Tea Krulos about Heroes in the Night

My name is Tea Krulos and I’m a freelance writer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was introduced to the Real Life Super Hero(RLSH) story in late February, 2009. As a lifelong fan of comic books and unusual and unique people and subcultures, I was immediately hooked.
I was determined to find a local RLSH if there was one and found The Watchman, a man who dons a red rubber mask, suit, and trenchcoat and patrols the streets of Milwaukee. I had a long, fascinating interview with him in person one night and determined that the short magazine piece I had successfully pitched did not scratch the surface of the story and decided to write a book. After a few months I also established this blog- both the book and the blog are titled Heroes in the Night.
My book is based on extensive research, interviewing, and field work. I have traveled to meet RLSH in Minneapolis, Rochester (Minnesota), Brooklyn, Vancouver, Portland, Seattle, San Diego, New Bedford (Massachusetts) , and Washington DC, as well as meeting regularly with the Milwaukee crew.
I have been quoted as an expert on the subject in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People magazine, Seattle Weekly, Scientific American, io9.com, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and dozens of other newspapers, magazines, websites around the world. I’ve also made appearances on a dozen radio shows and have been filmed for three different RLSH documentaries.
I have written articles on the subject for Milwaukee magazine, the Boston Phoenix, New York Press, Forces of Geek, Riverwest Currents, and Delayed Gratification.
Heroes in the Night will be available JUNE 2012!

August 18-21 Montrose Blueberry Festival Super Heroes

Message from The Ambassador:

I have arranged for a table/booth space at the 40th annual Montrose Blueberry Festival on August 18-19-20-21, 2011 in MI for the purpose of spreading awareness of the RLSH Movement. The Theme is “Super Hero” and they would love for any members to come join the festivities to promote and discuss the RLSH movement.
This will be a good moment to interact with a friendly and receptive crowd they will all out to have fun and be looking for a good time all around and so the day should be pretty pleasant. We will be making up a press packet to release before the show it would be nice if anyone who is experienced in this (in terms of them dealing with the RLSH community) could help me out or at least let me bounce ideas off of you. I am hoping any and all can attend though I know that is not possible please spread the word around about this event to those in the Michigan area. I may also set up more opportunities like this in the future. With fan photos and donations jars, we can have a great opportunity not only to interact with the public but also speak out about common causes as well as generate donations for respective charities and spread information about them and the RLSH movement itself.
Please contact me if interested. through my facebook page http://www.facebook.com/briangermain1
or via e-mail [email protected]
for more information on the festival itself check out the link below.


The Beginning

by Geo Punk
I only recently found out about rlshs. I was a boy scout all through middle and high school, so I have always enjoyed helping people, but when I got into college, I stopped being able to do stuff to help because of my ridiculous schedule. While I am still in college, I have decided to become an rlsh so I can once again help my community. Although I cannot do much now, when I return home in May I will actively serve my community. As of now, though, I can patrol campus and the surrounding area every now and then. I think I could be a real help to the campus now, because there tend to be attacks and muggings here when the weather starts to warm up at night. This blog will serve as a journal more than anything. I only refer to myself as an rlsh due to lack of any other description. I don a uniform and go out to help people. But, honestly, I’m just winging the superhero thing.
Last night, I was on patrol alone (As I will be most of the time. I am the only rlsh in my area as far as I know.) and I spotted a man looking into a rather nice car on the side of the road. The man looked and acted like he was probably drunk, and, honestly, he looked like he probably didn’t own the car. I turned on my flashlight and pointed at him, as I was going to ask if he needed any help, but when the flashlight beam hit him, he looked at me briefly and took off. I’m not sure whether I stopped him from breaking into the car, or if I just scared the crap out of him.
-G. P.

