Valley Superhero- Who is Citizen Prime?

Article removed from Source Website.
Apr. 30, 2007 07:37 PM
By Joe Dana
12 News
His bat mobile is a Nissan X-Terra.
His weapon of choice is a cell phone.
He is Citizen Prime, an anti-crime activist on a mission reminiscent of The Guardian Angels, but with a comic book flair. A couple of nights a week, this valley business executive named Jim (I agreed to conceal his last name) dresses up as his invented superhero character, and patrols valley streets. When you meet him, you can’t help but notice his sincere enthusiasm and his incredibly well-crafted costume. Half embarrased, he admits the outfit cost about 4,000 dollars to create. It includes a silk cape, leather mask, and a steel-plated upper body shield designed by a professional armor maker.
On a Tuesday night in April, I followed Prime on a shift. As part of a recent effort to interact with the community more often, he spent a couple hours in the late evening strolling Mill Avenue in Tempe, mingling with the crowds.
While he introduces himself to passerby’s, he distributes a homemade pamphlet that describes his mission. His message can seem very simplistic.
“What would you do if you saw somebody fall in the street?” he asks a trio of college co-eds. “I’d help him out,” says one of them. “Exactly,” says Prime. “And that’s what heroes should do. They should be ready to help someone in need,” he says.
I wonder: Does he need to go through all of this work just to tell us that?
Prime points out that there is more. His pamphlet discusses ways to become involved in the community. He invites people to e-mail or call him if they “have a problem, or need help,” he says, (he’s quick to add that he doesn’t lend money.)
The other half of Citizen Prime’s mission involves driving in his car and looking for potential trouble. On this particular night, he trolls a neighborhood in the west valley near 51st Ave. and Indian School. The area is prone to property crime, prostitution and occasional robberies. “I’ve found that my mere presence in these areas, I’m hoping, makes a difference,” he says, as he drives slowly, surveying both sides of the street.
While on patrol, he has called police if he saw something or someone suspiscious. He’s also prepared take photos. He once guided police by phone to a drunk driver he spotted on the freeway. He also helped someone change a tire once. Prime admits his exact role in the community is still a work in progress. He’s trying to get into schools and hospitals to give inspirational messages to children.
In case Prime ever does see an actual crime or violence, his car is equipped with an electric stun gun, a police baton and a bean bag stun gun among other non-lethal gadgets. He’s never used them and says he hopes he never has to.
Our night on the streets ended quietly. No phone calls, photos or tazers needed.
The next morning, Prime sent me an E-mail. In it, he wrote that police pulled him over on the way home. The irony was not lost on him. A self-proclaimed superhero is caught speeding. You have to wonder if the body armor and cape helped him or hurt him in that moment.
Fortunately for Prime, he only received a warning. However, the officer advised the man in yellow to become certified by police for a citizen volunteer program. Something tells me, for Citizen Prime, that would be much too conventional.
Mayor Phil Gordon’s response to Citizen Prime
Apr. 30, 2007 07:47 PM
“Since becoming Mayor, I have given out over 3,000 front porch benches (not at taxpayer expense, by the way) to encourage people to be aware of what is going on in their neighborhoods. We can all help the police by being the “eyes and ears” of our community, but we should all be careful to do it smartly. Never purposefully put yourself in a dangerous situation. If you see something suspicious, don’t confront “the bad guys”. Call the police. That’s being hero enough.”

Masks, capes and spandex: Real-life superheroes save the world!

