Archives April 2011

Real Life Super Heroes To Protect Sex Workers In New York

Originally posted:
By Rich Johnston
You rarely see Spider-Man targetting those who threaten prostitutes. Superman has never been seen chasing down a John who got a bit too handy. One of the little-recognised aspects of Ennis, Conner and Palmiotti’s The Pro is it stars a woman who has to cope with her own problems, while the superheroes of the world have better things to do.
Well, in New York, that’s not the case.
The New York Initiative, a group of real life superheroes Bleeding Cool has covered before, who usually concentrate on helping with the homeless, providing food, clothing and the like.
But with the Long Island Serial Killer in the headlines, with ten women killed and dismembered so far, a number of them sex workers, they’ve stepped up to… well,  protect the prostitutes.
They have offered their protection via a Craigs List ad which, admittedly starts by saying “Hello pretty lady!” then continues;

you may use the services of the New York Initiative as your personal log book, as well as your rescue team in the event of an emergency. If you choose to do this, we will provide you with a number to call and a few one-number or one word codes you can say or text to us so that we can contact someone to assist you with a possibly violent date. Another idea is keeping us on speed dial, and if things get weird just call us and let the line open. We’ll know what’s going on immediately.
We also have other techniques which we can explain to you after confirmation via phone.
We will react quickly and without hesitation every time, using our considerable contacts to the full extent of their reach.
We also want to extend to you our services as the NYI: Namely, practical martial arts training free of charge, as well as improvised weapons training free of charge (i.e. pens, phones, keys)…Add to this basic to advanced survival skills, or pretty much anything else you want to know about that will keep you safe out there.

Their Facebook page is here, and they’re asking people to spread the information far and wide. And if you want, you can join them here.

Move over, Batman: real-life superheroes are here

Originally posted:–move-over-batman-real-life-superheroes-are-here

One of many subjects wearing homemade costumes, combating crime in Superheroes.

One of many subjects wearing homemade costumes, combating crime in Superheroes.

By Raju Mudhar
While the big-budget superhero films have to try to balance the fantastic with the real, director Michael Barnett had no such problem with Superheroes.
Screening at Hot Docs on May 2, 4 and 8, the documentary looks at real-life superheroes, who don masks, capes, duct tape and other equipment to patrol the streets and make this world a better place. The film is equal parts hilarious and hopeful — and sometimes sad — and despite the costumes, it takes its subjects very seriously.
“Every single one of them is doing more to make the world a better place than certainly I, and most everyone I know, are,” he says. “I have a deep respect for what they’re doing. Are some of them ineffective? Sure. Are some effective? Absolutely. Are some misguided? Yes. Are some of their lives seemingly tragic? Yes. So it’s hard to generalize for all of them, but I love what they’re doing.”
Whether it’s helping the homeless, raising awareness about crime or even dressing up as “bait” to lure criminals, the likes of Mister Extreme, Master Legend, or the four roommates in Brooklyn who form The New York Initiative are part of the more than 700 documented masked vigilantes around the world who describe themselves as part of the real life superhero movement.
“We shot in pretty much every major city. At the very least, it’s a subculture,” he says. “But I would say it’s a movement because it has this unorganized manifesto behind it.”
Barnett knows that what many of these people are doing is dangerous, and they know it too.
“It is only a matter of time before one of their activities leads to someone getting hurt or possibly worse,” he says. “Some have told me that they’ve received death threats. But the thing is they know that going in. They know the villains are out there, and that’s why they’re doing what they’re doing.”

"Superhéroes" de barrio

Originally posted:
nyi01Me gusta leer periódicos antiguos. Cuando hojeas un artículo de hace tres, cuatro, cinco años, eres consciente de que estás leyendo mejor libro de historia. Es sumamente sorprendente en qué derivaron ciertos personajes o acontecimientos. Por no hablar de las noticias de índole económica anteriores a la crisis. La perspectiva del tiempo hace que ciertos artículos hoy asusten.
Dedicándome a este menester, encontré un reportaje que daba cuenta de un fenómeno para mí por completo sorprendente, el de los “superhéroes de la vida real”. Ya os imagináis el percal. Siguiendo la tradición más ortodoxa de los cánones de tebeo, repartidos por el mundo viven unos tipos “normales” que, a tiempo parcial, se han creado otra identidad a la que acompaña el pertinente disfraz y tras la cual, se dedican a combatir el mal en las calles de su ciudad.

