Spider-Man Helps Fight New York City Unemployment
Over his nearly 50 years in comics, Spider-Man’s alter-ego, Peter Parker has had trouble earning a living. He’s even been close to homeless at times when not working as a freelance photographer and a part-time professor.
Finding himself out-of-work once again, Parker has come to an unlikely place for help, the City of New York.
Teaming up with the New York Daily News, Bloomberg and City Officials, Spider-Man- or someone dressed to look like him- joined Marvel CEO Joe Quesada at Midtown Comics on 64 Fulton Street yesterday as a new limited-edition comic book, “Spider-Man, You’re Hired!” was unveiled. In conjunction with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and The Department of Small Business Services, the comic hopes to connect over 775,000 unemployed New Yorkers with the various free job assistance programs in the city.
A Department of Labor Statistics report from this past July showed that only 50 percent of Americans ages 16-24 are working. While there are no publicly available demographics to present the average comic book reader, the city believes this limited edition comic book will do the trick with the unemployed 20-something crowd.
“This is a creative and engaging way to promote the work of the city agencies,” said Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “We’re getting to a new audience in order to tell the city about our services.”
Looking for a job in the comic, Parker, in between foiling the evil-doings of various baddies, meets with Mayor Bloomberg, who tells him about several of the city agencies that could help him find a job.
“The comic did a great job of capturing my rugged good looks,” Bloomberg said.
While Bloomberg comes to the aid of Parker in the comics, in reality, these agencies may in fact be the real super powers at work.
According to the mayor’s office, The Department of Small Business Services and Workforce1 Career Centers went from finding 500 New Yorkers work in 2004 to over 25,000 last year.
With the help of Marvel, they feel that number is sure to rise.
“Seven years ago, the mayor ended up eliminating The Department of Employment and merging it with Small Business Services and he told us to get to work,” said Small Business Services Commissioner Robert W. Walsh. “I didn’t realize seven years later I’d be getting help from Spider-Man. This year, we’re on pace to get over 30,000 New Yorkers jobs. Maybe the year after that, we can take on the Green Goblin or Doctor Doom.”
The comic was also available in yesterday’s Daily News and is on NYC.gov and as an app for I-Phone and I-Pad.
Photo by Patrick Hickey Jr.