This week on SUPERHERO ACADEMY…our visiting professor will be the one and only ( Nadra Enzi ) Cap Black.

SUNDAY, JULY 15TH 5pm Central…3pm Pacific
(917) 889-3317
“Join us on an journey to discover ways we can impact the world around us with positive actions and random acts of kindness. We are looking for ways to overcome the negative by strengthening the positive. Here we will discuss the things we have done right, the things we have done wrong, and things we can do differently to make the future better. Welcome one and all to the SUPERHERO ACADEMY…ALSO Please join our CAPE DRIVE for HEART HEROES by donating a cape to a child suffering from CDH…” -Host Crossfire The Crusader
NADRA ENZI AKA CAP BLACK promotes creative crime prevention; homeless outreach & political advocacy. (504) 214-3082

This Little Guy…

This Little Guy…
He was in the check-in line when we arrived. He was on the other side of the Barrier and was with his mom & two little brothers. The infant brother was busy trying to stuff his foot in his mouth in his stroller & I was feeling a little better so I looked down at him & said “Hey brother, you gonna check that foot in or carry it on?” everyone laughed, I thought it was over. Suddenly this little guy in the picture tells his mom “That’s Superhero”. His mom says “No, he’s not Superman” & he says back “Not Superman, Superhero!” I couldn’t believe it so I climbed under the barrier & gave him a sticker & asked his mom “Did he just say I’m Superhero? Because he’s right! I AM Superhero…I’m the guy from HBO.” His mom had NO idea how he knew who I was either. I’m not exactly an “A List Celebrity” after all. So he was our little buddy in the terminal then on the plane I gave him the Superhero assignment of keeping his little brother happy & entertained for the flight. I guess we’ll never know how he knew who I was.

Low-tech, real-life crimefighters aim to be Superheroes in fascinating documentary

Superheroes the movieOriginally posted:
By Joe Leydon
They don’t have the super powers of Spider-Man, or even the firepower of The Punisher. But that doesn’t stop the real-life Superheroes of Michael Barnett’s fascinating documentary – which has its H-Town premiere Friday and Saturday at 14 Pews – from donning home-made costumes, strapping on gadget-stuffed utility belts and patrolling the meanest streets across America.
Among those doing derring-do:

  • Mr. Xtreme, a San Diego security guard who moonlights as a crimefighter decked out in green helmet and dark goggles;
  • Zimmer, a proudly uncloseted avenger who prowls Brooklyn in the hope of attracting gay-bashers for his allies to dispatch;
  • Zetaman and Apocalypse Meow, a colorful married couple who dispense necessities to the homeless in downtown Portland, Ore.; and
  • Mister Legend, who drives his beat-up van through the moonlit streets of Orlando and offers aid to the downtrodden when not grabbing beers from his well-stocked ice chest.

Why do they do it? Many of them – including Lucid, a member of Zimmer’s backup team – simply believe the police and other professional law-enforcers are “completely unreliable.” But director Barnett, who spoke with CultureMap this week, thinks the motivations of these caped crusaders may be a bit more complex than that.
CultureMap: Were you surprised to find something that happened way back in 1964 – the infamous murder of Kitty Genovese, who was stabbed while her neighbors reportedly failed to intervene – motivated so many of the superheroes you interviewed?
Michael Barnett: Well, if you think about it, the case became bigger than the case. So, somewhere along the origin of this community [of superheroes], they began to rally around this case of Kitty Geonvese. And it became the defining case of modern apathy in America. They rallied around what the case meant as much as the specific case itself. Because apathy is their villain. So it’s a unifying thread among the community at large.

With these guys, there is no rulebook, there is no manifesto. They go out and be whoever they want and try to help the community in any way they see fit. It’s a real grassroots movement that may not galvanize, that may never get too organized, because the reason they do it is to make up their own rules.

CM: Were you ever worried while making Superheroes that one of these well-intentioned folks might get seriously hurt?