Los tipos tienen su propia página con el registro correspondiente en el que aparecen más de doscientos fenómenos con nombres como Master Legend, Green Scorpion, Superhero, Geist, Citizen Prime, Captain Jackson, Captain Prospect o Thanatos.

Sus funciones son las siguientes:
  • Patrullas de lucha contra el crimen.
  • Notificar delitos a los agente del orden
  • Colocar carteles pidiendo ayuda para solucionar casos no resueltos.
  • Buscar personas desaparecidas.
  • Promover la concienciación medioambiental.
  • Ayudar a la gente sin hogar proporcionándoles agua, alimentos y mantas.
  • Donar sangre.
Hombre, estas cosas se pueden hacer sin disfrazarse pero hay que reconocer que es mucho más molón afrontarlas cada jornada oculto tras un antifaz. Además, para ellos su traje es como una declaración de principios de lucha contra el mal.
Ahora que estamos al borde de los cinco millones de parados, es otra opción. Más gente con tiempo libre, más gente con problemas, más gente empujada a la delincuencia. Más malos y más buenos a los que proteger. ¿Por qué no? Lo que está claro es que hay “gente pa tó”.
Claro, de música iba a poner “Superhéroes de barrio” de Kiko Veneno pero me decido por una canción de Veneno, el mítico disco formado por Kiko además de por Raimundo y Rafael Amador. Ese disco que siempre está a la cabeza de cualquier lista de lo mejor del pop o rock español pero que realmente pocos han escuchado.

English Translation
I like reading old newspapers. When you scan an item for three, four, five years, you know you’re reading the best book of history. It is very surprising as it derives certain characters or events. Not to mention the news of an economic nature prior to the crisis. The time perspective makes certain items today scared.
Dedicated to this need, I found an article giving an account of a phenomenon to me entirely surprising, that of “real life superhero.” And you imagine the calico. Following the orthodox tradition of the canons of comics, spread across the world live rates “normal” part-time, have created another identity that accompanies the appropriate costume and after which, dedicated to fighting evil on the streets of their city.
The guys have their own page with the corresponding record in the displayed more than two hundred events with names like Master Legend, Green Scorpion, Superhero, Geist, Citizen Prime, Captain Jackson, Captain Prospect and Thanatos.
Its functions are:
* Patrols to fight crime.
* Report crimes to law enforcement
* Put up posters asking for help to solve unsolved cases.
* Searching for missing persons.
* Promote environmental awareness.
* Helping homeless people by providing water, food and blankets.
* Donate blood.
Man, these things can be done without disguise but recognize that it is much more groovy address them each day hidden behind a mask. Moreover, to suit them is like a declaration of principles to combat evil.
Now we’re on the edge of the five million unemployed, is another option. More people with free time, more people with problems, more people pushed into crime. More bad and more good to be protected. What is clear is that there are “people for everything.”
Sure, the music was going to put “Superheroes neighborhood” of Kiko Veneno but I decided for a song by Poison, the legendary album well composed by Kiko and Rafael Raimundo Amador l. That record is always at the top of any list of the best Spanish pop or rock but few have actually heard.

Capt Black Vs Slum Lord!

