™ and ©1988 John MacLeod
Poking fun at the super–hero genre by concocting heroes with silly powers is a time–honored tradition. John MacLeod’s Dishman, however, is unique in that it gives its hero a really stupid super–power, then refuses to play it for laughs. The result is both interesting, and profoundly depressing.
The title character is Paul Mahler, a school teacher who was about to be married to Joy. He was just packing up his old house, including the Fiestaware dishes he’d been using for the past ten years, which were radioactive at a low level (a real fact, according to an article in Macleans on May 4, 1981!). As he finished cleaning up, he wished that the dishes in the sink were clean, and, as if by magic, they were cleaned and put away instantly. Unfortunately, that was the extent of his super-power, although Mahler still felt obliged to become a crimefighter. As a result, he quickly lost his reputation, his fiancée, and his self–respect.
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