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Website Shutting Down

It saddens me to announce that Real Life Superheroes will be shutting down.
I have struggled to keep it running since taking it over a year and a half ago. At that time, I knew it would be difficult for me to handle the responsibilities alone due to my busy life, and lack of knowledge and experience in running websites. I was counting on being able to find help and assembling an admin staff to assist me. Sadly, that did not happen. Few people had any interest in helping, and those who did lacked the ability.
The site has had its share of difficulties in that time, not the least of which was a complete crash which would have been prevented by an able administrator. With those troubles came a loss in stability in the site itself and the people who have used it. With all of this in mind, the decision has been made to shut it down.
It will remain up through January in order to give users time to save their content.
Thank you,
The Watchman

A New Era

I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those who do not know me. I am The Watchman. I am a husband, father, brother, and son. I am a man who cares about humanity and the world around him. For years, I have been what is commonly called a Real Life Superhero (RLSH), and now, I have become the administrator of this website. With this change, there will be other changes made over time, though the spirit in which this site was created will remain.
The man formerly known as Zetaman, after retiring as a RLSH, passed this site on to me. More recently, he completely removed himself from this site. He believes there are too many bad feelings between him and others to remain, feeling that it would hinder the growth of this site and the RLSH sub-culture as a whole.
The RLSH sub-culture is fluid. It is always changing. It is always in motion, even when it seems to be standing still. There are many people who feel we have not gotten anywhere. However, in many ways, we are much different than we were just a few short years ago. Some of these changes have been for the better, while others have been for the worse. Still, we continue on, searching for a better world and a brighter tomorrow.
2011 was predicted by some to be “The Year of the Superheroes”. I do not believe that, and frankly, would have been disappointed had that been the case. The phrase implies the reaching of the peak, and typically,  peaks are followed by decline. I do not believe we have yet reached the peak. No, I believe we are still far from it. We have a great deal of potential yet to be uncovered. What we lack is unity.
There are many different kinds of RLSHs. There are crime-fighters, social activists, charity warriors, environmentalists, social commentators, and those who try it all. Some embrace the superhero terms and imagery, while others are less than pleased with them. Regardless of personal missions, opinions, methods, and motives, we are all a part of something BIG. Yet, too many of us cannot seem to get over ourselves as individuals or small groups.
I can remember a time when squabbles and differences between us were handled quietly, out of the public eye, in order to allow us a chance at the heroic and inspirational images we wished to project. Now, there is no secret that this “community” of ours is full of fighting and drama. Online comment sections and forums are bursting with ridicule, arguing, and flame wars from within. Many of us try to avoid this behavior, but it seems to follow us around. The feuding and hatred has driven too many of us away from what could become a great movement, and it has proven to onlookers that we are no better than much of what we claim to fight against. Even as some of us fight to prove to people we are serious when we are accused of being ridiculous, more of us seem to go out of their way to prove them right.
I realize a large number of people feel we cannot be organized or united, and there are too many differences between us to unite. I believed that for a time. However, I am no longer content to worry only about local matters. The world does not end at my back door. What affects the world affects me. What happens with one of us can affect us all. We are creative individuals who tend not to conform, but I’m not being unrealistic. We do not need to agree with everything everybody else says or does, and there are many more ways to get things done than what we do ourselves. We do not necessarily have to change our own missions and methods, and we do not need to lose ourselves to be a part of something bigger. We can still disagree, but it is time to turn to healthy debates that maintain respect rather than being hostile.  It’s not that we need to become some giant organization filled with rules and regulations, but we do need to put aside petty differences and focus on what we have in common. All this unity requires is that we lay down our egos, open our minds to new ideas, and have respect for each other, as well as for ourselves.
I don’t think this has been the year of superheroes at all, and I am not looking for that year to come. Instead, I am looking to the future; I am looking toward a new era. I believe that era can begin now. Therefore, I am using this opportunity to do what I can to bring RLSHs together to grow this sub-culture into the great movement it has the potential to be.
However we may each go about it, we are all trying to make this world a better place, and that will only happen together. I am extending a hand to each and every one of you. I hope that each of you can get past the egos and differences, and learn to work side by side, even if our own mission is not quite the same. I am asking that we try a new way, and hopefully each of you will extend your hands as well. Let’s look to the future and welcome a new era for Real Life Superheroes. If we want the world to be better, we must be better.  Let it begin now…

