How To: Be a Real Life Superhero (With or Without the Cape)

The following was taken from an interview with Pepsi Refresh I did some time ago. . .some basic things i wanted to get across. . .and continue to try and get across. . .
How To: Be a Real Life Superhero (With or Without the Cape)
By: Rebecca McQuigg Rigal of GOOD
So you want to make the world a better place? Maybe start with your block, or your neighborhood. Maybe start with an awesome costume. You don’t need superhuman powers or otherworldly resources to be a Real Life Superhero, just plenty of passion and a taste for the theatrical. We recently spoke with DC’s Guardian, about what it takes to be a costumed crusader for good. He had these six tips for making the world a better place, one neighborhood at a time.
1) Know what you stand for. It’s not a prerequisite to don tights or a mask, but every Superhero builds an identity around good morals and values.  Likewise, you’ll need a cause (or several) for which to crusade. Look around your community for action groups that need help.
2) Identify your weapons. And we’re talking personal skills here, not nunchucks.  After identifying a cause, ask yourself what you can bring to the table to help fulfill that need. Take stock of your interests and find a way to donate your time and talents in ways that will be compatible with your lifestyle.
3) Dress for the fight. While it doesn’t take spandex to be a Superhero, always come prepared for the task. Whether the job entails managing logistics for a fundraiser, educating local youth, or just showing up to the right place at the right time with the right supplies, you’ll want to be known as a responsible and accountable crusader.
4) Don’t get mistaken for the bad guy. Real Life Superheroes can be activists, volunteers, educators, or neighborhood safety patrollers, but in order to establish an identity as a community crusader for long-term success, you’ll have to work closely with local citizens, civic leaders, and law enforcement. Collaboration and communication are key.
5) Don’t break the law. Never go above the law, and always stand firm behind your actions. As DC’s Guardian says, “If you can’t stand up and say ‘I did this!’ you shouldn’t be doing it.”
 6) Be humble. There’s no such thing as a self-serving superhero, in real life or otherwise.
DC’s Guardian is prominent figure in the RLSH community and President of Skiffytown League of Heroes – a national network of original superhero characters dedicated to performing acts of community service.

Real Life Superheroes and Real Life Artist Team-Up!

Originally Posted:
By jaredevans85
If you know me at all, you know that I like superheroes. Like most children (and most adults if we just admit it), I have always wanted to be a superhero. Sure, part of that is the powers, as well as the snazzy get-ups, but I’ve always been in love with the idealism. Superheroes come from a world where good stands against evil, you know what’s right and what’s wrong, and you can stand up and do something about it. That may very well be the biggest fantasy of all.
I’ve been aware of the Real Life Super Hero (RLSH) movement for several years now. Citizen Prime (a resident of Utah I might add) was one of the first public faces of the movement, and over the years more and more people are making costumes and heading out to save the world. However, while many comic book heroes spend their time giving well-delivered right hooks to villains and ne’er-do-wells, these heroes are often more concerned with social projects, including helping the homeless, crime prevention, and charitable work. They all have different reasons and motivations for putting on a costume, but to me, however effective it may be in the end, it shows that people want to get out into the world and do something. The crazy costumes and code names represent the fact that we can be more than what we are, and we can always take another step up. While I won’t speak for all of them, it’s clear that the ideals of helping others and justice for all aren’t lost on some of these heroes, and they want to make a difference.
Photographer Peter Tangen, known best for his Spider-Man and Batman movie posters, has begun to document members of the RLSH community, creating vivid and stylized posters and portraits. The site,,has only been around for a few months, but already profiles a number of heroes, including DC’s Guardian, New York’s Life, and Rochester, MN’s Geist. It’s a brilliant project (I actually considered trying to write a book about it a few years ago), and Tangen’s work is very professional and engaging. Whether you agree with their ideals or their fashion sense, give the site a look. It’s certainly a fascinating subculture, and one that I expect we’ll only hear more from in the future. We certainly don’t need anyone on the streets delivering vigilante justice, but we could always use a few more helping hands.