Barnett: Yeah, certainly. I mean, they’d do this anyway without the presence of a camera. But it’s always a concern that you might be creating a moment that wouldn’t exist if you weren’t there with the camera. And that moment may turn tragic.
The interesting thing with these guys is, it’s such a growing population that, inevitably, one of them is going to get hurt, whether there’s someone there with a camera or not. So, hopefully, the people who get into this understand the risk they are taking by choosing to become part of this community and putting themselves in these situations.
But, yeah, occasionally, we did get into some pretty hairy situations. Because, basically, we were shooting in America’s Skid Rows, across the country. Sometimes at 2 o’clock in the morning. It was unpredictable, to say the least.
CM: How did you find out about this amazing subculture?
Barnett: I just sort of stumbled across it on line. And, actually, I didn’t think it was true at first. I thought I’d just found maybe a couple of people who were doing this. But then we started doing a little research, and we quickly discovered that all you had to do is Google “superhero” to come up with a webpage with names of people doing this all over the country, along with news clips and magazine articles. I spent days perusing through it all, and ultimately became fascinated.
CM: How many of these guys do you think have been traumatized by some violence in their past?
Barnett: Actually, that’s one of the few commonalities that I found within the community. I usually don’t generalize, but I did find very quickly that most of these guys had some level of trauma or tragedy in their lives. And this is how that trauma or tragedy has manifested itself. They’re doing this, and getting over that – and possibly over-compensating by going in the opposite direction, and trying to find light in the darkness, if you will.
CM: Maybe they view becoming a “superhero” – even one without super powers – as a way of regaining control of their lives?  
Barnett: Possibly. We found some pretty dark souls out there. And to find them wanting to better themselves, to almost find therapy in doing this – it was fascinating.
CM: Were you ever tempted to tell any of these guys that, hey, maybe you’re not really cut out for this sort of thing?
Barnett: Well, some of these guys that we worked with are untrained, while others are very trained. I’m certainly concerned. I wish they all had a real-life superhero school that they could all go to. So that they could at least know how to handle a situation. So that, rather than inflame it, they could defuse it. Because that takes training – that’s not instinctive. If you don’t have training, then your adrenaline kicks in. And when that happens – people tend to make situations worse. That’s just human nature, you know?
CM: Just to make sure potential audiences understand – these guys aren’t like the Guardian Angels, right?
Barnett: They are and they aren’t. You could say [the superhero community] is an evolution of the Guardian Angels. I mean, the Guardian Angels started out small, and grew to something like 500 chapters. And it’s a really politicized movement now, with a lot of bureaucracy.
Some of these guys used to be part of the Guardian Angels, and they decided they wanted something with less bureaucracy, less rules. They wanted to be able to do it their own eccentric way. The Guardian Angels have a uniform method, and a rulebook, and politics and presidents and leaders. With these guys, there is no rulebook, there is no manifesto. They go out and be whoever they want and try to help the community in any way they see fit. It’s a real grassroots movement that may not galvanize, that may never get too organized, because the reason they do it is to make up their own rules.
CM: During filming, did you find yourself tempted to try some superheroics of your own?
Barnett: I have to say, I get asked that question a lot. And my answer always is: I’m a filmmaker. I want to tell stories. And I thought this was a fascinating story. It’s changed my life in profound ways to see these people – often times with no resources – put everything on the line in order to help other people. So I think I learned a lot from these real-life superheroes. But I’m not going to join them anytime soon.
CM: OK, we’ve talked about the possible dangers facing superheroes. But turn the question around: Ever worry one of these guys might get too carried away with their derring-do?
Barnett: Well, Phoenix Jones was arrested just last week in Seattle for pepper-spraying people.  He thought he was breaking up a fight, and he started pepper-spraying the crowd – and now he has assault charges against him. So, yeah, that’s overstepping the line. Once again, it goes back to, there’s no rulebook for these guys. They don’t have a set of guidelines. So you’re putting yourself in situations where you’re acting instinctively.
And in the case of Phoenix Jones – it was probably not the right protocol. He pepper-sprayed some girls. That’s not good. That’s not a good result. That’s not heroic. I hope the activities of a few superheroes won’t undermine the whole cause.

