“The surest way for the wicked to prevail is for enough virtuous men to remain silent–lest they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.” –Unattributed
“The sleep of reason breeds monsters.” –Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
PHOENIX JONES I’d like to make a public statement addressing the ‘news release’ posted earlier today by the district attorney Peter S. Holmes: first of all, no surprise that I was not charged with a crime as I did not commit one.
PHANTOM ZERO Ben Fodor was not charged with a crime because the individuals who he allegedly pepper sprayed did not step forward and left the area before they could be contacted by the police. Had those people stepped forward or statements had been taken, it is likely there would have been a criminal (and possibly civil) trail. Just because there was insufficient evidence to build a case does not mean that there was no wrong doing.
PHOENIX JONES Holmes claims I am a ‘deeply misguided individual.’ my concern about that statement is if I am ‘misguided’ while out on the streets of Seattle protecting people from violent assaults.
PHANTOM ZERO Holmes is free to think or say whatever he wishes. It’s his first Amendment right. His opinion might be informed by the fact that he is a District Attorney. Ben Fodor is also free to refute those claims, or if he is feeling particularily litigous, sue for slander or libel.
PHOENIX JONES ..would a ‘guided’ person just keep walking and allow someone to be kicked repeatedly in the head?
PHANTOM ZERO First, in the stabilized footage, there is evidence there is a fight. There is no evidence that someone is being kicked on the ground.
Second, a person might try to disperse a crowd without escalating the situation. Announce the police have been called. Stand, without weapons, as a witness. Perhaps by stating a camera is present, and also stating said individuals will turning the footage over to police, that those individuals are going to face police prosecution. Standard pratice for citizens should be: “observe and report.”
Third, a loud sound or a bright light, which is disconcerting and might evoke a fear response, might be a better stimulus to use than pepper spray, which is a pain response. Adrenalized (and possibly drunk) individuals tend to respond to pain stimulus by either fleeing or fighting–favoring fighting.
PHOENIX JONES He goes on to encourage legislature to pass a law about using large cans of pepper spray. Pepper spray is defined as a self defense tool and is very hard to use offensively,
PHANTOM ZERO If a person is actively seeking out trouble, or if they are purposely interposing themselves to escalate the situation to get police involved, that is an offensive, not defensive, undertaking.
A stiletto heel usually isn’t defined as a weapon, but can still be used offensively.
A shield is, by definition, defensive, but can be used offensively.
People have varied responses to pepper spray, and some people can have fatal reactions. In prisons some, whenever a guard uses pepper spray, it is mandatory report must be filed and that documentation reviewed to make sure that the use of force was not excessive, unwarranted, or an abuse of power, a medical professional must be present and that individual must immediately be tended to checked for an averse reaction and to make sure it is non-fatal, and the use of pepper spray is only warranted in situations where there is a threat of imminent and unavoidable harm.
There is no rational reason to carry a bulk of pepper spray unless you fear assault from an exceedingly large mob of people, and brandishing such weaponry can be considered threatening.
Self-defense is just that. Defending one’s self. Self-defense does not apply when attacking others. That’s called assault. That’s not defensive. That’s offensive.
PHOENIX JONES In the statement, they accuse me of having a vigilante alter ego. I have been very clear from the beginning that I am not a vigilante
PHANTOM ZERO I could be very clear that I am a Christmas elf, but that does not mean I am by my own subjective assessment.
PHOENIX JONES What I do is when I see someone in the offense of a violent crime and I detain them until the official police arrive, who have taken a public oath to serve and protect and follow the legal procedures that have been voted for by the citizens.
PHANTOM ZERO Any self-appointed person who undertakes law enforcement in their community without legal authority, as by avenging a crime, is a vigilante.
PHOENIX JONES Holmes was careful to point out that I am ‘not a hero’. I believe that the victims on the street I have saved from being car jacked, bus jacked, assaulted, the people who have needed medical attention, and the 39,827 other people here on this page alone support what I do on a daily basis
PHANTOM ZERO Public opinion, popularity, or a myriad of good deeds does not give you special status of exemption from the law. When you are in violation of the law, you suffer the consequences–and while Ben Fodor’s character and other good deeds may be taken into account–it does not automatically grant a free pass.
PHOENIX JONES A hero can be defined as a lot of different things
PHANTOM ZERO “Hero” is a word. Claiming it for one’s self does about as much as claiming one’s self a Christmas elf.
PHOENIX JONES the good part of this is that district attorney Holmes is familiar with the law and came to the proper conclusion that I did not break the law.
PHANTOM ZERO Holmes didn’t push forward because the people Ben Fodor allegedly pepper sprayed didn’t step forward and there was insufficient evidence.
PHOENIX JONES However, what troubles me is that he wants to change the good Samaritan law that currently protects the citizens rights to interject themselves into situations where other people are being harmed and they need to know that they will not receive legal retribution for doing what is morally right. This in also an important day for activists and superhero alike as our way of life was being challenged.
PHANTOM ZERO Broad laws must be altered to cater to specific circumstances because of the lowest common denominator–the actions of a few who are irresponsible, or worse, abuse, distort, and corrupt the letter of the law.
In this case, Ben Fodor is the lowest common denominator.
If Ben Fodor feared for how the changes in this law will effect the citizens, understand that the result of his own actions are solely to blame, and the result this has on incidental bystanders, concerned citizens in his local community doing legitimate community watches, and/or other Real Life Superheroes rests solely and squarely on his own shoulders.
I find the sudden and unexpected convergence a bit disquieting, considering that the majority of the real life superhero community has shunned and decried Ben Fodor from his start of being “Phoenix Jones,” and Ben Fodor has taken measures to seperate and distance “Phoenix Jones” from the real life superhero community and movement by giving himself the label and claiming to be a member of the “Rain City superhero movement”–an organization which he claimed was completely seperate from the real life superhero community–and now that Ben has gotten this exceedingly bad press, it seems he seeks to distribute this new negative attention, and impose both his fight to regain credibility and his stigmata off on real life superheroes, which he consequently constantly puts down and has nothing to do with. (Edit: And, also, consequently, censors any voices of dissent which would be negative publicity by erasing the wall posts of individuals who voice concearns, or criticize his actions or methods–such as most recently in the case Drago Hammer, but also in regard to any RLSH, or RLSV, or any private citizen…)
Ben using this as a kind of clarion call to try and rally others behind him, by trying to suddenly associate himselfself with the real life superhero movement, is insulting. Realize that by he acting in this manner and by stating such an association, Ben Fodor casts a negative light on the masses who would not judge us an individuals, but who would seek to crush us as a collective group. By stating such, Ben Fodor risks tearing the concept of real life superheroes down, including those who are perfectly peaceful, altruistic/charitable, law abiding sensible do-ers of good–as well as the entire spectrum of the completely indepenent individuals who fall under the umbrella of real life superheroes who came before you who have operated exercising discretion and sound judgement.You don’t champion a cause or an idea with bad behavior, and you certainly should claim you are doing it in the name of a pro-social movement.

