Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Real Life Superhero Speaks Out

Hardwire, a regular reader of the blog and a Real Life Superhero, sent me an email clarifying the Real Life Superhero movement (as first mentioned in this post):

I just thought that maybe I would clear up a few discrepancies regarding the RLSH movement, and the community as a whole. I saw some of the comments, and it seems that the majority of people reading the post are uninformed.

First off, we're not all vigilante nut jobs. The majority of our community consists of men and women looking to do good through volunteer efforts, charitable fundraisers, and, of course, security patrols. Dark Guardian himself is a tremendous help to achieving these goals, as he has organized several events and drop-offs, and is in the process of getting Superheroes Anonymous, a RLSH organization, state (and later federal) non-profit status. In regards to what I do/have done, I have worked with Habitat for Humanity down in New Orleans, helped clean up my neighborhood, and have patrolled my city a ridiculous amount of times.

The uniforms, costumes, whatever you want to call them - yeah, they're a little unnerving, and they make us look a bit silly, but it also tells people we're harmless. We are no danger to American stability. If anything, we're boosters!

Yes, there are nut jobs who call themselves RLSHs, and think we're all about busting in crack dealers' skulls. Fortunately, those people typically just sit on forums or Myspace all day, talking about what they'd do, or making up fantastic stories.

Real Life Superheroes are just regular men and women who dress themselves in heroic alter egos, and set out to make a difference in someone's life, their neighborhood, or the world. They are selfless, compassionate individuals, with a strong sense of duty, honor, and responsibility. I can't say that I'm up there with the best of them, but those that are make me want to try.

You have my full permission to use this in a blog post.


  1. Anonymous1:07 PM

    That does not make me feel any more comfortable with this culture.

    Why do they need to dress up in order to do simple community service? It's not cosplay.

    And State-funded? You have got to be kidding me.

    I'm compiling a list of questions to send Mr. Hardwire. I don't want to offend him, but I also can't mask (pun intended) how unhealthy I think this is.

  2. So why not the Peace Corps?

    The armed services?

    The National Guard and Coast Guard?

    Volunteer firefighting?

    Just plain volunteering?

    The information in the other post Val put up here was kind of disturbing. It made plain that there was some kind of "fighting crime" thing going on as an undercurrent to it all, and in a not healthy, could-get-someone-killed-or-locked-up kinda way.

    This guy might want to help people, and that's flat out awesome. Not enough people want to do that these days. But the costumed superhero thing, complete with legal advice and telling people to use "non lethal" taked-own methods . . . that's kinda scary.

  3. Kudos to you, sir! And kudos to your fine organization! Keep up the good work. ^_^

  4. I like your blog a lot. You're a good writer and you obviously have an abiding love of comics. I've been stopping by and getting caught up once a week for a couple of months now. I guess I came in during the most recent firestorm of controversy that you ignited. It sort of made me a little sick to my stomach. Anyhow, I just wanted to voice my support, such as it is, and thank you for the always entertaining and often enlightening blog reading experience that you provide. Take care.

  5. Real Life Supervillains are just regular men and women who dress themselves in evil alter egos, and set out to make a difference in someone's life, their neighborhood, or the world. They are selfish, sociopathic individuals, with a strong sense of self-interest, greed and chaos. I can't say that I'm down there with the worst of them, but those that are make me want to try.

    That's the organization I'm waiting for. Sign me up, baby!

    But seriously, if this is the way some people choose to try to help their communities, then I'm all for it. It's like Neighborhood Watch, only with tights. The best thing a RLSH can do while "patrolling" his or her neighborhood is have a cellphone handy in order to call the cops when witnessing a possible crime, rather than attempt to intervene.

    But other than that, community involvement and charity work will go a lot farther towards alleviating crime and societal ills than anything else. And if you can do that in a colorful outfit and with a fun codename, then go for it.

  6. I have no animosity toward anyone who does this, unless you inadvertantly hurt someone.

    If you are doing patrols good. Back in the day there were Panthers and those red beret guys (Guardian Angels? or whatever they were). There's not a whole lot of difference between a uniform and a RLSH costume

    A little fantasy and positive role models are good, but I just suspect something bad may happen to someone, especially to one of the RLSH.

    As long as you guys are have public identities. I may not want a SHRA in my comic world, but I don't want anonymous vigilantes in the real world.

    I will, however, continue to take cheap shots if something witty (or not so witty) comes to mind.

  7. Sounds like someone who is sane, together and trying to help. Wish there were more like him.

  8. With the exception of extreme cases, I don't see much difference between the RLSH movement and Star Trek fandom. No, really -- people dressing up in costumes, donating their time or money or other resources to various causes (anyone remember the Starfleet/Klingon "blood feud" drives for the Red Cross? I don't know if anyone does them anymore)...and getting soundly mocked for it, because they're doing it in funny costumes and their hobbies and interests are perceived as weird.

    Why do they need to be in costume? Why do they need to bring their fandom into it? Well, why not? It shows that they're good, decent people despite -- even because of -- their fandom. I have no interest in dressing up in a superhero costume or a Starfleet uniform outside the convention hall, but if this sort of thing makes people feel better about themselves, if they act responsibly and within the bounds of the law, then more power to them.