10 Real Life Superheroes Who Have Actually Made a Difference

Written by JJ on Jul-20-09 3:52am

The Real Life Superhero (RLS) pheneomenon has steadily picked up steam over the last decade. Just like in Alan Moore’s comic classic Watchmen, otherwise normal people are suiting up and fighting crime.

Some have attributed the rise of the RLS to the recent popularity of comic book heroes, while others have interpreted it as a cultural response to the national tragedy of 9/11.

Whatever the case, these Real Life Superheroes walk the streets of cities throughout the world (though many are based in the United States) working for the good of their communities. From Rolling Stone to the Associated Press, their adventures have been documented. And while many ridicule the grown men and women who wander the streets in outlandish costumes, it’s undeniable that many are serious about giving back to the community.

Here are 10 Real Life Superheroes who have actually made a difference:

#10 Alain Robert, the Human Spider

Born: August 7, 1962

Location: Worldwide (Based in Paris)

Special Ability: To climb up the sides of skyscrapers

Nemisis: Police

Means of Transport: Climbing shoes

Everyone on this list has made a difference in some way, but not everyone on this list actually possesses some superhuman power over the physical world.

While Alain Robert‘s ability is no mutant power, it doesn’t even seem possible that a human should be able to climb like he climbs. Robert has climbed many of the world’s tallest structures. He climbed the Sears Tower (recently renamed Willis Tower) in 1999, completing the climb even after heavy fog made the surface dangerously slick. In all, Robert has climbed more than 85 skyscrapers.

And how has he made a difference? By furthering his political goals of course. Robert is an outspoken activist who has taken up the banner of environmentalism in the fight against global warming. In February, 2009, when Robert climbed the Cheung Kong Centre in Hong Kong, he first unfurled a banner directing people to the global warming Web site onehundredmonths.org. Then in April of 2009, he climbedthe Lloyd’s building in London and unfurled a similar banner.

But the grandaddy was his June, 2008 climbing of the New York Times building. Upon reaching the top of the building, Robert let fly a banner declaring, “Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week.” That’s a ballsy way to get a message across in New York. At least the man stays on point.

#9 Citizen Prime


Purpose: To educate children and the public at large on safety and preparedness

True Identity: Jim, an executive at an unnamed financial institution

Means of Transport: Xterra

Cost of Costume: $4,000

Not all caped crusaders are losers with nothing better to do, and Citizen Prime is proof.

A financial executive by day, Citizen Prime donns his $4,000 costume, which includes custom-made breast plate armor, and patrols the streets. Citizen Prime separates himself from other neighborhood watch style “superheroes” by distributing literature on how to help in the community and making appearances to talk to children about drugs and crime.

While Citizen Prime has said he respects the work of other superheroes, like the Black Monday Society in Salt Lake City, he takes a different approach by focusing on community involvement. He says the most useful tool at his disposal is a keen sense of humor for diffusing awkward situations.

#8 Polar Man

Location:Iqaluit, Nunavet; Canada

Notable For: Shoveling snow from driveways

Mode of Transport: Not a polar bear

Special Ability: Resistance to cold and isolation

Clad all in black and white with his trusty shovel, nary a snow-covered driveway stands a chance when Polar Man is on the case.

While a snow-shoveling hero from an isolated Canadian town of less than 7,000 might seem laughable, Polar Man has truly made a difference. Not only does he clear walkways for the elderly, he also tidies playgrounds in the summer and takes a keen interest in participating in community events.

Most of the heroes on this list come from major metropolitan areas, which sort of makes Polar Man more valuable. After all, what better way is there to make a sleepy town more interesting than by patrolling the streets and calling yourself a superhero?

Polar Man models himself on an Inuit legend where an unknown white man riding a polar bear brings food and clothing to people in need. It’s just too bad no one has figured out how to use polar bears as a means of transportation, because a snow shoveler on a polar bear would be truly awesome.

#7 Superhero

Born:c. 1969

Location: Clearwater, Florida

Mode of Transport: 1975 Corvette Stingray

Qualifications: Navy veteran; Police Academy training; professional bodyguard; training in wrestling and boxing

Personal Style: Loud and proud

True Identity: Dale Pople

It’s a tad redundant to be a superhero named Superhero, but what this Florida crimefighter lacks in creativity, he makes up for in style.

