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The Barber: Issue 1

Posted by on March 21, 2012

On the roof of a skyscraper that floated like an island among the dazzling multihued lights of Manhattan, the superhero known as the Barber patiently explained yet again why he wasn’t just a regular barber.  “I’m a superhero, not just a barber.  They call me the Barber because I can do everything a barber can,” he said.  “I can cut and style hair, shave faces, I wear a white lab coat and keep my combs in a tall glass jar filled with faintly blue liquid.”

“It just seems like you’re just a regular barber,” said the other man.

“No, no, no,” the Barber said.  “I do all that stuff, plus I’m a superhero too.  I fight crime.”

“But how does all that barber stuff have anything to do with fighting crime?  I mean, Superman was also a reporter, but he could do a lot more stuff than just stuff a reporter could do.  If Superman could only do stuff a reporter could do, he wouldn’t really be super.  He would just be a reporter.  If he was just, like, investigating corruption in public officials and publishing the results in a newspaper, he wouldn’t call himself Superman.”

The Barber sighed heavily.  “I never said I was Superman.  Superman could fly and he was super-strong and he had heat vision.  That was his thing.  I’m different.  I fight supervillains by being a barber.  That’s why I’m called the Barber.  Jesus, what part don’t you understand?”

“But how does being a barber help you defeat supervillains?”

“Well, maybe some supervillains turn to crime because they’re denied opportunities in more socially acceptable work.  If they had a better haircut, they might be able to get a job that doesn’t involve burying all the world’s cities under lava.”

“That’s just being a barber,” the other man said.  “Okay, what if some supervillain went to another barber, one who wasn’t also a superhero?  And the supervillain got a great haircut and it solved the psychological issues that caused him to try to divert huge asteroids so they’d crash into New York City and he stopped being a supervillain?  Now, would that barber also be considered a superhero?”

“No, because there’s room for only one barber-themed superhero, and that’s me.  Wolverine has his claws, I have my collection of tiny scissors.  Batman has his Batsymbol, I have my spinning red-white-and-blue striped pole.  And just like the X-Men have the X-Mansion, I have my own headquarters—a long rectangular room with big mirrors, a cash register, a bunch of Sports Illustrateds from five years ago, and several articulated cream-colored leather chairs.  You’ve heard the song ‘Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can’?  Well, I’m just like that, except I do whatever a barber can.”

“But it’s unusual for a human to be able to do whatever a spider can.  Normal people can’t shoot webs from their wrists or climb walls or have a spidey-sense.  But normal people are barbers.  That’s not something that’s outside the realm of what normal people can do.”

“But they don’t fight supervillains.”

“But you don’t fight supervillains.  You just cut their hair.”

“That is fighting supervillains.  Of course, I must fight them in my own idiom, just like every superhero.  You wouldn’t expect Mr. Fantastic to solve problems by not stretching, would you?  Should the Flash defeat villains by going extra-slow?”

“What about Lex Luthor?” the other man asked.  “He’s bald.”

“He could drop by for a shave.  Look, it’s very simple: I fight crime by wrapping plastic aprons around people’s necks and holding a hand mirror behind their heads and asking them if they want to keep those sideburns.  It’s not rocket science.”

“Well, I still think it sounds stupid,” said the Bellhop.  “I mean, it’s not as if you were fighting supervillains by carrying people’s luggage.”


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