Many will no doubt recognize this oft-parodied painting by Edward Hopper. It’s use of perspective, lighting and color is well-known in artistic circles, and it is rightly considered an American classic. Painted in 1942, it represents a fictionalized diner in Greenwich Village, NYC. Hopper has been silent about the true meaning behind the painting.
Many have observed the sense of menace and dark existential meaning to the three characters sitting at the diner’s counter. The server himself seems to be free of this cloud.
This is because the server survived the attack which took place in the minutes after the moment depicted in the painting. The two hunched male figures and lone female figures are all superheroes. The man with his back to us is Captain Freedom. The man facing us is one part of the Liberty Duo — Mister Democracy and Lady Liberty. They were all small-time, little-known, freelance superheroes who helped the US fight crime and espionage in New York City during WWII. Despite this painting, they have largely been forgotten, I suspect, because of their spectacular failure to anticipate the ruthlessness of their Nazi arch-nemesis, Herr Doctor Dimensia.
Having no discernible super-powers, such as invulnerability or super-strength, Herr Doctor Dimensia decided that it would be easiest to eliminate the trio of crime-fighters in one go. (Despite their lack of super-powers, the heroes were all excellent detectives, and they were close to breaking the espionage ring fronted by Dimensia, and backed financially by Joseph Kennedy.)
The server was not driven insane by the dimension-ripping “Bonker Bomb” because he was in the back, changing the gas canisters for the fizz machine. In the ensuing explosion of cross-dimensional energy, Captain Freedom disappeared entirely, though it is suspected he may have been transported to an alternate reality and is fighting crime there. The Liberty Duo both went insane, and after their recovery, they started an ad firm on Madison Avenue.
Following the war, Herr Doctor Dimensia was hired by NASA and helped the US land on the Earth’s moon. (Both of them.)