Superhero Obsession: Why We Love Fantasy

Originally Posted:

From Jesus to Hercules to Superman and Iron Man, All Cultures Have Own Mythic Heroes


May 31, 2010—
It is a most basic human urge, the age-old, universal desire to overcome our limitations, to soar and to unlock superpowers hidden within us. Living out those fantasies is more popular now than ever before.
Nearly every weekend, somewhere in the United States, a convention is held to celebrate comic book superheroes. Thousands turned out for the C2E2 convention in Chicago, which celebrates the culture of superhero comics, artwork and graphic novels. While comic art and writing have long been popular, the genre is undergoing a revival of sorts.
“It’s really the golden era of superheroes,” said Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics, who attended the convention.
There’s been an explosion of superhero movies this past decade, featuring classic figures such as Superman, Batman, Spiderman and Iron Man. The recent hit, “Iron Man 2,” has grossed more than $200 million since opening earlier this month.
Watch the full story on “SuperHumans!” a special edition of “20/20” Tuesday, June 1 at 10 p.m. ET
But beyond the fun and the fantasy, at the heart of these stories is something deeper. Superheroes have long provided a window into the human psyche.
“They’re empowerment stories, and what’s better than that,” said screenwriter David Koepp, who wrote “Spiderman,” among other scripts about ordinary people who discover they have extraordinary powers. “The golden age of fantasy is often when society is going through a hard time.”
As for why now, Koepp said: “I think 9/11 and the souring of the economy have had a lot to do with it, because people want fantasy. They want to escape to a place where they feel a fantasy of success and omnipotence, you’re safe and you’re protected.”
It’s no coincidence that our first great comic superhero, Superman, first appeared in an earlier age of deep anxiety — the Great Depression. He reflected a nation’s need to be uplifted. Soon, Americans were in the midst of a wrenching debate over whether to get involved in World War II. Superman and other comic book heroes were drafted to help convince a divided nation that the U.S should enter the war. Superman was even depicted battling Hitler.
“They became cheerleaders for the war effort,” said Christopher Knowles, author of “Our Gods Wear Spandex.” “These characters were very important, as sort of motivators for the populace.”

Was Jesus the First Superhero?

Knowles said mythic figures have always been an important part of society, dating back centuries. “Superman is really the modern incarnation of Hercules.”
In the ancient world, said Knowles, “gladiators would dress up as their favorite god or hero. You would have generals that would pray to a certain god, before they went into battle. So this is something that’s very deep within ourselves. It’s an impulse, this need to transcend human weakness and immortalize ourselves.”
Every culture — and every religion — has its mythic heroes. Princeton University professor of religion Elaine Pagels, a leading expert on the history of Christianity author of several books, said even Jesus appeared to be imbued with certain “superpowers.”
“He heals people with a touch,” said Pagels. “He can raise the dead. … When people feel vulnerable, they look at Jesus with the superpowers who’s going to come in the clouds … and right all the wrongs. What could be better than a God who could come and do all of that? ”
Every era creates the superheroes it needs. There is currently a new wave of super-heroines, following in the footsteps of Wonder Woman and Bat-Girl.

Modern Day Super-Heroines

Among those creating the new generation of female superheroes is writer Gail Simone. “We’ve got some great, strong, powerful female characters now that have their own fans,” said Simone. “And, they don’t have to have Superman in the comic with them to be successful.”
And they don’t have to wear spandex to fulfill the role.
“A really interesting example … is Twilight,” said Knowles, who contrasted the familiar image of a frightening Dracula with the new image of vampires as sexy and young. “They glow in the daylight. … They’re beautiful, they’re intelligent … they give young girls what they want in life … eternal youth, eternal beauty, everlasting love. These are not vampires anymore, these are superheroes.”
The recent surge in interest in superheroes has also created a market for early comics. Recently, New York comic book dealer Vincent Zurzolo sold a high-grade first edition of the 1938 Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, for a staggering $1.5 million dollars.
“Superman ushered in the age of the superhero,” said Zurzolo. “Before superman there were heroes, but nobody quite like Superman with super powers. ”