The Challengers

August 10, 2011
by Jerry Luterman
altruism: the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others
Near midnight I stand alone in the parking lot of Gordon Park in Milwaukee.  Some time passes and then a car pulls up next to me.  From a darkened window a voice asks, “ Are you waiting for a certain group of people?”  Eyes cast downward, I answer that yes, I am.  There is anonymity at work here, and I mean to respect it.  I point to a spot in the distance and tell them to meet me there when they are ready.  I’m photographing them as part of the Portfolio section of the Wisconsin Trails September/October issue.  In a few minutes five men approach in the darkness.    Their names are the Watchman, Blackbird, Charade, the Crimson Crusader, and Electron. They are all in costume.  They are all Real Life Super Heroes.  Collectively the group is known as the Challengers.    They stand against what might be man’s most virulent kryptonite: apathy.  While most of us are falling asleep to the blue flicker of a television, the Challengers patrol the neighborhoods of Milwaukee and Madison, serving as an extra set of eyes and ears for the police while their presence acts as a deterrent to crime. They also bring food and other supplies to homeless people throughout the city and help out some local charities.  Before you scoff at the idea of men dressed up as super heroes, ask yourself this question: What have I done to better my street, my community, or for people less fortunate than me? “  I know that when I asked that question of myself, my answer fell far short of where I would have liked it to be.
Here are some answers to questions I asked of the Challengers.
The Challengers

Challengers photo by Jerry Luterman

What inspired you to do this?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               “There are two things I have always loved, superheroes and helping people, I think doing this was natural evolution of self for me. At some point I just decided the world really needs superheroes, and although I may never actually be a superhero, I figured I could at least try. “  -The Watchman

I have friends on every side of politics and work in a kind of place where people bitch about politics and race issues and all the things that people think they can’t control and make them upset.  I see this as an active approach to making your world better or doing your part.  It’s one thing to get mad about someone breaking into a car on your block, it’s another to go out and look out for this. Who does that? ” -Blackbird



The Watchman

The Watchman



” A while back, one of my best friends got robbed through his car and shot in the face. He lived, but suffered extensive damage including the loss of one eye. I’ve always pondered the idea of making non-lethal weaponry and defensive technology, but it wasn’t until then that I realized I had to do something more than just draw and wish I could make a difference. It was then that I discovered Electron, the hero I’ve always wanted to be. However, since then there have been a number of reasons to continue my work and I’m sure a number of reasons yet to be discovered. “  -Electron
” I had ideas of donning a mask and patroling the streets for around seven years now, but it didn’t seem like a realistic idea until I heard about the Real Life Superheroes. Even before the mask, I was often told that I have a “hero complex.” I’ve always admired guys like Robin Hood, Zorro, and Batman; the guys without any superpowers that still try to make the world around them a better place. And that’s exactly what I’m hoping to do.” – The Crimson Crusader

What do you typically do on patrol?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ” Patrols have changed, we used to ‘nest’ a lot and watch for things going on by just staying still and paying attention to high traffic areas.  We do a lot on mobile patrols now and mix it up.  Checking the homeless areas that we’re aware of is a high priority too, the cops don’t know about them and they’re working hard to survive so we help them with food and supplies that we imagine they need when we observe their site. “  -Blackbird



” I typically just walk around and keep an eye out for trouble. I talk to people when approached. I focus on teens since I am only recently turned 18, I can understand them better than most of the other heroes. “ -Charade
” We first look and listen to get a feel for the general atmosphere of the location we’re patrolling that night. We are looking to see how much traffic there is, both foot and vehicle, and listen to determine the general mood
people seem to be in. That gives us a good idea of what we can expect the night to be like.  As we patrol, we look for signs of any problems, such as evidence of break-ins or vandalism, and we listen for sounds that could be arguing, screeching tires, banging, breaking glass, or calls for help.  As we walk, we also talk to people and explain to them what we are doing in hopes it it may inspire others to do more to help others. “ -The Watchman
Best memory of being a Real Life Superhero?
 ”I have a gigantic portrait hanging in a French airport right now, Watchman has a huge one hanging in France at a movie theater.  That’s pretty cool, we’re just a couple of guys in Wiscons
in, but our alter-egos are nationally known. ” -Blackbird
“  Every time I suit up. It’s a great feeling to get together with like-minded people and trying to make things better in the world.” – The Crimson Crusader
Crimson Crusader

Crimson Crusader

Advice for others who might want to go down the same road?

