Archives June 2009

Want to be a superhero in your community?

By Michael M. DeWitt, Jr.
I admit it. I wear Spiderman underwear. I still have a crush on Wonder Woman. And I have a Superman tattoo located somewhere on my body (you’ll have to use your X-ray vision to find out exactly where, though).
Most people become infatuated with superheroes early in life. At first, it’s the child in us that thinks that awesome, superhuman powers are just plain cool. Later, as we age and our bodies fall apart, superheroism is more about staying strong and young and powerful, about defying our own mortality.
But we often forget the most important element of heroism – helping others. And while we may never be able to fly or teleport or use our X-ray vision to see through walls, we can all be superheroes in our own communities just by helping others.
At least that is the credo of a bold new group that known as Superheroes Anonymous. With names like The Dark Guardian and The Watchman, these guys – and gals, too – actually create and wear their own costumes and venture out into their own neighborhoods looking to make their communities a batter, safer place to live (go to to learn more, including tips on making your own costume). They patrol the streets of their hometowns, helping strangers and protecting the weak and the innocent.
Immature, or genius? Just ask the people they help.
Superheroes Anonymous members distribute sandwiches to the homeless, volunteer at charitable organizations, distribute clean water, and patrol the streets looking for criminal activity to report, and much, much more. The movement began in New York City and is now spreading rapidly to superhero fans worldwide.
If this zany plan could work in New York’s metropolis, why not Hampton County? Could we make our own hometown a better, safer place to live?
My superhero senses tell me “Yes, we can.” And while you don’t have to don tights or a red cape or any other goofy costume (people will look at you funny in the Piggly Wiggly), and none of us can leap tall buildings in a single bound, I believe that we can all become superheroes and make a difference in our own communities if we only try.
Yes, the people of Hampton County are faced with legions of deadly villains. Crime, drugs, gangs, violence, to name a few. We are also faced with evils less fearsome but no less dangerous – indifference, intolerance, and ignorance.
But each of us also possesses our own unique, special power. The power to do good or help our neighbor in some way, whether it be the power to reach out to a child, or to take food to the needy, or to courageously report a crime.
We have the “super” powers to clean up our streets, to volunteer as mentors and help educate our young people, the power to form Neighborhood Watch groups, and the power to get involved in our educational and political processes.
We have the power to spend a few minutes each week mentoring to a young person, and we have the power to reach out to the sick and elderly.
The world is changing, and the forces of evil grow stronger each day. It’s time for real life community heroes to reveal their identities.
Want to be a superhero? Take action.
Tights and cape are optional.
Do you know a community hero?
If you know someone whom you feel is a community hero, we want to hear from you. Call The Guardian at 943-4645 or email [email protected].

Superheroes Get Real

Originally posted:
Average Citizens Become Caped Crusaders In The Battle Against Crime
Superheroes Are Real!
Everyday citizens around the world are mimicking movie superheroes by fighting crime and helping the needy. Michelle Miller reports. Real-life superhero Citizen Prime discussed his double life.
(CBS) In closets around the world, their tights and capes are tucked away. They have day jobs and lives, but when night comes, they become…Dark Guardian! Life! Civitron! Citizen Prime! And many other superhero identities.
These people are average citizens-turned-crime fighters, regularly suiting up to do good deeds. CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reported on The Early Show Thursday that there may be as many as 200 superheroes keeping watch in communities everywhere.
And they’re taking on crime right where it lives.
Dark Guardian, a real-life superhero, showed Miller how he’s is trying to rid New York City streets of drug dealers.
He walked up to someone he thought was a drug dealer and told him to leave a park
And though they don’t carry a badge, they are getting recognition for their work. Miller reported a superhero who calls himself Master Legend has been credited by police for rescuing people after Hurricane Charlie, and two other superheroes in England are being celebrated for defending two police officers under attack.
But these superheroes aren’t just taking down people they think are bad guys, they’re also doing outreach, such as feeding the homeless. And the superhero community is getting organized through New York-based initiative, Superheroes Anonymous, which documents the real-life superhero phenomenon.
Other superheroes are reaching out to children. One such superhero, Citizen Prime, joined The Early Show on Thursday.
Citizen Prime, an executive at a financial institution, said he’s giving back through outreach at schools. He works with Kid Heroes, performing with a team that teaches children about bullying, emergencies, encouragement and helping friends.
Citizen Prime, like many superheroes, said he keeps his professional life separate from his superhero life.
“I don’t have a secret identity per se, but I do have an alter ego,” he said. “…I think what Citizen Prime really represents is that hero inside all of us. When you find out who I am, it’s a whole lot less interesting than Citizen Prime.”
But do they really need the costume?
“It’s a way for me to be loud, to be something more, something super – and hopefully get the attention of people around me,” Civitron told Miller.
And they do get attention — some good, some bad.
“I’ve been threatened,” Dark Guardian told Miller. “People have put a gun on us, but I never back down.”
The only defense they have is pepper spray and sometimes a bullet-proof vest. Police discourage their work, but they’re still crusading for justice any way they can.
Dark Guardian said, “Somebody needs to stand up against the people who are doing wrong.”
Want to learn more about being a superhero? Visit Real Life Superheroes or, click here to learn more about bringing out the superhero in you.