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10 Real Life Superheroes Committing Crimes Against Fashion

Originally posted:
Styled by on Wednesday 07.20.11 7:31 PM
And speaking of Voguetron, there are actual superheroes among us. They’ve leapt off the pages of comic books, into the minds of fearless nerds that have re-envisioned their own crime fighting alter-egos. And they’re actually fighting crime. I know it’s true because I read about it yesterday in the August issue of GQ. In fact, there more than 200 costumed (and tweeting) vigilantes protecting average citizens from this cruel, cruel world. Meet some of the bravest, and most eccentric, here while they’re all gathered at Comic-Con in a most serious manner.
Phoenix Jones is a badass motherfucker. As the main focus of GQ’s story, it starts off with him in the hospital after being hit with a baseball bat in the same spot beneath his armor that he got punched with a key earlier that week. He was peeing blood. He went out that night again to right more wrongs. The story concludes with him and two sidekicks staring down a pack of armed crack dealers, guns pointed at them ready to shoot. The crack dealers walked away in defeat. Yes. This man is for real. And he protects Seattle. @ThePhoenixJones
Superhero is a trained policeman turned pro-wrestler turned, well, superhero. He once saved a girl from drowning in her car. When the people of Clearwater, FL ask him what they can do in return, he simply responds, “You don’t owe me anything. I’m a superhero!”
Mr. Xtreme has been a volunteer crime-fighter for more than a decade. Coming from a history rife with bullying and gang attacks against him, he decided he must take a stand and protect the innocent. Now, with spiked cuffs, x-game equipment, a bulletproof vest and crazy eyes, he protects the streets of San Diego.
Urban Avenger is Mr. Xtreme’s sidekick. He patrols San Diego covered head to toe, bespectacled green behind a gas mask. He’s bummed that his city doesn’t see as much action as Phoenix Jones, but that leaves him more time to tweet @urban_avenger.
Knight Owl admittedly went a little overboard with the costume, at one point donning a cape. He is a paramedic student by day and a real life superhero by night. @iamknightowl
Samaritan is our very own superhero here in NYC. He is a skilled martial artists and wears military fatigues to accomodate. He is a self-proclaimed peacekeeper and humanitarian that paroles the streets preventing and putting a stop to violent crimes.
Super Gay does exactly what is sounds like he does. He seduces gay-straight men and calls them out on it. Sounds like entrapment Us Weekly. But he does fight tirelessly against homophobia. We should introduce him to Unicorn Man, his new (un)faithful sidekick.
Phantom Zerois more of the bureaucratic type of superhero from North Jersey (typical). He helps people who have been screwed by circumstance by directing them to the proper lawful paper-filing way to solve their problems.
Lunar Veil and her partner Dark Wolf fight crime in Portland, but mostly work to protect animals. They’re trying to shut down a puppy mill now. But then where would we get miniature chiuauamaltipoodinese from? But I will say, steppin’ it up ladies.
Terrifica, though allegedly retired, patrolled the streets of New York City to prevent little drunk ladies from actin’ a ho. She’s been called the anti-cupid for putting a halt to the One Night Stand. Just trying to get these girls a hot meal the next week after a proper phone call is all.
See more real life superheroes in the August issue of GQ.

Phantom Zero

The Wonder Woman Among Us…

By Amy Molloy for Grazia, Issue 314, April 4th
PDF File- A wonder woman among us

Photo by Joey L

Photo by Joey L

With the police facing cuts of 20 per cent, crime rates are expected to soar. Yet when this happened in New York, ordinary people decided to take Neighbourhood Watch to the next level. Here, Irene Thomas, 22 – accountant by day, crimefighter by night – explains why ‘Wonder Woman’ could be coming to a street near you soon…

‘It’s the dead of night, in the roughest part of town and while most of the city sleeps, I’m out looking for trouble. As I pass by an alleyway I hear a woman crying. That’s my cue – I’ve got work to do.
‘If you happen to look out of your window and catch sight of me – dressed all in black, a mask covering my face – you’d never guess by day I’m actually an accountant who likes shopping, movies and sushi. To my colleagues
I’m just Irene from accounts who dyes her hair red, gossips about TV shows and dreams about getting a bigger apartment.
‘Yet for one night a week, after dinner, I transform into NYX, Greek goddess of night – a real-life superhero, fighting crime and helping those in need. To date, I’ve called the police to countless bar fights, provided evidence that helped convict drug dealers and fed hundreds of homeless people on the street of New York – all in costume.
‘I expect you’ve already written me off as someone mad on comics, who’s more likely to be found in Forbidden Planet than American Apparel, but that’s not the case. The “superhero movement” is a growing trend that I’ve been part of for five years. We’re not vigilantes and never endorse violence. Instead, we simply patrol the streets to help vulnerable people and if there’s real danger, we call the emergency services.
‘There are hundreds of us around the world – everyone from bankers to shop assistants – including a dozen in the UK. And with crime rates predicted to rise if funding for police forces is cut, it’s only a matter of time before more people get involved. Indeed, new figures released this month revealed a third more people have already joined Neighbourhood Watch in the UK in the past two years.
‘It’s not the first time civilians have taken it upon themselves to tackle crime. In the early 1980s, a volunteer group called the Guardian Angels patrolled New York in matching crimson uniforms. Their founder Curtis Sliwa was inspired by the film The Magnificent Seven. We’ve been working like this, undisturbed for years, but earlier this month two superheroes were “unmasked” and made headline news.
‘“Phoenix Jones”, a superhero from Washington who dresses in a skintight black and yellow bodystocking, was spotted apprehending a car thief as he tried to break into a vehicle. Meanwhile, a British “superhero” called The Statesman was revealed to be a banker from Birmingham, after giving an interview to a local paper claiming he had foiled a drug dealer.

Irene moved to New York to be with her superhero boyfriend – Phantom Zero. Additional photos: John Frost

Irene moved to New York to be with her superhero boyfriend – Phantom Zero. Additional photos: John Frost

‘I became involved in the movement six years ago when I was living in Kansas. Surfing the internet when I as 16, I stumbled across the MySpace page of “Doctor DiscorD” – a crime-fighting superhero in Indianapolis, who patrolled his local community in costume, breaking up fights and stopping people drink-driving. While some ridiculed him, I was amazed there were actually people out there dedicating their free time to protecting
others. And it really struck a chord with me. I witnessed my mother being assaulted when I was a child – and
her terror as she realised there was no one there to help her. I don’t think she ever escaped her fear of the man who hurt her. She died when I was 13 of cirrhosis of the liver.
‘That’s when I vowed never to let anyone control or hurt me. My mother’s premature death also gave me a deep sense of urgency. I didn’t want to die unfulfilled, before I could do any good for others.
‘So, aged 17 and still at school, I decided to go on my first “patrol”. I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing – my family were very strict and would have been horrified. Meanwhile, I was worried my friends would think I was crazy. After all, our usual idea of a night out was the cinema! To make sure no one recognised me, I wore a mask over my face. On a student budget, I dressed all in black, with fingerless gloves and a utility belt for my torch and camera.
‘I know it’s our costumes that make a lot of people dismiss us as weird or fantasists. After all, what right-minded 22-year-old would really swap her maxidress and wedges for a black bodysuit and face mask? It’s simple. Donning a uniform is liberating and can make you feel braver. Looking back, I didn’t know what I was hoping to achieve on that first patrol. I suppose I was a bit naive and could have got into real trouble. I walked around my neighbourhood before getting the courage up to head to the rough part of town. Every sound made me jump, but nothing noteworthy happened. When I got home I felt exhilarated though, buoyed that if there had been someone in need, I could have tried to help them.
‘With drugs a real problem in my neighbourhood, I decided to focus on the local dealers. I wasn’t stupid enough to try to tackle them myself. Instead, I would photograph the drug dens from the outside then send the pictures to the police. Looking back, I put myself in some dangerous situations and often felt jittery.
But I felt proud that I was trying to make my community a nicer place to live.
‘Shortly after starting my own patrols, I got in touch with other real-life superheroes online – there are now about 200 around the world. One I met was also an accountant by day, and at night he patrolled the streets feeding the homeless. Phantom Zero, whose real name I won’t reveal to protect his identity, invited me to visit him in New York.
‘On every street corner it seemed there was someone in need of help – children as young as 10, sleeping rough, starving and scared. It was so overwhelming that I realised I had to stay and help. So, I got a job at an accountancy firm in New York and, three years on, Phantom Zero is not only my street partner, but my boyfriend. We live together, though, not as people like to imagine, in some sort of bat cave, with a revolving wall that hides our costumes. I wish! In our modest apartment there are no clues of our secret double life.
‘During daylight hours our lives are no different from our friends. We work 9 to 5, come home, cook dinner and eat it in front of the telly. It’s just that, one night a week, while normal people go to bed, we head into the night and don’t return until dawn.
‘In an ideal world I’d do more, but it has to fit around my day job. We sometimes patrol during the day at weekends, but there are friends to see (who have no idea what we do) and the supermarket shop to do! It can be hard to switch off which is where the costume comes in handy. In our civilian clothes I try to think as Irene and turn off my “danger” radar so I’m not permanently on edge.
‘Some might argue being a have-a-go hero is dangerous. But I’d never get into a fight. We’re more an extra pair of eyes on the streets and our motto is “Help anyone who needs assistance”. That doesn’t necessarily mean tackling muggers or saving people from burning buildings – it could be as simple as giving a homeless
man a sandwich or volunteering at a hospital. Whatever your community needs.
‘There’s one superhero in Liberia who educates local families about the dangers of child traffickers. He has to wear a mask to protect his identity, otherwise the traffickers would come after him. Then there’s “Mr Extreme” – a superhero in San Diego – who learned a sexual predator on the police’s wanted list was last seen in his neighbourhood, so handed out flyers with the culprit’s picture on. The man has since been apprehended and the local government thanked him for his assistance.
‘Most real-life superheroes are extremely protective of their real identities. I don’t publicise what I do to my colleagues. I don’t want to be praised or – at worst – mocked for my work. Instead, I want others to realise that everyone has the capability to make a difference.
‘There’s a superhero in all of us… so what are you waiting for?’
Hair and make-up: Spring Super at Ennis Inc Additional photos: John Frost
Newspapers For more info, visit