( NEW ORLEANS ) J. Geeck, the slumlord where I reside ( until the eviction notice is served shortly LOL ) has refused to repair the rundown shotgun house my finacee and I rented since February. His response to our refusal to fork over more money for no upgrades in return has been:
*Lodging a phony disturbing the peace charge against her that resulted in her arrest April 14th, 2011- 3 days after my birthday food giveaway downtown.
* Cutting off our hot water. the heater is outside on the back porch.
* Making repairs our White neighbors house the day before the First City Court date to figuratively thumb his nose at us. NOTE: They were given until May 4th to pay their rent, an option denied us!
* Somehow summoning plainclothed officers today who handcuffed her without cause for questioning while he was visiting with our aforementioned White neighbors.
The house chipped sides hasn’t been painted in apparent decades; has top screen door locks that come off in your hands; an incomplete kitchen sink nicknamed a ” virtual sink ” because it looks like one without operating in like fashion; a backporch and yard he uses as a dump site for construction materials.
As an activist and NAACP Life member this kind of substandard living racket is an opponent I’ve fought for others and enjoy doing so now on my own behalf!!!!
(504) 214-3082 is my contact number. The slumlord’s number is (504) 812-8811
[email protected] is where donations can be made by PayPal as I prepare to relocate us while seeking a new residence. NADRA ENZI AKA CAPT BLACK

How to be a superhero

Originally posted:
By James Heffernan – [email protected]
Former Spider-Man actor provides motivational address at Apple Blossom
WINCHESTER — As a soft-spoken, undersized farm boy growing up in Minnesota, Tom Schenck would shine a flashlight under the covers at night and live vicariously through the pages of comic books, whose larger-than-life heroes not only kept him entertained, but also taught him strong values.
“It wasn’t just their power, their superhuman strength, their X-ray vision. … They did what was right when it was important to do it,” he said. “They didn’t hesitate. They had courage. They had tenacity. And they never gave up.”
Those are lessons that Schenck, now an acclaimed motivational speaker known as “Tom Terrific,” says can be applied to one’s personal and professional life.
“If it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do now, do it, whether it’s in relationships, with colleagues or in business,” he advised a group of about 300 local business leaders Wednesday at the Valley Health Fast Forward Business Luncheon on the campus of Winchester Medical Center.
Schenck said his first true superhero was his mother, a teacher who set an example for him and his six siblings with her quiet strength, wisdom and unwavering devotion to people. With her as a guide, Schenck would go on to become a straight-A student, champion collegiate wrestler — just missing the 1980 U.S. Olympic team — Ivy League graduate, master body builder, wellness expert, national sales champion and headmaster of a private school for autistic children.
As a young actor in New York, Schenck landed his dream job portraying Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. The promotional role would take him around the world and instill in him the importance of being a real-life superhero, not just for himself, but to others.
Just as Spider-Man has a nemesis in the Green Goblin, everyone has villains in life in the form of adversity, Schenck said, but they can be crushed by attacking each day with gratitude, passion and action, he said.
“All of you in this room can be superheroes,” he said. “You all have some combination of talent and skills that makes you unique. And the world needs you.”
But first you have to train to be a superhero, he cautioned.
The first stage involves finding and reconnecting with the people who believe in you and inspire you, whether they be a family member, a friend or a teacher. The second stage consists of identifying your superpowers and honing them. The final stage, and the most important, according to Schenck, means becoming someone else’s superhero — what he calls “guardianship.”
Just being a positive force is “absolutely intoxicating” and will draw people to you, he said.
And in an age when consumers have come to expect less, businesses and organizations can set themselves apart by going out of their way to create a bond with their customers and make them feel appreciated, he said.
After the talk, Schenck signed copies of his new book, “The Superhero Factor.”
Randy Collins, president and CEO of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, one of the sponsors of the event, said Schenck’s message is timely in what for many has been a difficult business climate.
“If they maintain a positive attitude and they look from within, they have all the skills they need to succeed not only in life, but also in running their businesses,” he said.
Jacqueline Post, with Valley Health’s Occupational Health Services, agreed.
“I think we got some nice tips on how to attack our villains in the workplace and in life,” she said.
“And don’t wait,” added Aimee Price, regional safety manager with Greatwide Dedicated Transport in Front Royal. “It pays to deal with your villains right away.”