© MMIX, CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Shadow Hare & Silver Moon: Cincinnati's True Life Super Heroes

By Carol Rucker
Fighting Crime in Cincinnati-
At age twenty-one, Shadow Hare has already logged four years of fighting crime in the shadows of Cincinnati streets; but he has only recently made his efforts known to the public. Cincinnati’s very own crime fighter stepped out of the shadows at high noon to answer a few questions. “I’m a crime fighter,” Shadow Hare said; and that’s what he does, stopping criminals in the act, preventing crime wherever he goes. Perhaps it was the adversity Shadow Hare endured as a child that inspired his current path. “I was tortured,” he said. Such suffering could very easily have pushed a weaker man toward vindication; but Shadow Hare transformed the energy of those childhood traumas into a drive to make the world a better place. Shadow Hare is a member of the Allegiance of Heroes and what he does is part of a nationwide trend evidenced by World Superhero Registry, one of many sites keeping superhero stats. There are others like him across the country, but until recently, Shadow Hare stood alone in his quest to fight crime on Cincinnati’s streets. These days trusted aide and pupil, Silver Moon, joins him in his crime fighting quest.
Shadow Hare -The Eyes and Ears of Cincinnati-
“To get what you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done,” Shadow Hare explained. True to this age-old philosophy, he is doing something that’s never been done on the streets of Cincinnati. A superhero, patrolling Cincinnati’s streets as the eyes and ears of the police, he prevents crime and spreads awareness.
The Ionosphere – Shadow Hare’s Headquarters-
Shadow Hare is like a shadow indeed, coming and going quickly, slipping in and out of the crowd to aid victims of criminal acts. Sometimes he breezes through the city on a Segway, one of those handy two-wheeled personal transportation devices that make navigating the city’s terrain more convenient than in a car and faster than walking. Like most superheroes, unless someone needs him, Shadow Hare remains illusive to the average citizen. It took Greg Reese From Cincinnati weeks of seeking him out before he located Silver Hare and his companion, Silver Moon, and they agreed to make an appearance in The Ionosphere, their headquarters at the north edge of Downtown Cincinnati The Ionosphere, the official Shadow Hare-Silver-Moon headquarters, is not as secretive a place as the name might imply. It’s a Segway Dealership at Central Parkway and Vine in an up and coming area referred to by some as The Q.
The Shadow Hare’s Crime Fighting Costume-
Shadow Hare was clad in black from head to toe, with a traditional super hero cape flowing behind him. Emblazoned on his chest and characterized in the features of his face mask, was his namesake, the Shadow Hare, a ghostly rabbit with distorted features straight out of one of his dreams. During childhood that ghostly animal reached out to him, Shadow Hare says, becoming his comforter. Today that comforting creature is a symbol of Shadow Hare’s desire to protect and comfort all Cincinnati citizens.
Shadow Hare’s Crime Fighting Tools-
Beneath his costume, Shadow Hare is not the usual tall, muscle-ripped hunk of fictional hero fame. He is an everyday real man, perhaps a bit thin, but with drive and intensity enough to make up for any lack of physical stature. Combined with the element of surprise, Shadow Hare’s martial arts skills are his chief crime fighting weapon. In a brief demonstration, he illustrated his ability to bring down an offender with non lethal force. And if his martial arts skill should fail him, the 120,000 volt tazer dangling from his belt should certainly do the job.
Silver Moon- Shadow Hare’s Companion-
As Shadow Hare’s partner, the petite Silver Moon dons matching head-to-toe-black garb. Arms crossed over the white halo and single star adorning her chest, the super-heroine-in-training manages to look tough while maintaining a feminine air. Like Shadow Hare, she is dedicated to making the city a better place. Silver Moon is new to the crime fighting game. She is still learning from Shadow Hare the martial arts skills necessary to take on Cincinnati’s criminal element; but when you see Shadow Hare, you will most likely see Silver Moon, standing nearby, waiting, watching, and every bit as motivated to serve the public as her male superhero counterpart.
Shadow Hare & Silver Moon – Causing A Stir on the Street-
As the super hero and his lady companion stepped from The Ionosphere into the afternoon sunlight, they struck a pose for the camera, and caused a stir by their mere presence on the street. Lunchtime passersby clicked away with phone cameras. Some stopped to ask a question or two. Motorists called out to him or cheered; some blew their horns as he whoosed by on his Segway. Shadow Hare saluted or waved in return. Moments after Shadow Hare mounted his Segway, preparing to demonstrate how he moves along the city streets, a Cincinnati police car parked near the Vine Street corner where he stood. Next a bicycle-mounted policewoman arrived on the scene, as did another officer who parked his car on Central Parkway. “Some scoff at me. Others take me seriously.” Shadow Hare said, referring to the police officers. To that he added, “I trust the police.” Still he says “no one needs authorization to be a super hero.” If you want to follow in his footsteps, you need only contact him.
More resources

