Last year’s winner of the World’s Worst Superhero Award was the wonderfully named Oily Rag. Known as Cleary Onetime to his family and to the Tax Office, Oily Rag is a diminutive out-of-work mechanic intent on fighting crime whilst wearing an oil-smeared boiler suit and wielding a very heavy rusty spanner.
‘Something needs to be done by someone to stop someone doing something to someone else,’ he said confusingly to anyone who would listen. ‘And that someone needing to do something will be me,’ he announced when interviewed by his local newspaper.
Leaving for his first (and last) night’s patrol, and shadowed by the local press, Oily Rag barely made out of his house before dropping the spanner on his sandalled-toe.
Oily had reckoned on his first night’s patrol being a gentle one that was more for show than anything else. It was also the middle of summer so Oily Rag chose not to wear his heavy steel-toed work boots.
In itself, an accident of this kind isn’t really much of anything and many of us have probably also accidentally dropped things on our toes. The big difference here is that when we do something like this we don’t have anyone filming it with their phone and uploading it for the whole world to see.
By the time the plaster cast had been removed from Oily Rag’s foot, the footage of his accident had been viewed by more than 50 million people. Though this made Oily Rag instantly famous it wasn’t in the kind of way he had in mind and so he retired.
The video guaranteed that Oily Rag would win the award but he refused to attend the ceremony, put his spanner back in his toolbox and disappeared from public view. You can imagine his disappointment. But Oily Rag wasn’t the only person disappointed by the whole affair. Spare a thought for Gibson Rightspice, Oily Rag’s next-door neighbour and one-time enterprising local entrepreneur.
Gibson spotted what he thought was a gap in the home improvement market and had two hundred and fifty five thousand Oily Rag Official Boiler Suits™ quickly made in the hope of cashing in on the next big superhero thing.
Gibson was able to sell a handful of boiler suits to art school students and other young people who thought that they were being really clever by wearing an Oily Rag Official Boiler Suit™ to their local disco or supermarket, but irony was never intended to be part of Gibson’s business plan. It was only a matter of weeks before Gibson had to swap his shop on the high street for a market stall.
Gibson now solely trades online and even though he does occasionally manage to shift a boiler suit, it is normally only for scrap or thrown in free with a job lot of used crockery.
With all things being equal, Panic Town could have done a far lot worse than ending up with Falcon Boy and Bewilder Bird ready to fight crime for them.