Milwaukee’s real-life superheroes get illustrated this Friday at MOCT

Originally posted:,55229/
By Matt Wild
Though harmless and kind of silly on the surface, the so-called “real-life superhero” movement has nonetheless split people into two warring camps. One side sees these mysterious do-gooders as nothing more than concerned, tights-wearing citizens keeping an eye on their neighborhoods. The opposing camp, however, views them as deluded goofballs in bad Halloween costumes, just asking to get their asses handed to them.
In Milwaukee, the real-life superhero movement has gained a fair amount of attention, thanks in part to the efforts of artist and writer Tea Krulos. After meeting with local RLS “The Watchman” in 2009 (a superhero we once demanded be “unmasked”), Krulos decided to write a book on the subject. He currently maintains a blog chronicling his progress.
“I think a lot of people have a knee jerk reaction and think they know what these guys are all about with very limited info,” Krulos tells The A.V. Club. “Most of them don’t want to be Kick-Ass or think they’re the Batman. They mostly just do what would be equitable to a costumed, concerned citizens patrol. A lot of them are doing charity and humanitarian efforts, too. I admire a lot of them for wanting to be good guys.”
This Friday at MOCT, Krulos will continue his RLS advocacy by serving as creative director for Motionary Comics 2.0. Now in its second year (hence the 2.0), the show will find nearly 30 illustrators, painters, choreographers, and photographers working to create a life-sized, fully-realized comic strip. Like other “live art” events, the night will feature artists of all disciplines creating a piece in real time. But unlike other events, it will be focused on the adventures of Milwaukee’s real-life superheroes, including “The Watchman” and “Blackbird.”
The marathon sketching/drawing/coloring session will begin around 6 p.m., and is expected to last six or seven hours. The event is free, though proceeds raised through sales of Chang Beer will be donated to United Way. And, like any party in town worth a damn, music will be provided by WMSE’s Dori Zori.
Oh, and don’t forget about Milwaukee’s real-life supervillains. “We’re expecting a series of transmissions broadcast live at MOCT from the sinister ‘Dr. Lupus,’ mad scientist and creator of ‘Team Werewolf,’” says Krulos. “He’s even threatening to show up in person.”

Motionary Comics returns — with costumes in tow

Originally posted:
By By DJ Hostettler

Blackbird, Watchman and Tea Krulos

Real Life Super Heroes on patrol

Kurt Hartwig and Tea Krulos aren’t saying there’s going to be a rumble at Moct on Friday night. And there’s really no reason why they would; the likelihood of the Third Ward bar getting leveled by warring factions of costumed vigilantes and villains is almost disappointingly low (not saying we want to see Moct leveled, but hey…warring factions!). However, both men have guaranteed that Real Life Super Heroes and Villains will be in attendance when Motionary Comics returns to Moct’s hallowed halls of justice this Friday, April 29, so it would be logical to assume that some sparks will fly, yes?
Motionary Comics is a collaborative art project where twenty-four artists work to create a semi-improvised comic strip mural on the walls of the bar.
“It was actually a development of the first idea we ever played with for [art/theater group] Bad Soviet Habits, just with a lot more detail,” says Hartwig. “We tried to do it at Hot Cakes, but Mike [Brenner] was afraid (not knowing us, and dealing with artists all the time) that we were only crazy and messy. When I decided to develop it for Moct after they asked me for some art event, I figured a story line would help audiences, and big painting plus story seemed like comic strip.”
The first Motionary Comics event was held last April and was a rousing success. The project’s basic plan of attack leaves lots of room for the artists to play around: a pair of choreographers place five volunteer bodies against the wall; they are then painted by a team of colorists as they produce a backdrop directly over the volunteers, leaving silhouettes when they step away. The silhouettes are then filled in by a team of local comic artists.
From there the images take more shape on each successive pass until local journalist and Real Life Super Hero expert Krulos attempts to make sense of it all by adding the text of his story.
Sounds like a glorious mess, doesn’t it?
“Last year’s event went remarkably well,” explains Hartwig. “Few things stayed according to the time table—for example, colorists didn’t finish their pass in the scheduled one hour—but that rarely mattered because they were far enough along that the illustrators could still start.
“The big thing I learned was that it would be helpful to have a single ‘creative producer,’” says Hartwig. “I really like how the whole thing is very improvisational and collaborative, and that entails a certain amount of mess. I’m good with that. But last year, while trying to explain the idea to everyone, I used the fairytale Rumplestiltskin as my example. I think that was necessary at the time – we all knew the story, and it meant that we could move forward. Eventually, though, that ended up hamstringing the artists in some ways. That’s why this year I asked Tea Krulos to be the creative producer.”
The Watchman and Blackbird

The Watchman (left) and Blackbird: two of Milwaukee's Real Life Super Heroes.