It was windy

White BaronBy White Baron
Our unequalled [sic] friend Skyman, semi-newbie Roswell (formerly known as Brother Keeper), and latest addition to the lifestyle, Kitty-Kat went out loaded up with several bags of snack-food, and basic hygiene. More common patrols begin after hours, but we got ourselves started around prime time, finding the usual sleeping places uninhabited. In the future, I think starting later might let us find more of those in need.
Reaching the end of the viaduct, a sight-impaired fellow with a cane had just exited the Ferry, and allowed us to help him find his bus stop. Afterwards [sic], we climbed the hills of Pioneer Square to reach a large regular multiple encampment, and discovered a few sleepers, and 2 or 3 more elaborate tents. The inhabitants, who recognized Skyman and myself, informed us that the police routinely move everyone out of this area at certain times of the day, which forces them to sleep under a nearby bridge, or the nearest wooded areas, or wherever hasn’t been taken by someone else.
We checked the sloped woods near the bridge, and saw no-one. Then, upon shining a spotlight under the bridge, the few camped there waved back to us, thankfully unintimidated [sic] by our attention. The portion of the chain-link fence bent down to allow access to the level area posed a challenge, as it was directly across the street without any signage that permitted pedestrian entrance. Skyman and Kitty took admirable initiative by racing across the busy street to meet the people, who came down to the fence to accept our goods.
Going back through the downtown parks and finding no one else at the time, we wanted to be sure to give the viaduct one last sweep, as it was close to midnight. We found widower Kevin, a man with a foam plastic bed, a wool blanket, a paper grocery bag of his own food, and chapped, cracked hands that startled me a bit. He explained that one heart-attack had bankrupted him onto the street, and having given his house to his daughter and her husband before the medical issues, was simply too proud to go them for help. I asked him what he did need, to which he answered, “Can you give me a new life?” I didn’t know what to say, and waited for the others to start talking with him to cover my embarrassment. He accepted a few band-aids, and reminded us that there were Third World children who would give anything to have what he had.
Finally, back at our starting point, we found 2 people. Kristine, who needed clothes, blankets and socks, provided courtesy of Kitty; and a sleeping man, camped several paces away, who awoke during our interaction with her. She remembered us form the larger meet up a month earlier. Kristine asked us to please stay and watch over her as she slept, and I explained that we couldn’t this time. We were parked close by, and as we were just about to call it a night, we overheard an argument. The man was accusing Kristine of stealing his lighter, and she called to us to intervene. I shone my spotlight just above the man so as not to seem directly threatening. “Listen, we’re not police, but we’re more than happy to call them. Cool it, alright?” He calmed down immediately. We maintained our distance throughout, and saw Kristine move her own gear away into the night.
Update: During the final stretch, Roswell accidently [sic] lost his phone. The next morning, I received a series of calls from our friend Kevin. He had picked it up, and was good enough to offer to return it.

On Patrol San Diego

The Guardian
As a member of the community, patrolling San Diego from the shadows, I as the Guardian and our Street Team are now blogging to keep you, our neighbors, “in the know” regarding matters of security and patrol.
Feel free to join our Street Team, whether costumed or not, and make a positive difference.

