Real-Life Superheroes: Just a Game or Sincere Help?

Orginally posted:
By Sarah F. Sullivan
Published December 30, 2008
The Times Online article about the burgeoning Real-Life Superhero movement undoubtedly had many people laughing and others intrigued. The article discussed the troubles of these newly-spawned crime-fighters and whether or not they should be taken seriously. It read like a mocking review of a comic book and I honestly wasn’t sure whether to think it was a joke or not. So I clicked on the links provided.
First off, the Internet headquarters of the Real-Life Superheroes is the World Superhero Registry. According to the Times Online article, there are over 200 men and women in the registry willing to dress up as superheroes and fight crime in their neighborhoods. I had to see for myself.
Upon entering the website, I was met with a rather formidable page-long warning, telling the reader that the website discusses matters of the superheroes and that these things are not the product of role-playing games. It states further that because of the perpetually changing legal system, “some of the activities described herein may be in conflict with local laws in some areas.”
When asked if I was a member of law-enforcement attempting to nail down the superheroes with legal action, I calmly clicked no and entered the superheroes’ domain. Once inside, I barely believed what I saw. Everything felt like a comic book fan’s innermost fantasy.
In order to be considered for Real-Life Superhero status in the registry, a person must wear a costume that will inspire those around you, as well as protect your identity. You must perform Heroic Deeds that are required to be “of sufficient degree as to exceed normal everyday behavior.” You must have Personal Motivation, a.k.a. you cannot be fueled by an organization of some kind.
The philosophy of the Real-Life Superheroes (in its shortened form) is:
DO NO HARM (use non-lethal means to apprehend a villain) and FAIRNESS (do not pursue “petty criminals” or “apprehend prostitutes or casual drug users.”)
To sum up:
These superheroes run around in costumes, make up their own code names and try to make the world a better place.
I perused through Superhero profiles of people like Angle Grinder Man in England (a man who offers his services to motorists whose cars have been put in wheel clamps) and Terrifica in New York (a girl who peruses the N.Y. party scene in an effort to find drunk women in danger of being taken advantage by men).
It suddenly doesn’t seem so funny. Granted, I look at pictures of these two individuals, Angle Grinder in a blue leotard and gold boots and Terrifica in her body-hugging scarlet costume and want to smile. But really, compared to these people, what am I doing? I’m not doing one job by day and protecting others at night. Silly or not, these people are doing good and sacrificing their time for others.
So, I’ll just address the superheroes. I could never do what you do, but thank you.
John Harlow, Amateur Crimefighters Are Surging in the US,
World Superhero Registry Official Website
Superheroes Lives Official Website