Real-Life Superheroes

By David Finniss
I’m a big comic dork. Anyone who’s read my articles can tell that is a pretty big hobby of mine. It seems that some people have decided to live out their fantasies, take LARPing to a whole new level and try to become bona fide superheroes.
I’m still not sure what my view on the topic is. I mean, I get it. I would love to be a superhero too, whether it be Batman, Green Lantern, or Superman there is something appealing about having that level of impact. I also want to commend the people for trying to, in their own unusual way, make the world a better place. I just don’t think that that is the way to do it.
What works in the comics and on screen doesn’t work in real life. For one thing, vigilantism is illegal, and the costumes these guys end up donning look silly.
“Oh, but Batman does it” you say?
The cops are somewhat tolerant. They encourage these real life superheroes to be proactive and are grateful for the assistance, but there is a clear line that they don’t want you to cross. As one would expect, they’re not quite as tolerant of the idea as say Commissioner Gordon.
A part of me wants to support this, it really does. I mean, I think it would be pretty cool to live in a world where there are superheroes and I’m all for people taking the initiative to make the world a better place and showcase humanity’s capacity for good. That’s all awesome stuff and for that I commend these people. One of the awesome things about Superman is that he represents what we can all aspire to be. The Nolan movies play up the idea that Batman too is a symbol that has more endurance and impact than a regular man. With most of the role models the media tries to create coming up woefully short, there is something to the idea of becoming an embodiment of goodness and charity.
At the same time… no. I mean, come on. You can become an icon and embody all of those ideals without the costume. Michael Jordan is an icon, Ronald Reagan was an icon, Martin Luther King Jr. was an icon. You can effect the same change via other means (joining the neighborhood watch, volunteering, donating money etc) and bypass the inevitable snickering that a good chunk of people are going to do as they discover this sort of stuff.
Batman isn’t a realistic character, yes I said it. He runs a multi billion dollar corporation, has a genius level intellect, and has the strength and agility of an olympic athlete. That’s like taking the athleticism of Lebron James, the wealth of Bill Gates, the brain of Stephen Hawking and rolling it into one and giving it access to state of the art military technology. Even the people with the drive and determination usually succeed at one or two, but not the trifecta. The real life people who are trying to do the same thing don’t have any of those attributes.