The other big change this year, of course, is the presence of actual Real Life Super Heroes like Milwaukee’s The Watchman and Blackbird—normal, everyday people who at some point decided to design their own hero tights and take to the streets to make their cities safer. Their presence (as well as the presence of heroes from Chicago and other cities) is largely related to Krulos’ involvement in the project, as he not only runs a blog dedicated to tracking this nationwide movement, but is working on a book about these caped crusaders.
But wouldn’t most super heroes eschew celebrity public appearances, preferring to operate in the shadows? Excepting the occasional glory-hound like Iron Man or the Human Torch, most of the good guys in the funny papers aren’t exactly lending their services to the local auto dealership’s grand opening. Aren’t Blackbird and The Watchman putting innocents in danger by broadcasting to their arch-foes where they’ll be?
Krulos confesses that he has already heard from one Real Life Super Villain who plans on disrupting things—the “brilliant maniac” Dr. Lupus and his Team Werewolf (and for the record, yes, I am typing this with a straight face). “Here’s what I know- he has a monocle. His labs are located high on the peak of Mount Lupus, and he loves evil laughter. We’re being told he’ll be sending a series of video messages to Moct making threats that he will be showing up in person with his werewolves if the artists don’t create a piece that glorifies his image.”
Um…this concern you at all, Mr. Hartwig?
“There’s been some smack talk, I understand, but we all know that werewolves aren’t real, so I remain unconcerned…especially about the Doomsday Were-Machine. That’s entirely fiction.”
Motionary Comics 2.0 begins at 5 p.m. at Moct (240 E. Pittsburgh Ave.) on Friday, August 29. It ends at bartime or when the National Guard shows up to save us all from werewolves, whichever comes first.

May 1- Project Bread

civitronposter(Boston, MA) This Sunday, May 1st 2011, Civitron and the Secret Society of Heroes (SSH) will join thousands of heroic men, women and children dedicated to ending hunger in our communities.
Project Bread’s annual Walk for Hunger is a 20-mile benefit walk through the heart of Boston. Money raised through this massive event helps support emergency food programs statewide. Project Bread also advocates systematic solutions that prevent hunger in children and that provide food to families in everyday settings.
This year’s event is especially important. We live in troubled economic times. Many families must choose between things like medicine, fuel or food. Often, it’s the children who suffer the most. The SSH hopes to help. Will you join us?
Please, show your support for hungry families and the efforts of Project Bread by visiting the team’s walk page at and make a donation.
Together, we can truly make a difference in the lives of hungry people. Thank you for your support!
About The Walk for Hunger
Since 1969, Project Bread’s Walk for Hunger has provided critical resources for hungry children and families in Massachusetts. Today, The Walk for Hunger is the oldest continual pledge walk in the country, and the largest annual one-day fundraiser to alleviate local hunger.
Money raised through The Walk for Hunger funds more than 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, food banks, and food salvage programs in 135 communities across Massachusetts.
The Walk for Hunger is held on the first Sunday in May every year. The 20-mile Walk route weaves through Boston, Brookline, Newton, Watertown, and Cambridge.
About Project Bread
As the state’s leading antihunger organization, Project Bread is dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. In addition to organizing the annual Walk for Hunger and supporting emergency food programs statewide, Project Bread also advocates systematic solutions that prevent hunger in children and that provide food to families in everyday settings.