” I think people need to do it for the right reason, there’s a fine line between an rlsh ( Real Life Super Hero ) wanting to do right and a sociopath that want’s to make up for their personal shortcomings with aggressive behavior towards people. “ -Blackbird

The Challengers are part of the Portfolio section called ” The Guardians ” within the September/October issue of Wisconsin Trails magazine.  Featured within it are portraits and stories of Wisconsin people who are making a difference.

Under New Management

Watchman in FullThese past few months, I’ve been preparing this site for new owners. The new management of Reallifesuperheroes.org is The Watchman and Life. Any questions about this site and modifying its content, please address those questions to The Watchman or Life via Private Message. The new team has access to the Google, Twitter and You Tube account now and will be able to modify parts like the RLSH Map, Event Calendar, and other Google features embedded in the RLSHorg site. The new team will also be able to create blog sections for people.
I’ve made some recent tweaks to the site. As most people noticed, I have removed the Registry. The registry was removed because the new team should not have to have the headaches having to verify who is real and who is not. The new team should not have to make the decision Dark Guardian and I had to do by removing profiles of individuals who were less than stable. And the new team are active RLSH, and do not have the time to research other people; the team’s time should be better spent helping others and researching ways to make a difference.  In its place, I have transferred the Wiki files to the main site. Users who want to work on the wiki pages must request access from the new moderators. To add a wiki page to the site, copy and paste the form listed at http://www.reallifesuperheroes.org/wiki-2/wiki-submission/ and email it to [email protected]. Per instructions, new profiles must have photos which backgrounds are outside and not Photoshopped.
I wish the new management well. I hope that in a few years I can visit this site and see big changes that the new site owners will bring. Good Luck guys.

The Watchman

Milwaukee’s real-life superheroes get illustrated this Friday at MOCT

Originally posted: http://www.avclub.com/milwaukee/articles/milwaukees-reallife-superheroes-get-illustrated-th,55229/
By Matt Wild
Though harmless and kind of silly on the surface, the so-called “real-life superhero” movement has nonetheless split people into two warring camps. One side sees these mysterious do-gooders as nothing more than concerned, tights-wearing citizens keeping an eye on their neighborhoods. The opposing camp, however, views them as deluded goofballs in bad Halloween costumes, just asking to get their asses handed to them.
In Milwaukee, the real-life superhero movement has gained a fair amount of attention, thanks in part to the efforts of artist and writer Tea Krulos. After meeting with local RLS “The Watchman” in 2009 (a superhero we once demanded be “unmasked”), Krulos decided to write a book on the subject. He currently maintains a blog chronicling his progress.
“I think a lot of people have a knee jerk reaction and think they know what these guys are all about with very limited info,” Krulos tells The A.V. Club. “Most of them don’t want to be Kick-Ass or think they’re the Batman. They mostly just do what would be equitable to a costumed, concerned citizens patrol. A lot of them are doing charity and humanitarian efforts, too. I admire a lot of them for wanting to be good guys.”
This Friday at MOCT, Krulos will continue his RLS advocacy by serving as creative director for Motionary Comics 2.0. Now in its second year (hence the 2.0), the show will find nearly 30 illustrators, painters, choreographers, and photographers working to create a life-sized, fully-realized comic strip. Like other “live art” events, the night will feature artists of all disciplines creating a piece in real time. But unlike other events, it will be focused on the adventures of Milwaukee’s real-life superheroes, including “The Watchman” and “Blackbird.”
The marathon sketching/drawing/coloring session will begin around 6 p.m., and is expected to last six or seven hours. The event is free, though proceeds raised through sales of Chang Beer will be donated to United Way. And, like any party in town worth a damn, music will be provided by WMSE’s Dori Zori.
Oh, and don’t forget about Milwaukee’s real-life supervillains. “We’re expecting a series of transmissions broadcast live at MOCT from the sinister ‘Dr. Lupus,’ mad scientist and creator of ‘Team Werewolf,’” says Krulos. “He’s even threatening to show up in person.”

