With great power comes great responsibility, but sometimes, having all the power in the world isn’t enough to maintain a job.
The current economic climate has made employment a difficult prospect for thousands upon thousands of people across the country. Even within the comic book community, the rising costs of comics purchases continue to put a strain on fandom’s collective wallet. It’s a time where many residents throughout the United States and the world at large could surely use a superhero’s help in getting back on their feet.
In New York City, such an attempt is being made in the form of “Spider-Man: You’re Hired,” a special one-shot written by Warren Simons and illustrated by Todd Nauck that highlights the employment resources available to men and women across all five of New York’s boroughs as part of a joint collaboration between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Office of Media and Entertainment, Marvel Entertainment and The Daily News.
In the comic, a recently unemployed Peter Parker rides with his Aunt May on the downtown 6 train headed to City Hall. Stressing about his recent job loss and wondering about other possible job opportunities, Parker discovers that he’s been riding on the subway alongside Mayor Bloomberg himself, who just so happens to have been listening to the frantic conversation. The Mayor steps in and provides Peter with some tips about where he can go to learn about the city’s available resources for navigating the job market. The Vulture, a mechanical Tyrannosaurus Rex and a bad cup of coffee threaten to ruin Peter’s learning experience, but in the end, Bloomberg helps him out with some solid leads that aren’t meant simply for the character, but also for readers all across New York City.
“We all know that landing a new job can be a daunting and sometimes overwhelming task, but the point is that there is help out there and we want all New Yorkers to know about it,” Mayor Bloomberg said of the “Spider-Man: You’re Hired” campaign during a press conference held at Midtown Comics’ new downtown location in Manhattan. “If you haven’t read it yet, I’ve got to tell you, the story is great, the artwork is rich and compelling and Marvel even gets the mayor’s rugged good looks down perfectly.”
Bloomberg said “You’re Hired” is being offered not only as a printed single issue, but also for free through Marvel’s iPad application and through today’s printed edition of The Daily News, all in an effort to get the story and the message into the hands of as many New York residents as possible.
“This comic book has an important message, and that is, in this difficult job market, our city government is here to help,” he said, highlighting the various Workforce1 career centers located throughout New York. “Our Department of Small Business Services, headed by Commissioner Rob Walsh, operates nine Workforce1 career centers in five boroughs to help New Yorkers find jobs. There, you can get yourself a career advisor, get job training, access placement services and even do an online search for job postings — all for free.”
Katherine Oliver, the commissioner of the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, was one of the key people responsible for spearheading the “You’re Hired” initiative, according to Bloomberg.
“The Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment is always looking for innovative ways to promote city services and messaging,” she told a crowd of gathered reporters at the Midtown Comics based press conference. “This new initiative with Marvel is just amazing. It’s such a creative and engaging way to promote the good work of the city’s agencies. We’re getting to a new audience, as the mayor said. It’s in the Daily News today, we have separate booklets that are available that we’re distributing as well at Workforce1 centers, and there’s an iPad application as well, so it allows us to reach another new audience to promote the services.”
Oliver added that two additional one-page comics are on the way to help promote the city’s various career services. One story sees Mary Jane Watson learning about “Made in NY,” a production assistant training program that helps New Yorkers gain access to entry level positions in the entertainment industry.
“It goes without saying that these comic books look really spectacular,” said Oliver. “This is just another example of how we can use the media and technology more effectively to promote city services in an engaging and entertaining way.”
Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment, was also in attendance at the press conference. He spoke about Spider-Man’s status as a New York City icon, saying, “I don’t think there’s a single fictional iconic character who is more identifiable with New York, relatable with New York or more quintessentially New York as Spider-Man. His adventures have centered around New York City, its landmarks and those of us that live here, so it seems like a natural byproduct that he should be a part of this and we should all be here together.”
“Quite frankly, speaking for myself and everyone at Marvel, we’re all thrilled to be working with another New York City icon, Mayor Bloomberg, to hopefully educate New Yorkers and bring light to all of the wonderful services that are offered through Workforce1 and what it could do across all five boroughs,” he added. “At the end of the day, I think Spidey is up to the task, as is the mayor and all of us, because as Spidey learned many years ago, with great power must come great responsibility. It’s a fantastic superhero team-up.”
Bloomberg echoed Quesada’s support for Spider-Man as an icon of New York. “It’s very hard to have anything that the public keeps in their minds and keeps interested in over a long period of time,” he acknowledged. “There are certain things that have just stood the test of time, and Spider-Man is clearly one of them.”
“Spider-Man: You’re Hired,” a joint effort between the New York City Mayor’s Office and Marvel Entertainment, is currently available as a free download on the iPad. You can learn more about New York’s career services at www.nyc.gov.