Real life superheroes in the news

Articles in Rolling Stone and The Sunday Times this month introduce us to real life superheroes, basically vigilantes in spandex with names like Terrifica, Mr. Invisible, Master Legend, and The Ace. From Rolling Stone:
 Assets Rn Img 9 9 9 7 24957999-24958002-Slarge Although Master Legend was one of the first to call himself a Real Life Superhero, in recent years a growing network of similarly homespun caped crusaders has emerged across the country. Some were inspired by 9/11. If malevolent individuals can threaten the world, the argument goes, why can't other individuals step up to save it? "What is Osama bin Laden if not a supervillain, off in his cave, scheming to destroy us?" asks Green Scorpion, a masked avenger in Arizona. True to comic-book tradition, each superhero has his own aesthetic. Green Scorpion's name is derived from his desert home, from which he recently issued a proclamation to "the criminals of Arizona and beyond," warning that to continue illegal activities is to risk the "Sting of the Green Scorpion!"
From The Sunday Times:
In recent weeks, prompted by heady buzz words such as “active citizenry” during the Barack Obama campaign, the pace of enrolment has speeded up. Up to 20 new “Reals”, as they call themselves, have materialised in the past month.

The Real rules are simple. They must stand for unambiguous and unsponsored good. They must create their own Spandex and rubber costumes without infringing Marvel or DC Comics copyrights, but match them with exotic names – Green Scorpion in Arizona, Terrifica in New York, Mr Xtreme in San Diego and Mr Silent in Indianapolis.

They must shun guns or knives to avoid being arrested as vigilantes, even if their nemeses may be armed. Their best weapon is not muscle but the internet – an essential tool in their war on crime is a homepage stating the message of doom for super-villains.
"The Legend of Master Legend" (, "Amateur crimefighters are surging in the US" (, thanks COOP!)


  1. The Times article goes between terribly sad and funny about a dozen times. The gentleman who was committed to a pyschiatric ward when he was faced with police and “forgot for just a moment he could not actually fly away” and the “Real” who talks about helping stranded motorists. The JLAAA.

    I’m rather opposed to vigilantes “dealing out justice” and such. Wanting to help your community or make the world a better place is not something you accomplish by dressing in spandex and punching people.

    Otherwise professional wrestlers would all be Nobel Laureates.

  2. I miss that Sci-Fi show, “WHO WANTS TO BE A SUPERHERO”??? I was hoping to audition for Season 3 when they cancelled it. DAAAMN!

    Anyway, this article is very strange. Are they being for real, or are they just having fun? If it’s the latter, I can go for it.

  3. Judging from the comic books, the chief qualification of a superhero is the power to look good in spandex. These dudes don’t qualify.

  4. You know, when adults play dress-up as vampires, they allways put a lot of effort into telling any outsiders that “it’s just a game, really, we’re not actually the bloodsucking undead”.
    Just in case anyone thought otherwise.

    So why is it that when adults play dress-up as cartoon characters they suddenly feel the urge to convince other people -and themselves- that “it’s totally about vigilantism, no, seriously it is”. What is so wrong about just wanting to look pretty?

  5. This reminds me of an indie film I watched recently. Much like this story, Special alternates between sad and funny.
    LES FRANKEN (Michael Rapaport) leads a painfully unremarkable life as a metermaid until he enrolls in a drug study for an experimental anti-depressant. An unexpected side effect of the drug convinces Les he is developing special powers and must quit his job to answer his new calling in life… Superhero. A very select group of people in life are truly gifted. Special is a movie about everyone else.

  6. I just don’t know. I am sort of split between: This is madness! and: Hey, that’s so cool!
    And I just don’t know how to make up my mind about it.
    (on the other hand the fact that I actually am in two minds about this is letting me doubt my sanity…)

  7. The Reals’ worldview seems predicated on the idea that the common folk can’t control their own destinies without colorfully elaborate support structures (Just like the average cop, preacher or politician I suppose).

    But maybe I’m analyzing too much. It’s possible that these guys just want to dress up – after all, in the USA people frown on men wearing tights. We’re pretty parochial that way.


  8. I am terribly conflicted. I KNOW that this is a BAD idea, but I really want to live in a world where these folk exist.

  9. Playing Devil’s advocate here… maybe this is a good thing. Surely, there are plenty of cops running around with a John Wayne complex. If you ask me, Captain America is a much better role model.

    Yeah, yeah, vigilantism is bad. That’s where we get into the whole “superhero registration” argument. (Yes, I’m a geek.)

  10. we need a reality show based on this premise, preferably american idol like, with judges and everything kinda off like along the lines so you think you can band, or dance or sing ect. but it would be titled “so you think you can justice!” and see who shows up! i got dibs on my superhero name, i shall be known as “the giggler”! and my super power will be making my enemies giggle to death whilst they stare at my horendoously funny giggle inducing tights and rubbermaid body armour…

  11. the best super hero outfits you can wear last time i recalled were, firefighter, emergency recue volunteer worker, nurse, doctor, medic. but not necessarily in that order :)

  12. then, of course, there’s THE Specials, the first movie that put Thomas Haden Church back to glory … so weird that you would call a movie “Special” about Superheros when you already have this film …

  13. In other news, there has been a spate of stories about delusional people getting the shit kicked out of them.

  14. Their best weapon is the internet?! What? What kind of lame-ass crap is that? At least learn some basic self defense or street fighting or SOMEthing.

  15. Oh dear god – some movie land pr suit has been assimilating Obama’s use of the internet.

    Be warned. You’re about to be used to advertise.

  16. If you want to look like a superhero in spandex, take up speedskating.

    If you want to fly while wearing an outrageous costume and way cool googles, take up ski jumping. You’ll even make that wonderful whooshing sound that Steve Reeves did when he flew on the old Superman TV show!

    If you want to fight crime, volunteer at a school or an after school program and help kids learn and grow!

  17. I can speak as someone actually in the superhero community, and many of us cringed when the Rolling Stone article came out. Instead of using a media outlet to portray a Real Life Superhero, the main person portrayed in this article just displayed a silly weirdness that many people cannot believe. I can respect that. If I had nothing to do with these folks and I was just reading the article, I’d think the whole thing was stupid. The main person in this article is actually a laughingstock with the majority of us, and his actual supporters are just more of the same… they live in a fantasy world where they are able to create an entire reality for themselves online. Real superheroes have legitimate patrols, and yes, sometimes it’s to stop crime. We also get involved in the community and do our best to make a difference. We strive to be role models, we want to see something change in our cities. We work hard to encourage others to get involved. The main person in this article does not represent the majority of us. If you are interested in actual and legitimate Real Life Superheroes, please visit
    The main person in this article is not listed there, for obvious reasons.

  18. @Truthteller

    I’m so glad my boss isn’t like that! I’m working with costumed heroes right now, and became a huge fan of wearing costumes. I especially like the ones with touch screen displays and html web browsers. They’re awesome!

    guys check out the whois entry along with the posting pattern on the net for the Truthteller’s URL.

    _____astro______((o)) ?

  19. I know a couple superheroes (never heard of any of them calling themselves ‘Reals’ usually it’s either RLSH or just ‘superhero’) alot of the time they mostly do community service, and just wear the costumes to get attention to what they’re cause is. some of them really do the whole patrol thing, , and one or two aren’t actually that bad, least they haven’t gotten killed yet.

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