Archives March 2010

Citizen Prime retires

citizen_prime_02Message from Citizen Prime

It is with a sense of resolute peace and serenity that Citizen Prime is putting down the cape and cowl. I am going to be spending my time making my own children strong and resilient, and fostering love in my family. Truthfully, this is a decision that I have been wrestling with since the birth of my second child and it has finally won me over with its reason and wisdom.
Truthfully, the Real Life Super Hero movement and I have always been somewhat at odds. My message has been one of hope and peace through positive action. The darker elements of the movement always threaten to engulf the social enlightenment I, and others, advocate and it eventually kept me at arm’s length from the majority of the RLSH. While I always found this regrettable, I also found it inevitable, and it made me wonder if Citizen Prime’s presence was contrary to the very message I evangelized.
I wish no one or no thing ill will and encourage all who have taken this path to see what differences they can make in the world. The Real Life Super Hero movement is powerful and important. I must put it aside as I have three people in life that take priority and I feel I must dedicate my life to them now. Those three people are my wife, my son and my daughter. I have come to a decision that they are far better served with a husband and father who can dedicate his energies to making their lives everything they can possibly be.
I leave this movement knowing there are many of you who are good people. You will and must carry your awesome message forward to the world.
God bless you all and perhaps Citizen Prime will live on in a fictional Prime-verse through stories and graphic novels. Who knows what the future will bring. And whatever that future is, it is up to each of you to contribute your fair share.
Best Always,
Citizen Prime

Citizen Prime was one of the original founders of as well as the short live super-group the Worldwide Heroes Organization. He also founded Kid Heroes, a group dedicated to education kids on personal empowerment and taking action in emergency situations.
We here at Real Life wish him the best in his future endeavors and know that he’ll be making a difference uniform or not.

Was there life before 'Kick-Ass'?

Originally published:
By Tom Huddleston
The USP of Matthew Vaughn’s ‘Kick-Ass’ is that it’s about real life superheroes. But what about Mystery Men?
For the next month or so, you won’t be able to leave the house without hearing the words ‘Kick-Ass’. Matthew Vaughn’s teen superhero epic is fast, funny and extremely violent, but it also seems to be labouring under a misapprehension: that the concept of normal, everyday superheroes is somehow original. The film even opens with our hero Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) complaining that, in the real world, no one but the police dresses up and fights crime.
In fact, they do. A few years ago, a film played at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival called ‘Your Friendly Neighbourhood Hero’. This wise and very amusing doc followed the exploits of four real-life costumed avengers – known only as Superhero, Master Legend, Mr Silent and Hardware – as they plied their trade on the suburban streets where they lived. Their exploits were relatively tame – none of them took down a major crime ring or foiled a villain in his underground lair – but, like Kick-Ass, they were dedicated ordinary Joes intent on remaking society in their own image.
Even in the realm of fiction the concept of normal folks with no special talents teaming up to fight forces of evil is nothing new. Alan Moore’s graphic novel ‘Watchmen’ was perhaps the first to imagine what would happen if society was suddenly overrun with masked heroes – his conclusion being that they’d become fascistic, sexually perverse social outcasts. Last year’s film version of Moore’s book turned the idea on its head by becoming exactly the kind of ultraviolent bonanza of special effects which Moore was satirising in the first place.
A decade ago, ‘Mystery Men‘ brought the very same concept which fuels ‘Kick-Ass’ – give or take a few vaguely supernatural elements – into cinemas, and was largely ignored by the ticket-buying public. It’s a shame, because Kinka Usher’s film was a smart, original and hilarious subversion of the superhero genre which deserves a second look.
Just check out the cast list for ‘Mystery Men‘: Ben Stiller plays Mr Furious, an ordinary guy convinced that his boundless inner rage makes him in some way special. Hank Azaria plays The Blue Raja, master of cutlery, while William H Macy brings his customary hapless warmth to the role of family man The Shoveller. There’s also room for Greg Kinnear as preening playboy Captain Amazing, Geoffrey Rush as master villain Casanova Frankenstein, Eddie Izzard as his sidekick Tony P, Janeane Garofalo as hipster hero The Bowler and the great Tom Waits as madcap inventor Doc Heller.
Sure, ‘Mystery Men’ plays things a lot broader and wackier than ‘Kick-Ass’. But it’s also sharper, more inventive and a lot funnier, taking the time to round out its lovingly drawn characters rather than just chucking them into another limb-slicing action sequence.
We’ve no doubt that ‘Kick-Ass’ is going to be a big box-office success. It’s got all the wisecracking, foul language and manic, intense violence that fanboys go nuts for. But once you’ve paid your money and got your kicks, give ‘Mystery Men’ a go: it would be a shame if this big-hearted, anarchic anti-blockbuster got lost in the shadow of its slicker but somehow less loveable offspring.