Real-Life Superheroes Among Us

More than 70 years later, people seem to want more than ever to relate to and even become superheroes. In the recent movie, “Kick-Ass,” actress Chloe Moretz plays a young girl who dresses up and morphs into a real-life wanna-be superhero.
And across the country, people are actually creating their own real-life superheroes personas. There are more than a dozen of these real-life superheroes, with names like “Thanatos,” “Nyx,” and “Life,” who dress up and take to the streets to fight crime and help the needy.
“None of us are ever going to shoot rays out of our eyes and we’re probably not going to fly any time soon,” said “Life,” who helps feed the homeless in upper Manhattan, wearing a black vest, hat and mask. “But …we all have the powers to do something, and it’s just a matter of using out own god-given gifts and putting them toward good and making the world a better place.”
This month, Los Angeles movie poster photographer Peter Tangen is mounting an exhibit of those real-life superheroes — including “DC’s Guardian.” Tangen photographed more than 20 real-life superheroes for a project that will help raise money for children’s charity.
CLICK HERE to see Tangen’s photos of real-life superheroes and CLICK HERE for more information on Tangen’s exhibit
“It immediately caught my attention that there were these people that actually took it into the real streets and used it in their lives to try to make the world a better place,” said Tangen.

Will Superhero Boom End?

Is there any end to this current boom in superheroes in sight? Not soon, according to Knowles. “When is the economy going to really rebound? When are we going to go back to those nineties boom times? When are we not going to be worried about terrorism? We need the fantasy … it’s a balm.”
There’s also a full slate of superhero movies over the next couple of years, including, “The Avengers,” “Thor,” “Captain” “America,” “Green Hornet” and “Green Lantern.” It’s all part of that yearning to unlock the superhero within us.
“Superhero stories, all heroic myth stories teach us and tell us that it is possible, that you can do it,” said artist and author Arlen Schumer. “In real life, we often cannot overcome our obstacles. We cannot get justice, we cannot right wrongs … and we need stories to tell ourselves that we could be this; we could act this way.”
Watch the full story on “SuperHumans!” a special edition of “20/20” Tuesday, June 1 at 10 p.m. ET
Copyright © 2010 ABC News Internet Ventures