John Soltes
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s people who call themselves real-life superheroes. They dress up, fight for justice and keep their identities secret.
It started out as a normal night. That is, until the bad guy started dancing like the devil in the pale moonlight.
Chris was minding his own business on the streets of Staten Island, N.Y., when he saw a man dash into a convenience store. The man sprinted through the aisles, trashing the place, then broke a glass bottle on the floor and brandished the shards as a makeshift knife.
Chris, coming to the rescue, cornered him in the aisle. While Chris kept the villain at bay, customers called the police.
That night, one of the most dangerous nights in his career, Chris truly earned the right to be called Chris Guardian.
Guardian, 23, who patrols the sidewalks and alleyways of New York City, is one of a small group of people around the world who call themselves real-life superheroes. Some do it for fun, as if Halloween were a yearlong celebration. But others, like Guardian, are dead serious about protecting life.
“I’ve always had something inside of me that made me want to really make a difference and just make the world a better place,” Guardian said recently during a discreet nighttime interview in a park in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. “I always loved comic books and the idea of heroes out there. And I just said, ‘What the hell is stopping somebody from doing it?’”
When Guardian, a martial arts teacher who would not give his real name, first began patrolling New York at night, he was known as Dark Guardian. But recently he shed his old costume of a black mask with a painted-on smiley face and changed his name to Chris Guardian. He said the old costume was too weird for some people, while others didn’t pay attention.
“This is New York, so half the people didn’t even look,” said Guardian, who is having a new costume made up with the letters C.G. emblazoned on the front.
Guardian, like most superheroes, acts within the strictest sense of the law. “If I don’t have to put myself in danger, and the police can handle it, let the police handle it,” he said. “You know, I’m not going to do something stupid.”
Citizen Prime, a superhero based in Phoenix and a friend of Guardian, said there were many degrees of what a real-life superhero could do. A few stray into the vigilante role, taking the law into their own hands. But most, in the spirit of truth, justice and the American way, patrol the streets looking to help women and children.
“You don’t want to be standing on top of a building with your grappling hook ready to jump down on crack dealers,” Prime said. “That’s actually against the law.”
Prime, a 40-year-old married man whose first name is Jim, has been protecting the streets of Phoenix for a year. He became a superhero to spread the message that people don’t have to be fearful of crime. “Are you going to sit inside scared that a terrorist might attack your city, or are you going to go out and live your life?” he asked.
But Prime, who patrols once or twice a week in a black, blue and yellow costume, found one chink in his armor. He couldn’t find any crime. “The only crime I’ve ever stopped is when I was actually walking out of a sporting goods store with my wife,” he said. “A shoplifter came running past me, and I managed to throw him to the ground.”
With villains often hard to come by, superheroes fill up their time by dispensing charity as well as justice.
Many superheroes offer food to the homeless, deliver toys to sick children, rescue motorists with flat tires or spend time in their own fortresses of solitude visiting the many online superhero communities.
One such site is the World Superhero Registry, run by Phoenix-based superhero Kevlex, whose name is a combination of Kevlar and spandex.
His Web site supplies information on some of the world’s most famous superheroes: Angle Grinder Man in England, who helps free illegally parked cars from the bonds of immobilization; Terrifica, a female superhero who saves the drunk women of Brooklyn from unseemly masculine advances; and Polar Man, a Canadian superhero who, well, shovels driveways and sidewalks for the elderly.
Kevlex, 47, patrols only once or twice a week, and even less in the summer because the hot Arizona sun makes his costume uncomfortable. (Apparently, being a superhero is both a gift and a curse.)
Kevlex says that when he does go out, disguising his true identity is still necessary, even if he does nothing illegal. When he is in costume, bad guys “can’t tell which areas are protective gear and which areas their bullets would just slide right through,” he said.
Though, to be honest, Kevlex said he has never been in a situation with bullets. “The area that I’m in isn’t that dangerous,” he admitted.
Tothian, 22, a superhero who protects New Jersey and New York, is one of the more active heroes. He uses his skills as a Marine reservist and martial arts expert when patrolling the streets, and has escorted women home at night and broken up fights.
His uniform–he prefers that term to costume–is black combat boots, green cargo pants and a T-shirt. His logo, which is stitched into the middle of the T-shirt with cut-up bandanas, is made from the letters used to spell Tothian.
“That name chose me, I feel,” he said. “I am adding definition through the name, through my actions, my words and everything that I do.”
Tothian doesn’t wear a mask because it blocks his peripheral vision, and says he doesn’t wear a cape “because capes get in the way of actually doing real superhero stuff.”
Tothian says he doesn’t want to become a police officer because he doesn’t agree with every law on the book. “I’m not out to punish every single criminal,” he said. For example, he would counsel marijuana smokers, but wouldn’t apprehend them as bad guys.
Tothian said he gets some strange looks when people find out he’s a superhero. But after people realize he’s out to protect them, he says their trepidation eases somewhat.
“Heroes are real, so superheroes are just heroes who are really super at it,” he said. “The world is constantly crying out in need of superheroes, and I’m giving them one.”
E-mail: [email protected]
Real-life superheroes may be secretive about their identity, but they certainly welcome e-mail messages and visits to their MySpace pages. On the Web, many superheroes like Chris Guardian and Tothian show their real faces. Others, like Citizen Prime (, wear elaborate masks.
Even so, meeting up with a superhero is challenging.
When setting up a rendezvous, they tend to prefer nighttime visits. You will be given a place to meet, like Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, and told to call a cell phone number at precisely 10:30 p.m. No other details will be given. When you’re waiting for the clock to strike the half hour, you constantly check over your shoulder, knowing that the superhero has already been tracking your every move.
Once 10:30 rolls around, you call your hero, only to get a response like, “I’m walking up to you right now. I’m bald and wearing a leather jacket.”
Other superheroes avoid direct contact with the media. Squeegeeman and Captain Xavier Obvious work through their press person, Peter Magellan, who leaves messages on cell phones in an Australian accent that may or may not be authentic. When Squeegeeman himself leaves a message, the call is from a restricted number, and the superhero talks in a high-pitched voice that sounds, well, like a squeegee.
E-mails are no better. Squeegeeman’s messages are punctuated frequently by a squeegee adjective: “Have a squeegeerific day!!!”