Superhero has made a difference not only by showing up at events and showing off his Corvette and bright red Spandex. Sure that tends to leave an impression on people (and not always the good kind), but Superhero’s real contribution is patrolling the roads and helping people in need of assistance — like people who need a flat tire changed.

“I don’t really know when I made the transition, but just all of a sudden one day it seemed like a good idea to put on my costume and go out and help people with roadside assistance.”

Patrick Wilson (left) played Nite Owl in Watchmen. Superhero (right) worked his security detail in civilian clothes. (From MySpace)

Patrick Wilson (left) played Nite Owl in Watchmen. Superhero (right) worked his security detail in civilian clothes. (From MySpace)

Superhero has proven socially adept enough to find himself a Lady Hero, a fellow superhero in training and girlfriend who he says he met in a gym, where he taught her how to do squat thrusts.

Whether you think Superhero is awesome or ridiculous, (there doesn’t seem to be much middle ground), he does get points for having the coolest mode of transport, and being an actual bodyguard. When Watchmen and Little Children star Patrick Wilson showed up in Florida for the Sunscreen Film Festival, Superhero was on hand to work security.

#6 Troy Hurtubise

Born:November 23, 1963

Location: Hamilton, Ontario; Canada

Nemisis: Grizzly Bears

Purpose: To invent ground-breaking safety gear and body armor

You May Know Him From: The Discovery Channel, Project Grizzly

Not a superhero in the traditional sense of the word, think of Troy Hurtubise as the poor man’s Tony Stark (that’s Iron Man for all you non-nerds).

Like those traditional heroes, Troy does have an origin story. Back in 1984, while hiking near Humidity Creek in British Colum
bia, Troy was attacked by a grizzly bear. He defied the odds by surviving the attack, but was soon consumed with his desire to know more about the fearsome juggernaut of the natural world. But to get close enough to really learn about grizzly bears, he’d have to get close… really really close. Like close enough that he might be attacked again.

Troy’s epiphany came while watching Robocop in his college dorm room in 1987. While most of us would probably disregard any epiphany brought on by a Paul Vanderhoeven film about a half-machine supercop, Troy spent the next 7 years, and most of his money, on developing a bear-proof suit.

The various iterations of Troy’s suit have been the subject of television shows, pop culture references, and even the documentary Project Grizzly. He tests them himself to prove that his suits can withstand being slammed by a swinging log, beaten with baseball bats and even hit by a car.

Troy is currently trying to make a difference by creating body armor for use in combat situations. His most recent suit was based on the Halo videogame and features an air conditioned helmet, a magnetic holster, and a built-in canister of heavy-duty bearspray for use in hand-to-hand combat. Unfortunately for Troy, no military or security organizations have shown interest in mass producing the ballistics suits. That might have something to do with the over-the-top nature of the inventor himself. Watch the video at left to see what I mean.

#5 Terrifica

Born:c. 1975

Location: New York City

Reason for Fighting: To protect drunk girls from being taken advantage of by opportunistic men

Nemisis: Fantastico

Means of Transport: Red High-heeled boots

Status: Retired

Though she’s hung up the ruby red cape, Terrifica is remembered as a New York City superhero with a very practical goal. Keeping vulnerable girls safe from predatory guys.

Terrifica, later revealed to be a New York artist named Sarah, patrolled New York City bars and clubs where she would try to prevent women from making decisions they would regret by going home with guys who just wanted to get laid. Armed with, among other things, pepper spray, a cell phone, and Smarties candy (for energy), Terrifica said she would try to distract men, who were often intrigued by the sexy, masked girl in a red cape, to give women a chance to get away.

“I protect the single girl living in the big city,” Terrifica told ABC in 2002. “I do this because women are weak. They are easily manipulated, and they need to be protected from themselves and most certainly from men and their ill intentions toward them.”

Interestingly enough, Terrifica did have a nemesis. A player named Fantastico whose attempts to take home women were thwarted several times by Terrifica. Obviously he was not terribly impressed with Terrifica, who, to be honest, does seem to have some issues with guys.

“She seems to have it in for men,” he said. “I’m convinced she is loveless and would love to have the rest of the city as loveless and miserable as she is.”