Superheroes Among Us

Jill Smolowe and Howard Breuer with reporting by Kathy Ehrich Dowd

Photo by Pierre Elle de Pibrac

Photo by Pierre Elle de Pibrac

Slower than an speeding Bullet, they patrol city streets, hoping to lend a hand, inspire compassion and even thwart crime
She finds her work as an accountant “a boring 9-to-5 job.” But many an evening after Irene Thomas, 21, returns to her cramped 400-sq.-ft attic apartment in a town in Bergen County, N.J., she slips into a black catsuit, accessories with a red belt, red gloves and boots, and sometimes also dons a mask. When she emerges in her Honda Accord on the Manhattan side of the Lincoln Tunnel, she is Nyx, her namesake a Greek goddess of the night. While she might patrol the streets looking for anything out of the ordinary, her immediate mission is distributing food and clothes to the homeless. And she has another goal: to call attention to her actions so that “other people notice and are maybe motivated to help too.”
She is not alone. From New York City to Seattle, scores of costumed crusaders have joined the superhero movement. While their aims aren’t always unified- some cater to the needy while others are bent on thwarting crime- most of them share a desire to stomp out citizen apathy by modeling “superhero” virtues. “I just feel like I’m walking no air after I’ve helped 30 people,” says Chaim “Life” Lazaros, 26, a production manager by day, who wears a mask and fedora (a la Green Hornet) when he takes to New York’s streets at night. The superheroes, who range from dishwashers to Fortune 500 execs, cut across political, religious and age lines and are often comic book geeks, says Tea Krulos, who blogs about the phenomenon. “They don’t want to admit it, [but] it’s fun to dress up.”
Not everyone is impressed by their derring-do. On a recent night in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district, a teenage homeless girl only smirked when Motor Mouth, a ninja like fixture of the San Francisco Bay Area’s streets, handed her a bag of food. Unfazed, Motor Mouth (who refuses to give his real name) says he doesn’t mind “a million people snickering behind my back as long as there is the possibility to help.”
The costumed do-gooders, who pack nothing more lethal than first-aid kits and benign intentions, get high marks from the police. “Any time a citizen gets involved- great,” says Det. Renee Witt of the Seattle police department. Others, like Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones, 22, have crated a stir by being brazen crime fighters. In recent months Phoenix Jones claims he has interrupted knife fights, helps catch drug dealers and has been stabbed. Certainly he’s sparked discussion among his peers about boundaries. “If we see the police are already there, our philosophy is the matter has been addressed,” says Seattle’s White Baron. Most self-styled superheroes are well aware they can’t fly or outrun speeding bullets. “If you life this kind of life,” says Motor Mouth, 30, “you can’t take yourself entirely seriously.”

Dark Guardian
By Day: Martial-arts instructor, 26
Superhero Duty: Chases drug dealers
City: New York
His efforts to clean Manhattan’s Washing Square Park of drug deales do not always impress local police
By Day: Accountant, 21
Superhero Target: The homeless
City: New York
She’s given up on chasing drug dealers “Its just really fun to jump into a costume and help people,” she says.
DC Guardian
By Day: Government worker, mid-40s
Superhero Virtue: Patriotism
City: Washington, D.C.
Active in charity work, this Air Force vet also hands out American flags and talks tourist about the U.S. Constitution.
Motor Mouth
By Day: Special-education teacher, 30
Superhero Goal: Thwarting crime
City: San Francisco Bay Area
He says his attempts to “be at the right place at the right time” have included stopping a man from beating his wife.
By Day: Production manager, 26
Superhero Inspiration: His parents
City: New York
“Even something little like a razor blade” for a clean shave before a job interview, he says, “is a big deal” to the homeless
Phantom Zero
By Day: Computer technician, 34
Superhero Style: Teamwork
City: New York
Nyx’s street partner (and live-in boyfriend), he delivers clothes to women’s shelters and feeds feeds people.

Smolowe, Jill, Howard Breuer, and Kathy E. Dowd. “Superheroes Among Us.” People Magazine 75.11 (2011): 92-94. Print.

Meet 'Nyx': The 21-year-old 'Superhero' accountant who dons a black catsuit at night to patrol the streets and help the homeless9

Originally posted:
By Mark Duell
Irene Thomas is part of the Real Life Superhero Project organisation
They aim to bring help, compassion and crime prevention to the streets
By day Irene Thomas says she is a ‘boring’ accountant who lives in a cramped New Jersey flat.
By night she puts on a black catsuit and mask with a red belt, gloves and boots, gets into her Honda Accord car and comes out the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel in Manhattan as ‘Nyx’.
The 21-year-old is just one member of the Real Life Superhero Project, a group of humans who aim to bring a helping hand to people everywhere and thwart crime on city streets.

‘Nyx’: Irene Thomas, 21, of New Jersey, is far from a ‘boring’ accountant when she puts on a black catsuit and mask with a red belt, gloves and boots to become a New York superhero

Photo by Peter Tangen

Photo by Peter Tangen

Mission: The Real Life Superhero Project aims to bring a helping hand to people everywhere and thwart crime

Most superheroes in the project want to cut down citizen apathy by modelling ‘superhero’ virtues and encourage others to do the same, reported People magazine.
Nyx, who shares her name with the Greek goddess of night, gives food and clothes to the homeless of New York. She hopes ‘other people notice and are maybe motivated to help too’.
She said on the Real Life Superheroes website: ‘Like the night, I cannot be proven or disproven to certain degrees – and also much like the night, when morning comes, there will be no trace of me.’
Production manager Chaim Lazaros, 26, dons a black hat, mask and waistcoat to become ‘Life’ when he patrols the New York streets by night.
‘I just feel like I’m walking on air after I’ve helped 30 people,’ he told People magazine.

‘Motor Mouth’: The ninja-like San Francisco superhero, who is known only as a 30-year-old teacher and will not reveal his identity, told People magazine: ‘If you live this kind of life, you can’t take yourself entirely seriously’

Many homeless and vulnerable people are pleased to receive the superheroes’ help, but the reaction is not always positive.
One teenage homeless girl in San Francisco smirked when ninja-like ‘Motor Mouth’ handed her a bag of food, but this did not worry him.
‘(I don’t mind) a million people snickering behind my back as long as there is the possibility to help,’ he said.

