Real-Life Superheroes clean up the streets

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April 04, 2008
By Dan Rafter
Holy Batman! People are taking a page from the Caped Crusader’s comic book and turning themselves into superheroes- even though they don’t have any special powers!
Donning eye-catching costumes, real-life superheroes with names like Squeegeeman, Dark Guardian and Entomo the Insect Man have begun appearing across the United States and around the globe- in a movement to make the world a better place. But these crusaders for justice- estimated at 225 around the world, include about 175 in the United States- are often less concerned with bashing heads than feeding the homeless, saving the environment or just doing good.
Squeegeeman has vowed to clean up New York City, one windshied or city block at a time. New Yorkers who don’t get mugged while walking n a clean street should probably praise the caped cleaner.
Martial arts expert Geist of Rochester, Minn., confronts evildoers with a wide-brimmed hat, reflective sunglasses, a scarf-like mask and a array of non-lethal weapons, including smoke grenades and a 6-inch fighting stick.
Citizen Prime of Phoenix spent $4,000 on a custom-made costume- including a steel helmet and breast-plate and yellow cape. And when his foot patrols don’t find enough crime, he volunteers for crime-prevention causes and children’s charities.
A secretive martial arts instructor patrols New York City’s Staten Island as Dark Guardian, while wearing spandex fit for a professional wrestler. The 23-year-old hero recently held a convenience store robber at bay until the cops arrived.
Hardwire, 20 of Greensboro-Durham, N.C., describes himself as a “tech hero, like Batman with the attitude,” while Entomo the Insect Man give Spider-Man a run for his bugged-out reputation in Naples, Italy, declaring: “I inject justice.”
In Portland, Ore., the needy can count on Zetaman to make regular rounds distributing free food and clothing. To protect himself and those he serves, Zetaman carries pepper spray, an extendable steel baton and a Taser packing 30,000 volts.