#4 Master Legend

Born: June 27, 1966

Location: Orlando area

Team: Justice Force

Fighting Style: Way of the Diamond Spirit

Means of Transport: Battle Truck, Legend Cycle

Signature Weapon: Master Blaster personal cannon (modified potato gun)

Sort of the grandaddy of American Real Life Superheroes, Master Legend is based in the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, and has been active for the better part of the decade.

Master Legend received national recognition in December, 2008, when Rolling Stone ran a feature story and pictorial on the superhero clad in a silver and black uniform with a German World War II helmet. Though Legend is little more than a middle-aged man in a costume, he’s garnered the support of his community by patrolling the streets, fighting for causes he deems worthy, and working for charity.

His shining moment came in 2004, when he received a commendation from the sheriff’s office for helping to save people in the aftermath of Hurricane Charley.

Though many have called into doubt Master Legend’s bombastic stories, one police sergeant, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to ROLLING STONE that Legend had helped bust real criminals.

From Rolling Stone:

Based on the neighborhood, [the sergeant] figured, Master Legend might be a good local contact. “And sure enough,” the Sergeant tells me, “I start getting calls from Master Legend with information. And it checks out. Master Legend has helped put away a few criminals.”

#3 Zetaman

Location:Portland, OR

Purpose: To protect and serve the community

True Identity: Illya King

Superhero Team: Formerly of The Alternates

Cost of Costume: $4,000

Zetaman is the epitome of the comic book nerd turned Real Life Superhero.

Zetaman, who draws and writes comic books in his spare time, patrols in a costume inspired by his favorite heroes. He carries a collapsible baton, a stun gun, an air horn, a cell phone, and perhaps most importantly, gloves and sandwiches.

While Zetaman patrols the seediest parts of Portland ready for anything, he told the Willamette Week that he’s never had to apprehend any criminals. More often than not, Zetaman spends his nights handing out gloves, sandwiches and other useful items to Portland’s less fortunate residents. And while this altruistic action is par for Zetaman’s course, he’s clashed with some other Real Life Superheroes who believe vigilante justice is their true calling.

“I guess it sounds kind of less heroic, but I don’t want to die,” he said. “I wish I had a million dollars, like Batman. But I’m just one guy out there. I’m not strong enough.”

Zetaman also helped organize the Alternates, a Portland-based group of Real Life Superheroes who banded together to raise money for the March for Babies, a fundraiser that grew from the March of Dimes to help ensure infant health. But unfortunately, Zetaman has recently split from the Alternates, stating on his MySpace blog that he can no longer “look past misdeeds on the behalf of friendship.”

But never fear. Zetaman is still out there doing good. His latest project is to raise $500 for the Race for the Cure breast cancer fundraising event in Portland. While the Alternates won’t be working together anymore, Zetaman has put together the Zeta-Corps, which is open to anyone who wants to help.

“I want to get as many Portlanders to join my team, the Zeta-Corps. My plan is to get involved with different charties and have the good citizen of Portland to join me,” he said on his blog.

#2 Angle-Grinder Man


Fighting: Overzealous parking authorities

Secret Weapon: Angle Grinder

True Identity: Unknown

Not all superheroes work within the bounds of the law. Angle-Grinder Man specifically works against the law where he deems it is being enforced too strictly.

Wheel clamps are a common sight on London’s crowded streets. Parking spaces are a valuable commodity, and their protection has given rise to an entire industry of private businesses whose sole purpose is to go around placing wheel clamps on illegally parked cars. Enter Angle-Grinder Man.

If you were to find yourself one of the many hapless victims of London clampers, you could call Angle-Grinder Man to come by with a big, mean angle grinder and cut right through the clamp. Whether or not you agree with his purpose, you have to agree that’s one way to make a difference.

“I may not be able to single-handedly and totally cast off the repressive shackles of a corrupt government – but I can cut off your wheel-clamps for you,” he said in 2002.

Unfortunately Angle-Grinder Man hasn’t been active for a couple of years, but his anti-clamping message lives on in the common complaints of Londoners.

#1 Superbarrio

Born:Unknown, but likely in the late 1950s

Location: Mexico City

Reason for Fighting: To protect poor people’s right to housing

Nemisis: Greedy landlords and inept beureaucrats

Means of Transport: Barriomobile

Hidden beneath a red and gold luchadore mask is a Mexico City man who has gone to great lengths to keep poor tenants in their homes. Superbarrio is regarded in some circles with the same sort of awe children reserve for Batman or Spider-Man. And while he isn’t as fit as either of them, he is very effective.