Motionary Comics returns — with costumes in tow

Originally posted: http://thirdcoastdigest.com/2011/04/motionary-comics-returns-with-costumes-in-tow/
By By DJ Hostettler

Blackbird, Watchman and Tea Krulos

Real Life Super Heroes on patrol

Kurt Hartwig and Tea Krulos aren’t saying there’s going to be a rumble at Moct on Friday night. And there’s really no reason why they would; the likelihood of the Third Ward bar getting leveled by warring factions of costumed vigilantes and villains is almost disappointingly low (not saying we want to see Moct leveled, but hey…warring factions!). However, both men have guaranteed that Real Life Super Heroes and Villains will be in attendance when Motionary Comics returns to Moct’s hallowed halls of justice this Friday, April 29, so it would be logical to assume that some sparks will fly, yes?
Motionary Comics is a collaborative art project where twenty-four artists work to create a semi-improvised comic strip mural on the walls of the bar.
“It was actually a development of the first idea we ever played with for [art/theater group] Bad Soviet Habits, just with a lot more detail,” says Hartwig. “We tried to do it at Hot Cakes, but Mike [Brenner] was afraid (not knowing us, and dealing with artists all the time) that we were only crazy and messy. When I decided to develop it for Moct after they asked me for some art event, I figured a story line would help audiences, and big painting plus story seemed like comic strip.”
The first Motionary Comics event was held last April and was a rousing success. The project’s basic plan of attack leaves lots of room for the artists to play around: a pair of choreographers place five volunteer bodies against the wall; they are then painted by a team of colorists as they produce a backdrop directly over the volunteers, leaving silhouettes when they step away. The silhouettes are then filled in by a team of local comic artists.
From there the images take more shape on each successive pass until local journalist and Real Life Super Hero expert Krulos attempts to make sense of it all by adding the text of his story.
Sounds like a glorious mess, doesn’t it?
“Last year’s event went remarkably well,” explains Hartwig. “Few things stayed according to the time table—for example, colorists didn’t finish their pass in the scheduled one hour—but that rarely mattered because they were far enough along that the illustrators could still start.
“The big thing I learned was that it would be helpful to have a single ‘creative producer,’” says Hartwig. “I really like how the whole thing is very improvisational and collaborative, and that entails a certain amount of mess. I’m good with that. But last year, while trying to explain the idea to everyone, I used the fairytale Rumplestiltskin as my example. I think that was necessary at the time – we all knew the story, and it meant that we could move forward. Eventually, though, that ended up hamstringing the artists in some ways. That’s why this year I asked Tea Krulos to be the creative producer.”
The Watchman and Blackbird

The Watchman (left) and Blackbird: two of Milwaukee's Real Life Super Heroes.

The other big change this year, of course, is the presence of actual Real Life Super Heroes like Milwaukee’s The Watchman and Blackbird—normal, everyday people who at some point decided to design their own hero tights and take to the streets to make their cities safer. Their presence (as well as the presence of heroes from Chicago and other cities) is largely related to Krulos’ involvement in the project, as he not only runs a blog dedicated to tracking this nationwide movement, but is working on a book about these caped crusaders.
But wouldn’t most super heroes eschew celebrity public appearances, preferring to operate in the shadows? Excepting the occasional glory-hound like Iron Man or the Human Torch, most of the good guys in the funny papers aren’t exactly lending their services to the local auto dealership’s grand opening. Aren’t Blackbird and The Watchman putting innocents in danger by broadcasting to their arch-foes where they’ll be?
Krulos confesses that he has already heard from one Real Life Super Villain who plans on disrupting things—the “brilliant maniac” Dr. Lupus and his Team Werewolf (and for the record, yes, I am typing this with a straight face). “Here’s what I know- he has a monocle. His labs are located high on the peak of Mount Lupus, and he loves evil laughter. We’re being told he’ll be sending a series of video messages to Moct making threats that he will be showing up in person with his werewolves if the artists don’t create a piece that glorifies his image.”
Um…this concern you at all, Mr. Hartwig?
“There’s been some smack talk, I understand, but we all know that werewolves aren’t real, so I remain unconcerned…especially about the Doomsday Were-Machine. That’s entirely fiction.”
Motionary Comics 2.0 begins at 5 p.m. at Moct (240 E. Pittsburgh Ave.) on Friday, August 29. It ends at bartime or when the National Guard shows up to save us all from werewolves, whichever comes first.