An Unprotected City

Ben Wilson

Ben Wilson

by Dan Rafter
Be worried, people of Boise. Be very worried.
You are not protected.
Sure, the police are still there to handle your pickpockets, muggers, thieves and robbers. But what if a supervillain drops out of the sky, shooting lightning bolts from his fingertips? What if a nuclear bomb comes rushing through downtown? Who’s going to stop it now that the Boise Brigade is out of action?
Yes, the news is true: The Boise Brigade is on hiatus, at the very least. When will they return to patrol the city’s streets? No one knows. The Boise Brigade, that team of real-life superheroes who vowed to protect the city, is officially in training.
Wait. You don’t know what the Boise Brigade is? You’ve never heard of Nightfall or Exemplar or Freya? The Boise Brigade is a team of real-life superheroes.
The Brigade’s members can’t fly, turn invisible, lift battleships over their heads or spit fire. But they still consider themselves superheroes. And they’re far from alone. An entire community of adventurers, located everywhere from Wisconsin to Phoenix, from Los Angeles to New York City, call themselves real-life superheroes. With names like Dark Guardian, Citizen Prime, Ferox and Mr. Silent, they dress in costumes–using masks and capes and body armor, silver canes, bowler hats, whatever’s around–and patrol the streets of their cities, looking for crimes to stop and people to help.
It sounds like fiction, but it’s real. Just log on to the World Superhero Registry at, to find a list.
Here’s how Nightfall describes himself on his MySpace page: “To the bad people, I’m that thing that hides in the shadows that we’re all afraid of, and to the good people I’m the protector that looks over them when they walk home alone at night.”
But, where are they? What are these real-life heroes doing to protect the citizens of Boise?
Who knows? The Brigade declined the opportunity to be interviewed for this story. In an e-mail message, Nightfall reported that the team may not yet be ready to tackle its lofty mission. He cited the group members’ ages–they are all fairly young–and the fact that they are still training to be superheroes. They are also questioning, Nightfall says, whether Boise even needs real-life superheroes.
Does this mean that Boise is on its own? It’s hard to tell; Nightfall did not respond to an e-mail message asking for more information. There is some hope, though, that the brigade is not on a permanent break: Nightfall promised an interview with BW in the future, when the group is more certain of how it will operate or if it is even needed.
If the group is interested in learning the challenges and rewards of being a real-life superhero, they can always speak with more veteran members of the community.
Mr. Silent and Doktor DiscorD have been patrolling the streets of Indianapolis, sometimes together, sometimes alone, for more than a year. They’ve become local celebrities, with Mr. Silent and his silver mask, black bowler hat, white gloves and trademark cane, becoming an especially common sight in Indianapolis’ magazines and newspapers and on local TV stations.
“Most people my age, when boredom comes on, they decide to hang out with friends, go drinking, see a show or something like that,” Doktor DiscorD says. “I felt like doing something different. Not only could I alleviate my boredom in a novel way, I could also help people.”
Just because he’s a superhero doesn’t mean Doktor DiscorD is a saint. He admits this: Early in a phone interview, he needs to take a quick break to find and light a cigarette.
“Yeah, I’m no Superman,” he says.
That applies to busting up criminals, too. Like most of the real-life superheroes out there–the sane ones, at least–Doktor DiscorD would rather help than fight. To see the truth in this, check out the blogs written by most real-life supeheroes. Most are clustered on MySpace. Most patrols consist of little more than superheroes chatting with residents, helping people who are lost or even refilling the plastic baggies in those doggie-doo boxes in public parks.
But while 99 percent of patrols are quiet, there are exceptions. Mr. Silent, for example, earlier this year stopped a domestic violence situation from getting out of hand. He spotted a man and woman arguing outside a bar on a busy September night. The man angrily threw the woman against a brick wall. That was all Mr. Silent needed to see.
He leapt between the man and woman, brandishing his silver cane. The man screamed at him to leave. Mr. Silent didn’t budge. The man got angrier. Mr. Silent still didn’t flinch.
That’s when the cops showed up, and carted the angry man away.
On his blog, Mr. Silent wrote about shaking with adrenaline as he left the scene. He also wrote about how unimpressed the police were with his mask and outfit. They thanked him for his help and then went about their business.
“They acted as though they always see superheroes,” Mr. Silent wrote.
Supherhero, from Clearwater, Florida, agrees that a real-life superhero should concentrate on public service, not crime fighting. Superhero is far more interested in doing good deeds–while wearing his red-and-blue costume, complete with a yellow belt emblazoned with the initials “SH” on it–than he is in jumping in the middle of gang fights. This December, he donated 200 toys to a children’s hospital.
“This is an exciting life,” Superhero says. “You can’t tell me it’s not. And I’m lucky that my girlfriend thinks it’s great, too. She zips up my suit and sends me out the door when I’m ready to patrol.”
There is hope, then, for the Boise Brigade. Once they finish their training and figure out their place in the city, maybe you’ll see them in the shadows, watching for trouble, for people in need.
If you can’t wait, move to Canada. You might run into Polar Man, a real-life superhero whose mission includes shoveling snow from the sidewalks of the elderly. You can go to New York City, too, where you might meet Terrifica, dressed in pink with a flowing blonde wig. She sits in New York City bars, usually drinking Shirley Temples, and does her best to prevent tipsy women from entering into regrettable one-night stands. She’s known among some people in the superhero community as a “super cockblocker.”
In the words of Citizen Prime, a real-life hero based in Phoenix, Arizona, it doesn’t take anything more powerful than conviction to don the superhero title:
“My biggest gripe on how we remade our world after September 11 is that we’re now always wondering what shade of afraid we are today,” Prime says. “We might have lost track of how to enjoy living. That’s one thing we can focus on as citizens and superheroes. Enjoy the time we’re given here. You might exist living your house and watching the 10 o’clock news afraid there’s going to be a shootings as soon as you drive the Buick out of the driveway. But life isn’t drab and dreary and boring. It’s exciting and bold and fun. We want to inspire our fellow citizens by engaging in good deeds. That’s what it’s about.”