Real Life Superheroes

Originally posted:
Since the “Dynamic Duo”is taken, I’ll just refer to “Commonwealth” and “Armistice” as the “Philanthropic Pair”.
It doesn’t roll off the tongue as smoothly as the other name, but it does speak more to what the “Keystone Crusaders” do – giving of their time and energy to clean up the streets of Harrisburg.
The “Keystone Crusaders” came about from a magazine article “Commonwealth” was reading about real life superheroes 5 months ago.
“Commonwealth” says, “I thought it was complete, you know, nonsense, until I looked it up and was like wow, you know that’s really cool. They go around and make their cities better places.”
“Commonwealth” and “Armistice” want to keep their identities a secret, so we don’t know their alter egos.
We just know “Commonwealth” is in his late twenties, married with two kids and “Armistice” is a 19-year old who moved from Pittsburgh to be a part of his friend’s idea.
Armed with the utility belt – a staple of a super heroes arsenal, the duo take to the streets to clean up litter.
They even have spare batteries for the homeless whose flashlights might be drained and spare change for the short-changed using laundromats and parking meters.
They also carry a cooler with bottled water for the parched, like Joe Whitfield, who at first glance wasn’t so sure what he was witnessing.

How to be a superhero

Originally posted:
By James Heffernan – [email protected]
Former Spider-Man actor provides motivational address at Apple Blossom
WINCHESTER — As a soft-spoken, undersized farm boy growing up in Minnesota, Tom Schenck would shine a flashlight under the covers at night and live vicariously through the pages of comic books, whose larger-than-life heroes not only kept him entertained, but also taught him strong values.
“It wasn’t just their power, their superhuman strength, their X-ray vision. … They did what was right when it was important to do it,” he said. “They didn’t hesitate. They had courage. They had tenacity. And they never gave up.”
Those are lessons that Schenck, now an acclaimed motivational speaker known as “Tom Terrific,” says can be applied to one’s personal and professional life.
“If it’s the right thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do now, do it, whether it’s in relationships, with colleagues or in business,” he advised a group of about 300 local business leaders Wednesday at the Valley Health Fast Forward Business Luncheon on the campus of Winchester Medical Center.
Schenck said his first true superhero was his mother, a teacher who set an example for him and his six siblings with her quiet strength, wisdom and unwavering devotion to people. With her as a guide, Schenck would go on to become a straight-A student, champion collegiate wrestler — just missing the 1980 U.S. Olympic team — Ivy League graduate, master body builder, wellness expert, national sales champion and headmaster of a private school for autistic children.
As a young actor in New York, Schenck landed his dream job portraying Spider-Man for Marvel Comics. The promotional role would take him around the world and instill in him the importance of being a real-life superhero, not just for himself, but to others.
Just as Spider-Man has a nemesis in the Green Goblin, everyone has villains in life in the form of adversity, Schenck said, but they can be crushed by attacking each day with gratitude, passion and action, he said.
“All of you in this room can be superheroes,” he said. “You all have some combination of talent and skills that makes you unique. And the world needs you.”
But first you have to train to be a superhero, he cautioned.
The first stage involves finding and reconnecting with the people who believe in you and inspire you, whether they be a family member, a friend or a teacher. The second stage consists of identifying your superpowers and honing them. The final stage, and the most important, according to Schenck, means becoming someone else’s superhero — what he calls “guardianship.”
Just being a positive force is “absolutely intoxicating” and will draw people to you, he said.
And in an age when consumers have come to expect less, businesses and organizations can set themselves apart by going out of their way to create a bond with their customers and make them feel appreciated, he said.
After the talk, Schenck signed copies of his new book, “The Superhero Factor.”
Randy Collins, president and CEO of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber, one of the sponsors of the event, said Schenck’s message is timely in what for many has been a difficult business climate.
“If they maintain a positive attitude and they look from within, they have all the skills they need to succeed not only in life, but also in running their businesses,” he said.
Jacqueline Post, with Valley Health’s Occupational Health Services, agreed.
“I think we got some nice tips on how to attack our villains in the workplace and in life,” she said.
“And don’t wait,” added Aimee Price, regional safety manager with Greatwide Dedicated Transport in Front Royal. “It pays to deal with your villains right away.”