Real Life Heroes Don Costumes Across the U.S.

By Tony Rutherford Entertainment Editor
Huntington, WV (HNN) – Faster, flying, looking, chasing… in the fantasy worlds of Gotham City and Metropolis, individuals with super powers take on the bad guys missed by law enforcement. Believe it or not, costumed (and non-costumed) heroes have emerged in various global locations performing community service, indirectly assisting the police, and helping homeless.

CNN recently featured a piece on heroes helping in hard times. Some go by comic book-like names (Mr. Ravenblade, Dark Guardian, Warrior Girl or Captain Safety ) and may wear a costume. Others may be a regular Joe or Jane. ( )

What prompted the real-life superhero movement?
Ben Goldman, a real-life superhero historian, who runs Superheroes Anonymous ( , stated to CNN: “A lot of them go through an existential crisis and have to discover who they are.” He continued, as people put more value on what they can do rather than the “stuff” in the house, “they realize that money is fleeting.”
Actually, the article suggests that the oddity grew past such efforts as the Guardian Angel citizen patrols (of the 80s). Admittedly, some of those adopting such a persona have to contend and balance communication , contact, and conduct with local law enforcement officers. Some of the real people have been shot at, arrested, and rebuked. Some have been called vigilantes. Others have won respect from short handed officers who welcome extra eyes and ears.
A press release at Real Life Superheroes explains the grassroots movement of people create a “superhero identity and work in a fun, exciting and inspirational fashion to make the world a better place. They are making an impact by doing civic activities, public safety patrols, crime fighting, charity work, school talks, hospital visits, helping the needy, and more acts to serve society. They are breaking the comic book barrier and bringing the ideals of superheroes into the real world. Real Life Superheroes create living positive role models which our children are in need of. The concept of a superhero, an individual who aspires to a higher moral code which benefits society, has a psychological impact on children, both appealing to their sense of fun as well as teach them important values.”
A woman known as Terrifica patrols the New York bar scene looking out for women who had too much to drink or may be in danger of male predators. According to the ABC TV report, “I protect the single girl living in the big city,” stated the now 35-year-old single woman clad in a blond Brunnhilde wig, golden mask and Valkyrie bra.
Actually, the web contains “tutorials” for heroes including first responder basics, self defense tips, legal considerations, and an article on “arrest proofing.” and a social network,
Not all of the would-be heroes perform community service. Some have been the stars of fan-produced films, but others have gained semi-official endorsement from states, such as Breathe Easy Man who in Chicago educates citizens about reducing pollution and cleaning the air. And, Captain Clean (Maidstone, England) became a familiar face with the approval of council managers to clean up litter hot spots, passing out leaflets, and picking up abandoned vehicles, cleaning streets and hauling bulky refuse.
More and more real-life heroes use their costumes to take on social issues. For instance, Femme Fiscale and Golden Boy (from Manitoba, Canada) ventured to the legislature to advocate for the province’s most vulnerable citizens.
One a web site, the feisty Femme argued that “tax cuts are not free. I am concerned about how this will impact people who rely on government services.” When the budget contained no funds for low income housing, she lobbied the legislature on behalf of affordable low income housing.
You can check out some of the other national and international heroes at such sites as: (for which we credit use of the photos);; (a New Orleans character known as the Black Ghost who inspires non-violent conflict resolution, which is © by I.C.E. Productions); (a national network of heroes who perform acts of community service or charity work, such as Dragonheart and Monkey Woman); (which shows active heroes, costume suppliers, and news stories)
EDITOR’S NOTE: Photos courtesy of individual “hero” or “heroine” unless otherwise stated.
Who are Huntington’s Hero Helpers?
My first choice for a “hero helpers” label happens to be a young woman who uses a camera and editing equipment to better the community. Francesca Karle decided to make a movie about the homeless living on the riverbank for a Girl Scout Project. “On the River’s Edge” contained stories of the lives of people living in a shack or tent. The film was premiered at the Keith Albee and attracted national attention. In addition, Ms. Karle produced “Back to the Bottle,” a 35-minute documentary on alcohol addiction. ( )
We’d like you to nominate your own, but I’ll get the non-costumed party started by adding a couple more such as:
Anonymous Attorneys: You know who you are. You have devoted countless hours to “arming” those battered and bruised in the legal system with a weapon — you have helped teach “them” procedures, methods, and shown proper forms, headings and research methods for fighting for truth, justice and the American Way. The case may not have been financially worth litigating, but you transformed their frustrated bitterness into “pro se” jurisprudence.
Rev. Bob Bondurant: With his able “sidekick”/wife, Beth, Bob has prowled the halls of Marshall University, the Campus Christian Center, beach locations, and football fields dispensing the love of God. That meant loaning students a few dollars for their date, holding a hand during illness, stressing the similarities of various denominations and religions to encourage diversity (not condemnation) , and holding a mini-service for in-town PROWLers during non-university in session periods.
Now, it’s your turn. We’d like to run a continuing series of profiles of individuals worthy of a helper or hero title, be they “on the job” or “freelancing.”
Send your two paragraph nomination (with your e-mail address) to: [email protected] For that matter, check out our forum and start a sub –head posting.

