And sometimes a nametag. We help io9ers plan their future careers by taking a look at the most dangerous jobs in comics. Which jobs are just too risky to seriously consider and which ones are like facing a firing squad?
"Guns aren't lawful; nooses give; gas smells awful. So you might as well live."
- Dorothy Parker
Dorothy, you didn't live in comics-land. In this world, actively seeking your death isn't just a great way to have an adventure. Under the right circumstances, it could be profitable. Within the pages of our favorite floppies lie a thousand jobs that can help you shuffle off this mortal coil at a decent rate per hour. Today I take a look at suicide-by-job-application.
Asylum or Prison Guard:
First of all, I have to ask; what kind of person actually considers this job? Just applying should be grounds for an intervention. Doctors at an asylum might be part of a hostage situation or a tense stand-off with the inmates, but guards are just there to make the inmates look intimidating by being ripped apart as they impotently try to protect the doctors.
Mostly the prison or asylum guards in comics are jerks, especially if a hero is temporarily locked up. This is an attempt by the writer to make their horrifically gory deaths less tragic. Within the story, though, I think the reader can look at this behavior as part of a self-destructive cycle, and take pity on the characters. Not that that will make a difference.
Benefits of the Job: Not many. I assume that asylum guards are given astoundingly good life insurance. If a guard survives for a year, it's possible that they could quit and write a best-selling memoir. Asylums in comics being what they are, though, it will probably only lead to them and their new trophy wife getting murdered by an escaped inmate. The only possible plus these jobs offer is the ability to always have interesting stories.
Survival Strategy: None. None whatsoever. It's over.
Amusement Park Worker:
Put on the mouse costume. What can happen at Happy Fun, Safe Fun, Fun For All Ages, Fun World?
Let us remember that many people's definition of fun differs widely from our own. What might seem like fun for the hundreds of deranged criminals who, for some reason, flock to amusement parks like seagulls flock to an overturned hot-dog cart, is not going to be fun for everyone.
Benefits of the Job: I guess they'll let you ride the roller coasters for free.
Survival Strategy: Be out before dark. The criminally insane only go to amusement parks when it is dark. As soon as the sun touches the horizon, sprint for the car. Just be sure to check the back seat and the trunk.
It's a desk job. It's mid-level, meaning no direct contact (like the tellers) and no targeting (like the bank president). Seems like a safe-ish bet.
In comics, Bank Manager should be amended to read Bank Manager/Hostage Crisis Negotiator, because whenever a criminal takes over a bank, the poor shmuck of a manager is brought on to stammer out the criminal's demands through a walkie-talkie. Suddenly the requirements for that desk job go from crunching numbers to having SWAT team training. And when negotiations hit a snag, which in comics they always do, it's much more dramatic to murder the person talking than it is to shoot someone cowering in the background.
Benefits of the Job: Good salary, unlike the prison guards. Getting to sit down, again unlike the prison guards. Relatively long shelf life, again unlike the guards. Also, I bet if the bank manager were crafty enough, they could manage to get a room in the bank filled with gold coins and tunnel through them like Scrooge McDuck. At least, that's what I would do.
Survival Strategy: Open the vault and run, my friend. Open the vault and run.
Following a passion through the dry, dusty levels of academia and into endless tomes detailing scientific minutia can really pay off. Not only is ‘Research Scientist' an undeniably cool title, it lets its bearer do really awesome random things, like sending stuff into space, or using lasers to make glasses for a fly.
Know what? I don't even have to pretend none of us have thought about the death rate for research scientists in comics. Getting caught in an experiment gone awry, being betrayed by a partner, or just being murdered by some crime boss for designs specs, anything and everything kills research scientists. I'm forced to assume that in comics it only takes a high school diploma to become a research scientist, because if it took ten years of study, there's no way they could keep the position filled.
Benefits of the Job: Unlike reality, comic book research projects always work, even if they're being done by some loser in a basement. The more stripped down the lab, the better they work. The crazier and more far-reaching they are, the better they work. In comics, it is possible to construct a time machine out of toothpicks.
More importantly, instead of being generic cannon fodder, like other jobs, research scientists often get cool powers out of their ruined experiments. Sadly, this generally makes them turn evil.
Survival Strategy: Turn evil. What has good ever done for anyone? Oh sure, turning evil is generally seen as the death of the victims ‘self'. Other characters often talk about how the good character is ‘gone' or ‘dead', with sad looks on their faces. But what is death? Let's compare turning into a many-armed supervillain with idiotic non-laser-made sunglasses to getting ripped to pieces by a crocodile man.
I think we have a clear winner.