There are Real Life Superheroes among us

March 19, 2:38 AMScience Fiction ExaminerMichael Parker

Maybe it is due to the popularity of “Watchmen,” which featured crime-fighters with little or no super powers. Or maybe in the “Dark Knight” was a harbinger of things to come, when masked vigilantes tried to emulate Batman on their meager budgets. The Great Recession may be the single largest factor in this growing movement. Men and women are donning costumes and hitting the streets, to protect the public, across the nation, and yes, even around the world.
What is a Real Life Superhero? According to Superheroes Anonymous, the mark of a Real Life Superhero (RLSH) is someone who sees injustice in the world, and in costume, does something about it. Over the past three years Superheroes Anonymous has help validate the purpose of RLSH, ordinary people who go out of their way to help others.
Many of these latter-day Guardian Angels help feed the homeless, perform various community services, and inspire others to take positive social action. Their members are doctors, students; people from all walks of life. Some attribute their altruism to being disillusioned with chasing the almighty dollar, after being laid off from their jobs. Others are repenting for past transgressions during their youth. The one thing they have in common is an overarching desire to make the world a better place.
Some even fight crime in the literal sense, those who do usually keep their real identities a secret. Mr. Ravenblade found his calling when he prevented a mugging/rape. Mr. Xtreme, who founded the Xtreme Justice League, patrols neighborhoods to stop violent crime in San Diego. The Black Monday Society members Insignis, Ghost, and Oni help keep Salt Lake City, Utah safe. Crimson Fist may sound like a hardened crime-fighter, but he mainly helps feed the homeless.
In New York, Terrifica, a female crime-fighter, has been protecting inebriated women at bars and parties from being taken advantage of by men since the mid-1990’s. Dark Guardian, a martial arts instructor, helps keep bad elements at bay, gives inspirational speeches, and will even clean up trash or graffiti. Life not only helps the homeless, he also teams up with other superheroes to attack drug dealers. Most of these superheroes are law-abiding citizens who help police catch real criminals. On the occasions when they do cross the line, they tend to keep it very close to the chest.
RLSH say that the main reason they don masks is more to raise public awareness than to strike fear in the hearts of criminals. They are hard to ignore which helps drive their message of community activism. They also seem to prefer myspace to Facebook. Just don’t expect an up-to-date report on their sites. They are too busy keeping us safe.
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Superheroes Anonymous trailer from beginnorth on Vimeo.

Superheroes Anonymous

Dark Guardian on the Net

Dark GuardianPage 2 features Dark Guardian
Quick mention about real life superheroes and Dark Guardian towards the bottom
Quick mention of a real life superhero