In 1985, an 8.2 earthquake rocked Mexico City, destroying thousands of homes and taking more than 10,000 lives. In the wake of this crushing tragedy, the demand for homes rocketed, leaving many of Mexico City’s poverty-stricken denizens unable to find a place to live. That’s when Superbarrio Gomez (real name unknown), found his calling.

“One day when I was in my room, I was enveloped in a brilliant red and yellow light, and when it dissipated, I was dressed this way,” he explained in 1988. “Then a voice said to me, ‘You are Super Barrio, defender of tenants and scourge of greedy landlords.'”

Superbarrio ended up running for President of Mexico in 1988, and while he wasn’t ever a serious contender, he made his tenants’ and squatters’ rights platform a serious issue.

While Superbarrio is still a folk hero in Mexico City, where dolls and T-shirts with his image are common, he keeps a lower profile these days. Even though he isn’t as active, his spirit and cause lives on.


Get a personal visit from Citizen Prime!

Citizen_Prime_TD_VisitIf you can give a gift to a child, I want to shake your hand!

That’s right, this year’s Annual Toy Drop has a special twist to it. If you donate even a single toy befor December 10th, Citizen Prime will come out and pick up the toy personally in full dress uniform!
And remember, every donation goes to benefit the Phoenix Children’s Hospital kids.
(Phoenix or surrounding areas only, folks)

Superheroes? Superfreaks?