Other stars: Samaritan joins New York superheroes Dark Guardian and Phantom Zero on the streets

‘If you live this kind of life, you can’t take yourself entirely seriously,’ he added.
Motor Mouth won’t reveal his true identity but said he is a 30-year-old teacher.
Many of those involved in the project are believed to be comic-book geeks.
Other New York superheroes include martial arts instructor Dark Guardian, 22, 34-year-old computer technician Phantom Zero, and Samaritan, who lives and works in the city.

Phoenix Jones: The 22-year-old from Seattle is one of America’s most famous ‘superheroes’ and claims to have broken up knife fights, caught drug dealers and been stabbed in the line of duty

One of America’s most famous ‘superheroes’ is Seattle-based Phoenix Jones, 22, who claims to have broken up knife fights, caught drug dealers and been stabbed.
He is part of a group called the Rain City Superhero Movement, which tries to keep the streets safe and has received the backing of the Seattle police department.

Inside the world of real life superheroes

Originally posted:
LYNDHURST, N.J. – November 22, 2010 (WPVI) — Superheroes have been a part of our popular culture for generations. But you may be surprised to know that an actual real-life superhero community exists.
At first you might be quick to judge them. But once you hear their tragic backgrounds that mirror many of the fantasy figures we’ve come to love and their powerful missions you might think twice.
One says: “My name is Phantom Zero; I chose it because I have a love of cinema.”
Another says: “The name Nyx came from the Greek goddess of the night, which was the only time I could go out which was at night.”
We don’t know their real names, and we’re not allowed to show you their true identity. That’s because Nyx and Phantom Zero are living double lives.
“I read my first comic when I was 13 and I just kept thinking there has to be people that are doing this, obviously they don’t have super powers, but there still has to be people who want to do something good for the world,” explained Nyx.
Nyx discovered the Real Life Superheroes online community 5 years ago. It’s a community that stretches all over the world bringing strangers together with one common goal.
The secret society hopes to open the doors of their world to the public by allowing one man to tell their stories.
“I did quite a bit of research and discovered that the vast majority of media coverage was more exploitation only, they were looking for the humor in this story,” filmmaker Peter Tangen said.
Tangen is part of a team putting together a documentary about real life superheroes. He said he quickly learned that what these men and women are about is no laughing matter.
“I hope that as people learn about these individuals that they can look at their own lives and make a positive difference in the world around them,” Peter said.
Nyx says some of the heroes, including her, got into this to help fill a void.
“When I was 13 my mom died and that motivated me to want to do more with my life because she had never really gotten to live,” Nyx said.
Nyx also revealed she grew up in a strange religious sect forcing her to fight crime in the streets of Kansas City strictly at night.
“I couldn’t let them know that I was going out being a superhero and trying to help people.”
Nyx soon found her escape through Phantom Zero and moved to New Jersey. Like her, he too dealt with a tragic loss.
“One of the major motivations of me doing this was the death of my father,” said Phantom Zero.
Together they don’t fight crime but they do offer help to the homeless in New York and New Jersey.
But how are they received?
“Usually the people you’re helping don’t really care about the attire; they’re more than willing to accept help,” said Phantom Zero.
Nyx and Phantom Zero understand they will still have critics. But their hope is this:
“It’s very hard to convince the common man to pay attention to things, certain plights certain problems, in doing this we kind of standout and direct attention to those things,” Phantom Zero said.
For more information:
The Real Life Superhero Project
Real Life Superheroes
Superheroes Anonymous
Peter Tangen, Photographer
A site that challenges individuals to become heroes by undertaking various pro-social projects…
Superhero forums:

The Violation of Healthy Distance
The Violation of Healthy Distance (and how it pertains to the RLSH community)
Individuals should have freedom to exist and express themselves in a community without fear of reprisal.
Optimally, communities function under an umbrella of mutual respect. There are personal boundaries one must observe to respect an individual’s privacy. There should be a concept of “healthy distance” in any on-line community. These are unenumerated rights and unspoken rules which should be acknowledge and followed.
Thankfully, these people constitute a good portion of the Real Life Super Hero community.
There are also individuals who have a diminished capacity to, or have chosen to have a diminished ability to, compartmentalize (similar to how people must learn to compartmentalize family life, work life, school life, etc. and then from that point prioritize). These individuals are unwilling or unable to some degree to draw a clear line between what transpires in the RLSH community and the line that separates it from other facets of real-life. This can be somewhat understandable, as people in the community can be very passionate about what they do, and for many it represents a great investment of time, and identifying as a Real suffuses multiple aspects of their lives. Often times, if this is the case, these individuals may in some cases take things too seriously or too personally, but at the bare minimum, they are able to interact with others with a modicum of decorum and tact within a relatively normative or expected spectrum.
There are also select individuals who associate with this community–somewhat on the fringe, and a relative minority, but who still known and walk amongst it even now–who can be observed to be problematic. Some people take it a step further–and not a step in a positive direction. They develop an unhealthy fixation on the community and/or individuals therein  There are no lines, no boundaries, no remorse, and no redemption. Either by merit of delusion/insanity, cowardice, compulsion, spite, hatred, jealousy, zealotry, or perversity–blind or uncaring of boundaries–they seek to invade other’s healthy distance, they seek to prey upon the weak, malign or harm individuals or groups, or ceaselessly and unrelentingly assail sound and rational ideologies, while promoting themselves, their weakness, or unsound ideologies. (My theory is some people lack emotional maturity or restraint, and have yet to be truly self-actualized. As often times there are no other areas of their life, and community becomes their life. But I digress… at least for now).
I know of a number of luminary individuals in the community, both past and present, who have been mistreated as such by these unscrupulous individuals, as well as a number of promising individuals who were chased off or decided to leave after being mistreated by the same unscrupulous individuals.
Violations of these boundaries which I have observed against individuals in the community include, but are not limited to:
? Acting in a manipulative or predatory manner, especially in respect to minors or individuals in a cognitively, emotionally, or psychologically compromised/disadvantaged state
?        Attempting to acquire information, such as IP address or phone number, by soliciting an email or phone call–wherein afterwords the call or email can be traced via ip trace, online services, web searches, caller id, etc.
?        Attempting to force someone to do something, especially when the consequence of refusal is potentially very disadvantageous to the individual
?        Banning or censoring, or threatening to ban or censor, an individual from a message board or forum without cause or provocation, or with the intent to manipulate or ply leverage (NOTE: Not so much a concern now, but a major problem during the earlier days of the RLSH community, where checks and balances did not exist and individuals’ fickleness and megalomania ran unchecked)
?        Being disingenuous (e.g. claiming someone else’s work as your own)
?        Bulling/Cyber-Bullying
?        Contacting someone or threatening to contact someone unsolicited in the real world (e.g., showing up at someone’s home or place of work)
?        Contacting someone unsolicited by telephone/text, or private (esp. “civilian”) e-mail, especially when said telephone or e-mail number was given without prior consent, and especially if the intent is to disquiet or disturb
?        Contacting someone via telephone while other unannounced parties are listening in without prior consent
?        Demanding someone’s attention, communication, or private contact information on the basis the individual owns, operates, or moderates a web site, service, message board, or forum, especially if said request is an attempt to circumvent a previous request for non-contact or is an attempt to disturb or disquiet
?        Disseminating personal information (name, phone number, email address, or personal records), even if such information is readily accessible, especially if such information is passed on to individuals whose intent is to harass the person in question
?        Distorting the truth, omitting the truth, or fabricating the truth (outright lying) to con, convince, or manipulate an individual, be they a member of the community or a representative from the media, or a group of individuals, especially if said deception makes the individual making said claims seem more credible, more enticing, more legitimate, more popular, etc. in the eyes of another individual, media or general public
?        Doing/threatening to do vandalism or causing/threatening to cause damage or outright destruction to one’s property
?        Gathering, archiving, or actively searching for personal information on individuals within the community, with the intent to use that information for leverage at a later time, either personally or via proxy
?        Harassment
?        Making private correspondence public without prior consent
?        Not observing etiquette and politeness within tolerable levels, especially when the intent is merely to bother or cause disruption
?        Publicly slandering someone via name calling, perpetuating unsavory character assignations, or spreading rumors/misinformation
?        Purposely instigating a fight between individuals, groups, message boards, or social/philosophical factions in hopes of causing a fall out or flame war
?        Recording a phone conversation without consent
?        Rejecting a person’s right to wish to disassociate with you should they ask you to leave them alone, be it directly via phone calls, text messages, e-mail, private messages, or publicly by continually referencing that individual or by making it obvious that an individual’s online activity is being persistently monitored or followed
?        Sending correspondence which is seeded with malware or spyware, especially if the intent is to cause harm to another person’s computer or gather personal information
?        Showing up at a gathering of peers in a public place unannounced (crashing) with the intent to disquiet or disturb, especially so if the individual refuses to leave if asked by the organizers), or if it is a general sentiment expressed by the body of individuals, or if select individuals have reason to be disturbed or disquieted (i.e. only being present somewhere to act in an obtrusive manner and harass that individual or group)
?        Stalking/Cyber-Stalking
?        Threatening someone’s spouse, family, or the sanctity of one’s home or workplace, or purposely engaging in an activity that would compromise someone’s career or personal relationships
?        Unwarranted sexual advances or inappropriate comments to that effect, especially with intent to demean or objectify
?        Using/threatening to use any form of unwarranted social/community leverage or other forms of coercion or manipulation
?        Using/threatening to use physical violence
?        Violating someone’s personal space, which includes unsolicited touching or tampering with one’s personal effects or personal space
The reasons why the above examples are improper behavior should be self-evident (especially since much of the above is illegal, if not immoral, and highly unheroic). Many people still choose to associate with these unscrupulous individuals. Some, because the unscrupulous parties in questions seek out new blood. The unscrupulous individuals misrepresent themselves as benevolent and helpful emissaries, seeking allies to buffer themselves against detractors (or possible future marks); as the new bloods are unaware of a person’s track record or history, the new bloods don’t know any better. Others in the community, out of a malformed sense of camaraderie and manipulation on the part of unscrupulous individuals, refuse to question aberrant actions, or accept whole cloth lies conjured up as justification. Some individuals in the community even accept these some of these individuals out of pity, as some unscrupulous individuals do such to fill voids in their life out of a parasitic need for attention. Some individuals in the community tolerate unscrupulous individuals in the community out of fear of reprisal, for in rejecting that individual they may bring down some wrath upon them, or by rejecting the unscrupulous individual it may seem like they are acting in defiance of the status quo.