'Kick-Ass': Your new favorite superhero movie?
Originally published in USA Today
As you know, I’ve been psyched about Kick-Ass since I saw the film’s thrilling Comic-Con presentation. (It prompted a standing ovation, and that rarely happens at the Con.) The film, based on the comic-book series by writer Mark Millar and artist John Romita Jr., is something of a cross between Spider-Man, Freaks and Geeks and Kill Bill: It follows an introverted high-school kid (Aaron Johnson) who decides to don a spandex costume and become a straight-up superhero. The results are hilarious, twisted and shockingly violent.
What’s to like about Kick-Ass? Aside from the hardcore fight scenes, there’s the cast: Young Chloe Moretz is riveting as the young and spry Hit Girl, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse is funny (and refreshingly not-so-McLovin-esque) as Red Mist. Best of all, this may be the flick that reconnects audiences with Nicolas Cage; the actor is engaging and disturbing as Big Daddy, a weapons-obsessed father who tops his heroic deeds with a killer Adam West impersonation.
Millar and Romita attended last night’s New York premiere, presented by our friends at UGO. Afterward, they discussed the challenges of adapting the comic for the screen and shared a few tidbits about making the movie. (Fun fact: Romita initally wanted Mark Wahlberg for Big Daddy. Millar wanted Zac Efron as Red Mist.)
“The movie is horribly autobiographical,” Millar told the crowd, referring to some of Kick-Ass’ geekier moments. “I almost cringe watching it.”
When director Matthew Vaughn and the gang screened scenes at Comic-Con, the film still didn’t have a distributor. However, Millar and Romita said he never gave up.
“Matt got turned down by every studio, and he said, ‘OK, screw you. I’m gonna finance it myself,” Romita said.
Added Millar: “We thought we had the Pulp Fiction of screenplays here, and everyone hated it.” (Eventually, Lionsgate picked it up.)
Near the end of the evening, an audience member raised his hand. He stood up. Underneath his jacket, he was wearing a costume.
“I’m a real-life superhero,” he announced.
Sure enough, the guy was living just like Kick-Ass. He said he called himself the “Dark Guardian.” For seven years he had been fighting crime, “doing charity work” and committing other acts of good.
Perhaps at other venues, the Dark Guardian might’ve received some strange looks. Here, however, Millar and Romita beckoned him onstage. He was applauded.
And that’s the message of Kick-Ass: You don’t need to be bitten by a spider or born on another planet to save the world. If you’re willing to get your a– kicked every once in awhile, you, too, can be a superhero. And hey, shouldn’t that be celebrated?
Kick-Ass opens April 16.

The Real Kick Ass

geist-16Meet Geist, bond fide costumed crime-fighter
Originally published in March 2010 edition of Empire Magazine

By Own Williams
“Being a Superhero is a crazy, unorthodox idea, but it’s a fun way to something good,” says Geist, one of several hundred costumed vigilantes currently active in the USA. On his nightly patrols he’s defused domestic violence, broken up bar brawlers and reclaimed gang territory, not to mention uncovering a fake cop given to pulling over teenage girls an asking them to do “creepy things” and helping out during the 2007 Minnesota floods.
Reactions to his arrival are mixed. The first state trooper he encountered at the floods “put his hand on his Taser and locked me up and down” before sending him in the right direction. But he says his local cops are content that he’s fighting for good- “Although they’d prefer I stick to charity work.”
He describes his look as that of an “urban detective cowboy”, while the name translates simply as “ghost” or “spirit”. Geist is “someone who appears out of nowhere, does what’s necessary” than vanishes.
“I try not to hang around,” he says. “I become a lot less interesting when I do.”

Real-Life Superheroes or Masked Activists?