THE CHOICE or, What Makes a Superhero

Photo by Peter Tangen

Photo by Peter Tangen

By Zero
The general consensus among the public at large is that Superheroes have Superpowers. Be it supernatural, science related or simply resulting in special training to become the pinnacle of human development. “They” (the same “they” that speaks so prolifically throughout the annals of time, debunking and dissolving and disproving) say that we’re not Superheroes if we don’t have Superpowers. They say that without Superpowers, we can’t really be effective.
I disagree. Wholly.
Before I tackle the semantics of this subject, I’d like to state simply that while we do seem to emulate the more current comic book Superhero meme, there is a much older and more substantive meme that is being overlooked.
Research the Scarlet Pimpernel. Tomo Gozen. Joan of Arc. The Sons of Liberty. The Bald Knobbers. Don’t recognize the names? Google is your friend. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Compassion and True Justice are older than superheroes. They’re older than Superman, Batman, they’re older than Coca-Cola.
A lot older.
Superheroes are simply the modern manifestation of this recurring theme, and the fact that an entire group of people has been driven by discontent and injustice to emulate these fantastic and literally incredible characters is proof of a sad age, indeed. But instead of embracing or supporting this marvel of human spirit to fly in the face of apathy, the majority chooses to ridicule from the safety of their armchairs without a second thought. Understandable, to a point, but it’s a knee-jerk reaction.
Really, people. Your main criticism is based on aesthetics alone. I’ve seen some of you, out in public, wearing your snuggies and your Uggs. Your button-up, popped-collar Kmart specials. You’re no prize to fashion.
It’s time to stop making decisions based on image. Hasn’t American Beauty taught you anything?
I think the reason for this criticism overkill is that the public secretly wishes that Superheroes were real. They’ve been waiting for it, subconsciously on the edge of their seats, and now that it’s in the eye of the media they want nothing less than leaping tall buildings, laser vision and adamantium claws. They want a huge change, a quantum leap in evolution because all the old tricks aren’t working for this country anymore. It’s a product of desensitization, in my opinion.
Any president that took over for Bush was screwed for this exact same reason. People want too much, and when they don’t get what they expect, any and all efforts are discounted and criticized into the ground. But now we’re getting into the realm of politics, and at this point I’ll bring my ADD rantings back to the subject at hand.
A real hero doesn’t fool himself into thinking that he can cure all with one solid blow to the heart of some perceived “evil”. That’s grossly naïve. It’s a child’s solution, albeit one that is often used to satiate a pre-existing bloodlust.
Changing the world is something that is going to take patience, persistence in character, and above all the unspoken choice that the people of this community make every day of their lives. The choice to go beyond random acts of kindness, or simple decency. The choice to become the antithesis of apathy, simply by getting out there and doing anything. Sacrificing the need to be cool, in the old sense of fashionable aloofness, for a new unity.
You think we crave the spotlight? You’d be right in some cases. As with any loosely organized bunch of universal misfits, we have a few of those types. But ask yourself, has the typical celebrity done much beyond perform onscreen, or produce a hit album every few years?
If that’s the extent of their contributions to society, how does that put them above a person that braves the cold to feed the homeless, or risks their neck just because they’re tired of watching the world crumble around them? Is it simply the aesthetic, or the image, or the lifestyle that makes America worship them so?
What does that say about our country?
The world has lost perspective, we’ve given over to the things that should take up a very small percentage of our time, and the demand for these things have caused supplies to boom. This has resulted in the current lifestyle-obsessed society that is clogging the arteries of human progress.
The saddest consequence of all is that kindness and compassion are lost to mystique and drama. Conflict is more exciting than peace. It’s an overindulgence that has crippled us.
I’d say that the RLSH community is a direct consequence of this.
So how could we expect anything less, in our image obsessed world, than these strangely dressed people vying for your attention? How many good cops or charity workers do you see in the mainstream media, calling attention to simple acts of human decency?
Not many. Not enough. In the end, that choice is all it takes to be… something more.
Think about it.

