a villainous super group of CEOs, hedge fund operators, and Wall Street brokers.
These fools would like to believe I’ve turned the entire world into some sort of giant, orgiastic mega-casino where wealthy superplayers place bets on humanity’s basic needs. Their jobs. Their homes. Their savings. Their natural resources. Those have just become plastic poker chips skipping across a velvet table. And their fate — the fate of their families — is now nothing more than a ball bouncing on a roulette wheel.
We had a great time at WonderCon SF this weekend, showing the book, taking pictures with people, and generally blowing minds.
On Friday, we showed up with the Royal Blue Book Cart to sell books outside the convention. We didn’t even have badges to go inside—but after some smooth-talking, we got inside with the book cart and pushed it around the showroom, selling quite a few books.
Then…DESTINY! The folks in charge approached us. They had a no-show for one of the booths. They had worked with us before at APE and loved us. So we suddenly found ourselves with a booth—BAM! Once again, Unemployed Man made something out of nothing!
Unemployed Man, Master of Degrees, Fantasma, Human Resource, and The Outsourcerer were all in attendance. Together, we sold out all copies of The Adventures of Unemployed Man by day two of the three day convention (maintaining a perfect record of selling all books at every event we’ve ever done).
We met hundreds of people. Some already owned the book and thanked us—the most heartfelt thanks came from unemployed people who said it helped them get through some tough times.
A filmmaker followed us around, and we interviewed people about their job/loss experiences. We’ll send that video when it’s ready.
We also took the opportunity to connect with major comics retailers and distributors and they had one thing in common: None of them had ever heard of the book. They stood stupefied as we showed them our review sheet, wondering aloud how they could’ve never heard of a book with such great reviews.
As we walked through the convention floor, people shouted “Unemployed Man!” We were photographed hundreds of times. By the end of the weekend, we were seen by at least half the attendees. Thus, for Unemployed Man, the glass remains HALF FULL! YEAH!
Just took a few moments from my job searching activities to read “Unemployed Man” - bravo to both of you on an amazing accomplishment! I’m writing you from Toronto where the market seems to be rebounding fairly well (thankfully!). The uplifting ending left me feeling very positive and believing in the inherent power of all of us to create a society that does right by its people. OK, the deck may be stacked against us, but between you and filmmakers like Michael Moore and Charles Ferguson, we know better what we’re up against … and can sometimes even laugh about it! Thanks so much.