Real-life superhero

Real-life superhero

Real-life superheroes (RLSH) are men and women who engage in different forms of activism using the thematic device of the costumed superhero, many of them adopting pseudonyms and wearing custom-made outfits.[1][2] They perform services that they believe benefit the community in a variety of ways, but which may be illegal.[3] Some real-life superheroes, hand out supplies to the homeless, while others seek to combat crime through community patrols in which suspicious activity is identified and reported to the proper authorities. Many choose to directly deal with crime by vigilantism.



Real life super heroes wear masks or otherwise disguise themselves in order to perform vigilante actions, ranging from community services to fighting crime. The latter activity differs from community neighborhood watch schemes in that the heroes may act against the wishes of the police, endangering themselves and the public.[4][5][6]

Some examples documented in the news media include:


  • Captain Australia, featured in the MX and then the Courier Mail[6][7] and on television's A Current Affair[8] is based in the Queensland capital Brisbane. He wears a green suit and mask similar to The Flash with an @ symbol on his chest and a Batman styled utility belt. He also maintains his own blog, "".[9] Police have expressed their preference that Captain Australia not intervene in incidents any more.[6]



  • Captain Ozone, featured in the French edition of Max magazine,[10] and Koikispass magazine,[11] as well as the German edition of FHM magazine.[12]

Czech Republic

  • Super Vaclav purports to combat antisocial behavior of Prague citizens. He does this by pouring buckets of water on individuals smoking near public transport stops. He also assaults dog owners with their own animal's excrement if it is left behind on a lawn.[13]


  • La Repubblica featured Entomo The Insect-Man, a masked patroller and activist.[14] In February 2009, Rai 4 filmed a night-time patrol and interview with Entomo at the abandoned Italsider factory in Naples, aired on the TV program 'Sugo'.[15] Following an extensive interview on Il Riformista,[16] Entomo was depicted in major Italian and Spanish newspapers, such as Il Mattino[17] and Panorama.[18]


  • The December 31, 2009 Norwegian publication, Aftenposten featured an article and photos of Real-Life Superheroes. The article included Life, Geist, The Deaths Head Moth, Dreizehn, Entomo and Superhero.[19]

United Kingdom

  • The British tabloid The Sun ran an article on the country's Real-Life Superheroes, including The Statesman, Vague, Swift, Black Arrow, Lionheart and Terrorvision.[20][21]
  • The BBC reported on Angle-Grinder Man, a British self-described "wheel-clamp superhero" who uses an angle grinder to illegally cut wheel clamps off vehicles which have been clamped in by police and parking officials in Kent and London. He does not demand money when performing these crimes.[3]
  • The newspaper This is Local London featured an article on SOS, a UK superhero who crashed the premiere of the film Kick-Ass.[22]
  • Knight Warrior ([23] )
  • In August 2011, the BBC reported on Shadow Ninja, a real-life superhero who patrols in Yeovil.[24]

North America


  • The Age described Polarman of Iqaluit, Nunavut, whose primary interests are shovelling the snow off sidewalks during the day, and patrolling the streets for criminals at night.[25]
  • Thanatos of Vancouver, British Columbia, a person who dresses in a costume and distributes goods and goodwill to the homeless.[26]


  • CNN covered Mexico City's Superbarrio, who is a highschool dropout who wears red tights and a red and yellow wrestler's mask. He uses his unique image to organize labour rallies, protest, and file petitions to prevent families from being evicted.[27]

United States

Real-Life Superheroes are notably prevalent in the USA compared to other countries, which may be attributed to the greater popularity of superhero comic books.[28][29][30][31]

