Damage Control

Over at Deadspin they’re running a piece proclaiming 1978’s Superman vs. Muhammad Ali “the greatest” (get the joke, eh? Eh?) comic book ever. This woke up the little nerd who lives inside my gut, because it’s clear these people have never heard of Damage Control, a cluster of comics spread across two decades about a team of engineers using “engineering techniques that are much more advanced than the competition which enables them to perform their job in remarkably short periods of time.” That quote is from Marvel’s Wiki. I apologize for the ghastly phrasing. In any case, the Damage Controllers’ job is cleaning up the mess after superbeings destroy buildings and such. I was lucky (unlucky?) enough to own a copy of Damage Control Vol. 1, #1 when I was a kid (I think I traded a Frank Viola baseball card for it), and I remember feeling confused when I read it. It was basically about working in an office, something both my parents did. I imagine some guild of civil engineers put Marvel up to publishing it. Otherwise, I have no idea why this comic was made, let alone why there have been four limited series. I invite some poor grad student in need of a publication or conference appearance to dive into the wreck (er, stacks) and make a case for why Damage Control is some sort of protest against neoliberal values. Me, I’ll just bask in its bureaucratic glory and think of Frank Viola.


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