Originally posted:
By Tal Pinchevsky on March 15, 2010, 7:15 PM
It sounds like a ridiculous premise for a bad Hollywood script. A very, very bad Hollywood script. But a confluence of forces over the past two years could be contributing to a bizarre rise in real-life, mask-and-spandex super heroes. With a heightened sense of online activism and large-scale cuts in a number of police forces, these pseudo-superheroes appear to be part vigilante, part activist. That’s right, superhero activists.
The cuts in police forces across the Western world, from England to Michigan, have inspired fears of impending crime waves. And while not every region has seen a sudden rise in crime, the past few years have seen the emergence of a fascinating networks of street-fighting superheroes inspired by a century of iconic comic culture. A culture, mind you, that has seen recent record prices for old superhero comics.
In a bizarro parallel of online activist networks, a number of traditional mask-and-spandex pseudo-heroes have taken to the web to mobilize. One of the first calls from action came from a New Jersey resident calling himself Phantom Zero, a masked man who seemed to fashion himself more a humanitarian than a crimefighter. The idea of the superhero-as-activist has indirectly contributed to a number of sites, like Superheroes Anonymous, which looks to inspire “the superhero in all people through outreach, education, and creative community service.”
But community activists (of sorts) are doing more than borrowing the basic superhero ethos. There has even sprouted a national network of costumed individuals patrolling streets across the country. You can follow a number of them on an official World Superhero Registry. And in a bizarre case of life imitating art, mainstream media, both print and online has embraced the work of these individuals in a not-completely-ironic way. Even Hollywood has jumped on the concept of the DIY superhero with upcoming films like Kickass and Defendor.
So is all this emerging superhero activity a vigilante uprising or a call to activism? Perhaps a bit of both. Either way, there is no denying the dozens of people suddenly fashioning themselves in the Superman mold.  Some, like Captain Australia, even have their own web site. With 2010 already declared the year of the real-life superhero, it’s hard to tell how many of these street fighters are embracing a true activist imperative. There are some we already know of, including Mexico’s Superbarrio, who acts primarily as a political organizer. Nobody’s saying masked vigilantes are the future of activism, but it certainly appears to be a new take on an old standard.

Zetaman: Portland's real life superhero

Reported by: Tim Gordon
Last Update: 3/11 10:52 pm
PORTLAND- The real life superhero movement is sweeping the country. And Portland has one of its leaders, helping others in his costumed crusade.
Zetaman leaves the hard core crime fighting to the professionals, but is trained in first aid and CPR. He dresses up to help the homeless, and support good causes like the March of Dimes. He also might change your flat tire if he finds you stuck on the side of the road.
Just don’t be alarmed by the bright blue costume. It’s all about being a community activist in costume – a creative outlet that helps others.
Zetaman is part of a group of Americans that refer to themselves as Real Life Superheroes. Comic book superheroes have traditionally exemplified the values of trustworthiness, bravery, selflessness, and passion. These hallmarks of fictional iconic characters are the same that the Real Life Superheroes strive to embody.
The Real Life Superheroes is a grassroots movement that works to make the world a better place. They are using the iconicism of comic book superheroes to try to make a difference, inspire others, spread a positive message, and call attention to issues in our communities.
They believe ther is a hero in everyone and they want to bring it out to help make this world a little more super.
The Real Life Superheroes movement is (sort of) the basis for a new full-length featured movie coming out in April. A preview is below.

Captain Jackson, Michigan’s Real-Life Superhero

Captain Jackson, Michigan’s Real-Life Superhero

by Josh Ellingson on March 8, 2010
Real-life superheroes may be this year’s Hollywood darling, but Michigan has had their very own masked vigilante, Captain Jackson for years. The Captain has been patrolling the streets of Downtown Jackson since 1999, spreading his message of civic duty while keeping an eye out for crooks and super-villains. He keeps a website with a schedule of community appearances, safety tips, and even a roster of his allied costume heroes, The Crimefighter Corps. Always ahead of the curve, Captain Jackson has been maintaining a blog since May 2000 called The Captain’s Corner with brilliant entries such as, CALLING ALL GOOD DEED DOERS!, BEING AWARE, and HOW TO BE A CRIMEFIGHTER. In addition, the blog features ground chuck-centric recipes in a section called “Cooking with the Captain”.
Captain Jackson’s career ran into a snag in 2004 when he was charged with “impaired driving”. The local newspaper subsequently ran an article about the incident and published the Captains real life identity. The toll that the  media coverage took on our hero is best outlined in the blog entry, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.  After a two-year hiatus, it seemed that he was back in active-duty at community events and online. In the past year though, there seems to be little to report on this masked man, but we may not have seen the last of Michigan’s own, Captain Jackson.