We Stand United

The Wall Street Journal has recently come out with an article about a few real life superheroes disagreeing.  It was actually on the front page.  I believe it  is a pathetic article coming from the Wall Street Journal. The Journal is know for being an elite source of media and they stooped to the level of printing essentially a gossip column about real life superheroes.
The writer spoke to several real life superheroes and heard about some of the amazing work they do and even after continued to write a trash story.  The story focused on some minor disagreements between a few people in a much larger culture.  In any community or culture there are always people who disagree about things and the real life superhero community is no different.  It is really not a big deal and most certainly doesn’t warrant a news article, especially in the Wall Street Journal of all places.
The real story about real life superheroes is the work they do.  There is an amazing and inspirational story to be told which unfortunately was not.  People are going out on their own free time, spending money out of pocket, putting tons of effort in to going out to help others, put their lives on the line fighting crime, finding wrong to right, and making their communities & the world around them a better place.
There were many mis-characterizations about rlsh.  Phoenix Jones fed into it.  He is very unhappy about the way his words were used.  The reporter spent lots of time with him and cherry picked quotes and lead him into saying certain things.
Real Life Superheroes do all types of activities which the writer knew about, but decided to follow the slant of rlsh’s feed the homeless and do charity work while Phoenix Jones does hardcore crime-fighting.  He was trying to further create division and drama.
Fact is the real life superhero movement has been around since the 1970’s.  Many have stopped violent crime and many specifically work to combat violent crime. Real life superheroes have been risking their lives to help protect others, they have been in serious danger, injured, threatened, and so on, all to protect and help others.  Not all real life superheroes fight crime, some focus on homeless outreach, community service, and environmental issues. One must remember being a real life superhero is about making positive change in your community and not necessarily about being a tough guy and fighting crime.
This is a movement working to bring good deeds, community action, public and social awareness to problems, and create a better and brighter society.
The media can slant things the way they want, over-dramatize things, and try to create division, but they will not divide this culture because we are all united in working towards a better brighter tomorrow.
-Dark Guardian-

Picture That!

Published in Wizard Magazine:
Scanned copy:
wizard01 wizard02
Acclaimed movie poster photographer Peter Tangen points lens at Real Life Super-Heroes for latest project
There are Real Life Superheroes among us.
All across the country, these solitary do-gooders have been donning costumes and going out into the night for years. Inspired by comic book morality to do the right thing, some fight crime, others work as social activist and still other s patrol the streets, providing aid for the homeless and downtrodden.
So photographer Peter Tangen decided to rescue these everyday heroes from obscurity.
“I read an article in a magazine about a man named Master Legend, a real life superhero working in Florida. AT the time he was basically a slightly overweight man in spandex and was effectively a costumed activist,” says Tangen of his first exposure to the phenomenon. “When I realized there were many of these people all across the country, I thought, ‘Well, I’m going to photograph these guys.’”
For their own Jimmy Olsen, real life superheroes can do a lot of worse than Tangen, who has made his living shooting the iconic images that adorn the movie powers for the “Spider-Man” movies, “Batman Begins” and Hellboy”, among others.

Photo by Peter Tangen

Photo by Peter Tangen

“I realized quickly that the media that had paid attention to them was dominantly mocking them or exploiting them in some way, typically you would find something on the last three minutes of a news broadcast saying. ‘Look at this crazy person,’” says Tangen.
Thus was Tangen’s Real Life Superheroes Project born. Initially intended to be a gallery exhibition of portraits and movie posters benefiting charitable organizations supported by the heroes, the scope of the project has grown exponentially. It now includes a documentary premiering in January at SlamDance (a separate venture which Tangen joined as a producer), the development of an interactive experience with Planet Illogica and the work of hundreds of professionals volunteering their support.
“We have an opportunity to just let this message be out there for people to discover, and we hope those people are simply inspired to do their small part to change the world,” says Tangen.
The Real Life Super-Heroes themselves are thankful for Tangen’s involvement.
“It is a call to action to every citizen. You can do plenty of things to make a difference. You don’t have to wear a costume and you don’t have to go out and punch drug dealers, but you can help the homeless person on the streets or you can call the police when something is going on. It’s breaking that mentality of, ‘Oh, its not my problem,’” says Dark Guardian, a New York City-based superhero, “It is an honor to with Peter to spread that message.”
“We feel like this is a really relevant message,” says Tangen. “They have a superpower, they actually do, and that is their ability to inspire.”