Citizen Prime and Green Scorpion can’t stop bullets with their hands or see through walls. They don’t have archenemies, and they’re not crippled by Kryptonite. They do, however, don costumes and patrol the streets of Phoenix, looking for wrongs to right and helpless to help. Some call them freaks. Other call them heroes.
Phoenix Magazine PDF File
March 2007
By Dan Rafter
Citizen prime can’t stick to walls or shoot webs from his wrist. He can’t jump over a building or sprint faster than a locomotive. Don’t bet on him to life an elephant over his head, either.
On the plus side, Citizen Prime could juggle handfuls of green kryptonite- if such material really existed- without suffering even the hint of a stomachache. And so far, not a single super-powered villain has threatened to roast him with a fire breath or zap him with lighting bolts.
To sum it up, Citizen Prime has no superpowers, no super-villain archenemies, and no super-weaknesses- unless you count bullets, knives, baseball bats, bricks or anything else that might cause physical damage to an ordinary human.
Sounds pretty much like a regular guy, right? Not so fast, Citizen Prime is a superhero, a real-life superhero. He wears a costume- black body armor and a similarly- colored helmet with a dark visor- and patrols the night streets of Phoenix, looking for wrongs to right. He has a secret identity, too. Few people, he says, know the name of the man behind that dark visor.
Citizen Prim might seem like a strange fellow, but he’s not alone, in the Phoenix area or around the country. A growing number of people- men and women, young and old, living in big cities and small towns, are donning homemade costumes and taking to the streets of their own communities. Some are out to stop crimes. Others provide comfort- blankets, clothing and food- to the homeless. Some erase graffiti or pick up litter. Others try to stop bar fights from getting out of hand.
And that’s just the beginning of these heroes’ specialties. At least one- New York City’s Terrifica, with her blonde wig and golden mask- wears pink tights, sips Shirley Temples, in bars and tries to stop young women from tumbling into alcohol- fueled one-night stands. Another, calling himself Polar Man, grabs a shovel and clears snow from the sidewalks of the elderly. Polar Man lives up north in Canada, so you understand the heroism in his actions.
The real-life superhero community, then, is a varied lot. But Citizen Prim says its members have at least one thing in common: They’re somehow trying to make a difference.
“Anyone can be a hero,” he says. “That is what Citizen Prime is really all about. Even if you don’t ever put on a costume, you can be out there making the streets a safer place. There are so many more of us good people than there are gangsters or criminals. There are so many more of us than there are bad people. All we need is civic pride and brotherhood, and we can take back the streets. We won’t have to figure out anymore what shade of fear we are today.”
Are folks like Citizen Prime- or Green Scorpion, Dark Guardian or Mr. Silent, other members of the real-life superhero brigade- at the forefront of a new trend? Can they make a real difference in their communities? Citizen Prime thinks so. And if you disagree? He doesn’t really care.
Citizen Prime as been patrolling the Phoenix streets for about seven months. Becoming a superhero, though, wasn’t a decision he made lightly. For six months prior to his first patrols, Prime researched the real-life superhero community, logging on to sites such as the World Superhero Registry (worldsuperheroregistry.com), which list profiles of real-life masked adventurers and crime-fighting groups across the country.
Prime liked what he saw. There was something inspiring about the passion displayed by heroes like Mr. Silent and Doktor DiscorD, two real-life superheroes who have become semi-famous for their work in Indianapolis. There real-life superheroes he read about weren’t complaining about the way things were. They were trying to make a change, even if that meant simply picking up litter or helping a homeless person cross a busy street.
When Prime’s on patrol, he isn’t looking for trouble. Don’t expect to see his name in the morning papers along with photos of a foiled bank robbery. Bullets don’t bounce off his chest, so Citizen Prime isn’t likely to tackle a gang of armed criminals. He’s far more likely to hit the streets with a car stuffed full of blankets and clothing to pass out to homeless men and women. He might call the police after spotting a drunk driver weaving down the Phoenix streets, or he might stop to chat with some youngsters about the value of doing good deeds.
Fist fights and karate chops? They’re rarely on Prime’s agenda.
The way he sees it, it’s far more important to serve as a source for hope that it is to get the snot kicked out of him during a brawl in a dark alley.
“We’re not standing on the rooftops, grappling hooks at the ready. But we are trying to make a difference. We’re sort of like the Guardian Angels on steroids.” Citizen Prime says.
Not having superpowers, of course, means that superheroes such as Prime have to make do with what they have. So, while Superman soars above the skies of Metropolis and Spider-Man swings from skyscraper to skyscraper in New York City, Citizen Prime relies on his car to get around. It’s easier to cover a lot of ground that way.
A typical patrol for Prime goes something like this: Late last fall, he was driving into the Phoenix when he spotted a car weaving on the road. It looked like a drink driver, so Prime picked up his cell phone and called the highway patrol, reporting the care and its license plate number. Less than a minute later, a patrol car zipped past him and pulled the drunk driver over.
Not heroic? Maybe it is, and maybe it’s not, but how often do drivers simply ignore the signs of an impaired motorist? And if Prime hadn’t dialed those numbers, who’s to say that the erratic driver, drunk or not, wouldn’t have cause a serious accident?
Another night, Citizen Prime noticed some suspicious individuals scoping out cars in a dark parking lot. Prime pulled into the lot with his parking lights on. He remained there until the suspicious individuals fled the scene.
And, not as dramatic as defusing a bomb or tossing a mugger into a dumpster, but the way Prime sees it, his presence might have stopped a crime.
“That’s what we’re like- we are big, red sirens,” he says. “Sometimes, it’s just about being present, and not being afraid to remain present, to stop someone from even committing a crime in the first place.”
Prime is open about his life about a superhero. He’s not as forthcoming about his true identity, however. He won’t give out his real name, and says that few people know how he spends his evenings when he’s not patrolling the streets.
He is married, though, and his wife knows all about Citizen Prime. Surprisingly, she approves of her husband’s evening adventures.
Green Scorpion, another local real-life superheroes, is even more tight-lipped about his real identity. He makes sure as few people as possible know who he really is.
“I don’t share my superhero identity much,” he writes in an e-mail message, his preferred method of communication. “Most people thing we are nuts or joking.”
The Green Scorpion, though, isn’t joking. And that’s a point he and the other men and women who call themselves real-life superheroes stress: they’re not dressing up for kicks- well maybe just a little- but to help others.
The Green Scorpion is another masked adventurer working in Phoenix. He has his own tagline- “Evildoers, beware the sting of the Green Scorpion!”- that he includes on his MySpace page and in all of his e-mail messages. And his costume is pretty impressive- a trench coat, ultra- creepy mask and wide- brimmed hat.
Green Scorpion and Citizen Prime, however, do have something in common: Sometimes superheroes’ real lives collide with their masked lives.
