Altruman (Ben McEwing) is in the midst of an existential crisis. This wouldn’t be an unusual occurrence for a normal 30 year old, but Altruman is not just any 30 year old. He’s a 30 year old superhero.
Unlike most superheroes, Altruman doesn’t hide behind an alter-ego. What you see is what you get with Altruman. Always clad in black tights, yellow cape and red Speedos, Altruman is more conspicuous when out in public than Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent. Imagine the unwanted attention he receives just doing his grocery shopping or picking up the dry cleaning. Altruman only wants to do his job saving lives and fighting crime.
He is therefore a bit wary when approached by his new neighbors (Miriam Glaser and David Frazer), thinking they are just more celebrity stalkers. But he soon succumbs to their invitation to come over for a drink. After a few glasses of wine Altruman opens up and tells them that he’s got cancer. Apparently superheroes are not invincible.
Altruman is a heartfelt comedy about the day-to-day life of a superhero and why he doubts his career path. Sure, he was born with superpowers, but maybe his father was right he should have been an engineer. Even his sidekick Diceman (Michael Finney) isn’t taking the whole superhero job description seriously and only occasionally responds to Altruman’s numerous attempts to contact him.
The upside to Altruman’s cancer was meeting Maggie (co-creator Hannah Moon), the nurse who becomes his girlfriend and teaches him how to love. Realizing how stressful it is to be a superhero, Maggie fully supports his attempts to find a different job, though neither realizes how very difficult that might be.
With the overall excellence of the production, it’s no wonder that Altruman has been collecting laurels at web festivals worldwide. Cocreators Moon, Robin Geradts-Gill and Stephen Sholl (collectively Boomgate Films) expanded a short they created a few years ago into a charming six episode series. The mundane realities of taking out the trash or attending a homeowners meeting with neighbors are events you never see Tony Stark or Peter Parker performing. Each episode is a little gem of storytelling, carrying on the theme of the misunderstood antihero superhero. Ben McEwing is nothing less than marvelous in his role as Altruman. He will make you laugh and cry sometimes at the same time. His characterization makes Altruman the only superhero I’ve ever wanted to hug.