¡A luchar por la justicia!

Originally posted: http://www.semana.com/noticias-gente/luchar-justicia/152468.aspx
rlshprojectmontageA phenomenon in the streets of the various cities, walking the line between reality and fiction. These are the Superheroes, 100’s of average citizens who fight against evil, dressed in trousers, capes, and mask.
It’s one o’clock in the morning, two drunken gang members are exchanging insults, punches and kicks in a park in Milwaukee, USA. Then suddenly someone who was hidden behind the trees steps out of the shadows and shouts “Stop what you are doing!” The two youths remain frozen, suspended staring at the man dressed in black wearing a red mask with “W” on his chest, who with hands on his waist, threatening to intervene if they don’t stop the fight. The scene isn’t from a comic nor from a movie, it’s any day in the life of “The Watchman,” an average, big guy who is currently 35yrs old, who by day works in an office and by night walks the streets of his neighborhood to “fight against crime”.
Watchman (vigilante) is a part of a movement known as the Real Life Super Heroes, a well organized 400 mortal men and women, who, like the business card for www.reallifesuperheroes.com says, an internet page that is used to connect them, choose everyday to mark a difference. They are not crackpots in costumes as it might seem at first glance. These modern heroes are our neighbors, our friends, our family members. They are artist, musicians, athletes and yes, politicians. The majority patrol the streets of their cities looking for thieves, rapist, and drug traffickers. Others hand out food to homeless, donate toys to sick children in hospitals or hand out copies of the constitution to transients so that they learn about their country. There are also others who care for prostitutes; protect drunken women in bars to prevent men from taking advantage of them.
All of them create their identities and costumes, which generally include a cape and mask. They also have their accessories to help them complete their missions, like a 1st responder’s first aid kit, pepper spray to drive off bad guys, and a cellular phone to call police in case of problems. Some go out alone and others in groups similar to the Justice League of Superman, Flash, the Green Lantern and company.
“It’s an incredible movement” a week ago commented Dark Guardian, superhero and administrator of reallifesuperheroes.com. “We help people, and fight crime, and do it with our own money”. Chirs Pollak is the real name of this New York teacher of martial arts who at night patrols the city to look for drug dealers who work in the parks. Chris feels he was a kid with lots of problems until he started to read comics and discovered what he wanted to be like the protagonist in these adventures. And so he bought a bullet proof vest, cut proof gloves, boots, shades, flashlight, and a megaphone, and went out to pursue delinquents.
The phenomenon of the superheroes that don’t fly and don’t have x-ray vision has grown during the last few years so much so that it has expanded into some European countries. In England, for example, the famous Statesman, a banker who cleans up the streets of London, and says the he has helped the police catch more than a few bad guys. It’s has been four years since publications like The New York Time or the magazine Rolling Stone started to publish articles on this theme. At that time it was calculated that there were approximately a 100. Two years later there was talk of 250, and today they say 400. Though they admit it is almost impossible to get an accurate number, for many youths join the movement week after week.
These superheroes of flesh and bone have become so famous that they already have a documentary movie, which premiered at the most recent Sundance film festival. They have also received photographical exposure thanks to Peter Tangen, who fell in love with the stories like that of Knight Owl, an anonymous EMT who served in Iraq and who after becoming a superhero decided to write a manual so that his colleagues could learn from firsthand knowledge. Peter has also covered the life of Mr. Xtreme, who after he was abused as a child decided that he needed to protect the defenseless and had been patrolling for some ten years now. Also that of Life, a film producer who every night wears his tie, mask and hat to food, soap, shavers and tooth brushes to the homeless in New York.
“I believe that the phenomenon has grown due to interest in comics, movies and TV series base on the theme. Also because many of us want to change the world and since we have always seen superheroes as powerful beings who can get the job done, who we try to emulate” commented Life to this publication. He organizes meetings for superheroes through the net site www.superheroesananymous.com, and who real name is Chaim Lazaros. “The Heroes have always been there, but only started to network with each other after the “hero boom” on the internet. In 2007 I united them to make a documentary and complete my transformation into one of them.”
Tea Krulos is an independent journalist who writes a blog called “justice seekers without superpowers,” and is finishing a book on the same theme he’s planning to call “Heroes in the Night”. Krulos says that the first real superheroes he found during his investigation was active during the 70’s. He was a fat man with a beard who was called Captain Sticky, and he was devoted to uncovering scandals. Years later, other appeared. Like the Mexican born Superbarrio, an ex-masked luchador who defended the housing rights of those injured in the earth quake of 1985 who participated in the presidential elections. Then the phenomenon kept growing until it became what it is today.
“One of the most amazing things about these superheroes is the range of people who participate in this is varied. There are rich, poor, Christians, Atheist” said Krulos about a week ago. But when they put on their outfit they are all the same. They see the wrong that is happening and say this nigh I will go out to help instead of staying home and watching TV.
But not all of them have had good luck in this. Like Dark Guardian who accounts to being threaten and having a gun pointed at him, even though nothing has happen to him yet. The British Newspaper, The Times, published a few years back a story about Mr. Invisible, a Californian who took years getting ready to hit the streets. When he finally did, he found himself confronted with a man yelling at his wife. He wanted to intervene, but the woman punch him in the face and broke his nose. Then he sat on the sidewalk and a beggar urinated on him. The publication commented, what has been done to confirm his invisibility.
For other the hardest part isn’t confronting delinquent but confessing to their love ones that they are superheroes. They explain that not everyone likes the idea of them going out dressed up at night. “Hey today isn’t Halloween!” someone yells at Watchman, he takes it with a sense of humor, it’s precisely his look that has saved him. “In general, Gang members get distracted with my outfit”, he says. “They laugh and they ask me what the hell I am. In a short while they forget they were fighting or causing problems”. And so he is satisfied that he completes his mission to “Make the world a safer place”.