Take for example, Ragensi, a 23-year- old real-life superhero who works in Huntington Beach, California. On patrol early last October, he realized that his cupboards at home were bare. Like any shopper, he ducked into a nearby supermarket to pick up some last-minute groceries. Ragensi, though, had to do his shopping in full costume, and although it was October, it wasn’t close enough to Halloween for costume-party time.
To understand this fully, it’s important to picture Ragensi’s costume. It’s no happy, day-glo superhero outfit. Think Batman, not Superman. Ragensi looks much like a ninja, clad in all black with his fingerless gloves and a dark scarf-like swath of fabric hiding all of his face except his eyes. And those eyes are creepy, highlighted by dark makeup. It gives Ragensi the permanent wide-open stare of someone who’s missing a few marbles. But when Ragensi stepped into his local market, no one, surprisingly, made a peep. No pointed fingers, no gasps and not a single, “Look at that!”
On his MySpace blog, Ragensi mentions that he felt almost invisible. This story is located next to a series of photos showing the masked adventurer pushing his shopping cart though the store’s aisles. In one shot, Ragensi proudly holds in his gloved hands a bag of Johnny Cat kitty litter. The effect is both unsettling and comical.
Balancing two lives isn’t the only challenge real-life superheroes face. They also have to deal with the difficulties of designing the perfect costume- it not only has to symbolize what a hero stands for, but it also must be functional. Accomplishing both tasks isn’t as easy as it sounds.
In the comics, this looks simple. Superman slips into a phone booth. Iron Man snaps on his metal suit. But in real life, things get complicated.
Ghost, a member of the Black Monday Society, a group of real-life superheroes based in Salt Lake City, knows all about costume hassles. On a MySpace blog dedicated to the exploits of the society, Ghost’s partner, Ferox, writes that the hero is still experimenting with his mask. The Reason? It’s difficult to take a much-needed coffee break when your superhero mask covers your entire face.
Ferox, too, has had his fair share of costume problems. In a phone interview, Ferox reveals that he originally called himself American Corpse and wore a costume that featured a gas mask. Turns out, the local police didn’t appreciate the look, especially after the events of September 11, 2001.
All of which raises an obvious question: Why do real-life superheroes need a costume at all? Can’t they simply do their good deeds, or run patrols, in street clothes? Dark Guardian, a real-life superhero based out of New York City who dresses in a black-and-white costume complete with a dark mask, has an answer:
“It’s about being an icon,” he says. “When you’re walking around doing stuff as a regular guy, people won’t notice you as much. They won’t take a second look. They see a guy dressed like me and they wonder what’s going on. It helps spread our message.”
All good superheroes need a headquarters. Batman had his Bat Cave, Superman his Fortress of Solitude. Real-life superheroes have the World Superhero Registry. The site features profiles of dozens of real-life superheroes, from New York City to Los Angeles. It includes information about superhero teams- thing Justice League or Super Friends- groups like the Moonlight Club, Black Monday Society or Boise Brigade.
And when a superhero just needs to talk, there’s an online forum. The forum has hosted discussions on the best form of martial arts for a superhero (one member suggested Krav Maga, the official self-defense system used by the Israeli Defense Forces); the feasibility and concerns of developing a jet pack capable of lifting a human into the air (it might lift a superhero, but how would the hero gain enough control over the pack to fly accurately?); the best diet for a superhero; and the possibility of developing special gloves that shoot pepper spray.
The World Superhero Registry is the brainchild of Kevlex, a part-time, real-life superhero based in Flagstaff.
Kevlex says that the site was a natural for him. He has obvious computer skills, and he’s long been fascinated by the possibility that ordinary people could perform super-heroic feats. As a high school student, Kevlex- a name that comes from the combination of Kevlar body armor and spandex- would wander the halls of his school with a mask hidden on him, in case any danger popped up. He never had the opportunity to don that mask, but, he says, he never lost his passion for real-life superheroes.
Running the World Superhero Registry and going out on patrols maybe two times a month hasn’t imposed on much on Kevlex’s real life. He won’t give out his real name, but he does offer that he’s 40 years old and does have a real job.
Like other real-life superheroes, Kevlex isn’t surprise that men and women across the country are putting on masks and capes and patrolling the streets. He’s more surprised, he says, that there aren’t more people like him.
“I was surprise initially that something like this hadn’t occurred previously,” he says. “We have everything from radical terrorists to people who live in complete silence in monasteries. We have every extreme possible out there. The superhero archetype is so in the public consciousness that you’d think there would be people out there doing this long ago.”
It’s hard to think about becoming a superhero without thinking about pain. Even the most skilled heroes in the comics get beat up nearly every day. That’s not much fun. Local adventurer Green Scorpion, who won’t go into details about his escapades, says that at times he has gone home with nasty injuries following his patrols.
“I have encountered property crimes, theft and assault,” Green Scorpion writes via e-mail. “I have ended up with some wicked bruises, and have come home limping a time or two. I don’t worry about getting hurt, though. I wear protective gear, and do not let myself get backed into corners.”
While Ragensi out in California spends most of his time as a superhero delivering blankets and hot coffee to the homeless or dropping off bags of toys to a nearby children’s hospital, he has occasionally stumbled upon more serious matters. Once, he says, he stopped and attempted mugging in a part, and had to tie the mugger’s hands to a lamppost.
Is Ragensi ever worried that he might get hurt?
“The thought does cross my mind from time to time,” he says. “The way I see it, though, is that you can get hurt in a lot of professions. Physical danger is just a reality of life, even for those who do their best to avoid it. Not that I’m saying I’m going to be stupid and rush into a dangerous situation without a care in the world. I’m just not going to let fears hold me back from living my life to the fullest.”
So, how long is the lifespan of a real-life superhero? Can we expect to see Ragensi as a 50-year-old man tying muggers to street lamps? And what about Green Scorpion? Will he be willing to sustain those bumps and bruise once he’s approaching mid-life crisis time? And if these heroes retire, will other real-life heroes take their places?
That’s hard to say. But the blogs written by these masked adventurers do offer hints that nighttime patrols and costume making aren’t necessarily all fun and games.
Several heroes have written about falling into funks, when patrols don’t offer the same thrill. Others have requested that Kevlex remove their names from the World Superhero Registry, explaining that they’re taking leaves of absences.
But Citizen Prime shows no sign of retiring from the hero life. Patrols still give him a rush, and he’s even working on creating a new superhero community, WHO, which stands for Worldwide Heroes, although, at press time, this project was place on the backburner.
“I don’t find it very hard at all to do this,” says Citizen Prime. “I don have a normal life and a normal job. But this really enhances the rest my life. I am always on patrol, even when I’m not in uniform. If I see something like a guy yelling at his wife in a dark parking lot, I’ll roll down my window to see whether I can help defuse the situation.
Really, Citizen Prime is just an extension of that.” -Dan Rafter lives in St. Charles, Illinois. He can be reached at
[email protected]

