Quick—name your top five engineering superheroes!
Okay, name one. (And Dean Kamen doesn't count.)
The sad truth is that while there is an abundance of superheroes hailing from other professions, engineering is seriously under-represented when it comes to fighting crime, ridding the world of nefarious villains, and saving the universe in general.
Wait! That sounds way too much like the job of a typical engineer, doesn't it?
I have been a lifelong, avid fan of comic books—everything from Archie to the Fantastic Four and now Japanese Manga—and I've yet to find a superhero capable of solving a second-order differential equation. I mean how could you trust any superhero who doesn't know his way around a phase plane?
So I decided if I couldn't find an engineering superhero, I would create one. I was lucky enough to team up with artist Dan Guidera. He is the incredibly gifted illustrator who draws the cartoons for
our popular back-page Calamities column and our Rarely Asked Questions page, and does tons of other great stuff for Design News. It was our mutual love of monkeys that brought us together.
Our superhero, Slack Variable, makes his first appearance in this issue. A seriously caffeinated, mutant engineering super monkey, Slack is the head maintenance technician at a campus coffee shop—where he passes successfully as a hairy graduate student who uses his engineering acumen to fight evil.
And . . . that's all I'm going to say. To find out more, you're going to have to turn to page 24. Better yet, get Slack delivered to your desktop as soon as he's published by signing up for our special RSS feed or e-newsletter. You can also view commentary from Dan and me, find out more about the characters, and join the conversation online at www.designnews.com/slack.
Or drop me a line at the email address below. I'd love to get feedback from other monkey-lovers out there on our new simian superhero!