The Watchman’s charity toy drive

WHEN: Saturday, December 11, 10AM-4PM
WHERE: Fuel Café, 818 E. Center Street
The Watchman is collecting toys, art supplies, and money for two charities- the Gingerbread House in West Bend and the Meta House in Riverwest. Donations can also be made online until December 10 at the Great Lakes Alliance’s website: www.wix.com/glhg10/gla2010
Contact: Tea Krulos
[email protected]
Milwaukee, WI-December, 1, 2010- You’ve probably read an article about him in a paper or heard people talk about him. Maybe you’ve even seen him on the streets of Milwaukee. Now you can not only meet Milwaukee’s Real Life Superhero, The Watchman, but you can help him with a heroic mission- donating toys and art supplies to charity.
Saturday, December 11, The Watchman will be in person in front of the Fuel Café (818 E. Center Street) from 10AM-4PM collecting donations of cash, art supplies, and (new) toys. Online money and in person cash donations will be used to buy additional toys and art supplies and everything will be delivered in person to two charities the following week.
Those charities are the Gingerbread House, located in West Bend, which provides toys to low income families who can’t afford to buy gifts for their children and Meta House, a rehab center for women and their children, located in Riverwest. Meta House has also cited a need for art supplies for their various art programs.
This is the third year The Watchman and his Great Lakes Alliance teammates in Minnesota are participating in a holiday charity mission. Fundraising will be open online on the team’s site, www.wix.com/glhg10/gla2010, until December 10. The online funds will be divided between Milwaukee and the Minnesota heroes, who will be donating to People Serving People, a shelter in Minneapolis.
This year Watchman has the additional support of Milwaukee author Tea Krulos (who is writing a book on real life superheroes) and fellow Milwaukee real life superhero Blackbird (who is helping with the mission, but won’t be at the drive, due to his mysterious nature) and other volunteers on hand to help out. In a comic book reversal, The Watchman is shining a batsignal to the public, hoping people will stop by and donate gifts for these great charities and share the holiday spirit.