Why does Superman have a job?
Faster than a speeding bullet, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound… but don’t quit your day job.
One thing that’s never made sense about superheroes is why they have regular jobs. If most of us mere mortals could fly, turn invisible, punch through a wall or incinerate objects with our heat-ray vision, you wouldn’t find us in a cubicle. And it just seems downright depressing when the super-est of superheroes – Superman! – has to earn a living.
Of course, being a reporter means that he receives late-breaking news before the general public, so not only does he know where to go to fight crime, he has a plausible reason to be there. You could even argue that his job as a journalist is an extension of his Superman responsibilities; bringing truth to the forefront and fighting for the little man. But couldn’t he just be Superman and call it a day?
Superheroes need alter egos, otherwise they’d have bad guys showing up at all hours of the night and they’d be fielding requests for Supermarket Grand Openings right and left. So to be believable, you need a cover story. You’ve got to have something for your alter ego to do all day long. The flexible schedule of a journalist means that Superman doesn’t have to account for his time or whereabouts as long as he makes his story deadlines. Of course, Batman got it right. The coolest alter ego is just to tell everyone you’re one of the idle rich. It doesn’t hurt that he actually is rich.
So is that it – with all those superpowers, does Superman need the money?
Couldn’t he work on a donation basis – putting together grant requests like other non-profit organizations? Certainly there would be enough corporations willing to underwrite some of his work, considering they are most likely potential victims of the city’s nefarious villains.
Or, couldn’t he apply for a job with Metropolis P.D.? They pay’s not great, but it’s a union job so he’d get benefits. Health insurance is not much of an issue, but what about retirement? He should probably be putting something away for his golden years.But then it could be that Superman just really wants to be a reporter. How sad that he’s cursed with being in the action rather than being allowed to write about it. It seems that even superpowers can’t get you a Pulitzer.