Meet the Masked Crusaders Protecting the Women of Craigslist

Originally posted:

nyi01The police department leading the investigation into the Long Island Serial Killer is in some fairly serious disarray. The New York Post reported today that the head of the investigation, Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer, has been removed not just from the case, but from his job, because he let slip too many details to the press. He’s the one who told reporters that some of the bodies were wrapped in burlap, that the victims were prostitutes, and that the killer found them on Craigslist. He “embarrassed the department,” the Post’s source said.
With the investigation apparently stalled and the police fighting amongst themselves, who’s left to protect the women this killer preys on? It would appear that job has fallen to–or rather been seized by–a vigilante group calling itself the New York Initiative. Posing on their Facebook page dressed in retro-futuristic body armor and steampunk goggles, and calling themselves superheroes without irony, the group posted an ad on Craigslist last week offering its advice and services to sex workers:

If you absolutely don’t have a friend to help you [track your movements while on a date], you may use the services of the New York Initiative as your personal log book, as well as your rescue team in the event of an emergency. If you choose to do this, we will provide you with a number to call and a few one-number or one word codes you can say or text to us so that we can contact someone to assist you with a possibly violent date. Another idea is keeping us on speed dial, and if things get weird just call us and let the line open. We’ll know what’s going on immediately.
We also have other techniques which we can explain to you after confirmation via phone.

These guys obviously take themselves pretty seriously, but would some homicidal maniac do the same when they show up with their homemade armor and (presumably kind of foggy) goggles? And how long does it take to put all that stuff on, anyway? Regardless, they have a point: Letting somebody know where you are at all times and keeping in contact with a third party while on a date are both good techniques for sex workers to stay a little safer and still do their jobs.
Still, it’s hard to respond in earnest to the call from sex-worker advocates like writer Violet Blue to spread NYI’s message when they look like 12-year-olds at a Robocop-themed birthday party.

Real-Life Superheroes Vow to Protect Women From the Long Island Serial Killer

Originally posted:
By Jamie Frevele

Zero of the NYI[/

Zero of the NYI[/

If you’ve been following the news lately (maybe only in the New York area), you might have heard about the Long Island Serial Killer who has been killing sex workers who advertise on Craig’s List. Human remains have been found on Long Island beaches, and up to 10 women appear to have been murdered by this killer. Predictably and sadly, not everyone has a lot of sympathy for these women because of the line of work they’ve chosen, and some believe that the cops aren’t taking the case very seriously. A group of real-life superheroes in New York, calling themselves the New York Initiative, think that’s wrong, and they are out to teach potential victims how to protect themselves and help find this killer.
The New York Initiative is made up of martial arts and weapons experts, none of whom are affiliated with law enforcement. They posted their own advertisement on Craig’s List recently, offering up what they believe the cops won’t: protection from becoming another victim.

The Long Island Killer is out there. He’s a scary bastard, and it’s starting to seem like he is focusing on you pretty ladies because some people are slower to report you missing, and also because apparently the law doesn’t respect your personal choices and that means cops are slower to follow through when it comes to you. Well, I’m here to say F*CK THAT. We respect you as human beings, we believe in personal freedoms and think that you’re doing something that is absolutely your choice to do.
So rock on, ladies…We are on your side. With that said, we are here to help.

In addition to offering martial arts and improvised weapons training for self-defense (free of charge), the NYI also provided advice on how women can better cover their bases when they are on the job. Sort of a “buddy system,” in which they inform a friend of where they’re going, when they’re leaving and expect to be back, and touching base with updates so everyone knows things are going as planned. The NYI also offers their own “log book” as well as a number to call when a date might become violent and/or dangerous. They promise to be on standby if assistance is needed. And despite their opinion of law enforcement, the NYI isn’t blind to what has to be done:

[W]e won’t involve law enforcement unless you are in serious danger. The logs will be kept personal and private, because what do the police need to know about your personal life, right? It’s just a date, for cryin’ out loud.

The NYI is not brand new, and they’ve even been featured in the documentary Superheros by Michael Barnett. Among their aliases are Dark Guardian, Blindside, and Skinner. They’re hoping this message will be spread far and wide so anyone who might need it will have the option for protection and education, and that eventually, this killer will be stopped.
(Top pic via NYI on Facebook, story via Tiny Nibbles, which is NSFW, but ultimately via Cindy)