Portland Fun

By Dark Wolf
Lunar and I just got back from a patrol, and I am about to fall asleep…
Tonight I went on patrol with Antiman, Icarus, Lady Sapphire, Lunar Veil, and Trinity. We parked in the Pearl District, and then we paired off: Antiman & Trinity, Icarus & Lady Sapphire, and Lunar Veil & I.
Lunar and I walked up to Pioneer Court House Square (roughly 15-20 blocks), and we found a guy sitting on the steps with another guy standing over him looking nervous. We didn’t think anything of it, until we got closer. The man standing caught a glimpse of us, and then he hastily walked away. We thought it strange, and then heard odd sounds coming from the man sitting on the steps. It was a very hoarse voice, as if someone was trying to talk like a demon or who was suffering from throat cancer. The man was African, mid-thirties, and wore tattered clothes–transient? Lunar knelt beside him and asked him if he was okay; yet, it was very difficult to understand what he was saying. We caught random words such as, “giant bug,” and “the yellow man.” I gave him a quick oculomotor examination which he couldn’t do, I took out my pen torch and found that his pupils were extremely dilated, and then I took out my thermometer and found that he was running a fever. I didn’t have my cell on me at the time, so I asked Lunar to call 911, yet her cell battery was dead. He was sweating profusely, so I gave her an instant hot & cold pack, and then I went to get help. It was amazing…at 1.00 AM in the morning; there was no one to be seen. I decided to head for the car. Once I arrived at Pioneer Court House Square, it seemed that he had become a bit responsive. I asked him if he would mind if we were to take him up to a local hospital, and he refused. Lunar spoke to the guy for a minute, and then he agreed to go. We helped him to the car; he lied down in the back, and Lunar and I were in the front. The hospital was around 15 minutes away. Once we hit I26, he began to have a seizure. Lunar unbuckled herself and jumped into the back, as I kept driving. When we got there, I ran in and told the onsite cop that we needed help, and he came out with a medic. They brought a gurney, and off the guy went.
For the next 20 minutes, Lunar and I were being asked 50 questions from the cop. The great thing was that we went to the exact same hospital in which I work. So I tried to be as open as possible, with divulging as little information as possible. Hopefully no one knew who I was.
In the end, Darren (the guy we took in) had shot up with some laced or tainted meth. As we left and got into the car, I noticed that the back seat had a nice pool of puke waiting for Lunar to clean up. Oh, merry christmas to us.

Real Life….. Sidekick?

Who is the Cartoon Princess?  I’m a very slightly somewhat kindasorta known cartoonist in the LGBTQetc indy comics/webcomic community…. I’ve spoken on convention panels, been in a few books, so….. yeah, a medium sized fish in a really, really, very small pond. But I’m foolish enough to believe that there’s power when people, especially marginalized people, tell their own stories, we light a path for those who come after. With the ravishes of teen suicides that are now making the news but are always devastating our youth, they need stories. They need to be inspired but, even more, need to be empowered to tell their own stories. Sharing our stories is a way that we as human beings build community, connect with each other, come to understand each other. When we tell our stories, we show youth that they are not alone, that they are okay. We light a light to show youth at risk of suicide a way home. When at risk kids share their stories, fiction or nonfiction, they claim a beachhead of survivability, and reach a hand out to their peers, showing that they can survive together.  It is my mission not only to tell my own stories, but to empower youth to as well, through donations of writing and art supplies to LGBTQ youth groups, GSAs, and youth psychiatric hospital wards and facilities. In this way, I hope to be a real life….. sidekick.
Why a Real Life Sidekick? Well a ‘Superhero’ inhabits a liminal space of ideal or ideology made flesh. Those are big boots to fill!  I’m not sure I can live up to what a superhero must be, but a sidekick…. a sidekick is a student. An aspirant. Someone who is not yet ready to step into the full potential of a super hero (if indeed they ever will; not everyone graduates to the big leagues!)  Do I know my mission to inspire and empower will work?  I do not. But I am committed to learning, growing, acquiring the skills to reach out to more and more kids. I am not fully trained in my mission, but I will learn the skills I need to do what needs doing.
As a sidekick needs a mentor, I’ve created the character of the Cartoon Queen. Admittedly, she is strictly conceptual…. a personification of my philosophies. But I am here, I am flesh and blood, and I hope to make my mark the the decision of at least one youth to stay alive.


By Idea Man
So this will be my brainstorming list for general ideas.  Many of these will have been previously posted in RLSH forums – and some will have been developed with the help of other Real Life Superheroes.  I will add to the list as I come up with more stuff.  Certain ideas will be removed from this list later on in order to give them their own more detailed post.