Humble heroes

MASQUER-AIDES Tothian, Squeegee Man and Dark Guardian Photo: Imogen Brown

MASQUER-AIDES Tothian, Squeegee Man and Dark Guardian Photo: Imogen Brown

On a recent evening, Tothian, Squeegee Man and Dark Guardian are whisking up the West Side in their heromobile to Port Authority. Their mission is to bring help—in the form of water, granola bars and blankets—to the neighborhood’s homeless. Among bewildered shouts of “Thanks, man!” and “Yo! Is it Halloween already?!?,” the costumed crusaders distribute their goods and speed off into the night.
The three, who met on MySpace, often work independently and don’t even know each other’s real names. Squeegee Man, 26, who carries his signature implement on his belt, wears a uniform that some confuse with Superman’s, but as he indignantly reminds us, his underwear is on the inside. “I fight crime and grime,” he says. “I pick up trash, give things to the homeless and help old ladies cross the street—y’know, regular superhero stuff.” Meanwhile, Dark Guardian, 22—whose bulletproof mask has a smile drawn on it—and the 21-year-old Tothian (who won’t disclose his name’s origin for fear of revealing his secret identity) patrol bad neighborhoods in NYC and New Jersey. So far they’ve avoided brushes with real danger. “I haven’t saved anyone yet, but I’ve reported drug dealers and gambling dens to the police,” Dark Guardian says.
The superheroes take pleasure in the high-profile nature of doing good deeds in costume. “It’s in hopes of inspiring people to make the world a better place,” explains the Guardian. But the romantic returns of being a masked savior have been disappointing. “I’ve only had one girlfriend in my life,” admits Tothian. “Yeah,” snorts Squeegee Man. “And her name was Lady Invisible.” —Kate Lowenstein
For more info, go to

