We’ve all had one of “those days” – the kind where you want to lounge in bed, eating Cheetos and flipping through 120 channels of digital cable. Hell, most of us take a day periodically to do this when we’ve been overworked or burnt out.
Everybody has days like this. Even Superman.
But when you’re the Man of Steel, sworn to fight for truth and justice in the American way, how can you just take a day off? And what exactly would you do?
Director Shannon Shea explores what would happen if Kal-El decided to kick off the red boots, and the results are hilarious.
The short “Mattress of Solitude” opens with a mother and daughter packing up their car after a stay in a motel. The girl looks up to one of the windows and sees a caped figure staring back. Of course, before he can be recognized, Superman ducks back behind the curtain. After all, the last thing he wants to do is blow his cover. His one-day vacation is even more secretive than his secret identity.
The rest of the film follows Superman as he wanders aimlessly through his room, ordering room service (and getting belligerent with them for not properly preparing his Cobb salad), playing with his Batman tub toys, and dodging the maid (whom he tips with a freshly crushed diamond from a lump of coal). Each gag is funny and hits home, making you realize that you would do the same thing if alone in a motel room for a day.
There’s even a hysterical moment when Superman uses his X-ray vision to see a car thief trying to steal a car from the parking lot. Instead of hopping into action, he calls security. What else could he do? After all, he’s on vacation.
Shea has a real knack for satire, and he hits the mark flawlessly in this whimsical short. For comic book fans, this is a must see.
According to Shea, whom I spoke with when he screened this gem at the 2002 San Diego Comic-Con, “Mattress of Solitude” has had a mighty strong run on some short film sites on the Internet. In fact, one of the sites had listed it as one of the most popular titles online a while back. If you get a chance to see this film – either online, on the big screen, or on television – don’t pass it up, up, and away.