MASQUER-AIDES Tothian, Squeegee Man and Dark Guardian Photo: Imogen Brown
On a recent evening, Tothian, Squeegee Man and Dark Guardian are whisking up the West Side in their heromobile to Port Authority. Their mission is to bring help—in the form of water, granola bars and blankets—to the neighborhood’s homeless. Among bewildered shouts of “Thanks, man!” and “Yo! Is it Halloween already?!?,” the costumed crusaders distribute their goods and speed off into the night.
The three, who met on MySpace, often work independently and don’t even know each other’s real names. Squeegee Man, 26, who carries his signature implement on his belt, wears a uniform that some confuse with Superman’s, but as he indignantly reminds us, his underwear is on the inside. “I fight crime and grime,” he says. “I pick up trash, give things to the homeless and help old ladies cross the street—y’know, regular superhero stuff.” Meanwhile, Dark Guardian, 22—whose bulletproof mask has a smile drawn on it—and the 21-year-old Tothian (who won’t disclose his name’s origin for fear of revealing his secret identity) patrol bad neighborhoods in NYC and New Jersey. So far they’ve avoided brushes with real danger. “I haven’t saved anyone yet, but I’ve reported drug dealers and gambling dens to the police,” Dark Guardian says.
The superheroes take pleasure in the high-profile nature of doing good deeds in costume. “It’s in hopes of inspiring people to make the world a better place,” explains the Guardian. But the romantic returns of being a masked savior have been disappointing. “I’ve only had one girlfriend in my life,” admits Tothian. “Yeah,” snorts Squeegee Man. “And her name was Lady Invisible.” —Kate Lowenstein
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