Citizen Prime Audition Video

I promised some word of what is going on and – finally – I can share a little bit with you all.
I’d like to share with you a portion of my audition video for Who Wants To Be A Superhero.  For those who have not heard about it, I am auditioning and encourage you to do the same.  Inspiration is our main job and this venue is an awesome opportunity to inspire others.
Before you watch this portion of my audition film, some discussion might make a few of you more at ease.  First and foremost, those of you who know me will notice a distinct difference between the real Citizen Prime and the inspirational Citizen Prime in the film.  The film highlights an inspirational concept for a super powered Citizen Prime and I’m completely over-the-top excited about sharing it with everyone.  I look at it as a fantastic opportunity to give back to the inspirational genre that has clearly inspired me and so many of you.  What this means is you will see a super powered Citizen Prime with powers that are hyperbole for my real life mission.  In other words, while in this reality, I cannot find and prime actual superheroes, I hope, through these works to inspire others to live with The heart of a Hero and watch over their communities in a spirit of family, as we all are.
Another thing this inadvertantly means is, while my identity was never secret, a layer of privacy will be removed with every step of this process.  This does not change my mission to inspire others and be an example of what we should all be doing, but it is worth mentioning.
I hope you enjoy the film.
Citizen Prime
Click here to be redirected to MetaCafe and the film.  Thanks!


One of the few Canada-based real life heroes, Noble is a vigilant youth who patrols a large area around Ontario cleaning up the streets, as well as breaking up fights, which sometimes involves entering them. Trained in Goju Ryu martial arts, as well as Dragon Kung Fu, Noble is also an expert acrobat and gymnist, having spent years training as a circus acrobat.
Training and patrolling a regular part of his schedule, Noble stumbled onto the RLSH community while nursing a cold, and has been an active member ever since. Noble’s uniform consists of a black trench coat, black face mask, and black fingerless gloves. He is currently training with a round shield, 30 inches in diameter, to help him gain a defensive edge while maintaining an acrobatic style. Noble hopes to help the Superhero ‘movement’ become ‘mainstream’.