Amid hard times, an influx in real superheroes

(CNN) — Mr. Ravenblade, Mr. Xtreme, Dark Guardian and hundreds of others. Some with elaborate costumes, others with haphazardly stitched outfits, they are appearing on city streets worldwide watching over the populace like Superman watched over Metropolis and Batman over Gotham City.
As people become disillusioned from financial woes and a downtrodden economy and look to put new purpose in their lives, everyday folks are taking on new personas to perform community service, help the homeless and even fight crime.
“The movement is growing,” said Ben Goldman, a real-life superhero historian. Goldman, along with Chaim “Life” Lazaros and David “Civitron” Civitarese, runs the New York-based Web site Superheroes Anonymous as part of an initiative dedicated to organizing and making alliances with superhero groups.
According to Goldman, who goes by the moniker Cameraman because of his prowess in documenting the movement, economic troubles are spawning real life superheroes.
“A lot of them have gone through a sort of existential crisis and have had to discover who they are,” Goldman said. People are starting to put value in what they can do rather than what they have, he said. “They realize that money is fleeting, it’s in fact imaginary.”
Estimates from the few groups that keep tabs put the worldwide total of real-life superheroes between 250 and 300. Goldman said the numbers were around 200 just last summer.
Mr. Ravenblade, laid off after a stint with a huge computer technology corporation, found inspiration for his new avocation a few years ago from an early morning incident in Walla Walla, Washington.
“I literally stepped into a woman’s attempted rape/mugging,” Mr. Ravenblade said. While details were lost in the fog of the fight, he remembers this much: “I did what I could,” he said, adding that he stopped the crime and broke no laws. “And I realized after doing what I did, that people don’t really look after people.”
Public response to real-life superheroes has been mixed, according to Mr. Xtreme, who founded the Xtreme Justice League in San Diego, California.
“Sometimes it’s been really positive with people saying, ‘Woohoo, the superheroes are here,’ and then the usual barrage, saying ‘Oh, these guys are losers.’ Other times people will look kind of freaked out, and then sometimes people just don’t know what to think about us.”
Like Peter Parker kept his Spider-Man identity from his editor boss, Mr. Extreme and Mr. Ravenblade have asked CNN editors to keep their identities secret.
The current superhero movement started a few years ago on MySpace, as people interested in comics and cool caped crusaders joined forces, Goldman said. It goes beyond the Guardian Angel citizen patrols of the early 1980s, as the real-life superheroes of today apply themselves to a broadly defined ethos of simply doing good works. Video Watch Crimson Fist help the homeless in Atlanta »
Chris Pollak, 24, of Brooklyn, New York, can attest to the appeal. “A lot more people are either following it or wanting to go out and do it,” Pollack, who goes by the name Dark Guardian, said. By “do it,” he means patrol the harrowing streets late at night.
“A lot of kids say they’re real-life superheroes [on MySpace],” Mr. Ravenblade said. “But what are you doing? Being in front of a computer is not helping anybody.”
Comic book legend Stan Lee, the brain behind heroes such as Spider-Man and the X-Men, said in his comic books doing good — and availing one’s self — was indeed the calling card for superheroes.
“If somebody is committing a crime, if somebody is hurting some innocent person, that’s when the superhero has to take over.” Photo See a photo gallery of some real-life superheroes »
“I think it’s a good thing that people are eager enough to want to help their community. They think to do it is to emulate the superheroes,” Lee said. “Now if they had said they had super powers [that would be another thing].”
