Forget webs and x-ray vision, Electrical Safety Man has been relying on his powers of knowledge dispersal to keep the people of Oregon safe this summer. With a broad chest, tight pants, and a sixth sense for detecting Code violations, this cartoon creation of IBEW Local 48 is waging a public relations war against the forces of electrocution in the Pacific Northwest. Shazam!
The birth of a hero. After building fires caused $34.7 million in damages in Oregon between 2000 and 2004, Local 48 looked for a way to inform the public — particularly kids — about the dangers of electricity. With the help of a local artist, the union put the superhero on paper in an 8-page comic book and passed out 2,500 copies at area schools.
Capes are so 1950. Comic book artist Herb Apon drew from iconic heroes like Batman and Superman for inspiration before settling on Electrical Safety Man's blue-white-and-yellow costume…and he left the cape on the drawing board.
Hollywood on hold. Don't expect a celluloid Electrical Safety Man any time soon, but Local 48 plans to incorporate him in print and TV advertising, and an in-the-flesh version may soon be making public appearances. He'll stay 2D for now, but that doesn't mean he can't get around. “Our safety director drives a van, and we're talking about putting Electrical Safety Man on that as well,” says Tim Gauthier, Local 48 director. “We want a mobile presence.”