Psychologist Claims Today’s Superheroes Are Bad Influences On Children

Originally posted:
by Susana Polo | 4:48 pm, August 19th, 2010
Psychologist Sharon Lamb thinks that todays superheroes send the wrong messages to young boys.

There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday… Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity. When not in superhero costume, these men, like Ironman[sic], exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns.
The comic book heroes of the past did fight criminals, she said, “but these were heroes boys could look up to and learn from because outside of their costumes, they were real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities,” she said.

In response to her statement, you could ask “Have superheroes really changed over time?” (Yes, everything does.) “Is there something about movies that requires superheroes to become more violent?” (No, they’re just as violent if not more in current comics.) and even “Why is it a problem that superheroes are no longer clear cut examples of heroism?” (Who knows.)
But all of those questions allow Dr. Lamb to stand unopposed on one fundamental assertion: that all superheroes are for children.
But first, a tangent: “real people with real problems and many vulnerabilities,” who speak “to the virtue of doing good for humanity.”  Has anyone seen Batman Begins or The Dark Knight?  The first two X-Men movies?  Spider-ManHancock? Even Iron Man 2, the only superhero movie that fits her description, does a pretty good job of showing that Tony Stark is a man with a serious problem, and not a hero we should take a face value.
Back To My Point
While the superhero genre has well established tropes and rules, any genre can accommodate tonal shifts.  No one would imply that Animal Farm represents a corruption of the talking animal genre of children’s literature.  Fantasy doesn’t get called out for telling morally ambiguous stories.
There are comic book superheroes for kids, yes.  Captain Marvel has had a kid oriented series lately, and then there’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and others.  But the majority of comic book superheroes haven’t been written for small children for twenty years now.
When good, they are full of morally ambiguous heroes and villains, tricky ethical situations, and hot button issues like gay rights and global politics; when bad, they’re still full of violence and questionable depictions of both sexes. Today’s movie superhero is something decidedly different from today’s comic book superhero, which makes comparing comics of the past to movies of today particularly fruitless.
To Sum Up
Anyone who still thinks that our depiction of superheroes in the mainstream adult media (like Iron Man) should be held to the same standards of unobjectionable content as superheroes in children’s movies (like The Incredibles) doesn’t really understand what it is they are talking about.
In the interest of full disclosure, it seems like Dr. Lamb does have some legitimate things to say about how we market products to young boys and what that does to them.  I just can’t get past her assertions about a single genre of storytelling.
(via Wired.)

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

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

Finally a Real Life Superhero

Illustration by Peter Tangen

Illustration by Peter Tangen

Originally posted:
By Chris Ware
This is one of the most amazing stories you will eve hear. You probably will not believe it. I can’t blame you for questioning it but it is all true. The world now has its very own real life flesh and blood superhero. This new superhero has arrived in Monrovia the capital of Liberia in Africa.
Lion Heart has been protecting the people in Monrovia and the surrounding villages for the last few weeks now. Lion Heart is involved in a number of different things. Most of what Lion Heart does is educate the local people. He does not teach them to read or write but he teaches them things they do not know that can save their life.
In many rural African villages people do not know they should boil their water before drinking the water they get from local streams. This is one of the largest causes of death in the world. He lets them know about this and they are now less likely to get sick and die. The children are the most likely to die from problems caused by drinking bad water.
Other things that seem simple the local villagers do not know. The sanitation conditions are terrible. Many families have sick members living with them and they do not know to cover their mouth when they cough. They will even eat and drink using the same cup and utensils as a sick person.
Some of the information he gives has been able to literally save the life of a person who was dying. Health related information is not the only information that he gives though. He also teaches about human trafficking so people will not be fooled and sent into slavery.
Over the last few weeks he has learned many things and found more problems and more solutions. He continues to improve what he has already been doing.
Lion Heart also has a small following. All the people he visits are told to teach others. Many teach family, friends, and some even teach the entire village they live in. A few people have even been taught by Lion Heart how they can help others too and are now doing the same things he is.
While it might be odd for an adult to run around in a cape and mask what he is doing is a great thing. There is no telling how many lives he will affect by what he is doing. It is likely we will be hearing more about this superhero soon.