This story idea came to me years ago during another economic downturn. Some superhero movie was out and gaining attention. I thought, “There are all kinds of super heroes who fight crime and evil, but there is no super hero to fight unemployment and poverty.”
I created a super hero called “Bleeding Heart”. That was to symbolize his “super empathy”. My first snag was “What kind of super powers could he have that would help people find jobs, escape their addictions, find happiness?”
Some people suggested that this story would work better as a “campy” comic book. However, my vision was of a darker story.
The story begins with a ruthless business leader hectoring his underlings. Later when he leaves to go home a street person accosts him asking for money. He rejects this harshly and tells him to get a job.
That night, while out for a walk, a bolt of lightning strikes him. After he is unconscious for a long time he makes is back home with out any trouble. Undressing, he finds that his blood has soaked into his undershirt. The image it creates is of a heart with blood dripping from it.
He is distracted the next day at work. Looking out of the office window, he sees street people and others walking the streets below. He does not fully understand his power of empathy yet, but he realises that the he can feel their pain, their despair, their anger. He decides to dedicate himself to helping those in need.
Meanwhile, trouble is brewing. In a small room, a man is strapped to a table while another “figure” “works” on him. Bit by bit the figure wears away the man’s drive and sense of self worth. At the end, the figure asks the man on the table to look at his face in a mirror. The man on the table says, “I can’t, I have no face”. The villain has created many faceless men.
Bleeding Heart starts to come across these faceless men. They no longer have an identity and to those around them they don’t exist. He realizes that someone is robbing these men of their ability to cope in the world.
Bleeding Heart searches for the villain to find a way to save the faceless men from their fate. Finally, he corners the villain on a rooftop.
Bleeding Heart asks the villain “Who are you and why would you do such evil to the faceless men”. The villain responds, “I am not a man, but the personification of despair.” He goes on, “I live in the dark recesses of all men’s minds. You can never stop me.”
Bleeding Heart tries to catch the man, but grabs only thin air. There is no trace of the man called despair. A profound sense of hopelessness comes over Bleeding Heart as he wonders how he can save the men with no faces.