The Watchman – Milwaukee’s Real Life Superhero

By Spooky on October 8th, 2010
Armed with a flashlight, a can of pepper spray and a cell phone, the Watchman patrols the streets of Riverwest, hunting for criminals and evil doers. But he’s got a job, so he only plays superhero on weekends.
Although he doesn’t have any real superpowers (or even weapons), The Watchman likes to refer to himself as a real life superhero. Instead of gadgets and weapons, he opted for a simple Motorola phone, which he uses to report the crimes he happens to witness while patrolling. Contacting the police or calling an ambulance is sometimes more important than intervening in person, so he prefers to let authorities handle emergencies.
The 6-foot, 200-pound superhero wears a red mask over half his face, to conceal his identity, so that his family doesn’t have to suffer from his crime-fighting activities. He has always felt that anyone can do something to make our world better, and after contemplating about becoming a police officer, he decided to become the Watchman. While he understands some people may think his superhero outfit is somewhat funny, he’s out there to show people everyone can do their part.
But the Watchman is not the only superhero patrolling the streets at night. He actually belongs to the Great Lakes Heroes Guild, a group of real life superheroes who exchange resources and information in order to make the world a better place.
Most of the Riverwest locals who know about the Watchman think it’s actually pretty cool that they have their own superhero who actually cares about their safety and well-being, but he does get into trouble every once in a while. For example, he once saw four boys leaving an underaged party with a 15-year-old drunk girl. It seemed like they were going to take advantage of her, so he stepped in, but then her big brother came out, who seeing his masked face, thought he was the bad guy and pulled out a knife. All the Watchman could do was jump in his car and get the hell out of there. Not very superhero-like, but even a scared superhero is better than no superhero, right? Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

Operation: Sidewalk Chalk

Written by Janice Christensen
Tuesday, 08 December 2009
by Tea Krulos, Photos by Paul Kjelland
The Watchman is a “real life superhero,” one of a growing movement of people who adopt costumed comic book-style personas. These people do charity events and safety patrols of their neighborhoods, looking for criminal activity.
Patroling with the Real Life Super Heroes
I first met the Watchman last March. I was writing a profile on him for Milwaukee magazine, and we met on a cold night in Gordon Park. Since then, I’ve met up with him several times. I joined him and his colleague MoonDragon, also of Milwaukee, for a patrol of National Avenue on June 12. MoonDragon patrols National Avenue, and wanted to patrol an area where two Milwaukee police officers had been shot a couple days earlier.
The Watchman and I cruised up to Minneapolis on June 27 in the Watchmanmobile to meet his Great Lakes Heroes Guild teammates Razorhawk, Geist, and Celtic Viking. Our meet up spot was the statue of Mary Tyler Moore. We patrolled the streets, and dropped off food at People Serving People. The sun was rising as we headed toward the Wisconsin state line.
The Watchman also lent his time to patrol Riverwest during the Riverwest 24 bicycle race on July 24. He patrolled on foot and by car, keeping a watchful for anything hazardous that might disturb the cyclists.
We have also been interviewed twice. The first time was in July and was for a possible real life superhero reality show being developed by a production company. The second time was this November for a segment on FOX 6 News at 9.
Messages in Chalk
My latest adventure with Watchman, was on November 7 – he had a plan for a bit of public art. He picked me up, wearing his new costume: a red rubber mask, red leather gloves, spandex shirt with his logo on it, and a black trench coat. He had a bucket of sidewalk chalk. The idea for this night’s project came from one of his superhero colleagues.
“I came up with the idea after reading something on the Heroes Network forum, posted by Thanatos,”Watchman told me.
The Heroes Network is a site where RLSHs share information and ideas. Thanatos is the green skull-masked RLSH of Vancouver. Thanatos suggested that RLSHs go out and create chalk outlines, like one you would find at a murder scene, and then label it with the fatal ills of society.
Lying on the Sidewalk
We set off. My job was to lie on the concrete and The Watchman did the chalk work.  In the alley behind Stonefly, we left an outline with the word GREED in it. DRUGS was left near the marsupial bridge underneath Holton Street.
We left two in Cathedral Square Park, GANG VIOLENCE and DOMESTIC ABUSE. We chalked two on the river walk, near Wisconsin Avenue and Wells Street, ALCOHOL ABUSE and CHILD ABUSE.
We left the last one outside the Journal Sentinel building on 4th Street, labeled POVERTY. We finished this one in the nick of time. A Bucks game had just let out across the street at the Bradley Center, and Watchman was just lettering the “Y” in POVERTY as the light turned green, and a large group of people began to walk over the outline. Some looked startled or confused; some didn’t seem to react at all.
Worth Trying
“Hopefully people see it. I guess I hope that even if it wakes just a little bit inside of them and makes them think  enough about it to make them change something in their lives or help prevent any of those things, then I think it was successful,” Watchman explained. “This is one of those cases were we aren’t going to know if it does any good, but it’s worth trying.”
Watchman’s team, the Great Lakes Heroes Guild, will raise money for Christmas toy charities for the second year in a row.  In addition to charities in Minneapolis and Florida, the Watchman will use his share of funds raised to bring toys to the Gingerbread House charity in West Bend.
You can help these heroes out with this great cause, by donating funds at: