Thursday, April 16, 2015

Real Life Super Heroes: A Growing Movement

In light of the success of the Avengers movies and most of the movies based on super hero comic books, it is interesting to point out that there is a real-life superhero movement that is growing, much to the dismay of many law enforcement officials across the United States.                                             

A movement of ordinary citizens, both men and women, has taken it upon themselves to protect the cities and their respective neighborhoods. Though not authorized to do so in any official or legal capacity, these citizens have assumed the role of crime fighters. What makes them particularly fascinating and unique is that they do it dressed in an array of super hero attire.

What is the Super Hero Movement?

According to Elizabeth Flock’s article, “Real-Life Super Hero Growing, but Not Getting Good Reception from the Police”, the superhero movement is a growing trend of ordinary citizens who try to patrol and fight crime in their neighborhoods and other needed places. The real-life superheroes wear super hero types of costumes while on patrol.

Flock’s article points out that the website,, claims to have 720 members. The movement continues to grow and has also sought to become more organized. Some of the real life superhero members have proposed establishing uniform standards. Some have published tutorials on how people can join. Some members are considering establishing a sanctioning body to oversee the movement. The growing real-life superhero trend may have received a boost from the HBO documentary, “Superheroes”, not to mention the movie, “Kick-Ass”, which is about a boy with special powers who decides to become a superhero.
Edward Stinson is a Florida-based writer who advises real-life superheroes. Flock quotes from Stinson’s MSNBC interview. Stinson said, “The movement has grown majorly. What I tell these guys is, ‘You’re no longer in the shadows. You’re in a new era. ... Build trust. Set standards. Make the real-life superheroes work to earn that title and take some kind of oath.’ ”

Who are Some of the Super Heroes?
To some, the real life superheroes are icons demonstrating to the public that anyone can make a difference. Some members of the movement include such icons as Ragensi from Los Angeles who fights his crime-perpetrating demons there. Another icon is Mr. Xtreme who believes that doing good starts with the willingness to try. There is also Thanatos, the Dark Avenger, who patrols the streets in Vancouver. Another Vancouver  real-life superhero is Knight Owl. Phantom Zero fights crime across the river from New York City. Catching media attention most recently is Seattle-based real-life superhero, Phoenix Jones, who fights crime wearing a gold and black superhero suit and bullet-proof vest. Phoenix Jones is married to another crime fighting superhero called Purple Reign. These are just a few of many real life superheroes in the Real Life Superhero Project. Read profiles of an array of them at the Real Life Hero Project listed in the Reference section.
What Objections Do Police have to the Real Life Superheroes?

The crime-fighting self-proclaimed superheroes have attracted the fascination of a multitude of fans, but police are not among the adoring fans. According to Flock’s article, police feel that such vigilantes risk causing harm to themselves and others.

Recently, Benjamin Francis, who is Seattle’s superhero, Phoenix Jones, was arrested for using pepper spray on a group of people he claims were fighting. Police disagree with Jones and he is facing assault charges for the incident.

Mark Wayne Williams, also known as Michigan’s Batman, was caught by authorities hanging from a building wearing a Batman costume. Williams was arrested for trespassing and possession of dangerous weapons (his baton, chemical spray and weighted gloves).

Despite the arrest of some well-intentioned superheroes, the movement continues to grow. The drama that inevitably accompanies the lives of the real-life superheroes likely furthers the cause and the movement.

Picture credit: Ben Smith