Holy masked avengers: Meet the real-life superheroes

Life: Seeks out injustice to right wrongs - though it's more about helping the homeless than fighting bad guys

Originally published: http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/holy-masked-avengers-meet-the-reallife-superheroes-1932467.html
Thwack! Pow! Take that, evil agents of the clamping industry! Here’s a toothbrush, my homeless friend! As the wannabe-superhero film ‘Kick-Ass’ hits cinemas this weekend, Johnny Davis catches up with the real-life caped crusaders who are striving to do good on the mean streets of Britain and America, supported by their long-suffering families (and unforgiving spandex…)
Sunday, 4 April 2010
On a Thursday evening in New York City, Chaim “Life” Lazaros is explaining how a 25-year-old film student becomes a Real Life Superhero. “When I’m dressed the way I am, I’m standing for a higher ideal,” he says. Lazaros is wearing a domino mask, fedora and skinny black tie. From the corners of his waistcoat hang the fringes of a tsitsit – a traditional Jewish undergarment. “By becoming a Real Life Superhero, I can no longer fall to the weakness or the laziness Chaim might have. I live for a higher, stronger, ideal. I have to live up to what Life is.”
As is his wont several times a week, Lazaros has returned to his Upper West Side apartment and exchanged the clothes he wears to class for those of his alter ego. He has become Life (the English translation of the Hebrew word chaim). Now there are good deeds to be done, injustices to be fought, wrongs that must be righted. “Being a Real Life Superhero is an extremely individual calling.”
Yet Lazaros is not alone. There are, according to the recently launched World Superhero Registry, more than 200 men and a few women who dress up as comic-book heroes to patrol their city streets in search of… if not supervillains, then petty criminals and those in need of their help. “I help my community to become better,” Life tells me. “I didn’t see people running out of banks with sacks with dollar signs on them; but there is a large homeless population who need things.”
Soon he will walk half a block to the cathedral of St John the Divine, a vast gothic structure where vagrants gather on the steps. “Private property, so the police can’t chuck them off,” he explains. There, Life will hand out bottled water, toothbrushes, vitamins, chocolate and other items he carries around in his backpack. He does this without ulterior motive. “I’m not trying to convert them to Christianity,” he says, referring to other charity workers. “‘Accept Jesus Christ and I’ll give you a sandwich’ – that’s not really a help.”
For the most part, Life avoids tackling criminals. “If there is a situation and I need to intervene, I’ll certainly do it. But guys in Washington Square Park selling weed to New York University kids? It’s not so terrible. If I can show someone who’s down on their luck that somebody cares about them, that’s a lot more effective use of my talent.”
Captain Clean: Teaches the children of Kent with both T-shirts and raps ('Don't drop litter on the street/It looks a mess and sticks to your feet')

Captain Clean: Teaches the children of Kent with both T-shirts and raps ('Don't drop litter on the street/It looks a mess and sticks to your feet')

Elsewhere in the metropolis, a woman named Terrifica has been patrolling bars and parties in a gold mask, Valkyrie bra, red boots and cape, in an effort to protect inebriated women from men looking to take advantage of them. (In her utility belt, she carries pepper spray, a camera to photograph would-be predators, a journal, and Smarties for energy.) In Mexico City, meanwhile, Superbarrio dons red tights and a red-and-yellow wrestling mask, using his eye-catching image to organise labour rallies and protests, and file petitions. In Iqaluit in northern Canada, Polarman shovels snow off pavements by day, and scours the streets for criminals by night. And in Britain, Angle-Grinder Man, a self-proclaimed “wheel-clamp superhero”, uses his power (his angle-grinder) to cut clamps from vehicles in Kent and London.
You might think these people sound silly and look sillier. You’d be right. But that doesn’t mean they’re not sincere. “It takes a certain mindset not just to say, ‘OK, I want to do something good,’ but also, ‘I want to take on an alternate personality and devote myself entirely to doing good with no boundaries,'” says Life. “To put yourself in an uncomfortable situation takes a huge commitment. And a certain amount of crazy.”
Life is not a Man of Steel from the planet Krypton. He isn’t a science whizz lent superhuman powers by the bite of a radioactive spider. He doesn’t live in a Batcave. Like the growing network of caped crusaders emerging across the world, he is just an ordinary person trying to make a difference. “After 9/11, a lot of people felt very confused, that they had lost control over their world,” says Ben Goldman, founder of Superheroes Anonymous, which alongside the World Superheroes Registry and Real Life Superheroes, acts as an online network where members can swap crime- fighting tips, offer encouragement and debate the pros and cons of spandex. “That event caused them to take control of their destinies and adopt a superhero persona.”
“Right now, people need heroes,” adds Life. “Economic collapse, two wars, and a president who was elected on a platform of change – with a message we were to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps from these problems. Real Life Superheroes personify those ideas and those ideals.”
Couldn’t they help another way? Join a charity, perhaps? Do they need to dress up like Zorro at Mardi Gras? “I’m well aware of how silly the situation is,” says Civitron, aka 28-year-old David Civitarese from New Bedford, Massachusetts, who picks up litter and hands out food parcels to the poor, while wearing a red-and-blue one-piece and white shades. “But by dressing up I’m forcing myself to play a role. I have the opportunity to show off the best of me. I can’t go around partying and drinking and being a jerk.” (In his civilian hours, Civitarese works in a care home for adults with autism. His six-year-old son goes by the super-moniker The Mad Owl.)
The movement’s origins might be American, but Britain is catching up. “When I heard about Real Life Superheroes, I thought it was a bunch of crazy comic geeks. The Beano was the only comic I’d ever read,” admits Optimistica from London, whose MySpace profile reverberates to the theme of Wonder Woman. “But I was won over by the amazing positivity and creativity of the superheroes.” Optimistica adds that her mission is to “spread light and fun”. “And wearing my costume on patrol alone does that.”
“People think it’s a stupid idea and want to leave it at comic-book fantasies,” says Bristol-based Red Falcon, so named after “my fave colour and bird”. “But in a world where even the police aren’t doing their jobs, someone has to step in and help.” Norwich’s Chuck Clown was similarly galvanised into action. “I became a Real Life Superhero because petty criminals had attacked people I knew. They escaped unscathed, but people should never have to escape from an attack in the first place.” Clown’s inspirations are “the original comic-book Joker, not the new Heath Ledger one – but without being mad and evil. And Jonathan Creek.”
Naturally, every superhero needs a costume (though they prefer to say “uniform”). And suppliers such as Xtreme Design FX will knock up a custom all-in-one “battle suit”, silk-lined spandex cape and latex mask for around £160 (prosthetic adhesive not included). Other superheroes prefer to handle the design themselves – like Utah’s Citizen Prime, who spent £2,500 employing an armourer to weld a sci-fi suit out of plate metal. Meantime, “master of gadgetry” Professor Widget is a one-stop shop for wrist-mounted paintball launchers or non-lethal telescoping “bo staffs”. Not that such weaponry is everyone’s cup of tea. “A lot of the time, I just keep an eye on stuff, and if anything happens I’ll step in and give someone a bollocking – verbally – or call the police,” says Clown. “A Real Life Superhero’s most important gadget is their mobile.”
Some say the emergence of Real Life Superheroes represents the final evolution of the hero genre. “Oral traditions, legends, comic books, movies – and now Real Life Superheroes bringing it into reality,” says Civitron. Superhero movies spent decades struggling to get up, up and away; now they’re among the biggest box-office draws. And the most successful – The Dark Knight, Iron Man, Watchmen – focus not on characters with otherworldly superpowers, but ordinary citizens doing extraordinary things.
The same can be said of Kick-Ass, the new film by Matthew Vaughn – the producer of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and director of Layer Cake – which opened in cinemas this weekend. Based on the comic book of the same name, it tells the story of Dave Lizewski, an ordinary New York high-school student who fights crime in a costume he has cobbled together out of a diving suit. “How come everybody wants to be Paris Hilton, and no one wants to be Spider-Man?” ponders comics fan Lizewski, played by Aaron “Nowhere Boy” Johnson – a reasonable question, when you put it like that.
It was a comic shop that inspired the inception of Superheroes Anonymous. One afternoon, Ben Goldman spotted what he thought was a notice announcing “a meeting for superheroes”. It turned out to be an advert for drawing lessons. “But the idea stuck with me,” he says. “I decided to investigate whether there were people in the world who called themselves superheroes.” He went online, and found that there were. Thinking he had chanced upon a good subject for a documentary, he called his film-student friend Chaim. Their movie is still an ongoing project, though it’s been hit by issues both logistical (not every Real Lifer wants to be filmed) and financial (they are scattered all over the world). Yet it has already served to galvanise the cause.
Goldman and Lazaros started organising Superheroes Anonymous conferences. First, their reasons were wholly practical – getting these heroes together made them easier to film. But it wasn’t long before gathering so many altruistic people in one place turned the conferences into charity-fests. In New York, they raised $700 in gifts and distributed them to the kids at St Mary’s Children’s Hospital. In New Orleans, they rebuilt homes with Habitat For Humanity, cleaned up a school and marched against youth violence alongside Silence Is Violence. And in New Bedford, a full weekend’s programming saw them host a community food drive, working with the American Red Cross, and putting together care packages for overseas troops. (In between there was time for martial arts workouts, early-morning runs and evening meetings at the local tapas bar – in full costume, naturally.)
Superheroes Anonymous even provided Lazaros with his new identity. “Entomo the Insect-Man, an Italian Real Life Superhero, defined all the different types of hero,” he explains. “One category was ‘community crusader’; someone who furthers the goal of Real Life Superheroes.” The Insect-Man reasoned that, by “putting his all” into promoting Superheroes Anonymous, Lazaros had “become a superhero” himself. “The day I read that, I put on the mask for the first time.” Life was born.
Today, we are sat on the stoop outside Life’s apartment block. He has been joined by an acquaintance, Dayo Omotoso. Omotoso is a Real Life Superhero in training, and Life is showing him the ropes. He has got as far as his name: The Black Light. “If you want to be a hero, your name can’t be Dracula,” Life reasons. “Your name can’t be Captain Chaos.” Omotoso is still thinking about a costume.
“We gotta go,” Life announces, suddenly.
Camera Man aka Ben Goldman, who is making a documentary with Chaim Lazaros: 'We don't encourage people to look for violent criminals'Together, we walk down to the cathedral of St John the Divine. Life tells us to hang back, and goes off to distribute his waters and vitamins among the homeless. As we watch him work, I find out more about The Black Light. He was born in Nigeria, and came to New York a few years ago. In doing so, he seems to have taken Superman’s edict about “truth, justice and the American way” on board. “In 20 years in Lagos I never called [the local equivalent of the American emergency services] 911 once,” he says. “You’re not inclined to, psychologically. I’ve been under a regime where my president passes away – it was Viagra overdoses and prostitutes [the alleged transgressions of Sani Abacha, de facto Nigerian president between 1993 and 1998]. When I came here, the Monica Lewinsky thing was still going on. My angle was, ‘Did he rape her? Did he put money into a bank account for her?’ No, he just got a blowjob. If any guy in the world deserves a blowjob, it’s Clinton.”
America sounded like somewhere he could make a difference, he said. “I’ve seen Tom Cruise, I’ve seen the Governator, I’ve seen Chuck Norris. I grew up reading The Punisher. When it comes to saving the human race, I would love a black guy to play that role.”
As anyone with a passing knowledge of Spider-Man knows, being a superhero requires great personal sacrifice. The path will be rocky, the way forward strewn with obstacles. Not everyone will make it. Take Mister Invisible from Los Angeles. He hung up his grey one-piece after the costume proved too effective – a tramp urinated on him in an alley. Another LA operative, Black Owl, suffered the ignominy of being collected from a psychiatric ward by his teenage daughter. “Dad forgot for a moment, when faced with police, that he did not have real superpowers,” she told doctors. “He could not just fly away.”
Then there are relationships. Apparently, women find it hard to relate to the higher calling. Interviewed by Rolling Stone, Master Legend – a Florida-based superhero who drives “The Battle Truck”, a 1986 Nissan pick-up with his initials spray-painted on the bonnet, the better to announce the arrival of himself plus his young crime-fighting sidekick Ace Gauge – conceded that his love life had taken a battering. His marriage had ended in divorce, while his latest girlfriend had walked out on him. “She left because she wanted to sit around on the couch and hold hands,” he explained. “Well, that’s not on the cards for Master Legend.”
Finally, there is the issue of the authorities. “I’ve been told by the police that any sort of uniformed presence is a deterrent to crime. It doesn’t matter if you’re wearing the uniform of a police officer or a superhero,” explains Life. In America, even attempting a citizen’s arrest itself carries the risk of being liable for false imprisonment, or being charged with kidnapping. And that’s if you don’t get punched in the face first. (As seen in Kick-Ass, when the eponymous ‘ hero’s first criminal intervention does not go too well.) “We don’t live in a city called Gotham,” notes Goldman. “We don’t encourage people to go out and look for violent criminals.” (A spokesperson for the UK police service declined to comment on the Real Life movement here, save to say that “vigilantism is not something we encourage”.)
But perhaps the most cautionary tale of all is that of Dark Guardian. He had to resort to first a change of name, then emblazoning his initials on the front of his costume, as he had failed to make much of an impact on anyone. “This is New York,” explained the newly monikered Chris Guardian. “So half the people didn’t even look.”
Failing to make an impression is not a problem faced by Maidstone’s Captain Clean. But then, his target audience is seven years old. He is employed by Maidstone Borough Council to spread the word about littering. It is the morning-time in Ms Tanner’s class at Harrietsham primary school in Kent, but Ms Tanner is taking a back seat while Alison Sollis, education officer for the council, mans the projector. Behind her hangs a poster
of Captain Clean, who wears a purple mask and a high-visibility jacket. “Keep it Clean!” it advises, “Or I Get Mean!” Sollis kicks off the lesson by asking the children to guess how long various bits of litter (banana skins, soft-drink cans) take to decompose, and explains how the British Hedgehog Preservation Society got McDonald’s to shrink the size of its McFlurry lids; the original containers could trap the critters. Then she holds up a plastic ring holder from a four-pack.
“What do you put in here?” she asks.
“Beer!” says one boy.
“Well, cans,” confirms Sollis.
Soon it is time to meet Captain Clean. “Let’s see who’s outside,” Sollis says. In bounds Captain Clean, aka bodybuilder Tai Tokes Ayoola who speaks with an American twang and seems on a completely different scale to the classroom. The children are stunned. “I think I shocked you all!” he beams. Captain Clean asks everyone to join in with his anti-littering campaign, leads them through a rap (“Don’t drop litter on the street/It looks a mess and sticks to your feet…”) and hands out his “Keep it Clean” T-shirts. Everyone applauds.
Over coffee in the staffroom afterwards, Annika Fraser, marketing officer for Maidstone council, explains Captain Clean’s secret origin. One of her colleagues had been the original Captain Clean. “But he wasn’t muscly or anything, so I had to go out and buy a costume with muscles.” It didn’t really work. “After a year, it got quite smelly.”
“The kids were rugby-tackling him,” Ayoola chimes in. “Wearing that puffed-up old thing.”
So Ayoola was recruited. Originally from Maryland, he had a history of volunteer work – notably dressing up as a superhero to take young burns survivors on summer camp. For his troubles, he had even been invited to the White House. Anyway, he had proven a much more suitable Captain Clean. “I get a lot of questions,” Ayoola says. “Particularly ‘What’s under the mask?’ But I have never had anyone be mean to me. Kids are, like, ‘OK, I don’t want to be on Captain Clean’s bad side.’ I wouldn’t say it’s an element of fear. But you do have that element of ‘OK, he’s doing this – he’s cool.'”
Ayoola is proud to be doing good work, and is up to speed with the Real Life movement. “When people see a Real Life Superhero, they get excited and follow through with the message,” he says. He has two more classes to visit this morning, so I leave him to it. “You keep it clean!” he booms after me.
Back to New York, where Life has finished his rounds of the homeless. The Dark Light is suitably impressed; give it another month, he figures, and he’ll be active himself. Meanwhile, Life says he has big hopes for the global movement. Recruitment is on the up, and MTV has been developing a series based on their work. “I think it will become very big,” Life says. “I hope there’ll be a Real Life Superhero in every city, someone everyone knows. ‘Hey, there’s someone here who can help me.’ I’m not talking about police, fire, ambulance. But people who are standing for this higher level of altruism.”
Their next step is to get Superheroes Anonymous recognised as a non-profit organisation and a registered charity. To make it more formal. Life explains that it is part of the reason his costume is on the sober side. “I’m trying to sit down with government officials, business people, lawyers; trying to make these meetings happen. I need to look at them with a straight face and say, ‘Listen, I want to bring a whole bunch of Real Life Superheroes together in your property,’ and not get laughed out of the room.”
“You do get the occasional snigger,” he concedes. “But that’s through misunderstanding. Once you explain what you stand for, there is never a negative reaction. People are always, like, ‘Wow. That’s cool. How can I get involved?'”
Or as Kick-Ass himself puts it, “Is everyday life really so exciting? Are schools and offices so thrilling that I’m the only one who ever fantasised about this? Come on – be honest with yourself. At some point in our lives, we all wanted to be a superhero.” And what’s so funny about that?
‘Kick-Ass’ (15) is on general release

Real-Life Superheroes or Masked Activists?

Originally posted: http://bigthink.com/ideas/19080
By Tal Pinchevsky on March 15, 2010, 7:15 PM
It sounds like a ridiculous premise for a bad Hollywood script. A very, very bad Hollywood script. But a confluence of forces over the past two years could be contributing to a bizarre rise in real-life, mask-and-spandex super heroes. With a heightened sense of online activism and large-scale cuts in a number of police forces, these pseudo-superheroes appear to be part vigilante, part activist. That’s right, superhero activists.
The cuts in police forces across the Western world, from England to Michigan, have inspired fears of impending crime waves. And while not every region has seen a sudden rise in crime, the past few years have seen the emergence of a fascinating networks of street-fighting superheroes inspired by a century of iconic comic culture. A culture, mind you, that has seen recent record prices for old superhero comics.
In a bizarro parallel of online activist networks, a number of traditional mask-and-spandex pseudo-heroes have taken to the web to mobilize. One of the first calls from action came from a New Jersey resident calling himself Phantom Zero, a masked man who seemed to fashion himself more a humanitarian than a crimefighter. The idea of the superhero-as-activist has indirectly contributed to a number of sites, like Superheroes Anonymous, which looks to inspire “the superhero in all people through outreach, education, and creative community service.”
But community activists (of sorts) are doing more than borrowing the basic superhero ethos. There has even sprouted a national network of costumed individuals patrolling streets across the country. You can follow a number of them on an official World Superhero Registry. And in a bizarre case of life imitating art, mainstream media, both print and online has embraced the work of these individuals in a not-completely-ironic way. Even Hollywood has jumped on the concept of the DIY superhero with upcoming films like Kickass and Defendor.
So is all this emerging superhero activity a vigilante uprising or a call to activism? Perhaps a bit of both. Either way, there is no denying the dozens of people suddenly fashioning themselves in the Superman mold.  Some, like Captain Australia, even have their own web site. With 2010 already declared the year of the real-life superhero, it’s hard to tell how many of these street fighters are embracing a true activist imperative. There are some we already know of, including Mexico’s Superbarrio, who acts primarily as a political organizer. Nobody’s saying masked vigilantes are the future of activism, but it certainly appears to be a new take on an old standard.

Superheroes get real

Superheroes get real
by fighting important issues
By Joshua Simmons
Published: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Updated: Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Up in the sky! It’s a bird; it’s a plane. Nope, it’s a superhero.
Comic book superheroes complete with cape and cowl are running through the streets of almost every major metropolitan area in the United States.
They have colorful names like Dreamer, Terrifica and Super Barrio. Rather than fighting crime in a traditional sense, they combat issues that they feel to be just on a more personal level.
They have left the bat-shaped boomerangs and X-ray vision at home, instead opting for food and blankets for the homeless or assisting with organizing to combat corporate injustice.
Portland is no different from the rest of the nation. That’s right; we have a superhero of our own. His name is Zetaman.
Zetaman has taken on the responsibility of defending Portland’s homeless population from the frigid nights and hunger. Armed with blankets, socks and food, he travels around Portland by night and provides those men and women with the necessities to make it through another night.
“They are happy to receive them,” Zetaman stated in an e-mail.
The royal blue clad superhero has based his costume on Superman and Zorro, but his real heroes are his grandfather and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
What could lead a man or woman to becoming a superhero?
“I guess some free time Internet searching, a want to do good things combined with a lousy work schedule. As far as recommending [becoming a superhero] to others, I would not. It is a very difficult thing to do because it opens a person up to a lot of ridicule,” Zetaman said.
“First if I saw the costume I’d think, ‘We must be in Portland.’ If I saw what they are doing I’d be really happy that they are out there doing something, and I would do anything I could to try and help. I do community service in my own way; I fed the homeless around town for Thanksgiving, which feels better for me than to sit around eating a big dinner and feeling guilty,” Kassi Havens, a Clackamas Community College student said.
According to the World Superhero Registry, yes there are so many superheroes out there that they are being registered; three things need to be accounted for in order to be considered for membership.
The first is what many would consider obvious, a costume. The World Superhero Registry states on its Web site, “The purpose of a costume is not simply to protect the identity of the Real-Life Superhero from criminals that might seek revenge but to make a statement both to the evil-doers that you fight against and to the world at large: you are not simply someone who happened upon crime or injustice and made an impulsive decision to intervene.”
The requisite costume has become something of a symbol for comic book fans and “Reals” alike. From the iconic Superman logo, to the basic jeans and T-shirt that accompany Wolverine’s metal claws, costumes are how superheroes are identified worldwide.
“I think it’s a good thing because you don’t get people who are just trying to get attention; they are actually trying to have fun while helping people,” said Havens.
Zetaman, however, has run across his share of the bad element in the Real Life Superhero community. Like with anything the Superhero community attracts people who actually want to make a change in the world, as well as the less than savory types who are just interested in getting five minutes in the spotlight.
The other two rules are a bit more complicated than cutting up your mother’s bed sheets and wearing tighty whities on the outside of your pants. The first is heroic deeds; a Real must be able to prove that they became a Real-Life Superhero for the benefit of mankind.
The final step is listed as personal motivation. The Web site indicates that in order to be registered “a Real-Life Superhero cannot be a paid representative of an organization”
In other words next time you see a spotlight in the sky at night, keep in mind that a Real is out doing their part to make the world a better place.

Superhero makes San Diego a better place

By Kari Luu, Staff Writer
To some, he’s just a man skulking through the night for an overdue Halloween party; but to others, he’s a symbol, a crusader and a giver. His identity is a secret. His weaknesses are on par with any other man, but he gets his kicks from doing good and his adrenaline rush comes from sweet justice. He’s just your neighborhood friendly superhero: Mr. Xtreme.
Donning a lucha libre mask and armed with a utility belt stuffed with a tactical flashlight, pepper spray, handcuffs, first-aid kit and a stun-gun, Mr. Xtreme is a homemade superhero who patrols San Diego areas by night in an effort to prevent crime. He sifts through various San Diego areas such as downtown, City Heights, Pacific and Mission beaches and more. On patrols, he occasionally hands out food and drink to homeless people and sometimes works with a superhero from another town.
Mr. Xtreme is one of the more active and visible members of the local Real Life Superheroes Organization, which is an international online community of nearly 300 comic book fans that stays connected through Web sites such as worldsuperheroregistry.com. These heroes spend their free time fighting crime and doing good deeds for society behind the anonymity of a mask and cape.
By day, Mr. Xtreme works as a security guard. As a native San Diegan, he was a witness to the city’s wave of crime in the early ‘90s. He grew infuriated by the public’s apathy and began his mission three years ago to deter crime in this town and promote safety awareness.
Mr. Xtreme’s primary method of crime prevention is acting as a visual deterrent — raising awareness by being highly visible and intervening in situations when a victim is involved. However, he is often invigorated by the gawks and stares he receives because of his outrageous attire.
“We’re not here to take law into our hands,” he said. “We’re not vigilantes. And we’re not here to harass people or violate their civil rights. Our role out there is a neighborhood watch: Deter crime and make sure it doesn’t happen in the first place or raise awareness: So I don’t mind if people get on their cell phones or call the police or try to shake me down.”
Mr. Xtreme cares more about the message he sends to society rather than what people think of him.
“At least I’m getting people to see what I’m doing and hopefully that will get them into the habit of calling the police when there are problems and suspicious activities,” Mr. Xtreme said.
As a young man, Mr. Xtreme himself fell victim to various crimes such as physical abuse, bullying and was even held at gunpoint by a gang. From his experiences, Mr. Xtreme was inspired to become the neighborhood superhero.
“I take the violent victimization of innocent people very personally,” he said. “Even if I don’t know the victims I feel that I can relate to them.”
Although this is not something he can put on his resume, Mr. Xtreme is just in the business to do good. He uses his own money for most of the charity work he does, such as printing flyers when a violent rapist was loose in San Diego. He also distributes food to the homeless and even offered $1,500 of his own money to whoever caught the sexual assault suspect last year. He’s no sellout either. He was offered to be on a reality show, which he turned down.
“I’m trying to give back to the community and do something positive,” Mr. Xtreme said. “All this apathy just kind of bewilders me and makes me kind of lose faith in humanity sometimes because nobody cares. ‘Another victim, another statistic’ and all we hear is, it’s time for a wakeup call and I’m tired of hearing of wakeup calls and instead of getting on with our lives we need to devote and dedicate our lives to take a stand.”
Despite how some may scoff at Mr. Xtreme’s lack of experience and odd ways of applying his justice, he has been training for the last year by learning various martial arts such as jiu-jitsu and judo. He has also taken classes in defensive tactics, handcuffing, first aid, batons and citizen arrest procedures.
“I’ve worked in the security field for several years and worked in a field that’s closely related to what I do here as Mr. Xtreme,” he said. “So I do have some experience in making citizen arrest, dealing with hostile aggressive people and dealing with the police.”
Mr. Xtreme said he hopes to recruit more superheroes in the near future and patrol the College Area.
“When I go out and do this it feels really rewarding,” Mr. Xtreme said. “I’m not bound by society’s rules, I don’t have to be a kissass and I’m trying to do something positive and give back to the community in a time when not too many people care.”
For more information on Mr. Xtreme, visit www.reallifesuperheroes.org.

Denver's own superhero, the Wall Creeper, unveils his manifesto

By Joel Warner in Follow That Story
The Wall Creeper.
​It’s been a while since we’ve heard from the Wall Creeper, Denver’s very own, real-life superhero. Recently, however, the crime fighter sent me a manifesto out of the blue.
Maybe he sensed the good citizens of this fine city were in distress, or maybe he needed to get something off his very mysterious chest. Either way, you can read the masked man’s words in their entirety below.

To the citizens of Denver, Colorado, and the United States of America,
I hope all of you are doing well, despite your challenges in this time of need, but from what I hear and see, this isn’t the case. Many of us are hurting right now, and I understand that. I do, however, have some words that may kindle the tiniest spark in you. Whether you think I am a joke, a myth, a maniac, or not, please read my words.
We are fighting for what several other honorable cultures have fought for, have DIED for: Freedom. Freedom from injustice, from fear and downfall. Freedom to express, excel, and never give up. Freedom to speak your mind civilly and be heard. Freedom to become legends. Every time you question what you are hoping to accomplish in your life, think back to those peoples of a different time, that sacrificed so much just so the advocate of conformity wouldn’t penetrate their culture like a spear, annihilating their beautiful existence.
Today, I ask all of you to stare deep into the eyes of destiny, and take a stand to define your life. It could be helping a neighbor move; it could be going to jury duty instead of trying to get out of it. It could be saving someone’s perspective on life with a few good, well chosen words. Whatever it is, put your blood, sweat, and tears into it. Be proud to be a citizen of Denver. Be proud to be a United States citizen that isn’t forced to lie low and quiet under a completely corrupted government in an underdeveloped and starving, oppressed country. You have been given a chance to live, breathe and experience one of the pinnacles of society, government and justice. Take advantage of your opportunities; don’t let them pass you by. Take charge of your own life, and find it within yourself to make a difference.
I found the drive within me to try and right wrongs, not just as the Wall Creeper, but as a normal, functioning member of society. I decided to become a servant to the people. Trying to be moral, honest, and strong in my beliefs and efforts, I became a totally different person inside and out. I’m not saying run out on the streets to right wrongs. I am saying take a stand for what you believe in, and right the wrongs in your own life, as well as aid those who need help. Find peace within yourself despite these hard times. Do well by others. Life is a precious thing, and is not to be dictated by hardship and discomfort. If you are unhappy with something, big or small, find a way to change it. Even if it never changes, and never gets any better, you will look back on your life with little regret.
I may not know you, reader, but I know that in your heart you have the power of choice. You have the strength that this country was built upon. Without you, there is no freedom. Become a legacy of good for this world, because we all know Earth needs it dearly right now. I hope my words have invoked some strength in you, reader, for we could all use a little strength right now.
— Wall Creeper


Good News Friday: Superheroes Anonymous

Friday October 9, 2009
Apparently “Superheroes” are not just for the movies or comic books anymore. Motivated by difficult economic times, high crime and homelessness, a new movement of real life “Superheroes” has sprung up across the country.
Real life “Superheroes”….for real? Yep, and some of them are even dressed in tights.
One of these masked men is Mr. Ravenblade, a former Microsoft employee who was laid off who now helps to fight crime in Seattle. According to “Superheroes Anonymous,” based in New York, there are hundreds of Superheroes out there today doing what they can to help out in theri communities. According to the World Superhero Registry, in order to be a “Real Superhero” one must be “committed to doing good for the benefit of mankind” above and beyond the call of duty.
Some of the other SuperHeroes on the streets today are:
– Mr. Xtreme, who patrols the streets of San Diego.
– The Dark Guradian, a martial arts teacher committed to giving back in New York.
– Crimson Fist, who fights homelessness with food and water on the streets of Atlanta.
– Chaim “Life” Lazaros, of Superheroes Anonymous, who helped raise money children at St Mary’s Hospital and provides supplies to theri local homeless.
Here’s the Real Life Superheroes Creed: (I love this!)
We are Real Life Superheroes.
We follow and uphold the law.
We fight for what is right.
We help those in need.
We are role models.
We will be positive and inspirational.
We hold ourselves to a higher standard.
Through our actions we will create a better brighter tomorrow.
Don’t you just love these people! It makes me want to run out and get a costume.
What about you….is there a Superhero inside of you? So here’s my question:
If you were a Superhero, who would you be and what would be your cause?
I’d love to hear your comments.
See photo gallery of real life Superheroes for a little creative inspiration.
Peace and Blessings and May the Force Be with You!
posted by Deborah Price @ 3:34pm

Meet the real life registered superhero

by Ben Goldby, Sunday Mercury
IS it a bird? Is it a plane?
No it’s a portly middle-aged businessman in a mask and cape.
Birmingham has its very own superhero patrolling the streets, and he is out to tackle the city’s toughest criminals.
Captain Britain, as he likes to be called, promises that he is “the protector of this Blessed Isle and all who live here”.
The brave Brummie is part of a new online fad which sees comic book fans carry out real-life crimefighting deeds dressed as their own Superhero alter egos.
The World Superhero Registry site boasts scores of characters, from across the globe, many of whom post videos of their heroic acts and pictures of their bizarre costumes.
While Captain Britain remains elusive, some of the “Superheroes” on the site have gained notoriety in their communities, and have even been pressured to reveal their secret identities.
Shadow Hare, 21, who “protects” the US city of Cincinnati, featured on his local TV news channel and has been battling to maintain his anonymity ever since.
“Despite the coverage I have been patrolling just as usual,” he wrote on his blog.
“I’ve heard about the lame bounty on my identity. Who cares? It doesn’t distract me from the people out there that I need to help.
“Besides, anyone can give you people a name. If they do, does that mean you will give them money? Nice try guys.”
And Shadow Hare is not the only real life superhero to hit the headlines.
California-based crimefighter The Eye, 50, has become a legend in his home state, and uses social networking site Myspace to promote his skills.
“I am a street-level, practical crime fighter and Neighborhood Watch Block Captain who uses various self-created electronic devices and other means to prevent crime, and help others in need whenever and wherever possible,” the Eye writes.
“My background as a certified private investigator as well as over 25 years of electronics expertise have aided me well in these efforts, and will continue to do so.
“I am also trained to mastery in the style of Kung-Fu known as Northern Shaolin Praying Mantis.”
Britain boasts five other crimefighting comic book stars, based in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh and Whitley, on the ouskirts of Reading.
Scottish superhero Seagull Man has targeted his feathered foes in a campaign to: “Keep the city clear of the vermin that live on our streets”.
And Whitley’s Batman and Robin are also tackling the lighter side of superhero duties.
Dressed as the famous dark knight and his sidekick, the Reading crimefighters are attracting more laughs than plaudits from the public.
One damsel in distress said: “They just appeared. I saw them running down the road in Batman and Robin outfits – I was laughing so much.
“It was like a scene out of Only Fools and Horses and they stayed in character the whole time.”
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Shadow Hare & Silver Moon: Cincinnati's True Life Super Heroes

By Carol Rucker
Fighting Crime in Cincinnati-
At age twenty-one, Shadow Hare has already logged four years of fighting crime in the shadows of Cincinnati streets; but he has only recently made his efforts known to the public. Cincinnati’s very own crime fighter stepped out of the shadows at high noon to answer a few questions. “I’m a crime fighter,” Shadow Hare said; and that’s what he does, stopping criminals in the act, preventing crime wherever he goes. Perhaps it was the adversity Shadow Hare endured as a child that inspired his current path. “I was tortured,” he said. Such suffering could very easily have pushed a weaker man toward vindication; but Shadow Hare transformed the energy of those childhood traumas into a drive to make the world a better place. Shadow Hare is a member of the Allegiance of Heroes and what he does is part of a nationwide trend evidenced by World Superhero Registry, one of many sites keeping superhero stats. There are others like him across the country, but until recently, Shadow Hare stood alone in his quest to fight crime on Cincinnati’s streets. These days trusted aide and pupil, Silver Moon, joins him in his crime fighting quest.
Shadow Hare -The Eyes and Ears of Cincinnati-
“To get what you’ve never had, you have to do things you’ve never done,” Shadow Hare explained. True to this age-old philosophy, he is doing something that’s never been done on the streets of Cincinnati. A superhero, patrolling Cincinnati’s streets as the eyes and ears of the police, he prevents crime and spreads awareness.
The Ionosphere – Shadow Hare’s Headquarters-
Shadow Hare is like a shadow indeed, coming and going quickly, slipping in and out of the crowd to aid victims of criminal acts. Sometimes he breezes through the city on a Segway, one of those handy two-wheeled personal transportation devices that make navigating the city’s terrain more convenient than in a car and faster than walking. Like most superheroes, unless someone needs him, Shadow Hare remains illusive to the average citizen. It took Greg Reese From Cincinnati weeks of seeking him out before he located Silver Hare and his companion, Silver Moon, and they agreed to make an appearance in The Ionosphere, their headquarters at the north edge of Downtown Cincinnati The Ionosphere, the official Shadow Hare-Silver-Moon headquarters, is not as secretive a place as the name might imply. It’s a Segway Dealership at Central Parkway and Vine in an up and coming area referred to by some as The Q.
The Shadow Hare’s Crime Fighting Costume-
Shadow Hare was clad in black from head to toe, with a traditional super hero cape flowing behind him. Emblazoned on his chest and characterized in the features of his face mask, was his namesake, the Shadow Hare, a ghostly rabbit with distorted features straight out of one of his dreams. During childhood that ghostly animal reached out to him, Shadow Hare says, becoming his comforter. Today that comforting creature is a symbol of Shadow Hare’s desire to protect and comfort all Cincinnati citizens.
Shadow Hare’s Crime Fighting Tools-
Beneath his costume, Shadow Hare is not the usual tall, muscle-ripped hunk of fictional hero fame. He is an everyday real man, perhaps a bit thin, but with drive and intensity enough to make up for any lack of physical stature. Combined with the element of surprise, Shadow Hare’s martial arts skills are his chief crime fighting weapon. In a brief demonstration, he illustrated his ability to bring down an offender with non lethal force. And if his martial arts skill should fail him, the 120,000 volt tazer dangling from his belt should certainly do the job.
Silver Moon- Shadow Hare’s Companion-
As Shadow Hare’s partner, the petite Silver Moon dons matching head-to-toe-black garb. Arms crossed over the white halo and single star adorning her chest, the super-heroine-in-training manages to look tough while maintaining a feminine air. Like Shadow Hare, she is dedicated to making the city a better place. Silver Moon is new to the crime fighting game. She is still learning from Shadow Hare the martial arts skills necessary to take on Cincinnati’s criminal element; but when you see Shadow Hare, you will most likely see Silver Moon, standing nearby, waiting, watching, and every bit as motivated to serve the public as her male superhero counterpart.
Shadow Hare & Silver Moon – Causing A Stir on the Street-
As the super hero and his lady companion stepped from The Ionosphere into the afternoon sunlight, they struck a pose for the camera, and caused a stir by their mere presence on the street. Lunchtime passersby clicked away with phone cameras. Some stopped to ask a question or two. Motorists called out to him or cheered; some blew their horns as he whoosed by on his Segway. Shadow Hare saluted or waved in return. Moments after Shadow Hare mounted his Segway, preparing to demonstrate how he moves along the city streets, a Cincinnati police car parked near the Vine Street corner where he stood. Next a bicycle-mounted policewoman arrived on the scene, as did another officer who parked his car on Central Parkway. “Some scoff at me. Others take me seriously.” Shadow Hare said, referring to the police officers. To that he added, “I trust the police.” Still he says “no one needs authorization to be a super hero.” If you want to follow in his footsteps, you need only contact him.
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Low Rise

