Sign up for our Headlines morning newsletter.

The most interesting things on the web, handpicked each day. Sign up for our Headlines morning newsletter.

Spoofs & Satire

Australia’s Mightiest Heroes

Wherever there is trouble, from marketing to marsupials, they will protect. Super-genius and superhero Dick Smith hatches a new era of costumes and secret identities.

Our story takes place in a not-too-distant future. Perhaps in a couple of months, perhaps now. Or now. Or even…nnnnow! The characters are real, as are their origins. We can only hope one day their legend will be too.

The place: Australia. The time: evening-ish. Dick Smith, entrepreneur, inventor, strategic risk-taker and public-relations genius, sits alone in the converted airplane hanger where he now lives. In the fading light flicker the jagged silhouettes of the various lightweight aircrafts, the deflated hot-air balloons, and the 50-foot Hercules helicopter that he plans to fill with water and fly high above Sydney Stadium before dumping its contents and riding the self-made torrent to earth in a reinforced barrel bearing the logo of his new line of clothing: ‘DICK WEAR.’

The man is undeniably gifted. Part Bill Gates, part Richard Branson, a really small part Evel Knievel: Dick Smith sits atop an empire. His electronic and Australian geographic franchises run themselves and his rebranding of lost Australian commercial icons, including Helicopter Jelly, Dickmite sandwich spread, and Dickhead matches has been a triumph. The man is brilliant, successful…and bored.

He flicks his giant televisual screens—covering stock markets, weather-station reports, and lifestyle channels—to a broadcast of the local news. Images of crime and destruction illuminate his cavernous lair, the reflected light of explosions and human suffering flickers amongst his aeronautical P.R. megaliths. So much tragedy, he thinks, so much waste.

Someone should really do something about this.

And then, in just the same way as the idea to sell cheap transistor radios and those annoying rain-stick things came to him years ago, just as the brilliant notion to call a food product Dick Cheese fell from the blue, so it becomes clear to Dick Smith, nature-lover and man of the middle-class Australian consumerist public, that maybe that someone could be him.

And so it was that Dick Smith undertook the greatest challenge of his career—nay—life! The assembling of a group of heroes so great as to strike fear into the hearts of all but the most embittered criminals, and to firmly grab those few embittereds by the short and curlies and give them a good, thorough shaking down in the name of all that was good in Australia. Freedom of speech! A two-party system with voting preferences! An ever-strengthening dollar in a worldwide financial market! Livestock that has not as yet made anyone dead from eating it!

 

At a time when Australia was just out of training pants and ready to enter the world of big-boy wear, a call was heard throughout the barren landscape that sent shivers up the spines of many and down the willies of others. ‘Twas a cry that would become a national catchphrase and a fictional band on a supernatural teen drama. And that cry was, ‘A dingo stole my baby!’ On that day a baby was stolen from a backyard by the outback fox, the down-under wolf, the dingo. Chastised for its actions and banished deep into desert, the dingo bade its time until the truth came out. The truth you ask? That baby was a bomb! Finally receiving the heroic praise it so deserved, the dingo takes up the mantle of the fastest dingo in the country, The Dash, and joins the cause for justice.

 

In the early 1920s a small boy was playing in his backyard, hitting a golf ball against a wall with an old cricket stump. Suddenly he found himself bathed in a strange celestial light. There, above him, hovered an alien spaceship! And it spoke! ‘Don Bradman, we come to you in peace. You have shown great determination and resourcefulness in your efforts to become a great sportsman. We are a great alien race from another galaxy a great many miles away. We have taken it upon ourselves to award those who show such great determination and resourcefulness in their efforts to become great sportsmen with items of great power. A pair of boxing gloves here, in a few years time a basketball sneaker there. And so we bestow upon you a great honor, this cap made of green baggy felt stuff that great Australian cricketers wear. Yours shall allow you to use your cricketing talents for good in defense of Australia in a great many years to come. Wear it well and greatly, Don, wear it great.’ And with that the aliens left. Sir Donald Bradman has indeed worn the cap great throughout many years, right up until he passed away only a few years ago. Will another take up the call of the alien race in defending this country? Will another step forward to become The Baggy Green?

 

Sprung forth from the same place that has since sprung some other middle-of-the-road actors/singers/media show-ponies such as Natalie Imbruglia and Holly Vallance is Australia’s greatest hope of cracking the elusive American pop market—Kylie Minogue. While straight men deem her ‘hot,’ and straight women deem her possessive of catchy dance singles, ‘The Singing Budgie’ has always effortlessly captured the homosexual market as well, having made appearances with such gay icons as Robbie Williams, the Queer Eye team, and Kermit the Frog. Such is her allure that her waxen replica butt-cheeks at Madame Tussauds gallery had to be remodeled from constant handling by over-enthused tourists. Thus, with such mass-market appeal and an upcoming alliance with French crusader Le Captain Bad-guy-from-SWAT, she is truly an irreplaceable member of the team and a favorite amongst mindless pop enthusiasts everywhere who quest for that which is most blandly palatable. With her golden hot pants, hordes of backup dancers at her beck and call, and a supersonic jet paid for with invisible talent, Kylie Minogue is Wonderbread Woman.

 

Over the years Australia’s leaders have come and gone, but none have left under more mysterious circumstances than Harold Holt. Swimming one day in December 1967, security men and common-folk beachgoers alike lost sight of their Prime Minister somewhere out in the wet blue yonder and the man was proclaimed dead. It would be several decades before Holt would reappear, this time leading an army of sea creatures that had pledged their allegiance to the red, white, and blue, the stars and stripes—the Australian flag! After struggling with the harsh mistress the sea apparently is for many minutes, Holt gave up his doggy paddle and let the water suck him down. Only when he opened his eyes upon hitting the bottom did he find that not only could he breathe underwater, but he had the ability to represent the citizens of the sea and govern their lands with a firm and prune-y hand. Upon hearing that Land-stralia needs him again, Harold Holt summons his subjects and rises to the surface to serve his native land. Only this time as Aqua Minister!

 

Hailing from a far away and distant land, ‘The Lanky Yank’ came to be much more than a run-of-the-mill hero. In the 1960s, when he first embossed himself upon Australia’s collective conscious, Don Lane became a symbol of all that was important in the country at the time—variety television. With his sidekick Bert ‘Moonface’ Newton, Lane brought forth much hilarity and the added comfort of an American accent on our television sets when we Australians were battling with one of our most devious foes, Cultural Cringe! Later the Don became a nighttime vigilante, seen taking down any tall, poppy athletes with his endless reels of footage, which—when coupled with his much more limited array of sound effects—became that most humbling of weapons: the sports blooper. As a prevalent symbol of entertainment and Australia’s likelihood to adopt just about anyone as their favorite honorary countryman, Don Lane has a permanent place on this superhero team’s roster. Don Lane is Blooperman.

 

Under the savvy leadership of Dick Smith—under the savvy alias of Dickman—this league of iconic figures takes on the job of protecting the country that has so cherished their legacies. Would they be enough to quell the forces of evil that hunch in the shadows, waiting to overcome Australia at any given moment? No one knows, but several people do know this—as long as there is unrest, as long as there is ungood, there will be—Super Mates!

Tune in next week, when the Super Mates must battle the scolding hot treachery of the Frying Dutchman, as he comes to claim back Van Dieman’s Land!