Without super powers, real life superheroes confess to a mere-mortal workload, including helping the homeless, handing out fliers in high-crime areas and patrolling areas known for drug-dealing.
Mr. Ravenblade said he and some of his superfriends would soon be trying to organize a Walk for Babies fundraiser in Portland, Oregon.
“We work with charities that help children,” he said. “We think a lot of crimes happen because of people who didn’t get a lot of love when they were younger. We do what we can to help that there.”
“Homeless outreach is the main thing I like to do,” said Chaim “Life” Lazaros, of Superheroes Anonymous. “We give out food, water, vitamins, toothbrushes. A lot of homeless people in my area know me, and they tell us about what they need. One homeless guy said ‘I need a couple pair of clean underwear.'”
For Christmas, Lazaros said his group raised $700 in gifts and brought them to kids at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in New York. “They were so excited to see real-life superheroes,” Lazaros said. Searching for Cincinnati’s caped crusader
Many of the real-life superheroes even initiate citizen’s arrests, but what’s legal varies by state. And in North Carolina citizen’s arrests are illegal. Real-life superheroes who grab a suspected villain may find themselves under a specter of trouble.
“Not a good idea,” said Katy Parker, legal director for the ACLU of North Carolina. “Seeing as how there’s no citizen’s arrest statute [in the state], people who do this are running a serious risk of getting arrested for kidnapping, and being liable for false imprisonment.”
“Vigilantism is never a good thing,” said Bernard Gonzales, public information officer for the Chula Vista, California, Police Department. He’s had some interactions with real-life superheroes. “The very best thing a private citizen can do is be a good witness.”
Mr. Ravenblade said he’s just that.
“If you’re a real-life superhero you follow the law. If you catch somebody you can’t just tie them up and leave them for the cops, that’s for the comics. You have to wait for the cops and give them a statement,” Mr. Ravenblade said. Cincinnati superhero speaks
While citizens helping out in the community is encouraged, Gonzales said the costumes can go.
“Where these people are out in public, and there’s children around and everything, and these people are not revealing their identities, it’s not a safe thing.”
But the costumes go with the gig, right down to the do-it-yourself approach to good deeds, including, apparently, recycling.
“The costume I have is simple,” said Mr. Xtreme. “I made it myself. I had a graphic designer design it for me and just took it down to the swap meet and had somebody imprint it on for me.”
“The mask,” an old bullfighter’s piece, “I got from Tijuana.”

Where to find real-life superheroes

There is a growing diaspora of superheroes worldwide. Here are a few resources.
World Superhero Registry: A virtual who’s who of the larger real-life superhero community, including who’s active and who’s not.
Superheroes Anonymous: A New York-based initiative to organize and document the scattered real-life superhero diaspora. A repository of all things supehero, to encourage and set up real-life superheroes in various communities So, you want to be a real-life superhero? Need a uniform, you say? 

Where to find real-life superheroes

There is a growing diaspora of superheroes worldwide. Here are a few resources.
World Superhero Registry: A virtual who’s who of the larger real-life superhero community, including who’s active and who’s not.
Superheroes Anonymous: A New York-based initiative to organize and document the scattered real-life superhero diaspora. A repository of all things supehero, to encourage and set up real-life superheroes in various communities So, you want to be a real-life superhero? Need a uniform, you say?