  • Have a national day where people are encouraged to read from a book about a belief system other than your own.  If you are a Christian, maybe read the Koran.  If you are a creationist, maybe read a book about evolution.  If you are an atheist, maybe read the Bible.  If you are a Catholic, maybe read the Book of Mormon.  It doesn’t matter, as long as you take some time to learn a little about someone else’s beliefs.
  • A play about Real Life Superheroes, written by Real Life Superheroes.
  • Talent show to raise money for charity.  People vote for the winner by putting money into the contestants’ jars.
  • Cities should have a place where people can go online and rank the safety of their neighborhoods.  They could also leave comments about what types of crimes that they know or believe are happening in their area.  This would help cops to know where to patrol and help families decided where to buy a home.
  • Raise money to put youth leaders in the community through the Just Yell Fire Train the Trainer program, so that they can train the girls that they work with how to be safe and defend themselves from an attacker.
  • Get booths at Christmas Bazaars, and give out free copies of the Just Yell Fire DVD for people to give to girls that they know as presents.
  • A book by Real Life Superheroes for regular non-RLSH citizens, giving them advise on everyday things that anyone can do to change the world for the better.  The title could be something like:  How to Save the Day!
  • A non-profit organization that hires private investigators to follow people who harass their exes.  The private investigators get evidence to prove that the harassment is going on, and give it to the police.  They can also be used to prove that someone is violating a restraining order.
  • Self defense training for school children as part of P.E.
  • A reality show that funds Real Life Superheroes, so that they can make a positive impact in ways that our current budgets will not allow.  Sort of a Extreme Makeover: Home Edition type show, but with superheroes.
  • When you help someone, give them a Good Deed Card.  The card asks the person to help someone else, and pass the card along.
  • A club for kids in which the members dress up in superhero costumes and do community service projects.  This could be done through an existing organization, such as 4-H.  The great thing about 4-H is that a leader can start a club about anything.  It is not all about farming and animals.
  • An award that is given out by the RLSH community to non-RLSH who go the extra mile to make the world a better place.  This could involve the winners being dubbed as “Honorary Real Life Superheroes” and given their own RLSH name.
  • There could be a contest held within a community that awards prizes for the most creative picture of someone cleaning up litter.  This will be fun and encourage community service at the same time.  One possible prize could be having your photo published in the newspaper.
  • When a RLSH visits children, he or she could hand out items that give the kids the title of “Honorary Side Kick.”  Individual RLSH could have their own items, or there could be official reallifesuperheroes.org stuff.


"I Guess I'm Somebody Else."

I have known about RLSHs for years, but never gave them much though until about march of this year. After finding www.therlsh.net and reading everything i found, i realized this is something i have always wanted to do, i just didnt know how to express it.
My idea for this blog is to simply keep track of my own journey as an RLSH. What i do and what i learn, and hopefully someday i can look back on this and see my own evolution.
I guess i’ll start with this; I never planned on being an RLSH. Well to be honest i was steadfast against calling myself an RLSH. Some of my very first posts on therlsh.net are me stating that i would never call myself that as i dont believe there can be “real superheroes”. Over time, getting to know the members of the community, what they do, and why they do what they do, i have changed my mind on the RLSH title. I still believe there are no real “superheroes” by the comic book definition, but i realized that the word superhero does not just mean those guys in the comic books. “Superhero” in and of it’s self, has come to mean more then characters. It is an ideal that we have in society. it stands for something. For some that puts “Good” above all else. For someone who can be counted on when needed. For the type of person that most people in our world dont believe exists.
Those type of people do exist and it is my hope that over time the world will start to believe it the way we used to when we were children. Back when superman and batman and wonder woman really DID exist. No there were not super powerful beings running around out planet but they did exist. They existed because we believed that that was how things were. We believed that good would always triumph over evil. That if we were ever in trouble that there would be someone there to help us. That no one in our world would ever stand there and watch as bad things happened, without doing something about it.
Unfortunately, the fact is we live in a world  where, be it a purse being snatched, a store being robbed,someone drowning, or a man dying on the sidewalk, our society tends to stand there and think “i’m sure somebody else will help.” “i’m sure somebody else has already called 911 so i wont bother.” It’s called “the bystander effect”. The tendency for everyone to think “somebody else will do it” and when everyone thinks that, it doesn’t get done.
I have though long and hard over the past 4 months about why i want to do this. why i want to put myself in danger to help others. The fact is it is something i have always done, and even as a child i never understood why anyone would feel any other way. now i realize why i felt that way…
..I guess I’m somebody else.