  • Superheroes Anonymous, the first annual gathering of Real-Life Superheroes from all over America, who cleaned Times Square, helped the homeless, and handed out crime prevention materials.[32]
  • Multiple media outlets have run reports on the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group of real life super heroes in Seattle. The group includes Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Troop, Pitch Black, Red Dragon, The Mantis, Blue Sparrow, Penelope , Phoenix Jones, the Guardian of Seattle.[33][34]
  • TreeHugger reported on Captain Ozone starring in ecological television PSA’s, making appearances at grade schools and hemp festivals, creating a video documentary on environmentalism, and also organizing a public demonstration for renewable energy.[35]
  • The San Diego Union-Tribune[36] and UPI[37] wrote about heroes like Mr. Xtreme, a security guard who moonlights as a "costumed crime fighter" in Clearwater, Florida.
  • Captain Prospect and Sparks were featured on NPR Intern Edition for spring of 2009.[38]
  • Thanatos, Life and Phantom Zero were featured in an article by Globe and Mail.[39] They discussed their different views and methods on being Real Life Superheroes.
  • CBS Atlanta reports[40] Crimson Fist patrols Atlanta twice a month to help those in need.[41]
  • Dark Guardian, Life and Phantom Zero were featured in the March edition of Loaded magazine.
  • Wall Creeper and Zen Blade were featured on Westword, Denver's alternative weekly publiciation.[42]
  • MSN mentions Captain Prospect', Geist, Tothian, Captain Jackson, Nyx, and Michael Brinatte, owner of in an online article.
  • KSTP-TV reported on Razorhawk, Geist and the Great Lakes Hero Guild while they patrolled Minneapolis. The segment was re-broadcast nationally on ABC Overnight News.[43]
  • Dark Guardian and Citizen Prime were featured on the Premiere episode of the G4 show, G4 Underground starring Morgan Webb[44]
  • Cincinnati, Ohio-based NBC affiliate News 5 WLWT reported on[45] Shadow Hare. This was later rebroadcast on CNN
  • Dark Guardian, Life and Phantom Zero were featured on WPIX channel 11 The CW affiliate as they patrolled New York City.[46] News clip shown featured Dark Guardian confronting a drug dealer courtesy of Superheroes Anonymous film crew.[47]
  • CNN featured an article on Scott Woods, Dark Guardian, Mr. Xtreme and Superheroes Anonymous.[48]
  • CBS The Early Show interviewed Citizen Prime as well as showcase footage of Civitron, Dark Guardian and Life as they patrolled New York City.[49]
  • The British edition of FHM magazine featured Dark Guardian, The Deaths Head Moth and Z.[50]
  • The Watchman and Moon Dragon were featured in the August 2009 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.[51]
  • WTOP-FM, a radio station in Washington DC, reported on Metro Woman, who uses a superhero costume and identity to spread information on using mass transit and the ecological benefits of using public transportation in the Washington DC Metro region.[52]
  • CBS affiliate WTSP reported about Superhero and Lady Hero in Clearwater, Florida.[53]
  • The Washington Post reported a story about superheroes Captain Prospect and Justice, members of the "Capital City Super Squad" in Washington DC.[54]
  • Central Florida News 13 did a story on Team Justice, a group of costumed superheroes giving Christmas gifts to the homeless.[55][56]
  • ABC's Nightline news program interviewed real-life superheroes Squeegeeman and Captain Xavier Obvious, who patrol New York City. The heroes have also been documented in Radar Magazine, Time Out New York, and HDNet's Deadline!.[57]
  • The Portland, Oregon-based newspaper Willamette Week[58] reported on Zetaman and his patrols consisting of seeking out the needy with gifts of food and clothing. This was later reported on the Portland-based ABC affiliate, KATU, and CNN.[59]
  • The Salt Lake City-based newspaper Salt Lake City Weekly reported on the patrols of The Black Monday Society and the costumed identities of its team members Insignis, Ghost, Ha!, Oni, and Silver Dragon.[60] Fox News Salt Lake City ran a story on the team as well.[61]
  • The New York Daily News did an article on Life and Dark Guardian patrolling through New York City and helping the homeless.[62]
  • Rolling Stone ran a feature about the "real superhero community," featuring The Ace.
  • ABC News and NPR's Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! radio program interviewed Terrifica, a New York City-based woman who patrols bars and parties in an effort to prevent inebriated women from being taken advantage of by men. Since the mid-1990s, Terrifica has donned a mask, blonde wig, red boots and cape, to serve and protect the women of the city.[63]
  • Jack Brinatte, known as Razorhawk, appeared on Fox News America Newsroom.[64]
  • WITI (TV) interviewed The Watchman and showed him on a patrol of the city.[65]
  • Empire Magazine featured Geist in a sidebar article, "The Real Kick-Ass".[66]
  • ran an article "Amid hard times, an influx in real superheroes" featuring Geist of Rochester, MN, Life, Mr. Ravenblade of Seattle, WA, Mr. Xtreme, Dark Guardian of NY, NY, Amazonia and Crimson Fist.[67]
  • NBC News ran a story documenting a 20 year old Columbia Tennessee resident being stopped by police for patrolling the streets after midnight in a black and green mask and costume. The man referred to himself as The Viper, and claimed that he was "just a guy trying to do what was right in tights".[68]
  • NY Press ran an article called Brooklyn's Own Superheroes regarding the New York-based Real-Life Superheroes Z, Zimmer, Tsaf, and Lucid, who are all members of a group called New York Initiative.[69]
  • The Sunday Paper ran an article on about Two Real Life Superheroes Crimson Fist & Metadata in Atlanta that help the homeless in their area.[70]
  • Telemundo ran a news piece about Dragonheart, a bilingual Real-Life Superhero who operates in Miami, Florida.[71]
  • Zimmer, a Real-Life Superhero, was featured on Fox 13 Utah as part of the documentary "Superheroes" that played at the 2011 Slamdance Film Festival.[72]
  • The Jibsheet ran an article about a group of 10 Real Life Superheroes in Seattle trying to help the homeless prevent their belongings from being stolen by gangs.[73]
  • Downtown St. Pete ran an article, Real life Superheroes descend on Berg's Film Fest where a group called Team Justice showed up for a Q&A after an airing of the film Superhero me by Steven Sale. In their ranks were Superhero, Lady Hero, Kapes, Symbiote, and Artisteroi .[74]
  • ran an article on 4/22/2011 about a Group of Real Life Superheroes in New York City called The New York Initiative that was offering advice and assistance to women in an attempt to stop the Long Island serial killer [75]
  • ran an article on 7/21/2011 called Meet the real Captain Americas: Florida's Superhero Featuring Superhero from Clearwater Florida [76]
  • The Daily Beast ran an article on 8/8/2011 called The Amazing Superheroes of New York City Featuring The New York Initiative and it's Members Zero & Short Cut [77]
  • On 8/4/2011 GQ magazine ran an article called Seven Real Life Superheroes featuring Mr.Extreme, Superhero, Geist, Life, Master legend, and Insignis


  • On 9/21/2011 Ran an article called It's a Bird...It's a Plane about A Real life Superhero in Clearwater Florida Named Superhero and the Organization Superheroes Anonymous Based out of New York [78]
  • On 10/31/2011 ran a article about Skyman A Federal Way based Real Life Superhero who is interested in helping those who are vulnerable like the homeless. His own experiences of not having a roof over his head have led him to try and help the most disadvantaged in that area. [4]

South America



  • Superinteressante magazine posted an article on The Real Life Superheroes The Eye , Entomo , Terrifica , Superhero and Superbarrio.[80]



The only known superhero in Africa is Lion Heart. Lion Heart has helped saved the lives of many villagers by teaching important but simple things. He has started a grass roots movement in Africa with many people helping out. [81]

Copyrighted Real Life Superheroes

To gain attention or to highlight a cause of significance to them, some people name and/or garb themselves like established comic book characters.

Some documented examples of this behavior in the media include:

  • Urban climber Alain "Spider-Man" Robert is known for climbing skyscrapers, including wearing a Spider-Man costume while doing so.[82]
  • Members of the advocacy group Fathers 4 Justice staged an incident at Buckingham Palace by dressing as Batman and Robin and draping a banner reading "Super Dads of Fathers 4 Justice."[83]
  • Three Vancouver teens have been dressing up as superhereos Batman and The Flash, to confront men who fell for their posing as underage girls online. The meetings were videotaped and posted recently on YouTube, under the title To Troll a Predator.[84]