Non "MySpace" Communications

Tothian and many other RLS are stepping up to try and help with more sophisticated communication tools and I think this is great.  I have some expereince with this and see this as a growing interest in the community.  Be that as it is, I’d like everyone interested in this to ask themselves two things.  One, who in the rls community has experience running boards or websites like this?  And two, if we are suffering from lack of experience in this, would we want some seasoned guidance?
If ‘no one’ and ‘yes’ are the overall answers to the questions above, please take the initiative and contact me.  I can and will help get something ‘real’ going.  Blitz, Tothian and others are are scrambling to make a difference here and I have some unique experience that can contribute.
Its important to say, I’m not trying to create another brand of something others have been working on.  If I could caution everyone on one thing and one thing only, it would be running off in different directions.  The last thing we need is everyone proposing something new.  I’m trying to help unify the many people who see a need.  Hopefully, a combined effort will lead us to a quality platform and a connected community.
Why even create a tool?  Don’t we have MySpace and Frappr?  First, I feel its important to create a virtual Hall of Superheroes where we control access.  I want someone (or a council of someones) to have some control over who gets to read what.  Forums are great for this as are rl chat systems like TeamSpeak.  I believe this would lead to better communication and better trust over allowing us to put things out there and ask for help without feeling like we are being watched or monitored.  If this was not already obvious, I’m sure there are least a few law enforcement folks watching the super hero movement on MySpace.
Like Tothian, I’m not so much concerned about leading this effort as much as contributing.  I can offer my significant experience in this and hopefully that can make a difference.  My experience?  I led one of the top City of Heroes portals for over a year (forums, roster, news, live chat, all that junk) and, as my secret identity, I have created and managed a business website that maintains a forum (for three years) as well as host and present at conferences (7 years).
So if you would like, coordinate through me, or if there is a solid movement, I’ll give input if invited.  I’ll gladly do whatever I can to get something ‘quality’ up and and running if this is something people want to see.
I realize not everyone in our community is a team player (and thats just fine).  We do need to unite on this, however, and get behind a process that has us coming together – not leading off in different directions.

The beginning …

Definition: Epiphany: a sudden, intuitive perception or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple occurrence or experience.
My Epiphany
I have been having multiple conversations about Prime and the creation of so many real life events and experiences. While will be dedicated to the fictional goings on of Prime and The Night Watch, I’m making an announcement. A departure from what was and announcing what will be.
I am crossing the threshold. The real Paragon Prime is about to be born. This blog will cronicle my journey.
I hope this doesnt get confusing. I mean, many things I talk about with are my experiences and Prime fiction is based on many of my real life events.
So lets be very clear from the get go: Anything in MySpace is real. Anything in is a hazy meld of real life and fictional. There. Now that Ive said that, Im sure Ill have to repeat it a billion times.
So this particular blog is simply an announcement and intent to bring Prime from the dregs of my long term vision through the looking glass. I think there will be a lot of prep here so I dont expect to hit the streets tomorrow.
As far as leading up to this, I’m sure that’s why I was drawn here. I’ve always been leading up to this, I think. I was accepted to be in the LAPD an age ago. I didn’t like how they treated people, inluding their own and never accepted the commision. I was in Army Intelligence and that played a part in making me who I am today. I have discussed joining the Guardian Angels … the only reason I have not is distance from the nearest chapter (about 100 miles). My three dogs and me play the neighborhood watch. When someone breaks down, I stop and help. I see trouble, I pull over and see what I can do or I call the cops if outgunned or outmanned (hey, Im not mental!). Finally, I feel it coming together. The foundation has been build over the years. Now, its time to build the house of Paragon Prime.
Initially, there really isnt a lot of difference from what I do today, except I’ll be able to do more as I’ll be outfitted and loaded for bear. And being one of the primary models of excellence in the hero biz is what I will work to achieve, hence Paragon Prime will be my name as, really, it has been for a long time.
Hopefully, reading both the real Prime and the fictional Prime will bring you a fuller picture of where I see this whole nationwide hero awakening going. To be honest, I saw myself becoming a part of it from the get go. While everyone is finding their way in all this, I’ve been playing this pretty close to the vest. I feel I can now open up a little and share my real plans as well as the fictional vision. I dont see any harm and, frankly, I see a lot of good as we all share and make each other better, stronger and respected in a world that will have to get used to Professional Heroes.
Prime, Out …

Workin On New Patrol Uniform

Well since it’s been a while since I’ve been out on patrol in any kind of costume, I started a new one from scratch. I got a lotta ideas in my head…I’ll post pics when I get some real progress goin with that.
Meanwhile my regular clandestine activities will continue. A lot of which I’m loathe to speak about much over somethin like Myspace and for good reason. The people I deal with ain’t what you would call model citizens. My “Secret Identity” has to do a lot of the “dirty work”. The police can only do so much unless you give them somethin in a lot of cases in the neighborhoods I’ve lived in. So at least I got SOME “help”…it’s like washin dishes and takin out the trash. SOMEbodys gotta do it *shrug*
The higher the risk, the more careful I gotta be of course. You pick your battles ya know? >:D