Why I found I should post this:
My hope is that I can convince more people to be aware and exercise caution and discretion when engaging individuals before offering them their unrestricted access, confidence and trust. Individuals caught unaware will only empower these unscrupulous individuals and sustain their existence. Forearmed with knowledge, we can halt victimization in the community, and sap those few unscrupulous individuals of their strength as to make them a non-issue.
My hope is that you can avoid harm and heartache others have been subjected to, learn from the past, and look towards the future.
Be Well,
Phantom Zero
EDIT (9/19/10) Corollary Statements:
I realize I illustrated a number of bad behaviors above, but not how to avoid them or what to do about them. It is far from being a complete list. As follows, in no particular order:
? If you are aware that someone is acting in a predatory manner towards a minor or other disadvantaged individual, report it to a moderator (if a forum/message board), a complaints department (if a social networking site), or otherwise to the local law enforcement.  Even if they can’t take direct action based on evidence provided, it will go on record, so if such violations are serial behavior, the level of concern will be heightened.
?        Don’t arbitrarily call or email an individual, because there are ways to trace it back to you.
?        Don’t let someone victimize you by using leverage or blackmail. The most common threat against individuals I hear about in the community is having someone reveal their RLSH identity in their civilian life to members of their work, school, or family in an attempt to embarrass or threaten the stability of their normal lives. The threat of spreading a rumor about an individual has also been levied against members of the community.
?        If someone threatens to do damage to your property, or does damage to your property, log it with the local law enforcement.
?        While there are kind and good moderators on forums or message boards, the truth of the matter is that they are privately owned or operated, so what they say goes (even if you don’t like it). I’ve seen too many people worn thin by a bad experience on a message board and then carrying a torch of ire against that particular establishment. These sentiments end up festering, and people who share these negative opinions tend to cluster, causing mass disruption and social strife in a community that is geared towards helping individuals. If you have a problem, my suggestion is you just fold and move on and not cause that particular institution any more trouble/grief. In my opinion, it is better to interact on a site where there is private filtering so you control what content you see and who you interact with. (It should be noted that I have never been an active member of a forum or message board as a RLSH–solely based on my past experiences. Also, because it is a major investment of time.).
?        Give credit where credit is due. You’ll find that helping your fellow RLSH out strengthens the bonds within our community. In addition, try to be truthful and honest. Don’t try to garnish the truth or fabricate stories, as it makes you look disingenuous. Bullying is comprised of serial behavior where in “a more powerful individual or group emotionally, verbally and/or physically abuses those who are less powerful. Cyber-Bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.” Once again, if you are being bullied by a member of the community, report it to a moderator (if a forum/message board), a complaints department (if a social networking site), or otherwise tell someone in it who you trust.
?        If someone online shows up unsolicited in the real world, report it to your superior at work, to an authority or security agent at school, or to the local law enforcement.
?        If someone contacts you by telephone/text, or private (esp. “civilian”) e-mail, ask them where they got said information.  If it disturbs you, ask that they not call again. If they persist in calling after you’ve asked them to stop, request a copy of your phone records and take it to the local law enforcement, block the number, or change your number.
?        While information may be accessible easily, you shouldn’t arbitrarily spread it around. Make it a point not to put detailed information online, as even small bits of outdated info can help an individual trying to investigate you. There are people who will try to piece together information about you.
?        If someone codifies in you, assume (unless otherwise stated) that the information is private (be it a telephone conversation, an email, or a private message).
?        Some basic netiquette (modified from Wikipedia’s entry on netiquette): Avoid flame wars and spam. Avoid typing in all caps or grossly enlarging script. One’s posts in a public forum are public. Keep private posts and information private–this includes using BCC when addressing a large group of individuals in mass mail, and not sending mail to civilian or work accounts. If someone asks to be removed from an email thread, please respect their wishes. When someone makes a mistake, be kind about it. If it’s a minor error, you may not need to say anything. If you need to correct, address, or rebuke someone for someone, better to do it in private (via email or private message), as to minimize a person’s embarrassment, as doing it in public only provides a stage complete with audience for another person’s humiliation.
?        Avoid spreading information or rumors without confirming said information from he source or finding some other way to confirm the credibility of the received information. Often times, people will seed information with is purposely untrue in order to proliferate it through the community. Even though the information is not publicly broadcast, it finds a backdoor through this private rumor mill. Many people assume it is truth. In this way, you act as a pawn in another person’s attempt to manipulate members of the community.
?        If someone asks you to leave them alone, leave them alone.
?        Keep your virus scanning software, spybot software, firewall, and/or other protections up to date (for a list of downloads, see below).  Educate yourself in regards to net security.  Don’t open up suspicious attachments on emails, or even emails from a strange or unknown source. Don’t follow links from an untrusted source.
General Downloads
AVG Antivirus
Spybot Search and Destroy
Windows Defender
Add-Ons For Mozilla Firefox
Adblock Plus
Note: The above advice is given in good conscience and good faith.  However, Phantom Zero takes no responsibility for the installation/misinstallation or use/misuse  of the above applications/software.  Any difficulties, problems, errors, or damages to one’s own or another’s  computer upon using/misusing the above are the sole responsibility of the installer/owner of the computer, and both Phantom Zero and the providers for these services (via their Terms of Use) hold themselves free of responsibility.
?        Stalking is a term commonly used to refer to: “unwanted, obsessive attention by individuals (and sometimes groups of people) to others.” Cyberstalking is defined as: “the use of the Internet or other electronic means to stalk or harass an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization. It may include false accusations, monitoring, making threats, identity theft, damage to data or equipment, the solicitation of minors for sex, or gathering information in order to harass.” Both are illegal in most jurisdictions. Archive any correspondence. Contact your local law enforcement.
As a side note, even though it does not pertain to the RLSH community per say (all though I know a lot of you have kids), if you are a parent and you have a minor who has access to a computer, consider parental monitoring and restriction software. Many phone companies also offer plans where in a child can call out/receive calls to a list of restricted numbers, block numbers relatively easily, set limits on calling time, texting, instant messaging, and/or have calling is heavily monitored.
Feel free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the above whole text (including this disclaimer) in bulletins, blogs, on social networks, message boards, forums, e-mails, so long as you attribute the above to Phantom Zero for re-use (but not in any way that suggests that Phantom Zero endorses you or your use of the work). You must also place a URL to link citing the initial posting so others may find the original work ( ). This work may not be reproduced for non-commercial purposes. Please do not alter, transform, make derivative works which build upon this work, or dissect any part of this work as to have it taken out of context. No content from this post may be used for republication in periodicals, newspapers, magazines, or in news reports by the general media without express clearance from Phantom Zero. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from Phantom Zero.