Watchmen: Out of the phonebox and into real life

The expertly managed hullabaloo around Zack Snyder’s film adaptation of the Watchmen comic series (it opens in cinemas today), sees superheroes move ever closer to the centre of our shared culture.
Just as readers of Shakespeare, Byron or P.G. Wodehouse swam in a rich soup of biblical and classical references that informed their understanding of every sentence, so modern readers and moviegoers have unconsciously assimilated a common vocabulary of superheroics. If T.S. Eliot were writing today, he would pepper his poems not with allusions to the heroes of Greek myth but to the adventures of the Justice League of America. These gaudily dressed commercial demigods may be the closest thing we have to a pantheon.
Once confined to the “funny papers”, costumed adventurers broke through into the adult world in 1986 with the publication of Frank Miller’s iconoclastic The Dark Knight Returns and Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’s daring Watchmen. Before those two series there had been attempts to bring the masked vigilantes from their fantasy milieu into a world a little more like our own. But it wasn’t until Watchmen, set in a parallel mid-Eighties America on the brink of nuclear war, that the effect of costumed adventurers on the society they inhabit was considered.
Comics publishers were overjoyed that a new, older, wealthier demographic was buying comic books and responded by publishing bound collections of story arcs from their monthly comics and branding them “graphic novels”. A few genuine long-form comics expressly written for the format were also attempted, but only a few came close to achieving the commercial and critical impact of Watchmen and Dark Knight Returns. Too many writers thought that the “darkness” was the selling point, and produced comic books not much different from the Silver Age comics of the 1960s and 70s but with added violence.
To achieve much more is difficult: the relentless momentum of the graphic format leaves little time left for characterisation or introspection. By slowing the action down, inserting additional material such as mock autobiographies by the characters, Moore was the first comics writer to create rounded, flawed, believable supermen. It was that, more than the artwork, that propelled Watchmen onto Time magazine’s 100 greatest novels list.
The mixture of introspection, political subversion and old-fashioned derring-do established by Moore is still, a quarter of a century later, the template for most modern comics writers. If you are looking for the most interesting of the new superhero comics today, try The Authority, a superhero team story where, rather than just scrapping with mad scientists and purse-snatchers, the heroes try to use their powers to change the world. In Ex Machina, the technologically enhanced hero settles for running New York and almost averts 9/11 but spends as much time defusing controversy over public art funding as chasing supervillains.
Perhaps the most interesting fruit of Watchmen – and a sign of how mainstream superheroes have become – came in a pair of books that dispensed with illustrations altogether. Although Batman-themed young-adult easy readers and the film spin-off “novelisations” had appeared before, Tom DeHaven’s It’s Superman was something entirely different. Set in the 1930s, it retells the story of the origins of Superman. Although still a pacy read, it has a rich sense of period that invites comparison with Steinbeck. For pop-culture students there are little nods to the Max Fleischer Superman animations and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town.
Austin Grossman’s 2007 novel Soon I will be Invincible was an even more knowing and playful examination of superhero archetypes played out through a pair of beautifully crafted internal monologues. Like many of today’s writers, Grossman has a native fluency in classic superhero lore, resulting in a book studded with pop-culture detail. The humour of films such as The Incredibles and Mystery Men rely on audiences being steeped in superhero culture. Watchmen too is dependent on cinemagoers understanding exactly which conventions are being subverted. And of course nowadays most moviegoers do: the mythic history of superheroes pervades our culture in the same way that the tales of Asgard or Olympus once did. We are all, wittingly or unwittingly, aware of the mechanics of secret identities, hidden lairs, radiation accidents that empower rather than disable and miraculous flying machines that are the staples of the genre, whether we are talking about classic heroes like The Fantastic Four or Moore’s dysfunctional superteam.
Superheroes are big business: Dark Knight raked in a billion dollars at the box office, Iron Man took more than $500 million in 2008 and the third instalment in Sam Raimi’s Spiderman franchise netted an impressive $890 million.
It is no surprise then that publishers are keen to find new superhero properties. DC Comics’ big hitters, Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, all appeared first before the end of the Second World War. Marvel’s heroes are a little younger, but their biggest-earning heroes all still date from the early 1960s. There are dozens, perhaps scores, of new superhero-themed movies in the works: of all of them Mark Millar’s Kick Ass is the one most likely to offer something genuinely novel and exciting.
Superheroes have conquered more than the entertainment media. Two or three nights a week Citizen Prime patrols the streets of Salt Lake City in his mask and cape armed with stun guns and a police baton. He is not the only one. There are at least 30 real-life “superheroes”, of varying levels of effectiveness and seriousness, scattered across America, with odd examples popping up as far afield as Tunbridge Wells. With no powers other than idealism, and with no supercriminals to battle, they are something between a fancy dress party and the Neighbourhood Watch.
That may not always be the case, though: the technology to create armoured exoskeletons like that of Marvel’s Iron Man is under development by the US military and may only be a decade away from coming to fruition. Implantable enhancements will probably come a generation later. Assuming that they do deliver the promised combat advantage, the enhanced strength and senses of military supersoldier programmes will find their way into the hands of the criminal element – and, of course, once we have supervillains then superheroes, or at least superpolice, won’t be far behind. You will need to be ready. Better buy some comics.
Michael Moran writes the Times Blockbuster Buzz blog