low-rise_3374259_51By Scott Wilson
Who knew Kansas City, Kansas, was a Triple-A farm club for superheroes? According to the World Superhero Registry, a woman crime fighter named Nyx guards the streets of KCK. But she’s about to go to the show: New York. (Staff writer Justin Kendall posted a video of Nyx along with his May 7 Plog entry about her.)
As though Gotham needs more costumed avengers.
It figures that our metro isn’t big enough for Nyx — she already has been three other people. She first called herself Hellcat, then Felinity and then Sphynx. Now she’s Nyx, named for the Greek goddess of the night, a beautiful and powerful but shadowy figure who gave birth to the gods of sleep and death.
Nyx’s MySpace profile is a little less classical and a little more Andrew Lloyd Webber:
“I am Nyx, masked protector of the night.
“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.
“It’s impossible to define but I feel a certain degree of loyalty to every being that inhabits this earth, a compulsion to watch — to help — to protect.
“I respect all RLSH [Real Life Super Heroes] of every sort, it’s not an easy life we’ve chosen but we’ve chosen it nonetheless.”
Nyx is a member of a superhero group called Vixens of Valour. (That’s the Queen’s English version of valor, not chicks in velour costumes. How disappointing.) Apparently, she’s also vice president of the Heroes Network and a member of the Signal of Light Foundation. No word on whether she’s a superfriend or a Rotarian.
Nothing in her bio suggests that she has found an archenemy, something every hero needs. If she can’t find one in New York, she’ll have to hang up her cowl. No, creditors who chase you out of the Big Apple and into your parents’ basement don’t count.

KCK has a superhero named Nyx?

By Justin Kendall in News, Random Life
Citizens of Kansas City, Kansas, a superhero walks among you — but not for long. The World Superhero Registry (didn’t Captain America just fight superhero registration?) says a female crime fighter named Nyx guards the streets of KCK but will soon move to New York.

Damn, Gotham always steals the best heroes.
Nyx has had a bit of an identity crisis. She was formerly known as Hellcat, Felinity and Sphynx. In Greek mythology, Nyx was the goddess of the night, a beautiful and powerful but shadowy figure who mothered the gods of sleep and death.
Here’s a brief bio from Nyx’ MySpace profile:

“I am Nyx, masked protector of the night…
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.
It’s impossible to define but I feel a certain degree of loyalty to every being that inhabits this earth, a compulsion to watch — to help — to protect.
I respect all RLSH [Real Life Super Heroes] of every sort, it’s not an easy life we’ve chosen but we’ve chosen it nonetheless.”

After the jump, more about KCK’s mysterious hero — and she speaks!
Nyx is a member of the superhero group Vixens of Valour. She’s apparently vice president of the Heroes Network and a member of the Signal of Light Foundation. Ooh, superhero politics. 
Alas, what’s a hero without an arch nemesis? Sadly, Nyx’ profile says she has none.
Nyx has also posted videos on YouTube, but none record her heroics. This one is from October 2008.
I sent Nyx a message on MySpace, but she has yet to respond. I understand. A hero’s journey leaves little time for self-promotion.