Brooklyn’s Own Superheroes

Originally Posted:
A fantastic foursome of Real Life Superheroes tackles crime fighting on borough at a time
By Tea Krulos
zimmer_nycheroesZ bounces from foot to foot, ducking and weaving, and then works the bag: Left-Left! Right! Left! Right-Right! Left! Right! He keeps swinging while some heavy tracks from Penthouse (aka 50 Tons of black Terror) blast in the background. His fists connect with the punching bag so hard that it leaves gouges in his knuckles that he later bandages.
The twentysomething is known only by that single letter, and is a member of a team of crime fighters known as The new York Initiative, a small group of brooklynbased vigilantes who spend their spare time fighting crime.
The new York Initiative is a splinter group from a worldwide movement of people calling themselves Real Life Superheroes (RLSHs), who adopt costumed personas of their own invention and take a number of approaches to the concept. It may seem like mere role-playing or a cheap copy of the popular The Watchmen comic and recent movie, but this growing cohort take their responsibility to do good seriously.
Some conduct charity fundraisers or visit children’s hospitals. others do civic duties like picking up litter or handing out food, water and supplies to the homeless. many do “safety patrols,” much like a concerned citizens’ walking group might. A few of the superheroes, like the NYI, actively fight crime. This anonymous, leaderless Justice League has been estimated to be anywhere from 100 to 400 members strong in cities from coast to coast, as well as around the world. They convene online in chatrooms and message boards or form groups on Facebook.
Unlike many other RLSHs who dedicate a small area for their alter ego—a spare room, basement, the trunk of their car or a sock drawer—the NYI have devoted their entire apartment to the lifestyle. A lot of the “crime fighting gear” is illegal in new York, so it remains unused, stored in the apartment. Z flaunts the collapsible batons, stun knuckles (that make a loud zapping sound), throwing knives and spiky hand guards that look like something Genghis Khan would brawl in.
He also hands me weapons out of an umbrella stand of pain: a couple of giant ax handles bound with duct tape, a metal pipe and an ordinary walking cane, which he wields as a fighting stick. Another rack holds more practical items such as protective arm gauntlets, gloves, flashlights, walkie-talkies and binoculars. I notice a decorative battle-ax and a pair of katanas. A workbench and shelves hold a mess of tools, building materials and armor.
The group’s “gadgeteer”—he calls himself Victim—shipped a box from his home in seattle with a sampling of different panels of polycarbonate squares, hoping to test the durability against a variety of weapons. Z shows a panel with a few minor dents in it; the polycarbonate has withstood a variety of knives and blunt instruments.
Then there’s Lucy, a kitten they found on the street that they nursed back to health. she’s purring and rubbing up against body armor. A strange juxtaposition of cute and cruel.
Near the workbench, a dry erase board lists some nYI goals for the next year. A mirror on the wall has a piece of paper stuck to it with a quote: “What can be broken, must be broken.”
Z shares his Brooklyn apartment with Tsaf and Zimmer, two other self-proclaimed superheroes. (since they are trying to maintain their anonymity, they asked that their exact location not be disclosed.)
lucid_nycheroesTsaf (pronounced saph) is the team’s only active female member. she is small but toned and emits a Zen-like calm. While Z punches, she meditates in her room.
Zimmer, 22, has no secret identity or code name and since he already has a snazzy surname, he uses it. He first learned about RLSHs when he was a teenager in Texas. He later started patrolling at 18 in Austin. He moved to new York and has graduated from an EMT certification course and serves as the “field medic” for the team.
Zimmer gathers gear and adjusts the straps on his “Northstar non-lethal backpack,” a powerful but compact LED light, clasped to the chest with backpack straps. The light is blinding and can be used to daze attackers. When he demonstrates it outside, the spotlight hits the night sky like a bat signal searching the tops of buildings. The power source is a row of batteries in the bottom of the small backpack, wired to the light. His backpack also holds a first-aid kit, cPr mask and handcuffs in case of a citizen’s arrest.
The only person missing is Lucid. The fourth NYI member, Lucid isn’t available for the night’s patrol because he’s working his job as bouncer at a Williamsburg bar.
After a couple more rounds with the punching bag, Z sits down and begins strapping on his full body armor, a homemade medley of leather, pads and stainless steel bits and pieces, which he describes as a “poor man’s Iron Man suit.” The suit includes boots, leg, knee and ankle pads. A pair of arm bracers he made out of leather and steel are attached to his arms with truck ties and work as both defense and offense. To complete the look, he wears a black Predator-type mask sure to creep out anyone who sees it on the street. He then puts on his “butcher mail,” a stab-proof apron of metal scales over a lightweight bulletproof vest, which he then covers with a sleeveless, brownleather zip-up.
As Z buckles and snaps his gear into place, he begins to describe what it feels like to don his costume. “It depends who is around,” Z says as he pulls the straps on the arm bracers. “But I’d say it’s almost like a holy, sacred feeling for me.”
Z and Zimmer say they have similar goals, but they often have different ideas on the proper approach. Zimmer compares himself and his philosophies to the movie The Matrix and Z relates his persona to Fight Club. It’s a pretty accurate description of their personalities: Zimmer as the cyber rebel and Z as an enigmatic underground street fighter.
Zimmer has strong connections with the RLSH movement and is an administrator for the Heroes Network, one of the two major online forums for RLSH. His gear includes jeans with built-in kneepads and calf-high canvas shoes, along with his signature T-shirt printed with the binary code for the letter “Z” (01011010) in white numbers down the side. He also works as a freelance writer, churning out articles about science and technology, and his room is overflowing with piles of books on computer programming.
Z has chosen the last letter of the alphabet for other, mysterious reasons. He also explains that he’s had issues with the RLSH movement, including a couple of RLSH who claim they have “metaphysical powers.” He feels some RLSHs have inflated egos or are simply bloviating. And then there are the spandex outfits: Don’t even get him started.
“Everything I wear is either protective gear or to blend in during plainclothes patrols, with gear underneath. No spandex. Ever,” Z explains. “If I ever wear spandex, I deserve to get shot down in the street like the dumbass that I am.”
Z moved from Detroit to Philly and finally to New York, and his room is spare: the punching bag, some weights, a mattress.
Z and Zimmer say their goal in moving to the city was to assemble the NYI. Several others had planned to make the pilgrimage to New York as well, including Death’s Head Moth from Virginia and Lionheart from London. For a variety of reasons, it didn’t work out. The NYI remains a gang of four.
On its website, the NYC Resistor describes itself as “[a] hacker collective with a shared space located in Downtown Brooklyn. We meet regularly to share knowledge, hack on projects together and build community.”
Zimmer claims to have a lot of involvement with hackers, and has spoken about RLSHs at two different hacker conventions, including one in Austria. “I think hackers and Real Life Superheroes have a lot in common in what they do, but a lot of people in this community probably don’t see that,” he says.
The three of us walk to the collective’s warehouse near the Fulton Mall for its first “Show and Tell” night, an open invitation to share any useful gadget. Inside, 15 or so people show off things: a portable UV light and a self-balancing unicycle. Zimmer takes the stage and demonstrates his Northstar and explains the premise of the NYI, and then calls Z up, who shows off his stainless steel arm bracers, clanking them together loudly. When he dons his new mask and turns on an LED light attached to its side, some in the audience gasp. Because the mask resembles the Predator alien, someone asks if he also has a missile launcher built into the shoulder. Afterward, one young man in his twenties approaches the duo, saying he’d like to be involved with tech support for the NYI.
As we head back to the NYI headquarters, we’re stopped half a block from the subway platform by the police. They ask to see what is in the metal suitcase we’re carrying and find Z’s arm bracers. “Skateboard pads,” Z explains. They seem to accept his explanation but decide to pat us down anyway. The cops tell us they stopped us because we’re white and therefore, the only reason for us to be in the neighborhood would be to buy drugs.
When Z and Zimmer say that they live a block away, the cops are surprised. “In fact, we’re trying to do something kind of like a community block watch or safety patrol,” Zimmer explains.
“Block watch?” one officer snorts. “Naw, fuhgetabout that. You’ll get shot. The guys in this neighborhood, they’ll shoot you and no one will tell us who did it. There’s a strong ‘no snitching’ rule out here.”
Warnings from police and others don’t deter the NYI, and shortly after encountering the cops that night, the trio of superheroes begin their pre-patrol rituals. They plan to stage a “bait patrol.”
The strategy is that Z will skate ahead on a longboard, a sturdy, fast skateboard made for cruising. The longboard is also a good excuse to be wearing a lot of protective gear. Next in the lineup is the bait (described as the “nucleus” of the patrol)—usually TSAF or Zimmer. In tonight’s case, TSAF wears a white dress, purple eye makeup and is carrying a bulky purse. She tries to lure predators looking for someone vulnerable. Zimmer follows on foot about a block behind her.
Lucid, if he were here, would act as a runner, skating back and forth on his longboard between the group members as they move forward. TSAF watches for Z; Zimmer watches for TSAF; and Lucid would be watching everyone. Communication is vital: All parties are connected by cell phone, ready to leap into action if anything happens.
“I don’t see this movement fading away, superheroes are real now and there is no turning back.”
It looks good on paper, but we encounter some problems. First, I am trying to keep up with Z, but my board is having some technical issues. We backtrack for a pair of pliers to fix the skateboard. Back on the street, we make it just a few blocks before determining that there are tech problems with the phones. The NYI can’t hear each other. There is much frustration all around, and Z decides to call off the patrol.
The next day, I skate around Brooklyn with Z, running errands. Z and the NYI are more or less everyday New Yorkers, trying to live their lives with normal friends and day jobs. Their secret night patrols are the only thing that makes them feel different. We end the day at a Williamsburg bar, where Lucid works security and the NYI spend spare time hanging out.
After a few games of pool, Z and I decide to skate around for a bit. That’s when we spot an intoxicated young woman stumbling along and tripping over her high heels down the empty street. “Let’s do an impromptu bait patrol,” Z says. “You fall behind, and I’ll skate ahead.” So we follow the woman for several blocks, trying to remain inconspicuous. I hang way back and gave Z a “thumbs up” sign periodically. The woman stumbles to a bus and boards. All clear.
Dark Guardian organized the meet-up under the Washington Square Park arch, while a horde of people enjoyed a science fair on a sunny day. Dark Guardian is from Staten Island and says he’s had several nighttime confrontations in the park. His goal is to try to kick drug dealers out of the park by himself or with other small groups of RLSH.
Armed with a crew of cameramen and a bullhorn, Dark Guardian has walked up to drug dealers in the dark corners of the park dressed in black motocross gear, telling them to leave.
Some left and some didn’t. He was often outsized and outnumbered, and he says one alleged dealer flashed a gun tucked into his waistband. Dark Guardian didn’t let it deter him. He returned to the park several times, relying on the confidence he’s acquired as a martial arts instructor.
Today’s meeting is meant to assemble other like-minded individuals. A few showed up: The Conundrum (New Jersey); Hunter and Blue, a dynamic duo from Manhattan; and Mike, who hasn’t picked a persona yet but is interested in the idea. Dark Guardian has been leading an effort to unite RLSHs of New York—including Nyx and Phantom Zero, Life, Champion, Thre3, Blindside and Samaritan—to work together.
Zimmer also decides to attend, a significant step in Dark Guardian’s quest to unite a larger group of people in New York. Zimmer and Z have had disputes with Dark Guardian, who administrates The Real Superheroes Forum (, which is similar to Zimmer’s Heroes Network. It turns out in real life, superheroes are not free of Internet drama, and the two forums often have disagreements about methodology and public relations, which has led to long, drawn-out arguments. Today, however, Zimmer and Dark Guardian have put aside their differences to pool information.
“I hope to get more people involved in New York City in making their communities a better place,” says Dark Guardian. “I hope to get Real Life Superheroes working together to make a bigger difference. I would like to get patrol groups together, work on community service projects and organize events. Real Life Superheroes can make a real difference here. I see the real life superhero movement growing and more people getting involved. I would like to see things become more organized and for there to be some form of training. I would love to be a part of that. I don’t see this movement fading away, superheroes are real now and there is no turning back.”
As for the New York Initiative in Brooklyn, Z says that its main goal is to try to do the right thing and protect people on the street who need help.
“There’s a lack of decency in the world. That’s something we’re about,” Z explains. “We’re not trying to just be badass dudes. We’re trying to be decent people.”

