With the release of Action Comics #1000 and the 80th anniversary of Superman I thought it was high time to revisit the greatest superhero of all…Bicycle Repairman!
In a world full of Supermen it is important to know that the real superpower is the ability to fix a two wheeled, manually powered mode of transportation. And to rest easy in the knowledge that wherever bicycles are broken (or menaced by international communism) Bicycle Repairman is ready!
Is it a stockbroker?
Is it a quantity Surveyor?
Is it a church warden?
NO! It’s Bicycle Repair Man!
This is of course a sketch from the greatest comedy troupe of all time: Monty Python.
It first appeared on episode 3 of the Flying Circus entitled How to Recognise Different Types of Trees From Quite a Long Way Away (Notice the proper British way of spelling ‘recognise’ – no zeds here my friends much to the dismay of Word spellcheck) and was originally aired October 1969.
Now I could go on and on about how this sketch subverts the common tropes of the superhero genre by taking typical depiction of a “special” person that exists within the world of “normal” people and turns it around so that everyone in the world is powered or super and an individual with what would be seen as a mundane skill, like bicycle repair, is then seen as the really exceptional person. This deconstructs the notion there are differences between people – that we can even classify individuals as “super” or “normal” and presumes that all people are in fact super and even the most minor skill or ability can be seen as exceptional.
I could do that, but I’m not, because this is a silly comedy sketch. And I prefer just to laugh at it because it’s funny.
And you should too.