Masked crusader

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This crime fighter may be silent, but he’s far from being deadly.
By Kimiko Martinez
A young man stands on the south side of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument. The ominous stone memorial looms above him as he waits on the top steps dressed in black pinstriped pants and vest, a pressed black button-down shirt, a black felt hat and silver gloves.
This man, who refuses to reveal his real name when in costume, carries a silver-topped cane. A silver mask hides any expression, revealing little more than soft brown eyes.
While his costume does plenty to conceal his identity, it belies a fit physique. His stealth movements, inspiration for his superhero name Mr. Silent, evidence years of martial arts.
Above him, “To Indiana’s Silent Victors” is etched in the limestone and sculptures representing men who’ve fought for justice adorn the 284-foot tall shrine.
It’s an interesting parallel.
“Hey, what are you?” a passerby asks. “A mime?”
“No,” he responds, handing him a card that reads simply: “Mr. Silent,” along with the Japanese characters for “quiet repose” and an e-mail address.
“Hey, you’re supposed to be Mr. Silent; you just talked,” the man says, looking up from the card. “So what do you do?”
“I fight crime.”
The man in black
Mr. Silent gets this a lot.
“People are always asking: ‘Are you a mime?’ or ‘What are you guys doing?’ ” the 27-year-old tells me. Usually he has his partner Doktor DiscorD along. Not surprisingly, two men in costumes walking around Downtown incite odd reactions.
Mr. Silent just brushes it off. People aren’t accustomed to seeing superheroes patrolling the city . . . yet. But since the duo began this “experiment,” as Mr. Silent calls it, the superhero trend has started to catch on. Others have e-mailed the duo asking how they can join and superheroes have popped up in other cities worldwide, he said.
“A lot of people have told us that they’ve been waiting for something like this to happen,” he said. “Like there was a hole in them; they always wished that something like this was real.”
Certainly people are familiar with the likes of Superman and Batman. Comic book characters are practically ingrained in American culture, as evidenced by the slew of movies released each year. X-Men, Superman and “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” are all on the summer movie circuit. But in real life?
“People have tried to invent time machines because of H.G. Wells or teleporters because of Star Trek,” Mr. Silent said. “It almost makes you wonder why no one has done this before.”
After discussing the idea for quite some time, he and Doktor DiscorD decided to hit Indianapolis streets about a year ago.
“It was just a big experiment to see how people would react,” he said. “We’ve gotten some good responses.”
Unlike Bruce Wayne, Mr. Silent’s alter ego isn’t a billionaire. He has a full-time job to tend to, so he only makes it out about once per week, cruising the alleys of Downtown after dark, looking to help where needed.
Although he isn’t afraid to throw a punch, Mr. Silent is quick to point out that he prefers to avoid confrontations. “We’re really more towards the hero aspect than the vigilante thing,” he said.
Helping people is the focus, even if it means handing out heat packs to the homeless in the winter when hard-pressed to find something to do.
“You don’t have to have superpowers to be a superhero,” Mr. Silent said. “We see heroes every day. We’re just the ones with the costumes on.”
Mr. Silent speaks up to answer our burning questions

So what does it take to become a superhero?

I think the prerequisites are a good imagination and not going overboard. I had this friend who wanted to join, but I think he was using it as an excuse to hurt people.

What’s your superpower?

We’re more along the Batman line. We don’t have any real powers. Although I do have this uncanny ability to spin for a long time without getting dizzy. If there ever comes a time where I can fight crime by spinning, I’ll be set.

Tell me about your name.

Doktor DiscorD is more outgoing than I am, so at first it was an excuse to not have to say anything. But now it’s more because of the way I move. I’m very quiet when I walk, pretty stealthy.

What’s your kryptonite?

Bullets, I’d imagine. Or knives. Anything that can do damage to a human can do damage to me. I don’t wear a Kevlar vest or anything.

Batman or Superman?

I’d say Superman, just because of his ideologies — freedom and all that stuff. Plus, he was the first superhero I was introduced to. I used to hum his theme song when I was running around as a kid.

Lois Lane or Mary Jane?

Lois Lane seems more the powerful type, so I’m going to say Lois Lane. Mary Jane is always getting herself in trouble and needing to be rescued.

What super-toy/tool would you most want?

Maybe grappling hooks, the kind that Batman had.

Marvel or DC Comics?

DC. I’m a big Grant Morrison fan. And they tend to be more superhero-oriented.

What do you get out of superhero life?

Wearing the mask has actually kind of changed me. It’s kind of like the mask took over. I developed a responsibility to do good things because I had the mask on. I’ve started to want to help out at soup kitchens and do things that never crossed my mind before. I feel like I can do more.
In real life, I’m pretty shy, kind of introverted. But when I have the costume on, it’s like I’m a completely different person. The mask kind of becomes like a shield. And now, (the two sides of my personality) have kind of meshed into each other.