The 12 Greatest Real-Life Superheroes of All Time

Originally Posted:
By DaveHoward
The LAPD has performed a bltizkreig assault on Superheroeson Hollywood Blvd ( ). True, just in front of the world famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater, dozens of Real-Life people who dress as superheroes on a daily basis were rounded up in a raid. In a sinister government plot not seen since “Heroes., Police jailed members of the” X-Men,” Batman, Edward Scissorhands, Bumblebee, Mr. Incredible and Catwoman. The Incredible Hulk and Superman were just two of the iconic loiterers who outsmarted the fuzz and returned to panhandle another day. Unlike these classic, renowned panhandlers, here are 12 people who really make a difference with their superhero costumes.
httpv:// God Thor Stops A Home Invasion/Robbery
This annoying man in the video to your left lets us all know exactly what happened (for a written version of the story, click the link at the bottom of this item).
During a home invasion, a robber was stunned to find a man dressed as the Norse God Thor inside, defending the home. The intruder was chased off from the flat in Edinburgh and left his shoes, and a pitchfork behind. The man jumped out of a window, landing on a roof and was not heard from again after he escaped the Norse God’s wrath.
Local resident Torvald Alexander was dressed up as Thor for a New Year’s Eve Party. The man is 40 years old, and still completely and irrevocably awesome.
httpv:// Prevents Comic Book Robbery
In this absolutely heartwarming story, a local comic book store owner dressed as Spider-Man to commemorate International Free Comic Book Day. He stood around his store dressed as the masked hero all day, greeting customers and enjoying the day. That is, until a man tried to steal a comic book worth well over $100.
The owner, dressed as Spidey the whole time, noticed the shoplifter, took the book out of his bag and brought him to justice.
The best quote from the video is the shop-owner himself getting quite cheeky and letting people know about the crew who helped him out (a couple dressed as Jedi Knights and a man dressed as The Flash): “The Jedis watched the door, while The Flash kept things running…”. Well played, sir. Well played.
httpv:// Hare Actually Cleans Up Cincinnati Crime
As the movie/comic book “Kick-Ass” asked, “why does nobody actually dress up and try to be a superhero?”… this leader of an Avengers-style (kind of) crew in Cincinnati who calls himself “Shadow Hare” proves that question wrong.
He and his team of “heroes” patrol the streets of Cincinnati, OH, and solve crimes, help the homeless and walk around in broad daylight like it was Halloween at your local high school and nobody had enough money for a real costume.
It’s great to see people legitimately helping out the general public while asking for nothing in return; but it’s funnier to see them dressed up like comic book heroes and handing certified police men business cards in case they “ever need help”.
Their persistence, at least, is nothing to be laughed at — despite Shadow Hare himself talking like the narration in a badly written comic book.
Batman and Robin Catch Drug Suspect
Two police men dressed up as Batman and Robin captured a suspected drug offender in a weird sting operation. Once they approached the door, their intent (to confuse/disorient/distract the offenders) worked to their advantage, as the offenders would not answer the door for some crazy, costumed strangers knocking loudly on their door.
When one of the suspects decided to run out to the back of the house to try and escape, Batman and Robin were there waiting for him. Batman chased the man, hopped over a fence and arrested him. According to fellow officers, PC Eames said: “The bad thing about the operation is that we had to endure hours of terrible puns from PC Holman.”
httpv:// Holy Trinity: Dark Guardian, Life and Phantom Zero
DARK GUARDIAN is the leader of a Holy Trinity, followed by LIFE and PHANTOM ZERO. Trained in martial arts, DARK GUARDIAN prides himself on patrolling the inner cesspools of New York City. Knowing that safety comes first, he is one of the few superheroes that actually dons a bullet proof vest (he’s the red one in the video). While he hasn’t been shot, guns have been drawn on him… scary as he only arms himself with pepper spray. According to his MySpace ( there is a meeting of the heroes this upcoming Sunday (6/8/2010). His powers include: – Bullet-proof vest – Human strength and (obviously) Persistence.
LIFE is one of the few Hassidic Jewish Superheros, and can be found in the video to your left. Born of meager means, he followed the tenants of his faith. This includes leaving the world in a better place than he found it. From “This moral code, underscored with a powerful sense of social justice, led him to his work with the homeless and disenfranchised that he found all around him, dispensing those seemingly small amenities that vitally fill in the gaps left by the NYC Department of Homeless Services.”
His powers include: – Giving toiletries to the homeless – Helping confused/needy homeless find shelter – Giving out food to the homeless. L’chaim! He can be found at
PHANTOM ZERO is one of the first bridge and tunnel superheroes. Based in New Jersey, he’s often found on the streets of New York. While in most media appearances, he seems like an earnest enough bloke, do not cross him. In this video, he responds to detractors.
From his MySpace page: “The most important aspect of being a Real Life Super Hero is as simple as this: You selflessly serve a pro social mission. It’s not about conquering groups of people to display your physical or martial prowess. It’s not about having scads of cutting edge technology at your disposal. It’s not about training one’s mind to the limits of human perfection so they can out think everyone and everything that comes their way.”
You’re nobody until Fox News mocks you as a misguided “do-gooder” (and then outs your secret identity).
Razorhawk, a former gas station employee, patrols the evil confines of Minneapolis. While crime is not the most important thing in the City of Lakes, he still helps out. He spends his time volunteering helping seniors and a very successful Toys For Tots program.
He doesn’t care for the term “Superhero” but prefers “the title Masked Adventurer as I do not have any special abilities or powers. I am just a guy who wears a uniform and promotes safety and crime awareness. I perform safety patrols in my town and in Minneapolis, as well as help out with many charities that help kids.”
He can be found at
Previously known as Hellcat, Felinity, and Sphynx; NYX is an ever-evolving superhero. Also a bridge and tunneler, she is one of the few female superheroes, filling the boots of such retired greats as Terrifica (who patrolled NYC bars saving cosmo’d women from bad decisions).
Usually donned in lingerie, she stands for diversity.
From her MySpace ( “I respect all RLSHs (Real Life Superheroes) of every sort, it’s not an easy life we’ve chosen but we’ve chosen it nonetheless.”
Here she explains what the platform of the Real Life Superhero Project should be… just pretend it makes sense.
httpv:// Prime – Utah Crime Fighter Extraordinaire
Citizen Prime hails from Utah and has recently announced his retirement. It’s too bad because his costume is great, even if it’s really really loud (after this fascinating video, see his interview at about 2:35).
This is, in part, due to his house being burgled and some key elements of his persona being taken from him.
Formerly calling Arizona his home, he has appeared at the Phoenix Comic-Con and tralled the mean streets of the Super Bowl parking lot.
– His real passion is working with kids, helping them find the hero within. He appears in the video around the 2:30 mark. He works with kids in a program that is built for people to defend themselves, as well as discover their inner hero. A kind of a Tony Robbins for kids.
His MySpace page can be found at
Enigma, a pro-green superhero that hails from San Antonio, home of the Alamo.
His philosophy is simple: “Pride, Integrity and Honor.”
From his MySpace, ( ):
“I was put on this earth gifted from the lord, gifted to accomplish goals both mentally and physically challenging. I am here to help others and defend ones in need. I’m here to help clean up society and make the world feel and be a safe once again! I made the decision to dedicate my life to protect and help anyone in need, even if it means sacrificing my own to accomplish this goal.”
Enigma is more than a treehugger. According to his blog, he recently fought off two guys breaking into a car, using only an acid tinged tongue and a palm strike to the head. He then zip-tied them and used their phone to call 911.”
Bad. Freaking. Ass.
httpv:// Man, Captain Xavier Obvious
Squeegee Man and his partner, Captain Xavier Obvious, have embraced the West/Ward concept of Superherodom.
Often seen promoting social causes such as the AIDS Walk, they are currently living in a “secret” rooftop lair somewhere in New York.
From Squeegee Man’s My Space ( ) announcement for his failed 2008 presidential campaign, where he had a platform that included “I promise to make America Squeegeetasting again!”
A bit of a rogue he is not currently a member of The Real Life Superhero Project. Here is a bit ABC did on them.
httpv:// Fist
While he will not give out his secret identity, he also refuses to wear a mask.
Crimson Fist hails from Atlanta, GA and spends a few days a month working with folks who may need a granola bar and a bottle of water.
After a tumultuous trial of drugs and booze, he discovered his alter ego and hits the streets before he could hit the skids.
His MySpace claims that he is now undercover.
Just like everyone else who has still a MySpace page!
httpv:// Mr. Silent
Despite the misnomer of Mr. Silent, he took some time out to speak with Fox News.
He came across his alter-ego during a drunken moment of clarity, while watching Superheroes flix at a friend’s place. Steering away from the vigilante image of crime fighter, he recently helped the police locate the owner of a discarded purse.
In 2009 he went underground, but we know we will hear from his soon. Oh, wait…
13. Everyone Else
BONUS: If you are salivating for more, here is a clip from the not so secret society . This is a broader overview of some of the previously mentioned heroes.