Superbarrio: Darthmouth

Photo essay originally published online at Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics at New York University
“Yo comparto la idea de que tiene que haber una transformación de la política económica, y si la política económica se está dictando desde Wall Street, desde el Departamento de Tesoro […] el gobierno norteamericano tiene un papel sustancial en diseñar esta política económica … Por eso, lo que yo estoy haciendo es atacar por los dos lados. Con la organización social, con la gente en movimiento, con propuestas de modificar la propiedad económica, y con la candidatura a la presidencia, para modificar de fondo esta política. Y sin dar el beneficio de la duda, en la cosa de la candidatura, podemos perder aquí, pero no podemos perder en el movimiento social.”
The Future is Now
In favor of progressive transnational politics via what can be understood as global gobernance, Superbarrio 1995’s electoral campaign for US president proposed that the citizens of the Americas must have the right of self-governance by having control over the US electoral vote. In other words, Latin Americans, and Latinos/as alike, must be able to participate fully in the US electoral process by having a representative voice. Superbarrio Gomez for US president against the “politics of fear” was the logic consequence.
Nine years later, from September 20, to October 4, the “Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride”, a national march organized by labor and pro-immigrant rights organizations toured the US nation. Their claims, the provision of voting rights to non-US citizens. In the tradition of the 1961 “Freedom Rides”, more than 120,000 immigrants arrived to Flushing Meadows Park in Queens, New York, the largest pro-immigrant march in US history. Predictions attest that by 2080, Mexico’s north and the US southwest will unify. The Mexicanization of California has already taken place long ago, now we are in the North East.
“Voy a estar en Harvard el próximo viernes, y me da miedo encontrarme a los mexicanos ahí, porque son ellos los que están pensando en qué va a hacer nuestro presidente, y hoy están estudiando un material nuevo que se llama: desastres económicos nacionales. La gente tiene una politización muy alta, tiene una conciencia social también muy alta, la gente ha desarrollado sus aspiraciones y sus formas de organización. El gobierno no ha sido recíproco con este sacrificio.”
“The problem of NAFTA is not about workers, it is about corporations because they are the ones benefiting from this situation….the corporations take the industry to México because the conditions are different, that is the problem. When the workers can find and meet each other, when they can talk between them, the problem is clear…it is not our problem it is the corporation and the government’s problem. We want to be a voice that identify these problems and think together about the solution. The workers from Canada, the workers from the U.S., from México should think together what is the solution about the problem of unemployment, social security, and work with unions…”
“…una política económica de carácter CONTINENTAL en donde también se puedan tener medidas para las plantas nacionales.”
While John Kerry, Rudolph Giuliani, and George W. Bush propose an America to reconcile either class division or national security promises, in 1995 Superbarrio’s campaign proposed an America comprised of alternative transnational political cultures. Superbarrio’s unified America, in conversation with Benito Juarez “America for Americans”, incorporated the participation of Latin American and Latino/a civil societies within and beyond the US.
“El concepto americano hasta nostros mismos lo hemos tenido que asumir, ya que nos hemos negado a nosotros mismos nuestra condición de americanos nacidos en el continente.”
Superbarrio has been a fundamental figure in Mexico City’s electoral concientization, the way in which winning for the majoritarian class became a real political imaginary. Superbarrio’s premonitory discourse further promoted the possibilities of global governance as the only consequential logic in a global world economy and its centralized accumulation of capital. Superbarrio’s candidacy for U.S. President promoted a cross-border alliance among workers in the search of what are human rights, decent working and living conditions. Because the U.S./Mexico border has been the location to rehearse and promote the dehumanization of the labor force, and NAFTA its later institutionalized model, Superbarrio’s transnational mobilization becomes the wrestling scenario to conceptualized “new geographies of governamentality” (Appadurai 2002). Superbarrio’s transnational activism became a fight for alternative forms of global citizenship in which to keep the mask on means to own one’s home within and beyond the Nation.