Earlier today, the homie @PopeSnogginheim and I were pontificating on one of many typical comic book questions that you’re bound to find pop up on twitter:
Basically, Pope was asking why mob bosses never exploited Kryptonite more often in trying to thwart Superman. I gave an example from the comics when the Red Hood intercepted a large shipment of the stuff from Black Mask. Pope proceeds to comment on how he’d hoped those dock workers in Gotham had a good 401K.
Which raises an interesting question…
What IS the most dangerous job in comics?
I’d like to qualify this by saying that obviously we’re not talking about superheroes, supervillains or any of your standard superpowered, alien or mutant players, but jobs that the average, everyday citizen take on that tend to be dangerous either by design, association, locale and/or a host of other factors. Here’s a few I can think of:
Gotham City dock worker
Think about it– you’re always at risk of being attacked. Regardless of the time of day and the nature of the shipments coming in or going out, the Gotham dock worker can and WILL be waylaid upon by one of Batman’s many varied rogues gallery, or at least one of his henchmen. Oh, and say the shipment you’re watching over belongs to a criminal? Well, be ready to catch a well-placed batarang or knuckle sandwich courtesy of The Man himself and/or one of his ever-populated Bat-family. 401K??? How about you sign up for a 4-0-thanks anyway and go work at the morgue instead?
Daily Planet or Daily Bugle staff
I always figured the dumbest thing they could have done for both Superman and Spider-man was have both of them work at a major metropolitan newspaper. Granted, current day comics have both of them on the outs of the dying print media biz, but reading comics all these years, the number of superpowered battles, attacks and hostage situations that have occurred at both sites dwarfs battles at any other location (save possibly Xavier’s Westchester Mansion). Lois Lane is always targeted as the main hostage. The damsel in distress who won a Pulitzer Prize but has a terrible spelling disorder. Oh, and let’s not forget how often J. Jonah Jameson always spouted off at the mouth about Spidey! And how many villains put two and two together to figure out that the best place to attack and draw out the wallcrawler was the Daily Bugle because that Parker guy takes all those photos of him, but only a select few had the brain to come up with four and figure out they’re the same dude? I’ll say this much, if present day Planet and Bugle buildings don’t have some sort of bomb shelter or escape tunnel system underground, then I have lost all hope for comics.
S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier worker
I’m not talking about your epic agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., they know the risks involved and are highly trained to deal with human and superhuman threats. I’m talking about John Q. who signed up to work on the helicarrier to manage the right rotating engine room but spends his downtime playing Galaga, hoping no one will catch him. Nevermind that in comics, as well as that one Avengers movie, the S.H.IE.L.D. Helicarrier is attacked and brought down. In fact, in its short existence as S.H.I.E.L.D’s flying base of operations, this monstrosity has been targeted, attacked or destroyed more times than the Starship Enterprise (yes, I insist Kirk is a shitty Captain). So yeah, you get to hang out with Nick Fury (pick a color) and a skin-tight outfit-clad Robin Scherbatsky, but your life as you know it will always be in danger.
Bat Cave construction worker/contractor
Covered on the sixth episode of the Eclectik Discussion Podcast, where E basically accused Batman of murder. Maybe podcaster who accuses Batman of murder should make this list? Speaking of Batman…
Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s butler or Jarvis, Tony Stark’s butler
Thanks to @timdogg98 for suggesting Jarvis. I grouped him with Alfred because, hey, Marvel/DC. And even though Batman is Batman, given how many villains have known his secret identity and gotten at Bruce Wayne by means of attacking Alfred, you might as well just paint a target on that tuxedo. I would have put Aunt May in this group too, but nobody but Peter enjoys her wheatcakes.
Prison guard at Arkham Asylum/Blackgate Penitientary/The Vault/The Raft/The Cube/any prison for superhumans
This one’s a gimme. You WILL be attacked and left laid out thanks to some sort of break-out. Of all the facilities above, pray you’re not in Arkham, because The Joker WILL get at you in ways the others won’t.
Don’t even know if they’re still in business, but the construction company that gets hired to clean up after the superhero battles in the Marvel Universe tends to run into its fair share of dangerous encounters. Villains returning to the scene of the crime, for one thing. Also the occasional inter-company blow-up between regular staff and the contracted superhumans who are brought on part-time to help out. Yikes, watch out for that falling beam!!
Hey, you like science? Are you a whiz at researching chemicals, radiation, molecules, anti-matter or various rays of light? How about experimenting on humans and animals to create hybrids? Augmenting everyday scrawny kids into super soldiers? If so, expect to have your life put at risk continually! Many jobs have that imminent danger lurking, but few had imminent danger that comes FROM the work you do. I’ve lost count how many comic stories I’ve read where the lab accident happens and the brand new super-powered villain proceeds to lay waste to his or her fellow lab workers with the newfound out of control powers. You want a job at Horizon? ESU? StarLabs? To quote Magneto from the 1992 X-Men arcade game, “Welcome to Die!”