See also


  1. ^ "Superheroes: Interview with Michael Barnett". Superheroes. HBO Documentaries. 2011. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  2. ^ Sweeney, Phil (2011-10-23). "Head to Head: Is vigilante justice acceptable outside of comic books? - Opinion -". Louisiana State University: The Daily Reveille. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  3. ^ a b 'Superhero' takes on clampers, BBC. Published September 16, 2003.
  4. ^ "BBC News - 'Superhero' Phoenix Jones: 'I'll keep Seattle safe'". Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  5. ^ "Defender of justice Superbarrio roams Mexico City - CNN". 1997-07-19. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  6. ^ a b c "Captain Australia is Queensland's first superhero, and has vowed to clean up the streets of Brisbane". Courier Mail. 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  7. ^ "Brisbane's Captain Australia now looking for a sidekick to fight crime". Courier Mail. 2011-03-07. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  8. ^ "Captain Australia". 2011-03-09. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  9. ^ "Captain Australia — The Real Life Superhero". Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  10. ^ Lacote, Pierre (April 2005). "Fight Zone 07". 
  11. ^ "Koikispass Nevers N°74". 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  12. ^ Reporter (January 2008). "Hier Sind Helden". 
  13. ^ om een reactie te plaatsen!. "Meet SuperVaclav Czech Masked SuperHero". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  14. ^ Perilli, Benedetta. Sul web, in lotta contro il crimine sono i supereroi della vita reale, La Repubblica. (Italian) Published December 31, 2008. Retrieved January 15, 2009.
  15. ^ Episode 7: "Supereroe a Gomorra", Sugo. (Italian) Published March 4, 2009.
  16. ^ Ciavatta, Stefano. Super Entomo, l'eroe di Napoli e le sue ronde, Il Riformista. (Italian) Published March 15, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  17. ^ Entomo, supereroe napoletano, Il Mattino. (Italian) Published March 16, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  18. ^ Sicurezza in città: a Napoli invece delle ronde c'è Entomo il supereroe, Panorama. (Italian) Published March 16, 2009. Retrieved March 16, 2009.
  19. ^ Skau, Minna (2009-12-31). "Virkelighetens superhelter". 
  20. ^ Pollard, Chris (March 3, 2011). "16 superheroes on streets of Britain". The Sun (London). 
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  30. ^ "¡A luchar por la justicia!, Articulo Impreso Archivado". Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
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  34. ^ Duecy, Luke (2010-11-25). "A night with Seattle's superheroes | Local & Regional | Seattle News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News". KOMO News. Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  35. ^ Merchant, Brian. Climate Change? This Looks Like a Job for Captain Ozone, Environmental Hero. TreeHugger. Published September 28, 2008.
  36. ^ Davis, Kristina (2009-01-17). "Homemade heroes offer low-level law enforcement". 
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  38. ^ Kowal, Rachel (2009-01-02). "Street Superheroes". 
  39. ^ Mick, Hayley (2009-01-03). "Capeless Crusaders". The Globe and Mail (Toronto). 
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  41. ^ Atlanta's Superhero Helps Homeless[dead link]
  42. ^ Warner, Joel (2009-03-11). "The astounding adventures of the Wall Creeper, Colorado's own superhero". 
  43. ^ O'Connel, Chris and Muehlhausen, Nicole (2009-03-25). "Meet real life Twin Cities super heroes". 
  44. ^ "Porn 2.0, Real-Life Superheros, Salvia on G4's Underground". Retrieved 2011-10-14. 
  45. ^ flack, eric (2009-04-27). "Cincinnati Superhero Patrols Streets Fighting Crime". 
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  51. ^ Everyday Heroes[dead link]
  52. ^ Miller, Mitchell. 'Metro Woman' Enlisted to Help Purple Line, WTOP-FM. Published April 6, 2005.
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  54. ^ Schrank, Delphine. Public Service With a Side of Spandex, The Washington Post. Published November 23, 2007.
  55. ^ Masked Heroes Give Gifts To Homeless, Central Florida News 13. Published December 26, 2007.
  56. ^ Superheroes Bring Christmas Cheer To Kids, Central Florida News 13. Published December 26, 2008.
  57. ^ Look Up in the Sky..., ABC News. Published June 15, 2007.
  58. ^ Pitkin, James (2008-03-05). "The Adventures of Zetaman". 
  59. ^ Kissee, Anita. 'Zetaman' fights homelessness with courage, sacrifice, cool costume, KOMO-TV. Published April 28, 2008.
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  67. ^ "Amid hard times, an influx in real superheroes". CNN. June 4, 2009. 
  68. ^ RoboPanda. "Real Life Kick-Ass Prefers To Be Called The Viper". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  69. ^ Krulos, Tea. "A fantastic foursome of Real Life Superheroes tackles crime fighting in Brooklyn". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
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  71. ^ "HĂŠroes de carne y hueso | video player | Al Rojo Vivo | Telemundo". 2008-08-23. Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
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  74. ^ "Downtown St. Pete / I Love the 'Burg : Team Justice Descends on 'Burg's Film Fest". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  75. ^ "New York's Real Life Superheroes Won't Let Long Island Serial Killer Go Unchecked". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  76. ^ Sparktech Software LLC (2011-07-21). "Meet the REAL Captain Americas: Florida's Superhero — Inside Movies Since 1920". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
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  78. ^ Ray Reyes. "Clearwater man joins real-life superhero movement". Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  79. ^ Menganno: el “superhéroe” de Lanús Este (Spanish)
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  82. ^ Frenchman held for climbing skyscraper, The Tribune. Published June 2, 2007.
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