Monday, August 30, 2010


I did a photo essay of a patrol I did with The Watchman, Blackbird, and others back in March as my monthly column for Heroes in the Night allies Forces of Geek . Photographer Paul Kjelland took the photos and you can see them here:

Friday, August 27, 2010


RLSHs have had stories on them in the New York Times, CNN, Rolling Stone and media around the world. They've made appearances on the local news and morning talk shows. But on American Idol?

Well, not exactly- a knockoff from the great country of Australia.

And if it's wild and Australian, there can only be one man involved- that's right, Captain Australia. It's been awhile since we've heard from the Captain. Heroes in the Night hosted a discussion in which Captain A asked for advice in how to deal with a gang of bikers HERE.

You can imagine my surprise when I found that the defender of Brisbane (and Australia in general)was not only still active but will make an appearance on Australian television...singing. It's for an American Idol style show called X-Factor.

I e-mailed the Captain and asked him what song selection he chose.

"I sang Tina Turner's 'We Dont Need Another Hero." The Captain replied. "The show should air one evening next week. Basically a young man from Sydney named Rodney (who I met while on patrol at the Gold Coast) challenged me to do it, and given that it was also a chance to get some exposure, I jumped on it. I'll make sure the video gets updated to the web."

But why wait when you can see the Captain kicking out the jams on a blog entry on his website? You can see him practicing the Tina Turner hit in a video at the end of a blog entry HERE. How does it sound?' and it even features a brief harmonica solo!

Now some of you are probably thinking this is way off the charts but think about it- X-Factor's viewership is millions and millions of people. I think it's inevitable that a certain percentage will say "who was that masked man?" and will put an effort into finding out more about him.


Captain Australia isn't the only superhero songbird- Danger Woman loves to sing and hails from Atlanta, Georgia.

The autistic superhero calls herself a "songbird of justice" and will star in a documentary titled Disabled but Able to Rock! You can check out the documentary website, including a trailer HERE.

Danger Woman's story even inspired The Aquabats to write a song dedicated to her, as cataloged in The Aquabats wiki.
Danger Woman introduces the RLSH house band, The Aquabats


If there was to ever be a RLSH themed Idol show, I'd like to help out now by suggesting a few numbers for performances. We are talking solid gold here, folks!

-I'm actually not kidding about this one- I've heard Civitron do a killer rendition of "Rebel Yell" (Billy Idol)

-And speaking of killer, how about "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" (Blue Oyster Cult) as performed by Thanatos?

-The Watchman could wow the crowds with a version of "All Along the Watchtower" (written by Bob Dylan, famously covered by the Jimi Hendrix Experience)

-A shoo in for the final round would be Apocalypse Meow doing a soulful, Aretha Franklin style take on the "Meow Mix Jingle" (written by Shelly Palmer)

-Metadata acts as an oracle, providing info for RLSH over the phone, so I think it would be fitting for her to throw down "Telephone" (by Lady Gaga, featuring Beyonce- a song that once got stuck in my head for a week)

-In a surprise duet from the future, time travelling villainess Agent Beryllium could hit the high notes while Captain Ozone could hit the low notes on "The Time Warp" (from the Rocky Horror Picture Show)

-Lastly, I would suggest Phantom Zero lead a chorus of other ghostly themed RLSH in an operatic version of "Ghostbusters" (by Ray Parker, Jr.)

Imagine what Simon Cowell would have to say on that one!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

HERO PROFILE #43: Mr. Jack

Operates out of: Washington state/ Pennsylvania (seasonal)

: Patrols, hand outs, charity


Quote: "Stay frosty, everyone."

Author's notes: Mr. Jack is living the grand RLSH adventures, meeting up with his fellow heroes in Portland and Seattle, doing water handouts, battling Bag Monsters (VIDEO HERE-you don't see that everyday!) and detailing his thoughts on his blog. I haven't met Mr. Jack, but did talk with him for awhile on the phone and my impression is that he is armed with three important things;a thoughtful demeanor, a good sense of humor, and a sharp looking suit.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Heroes in the Night Referenced on Mental_Floss

Here is Milwaukee's Watchman posing with a statue of Arthur Fonzarelli, commonly called the "Bronze Fonz" and...hey, I took this picture!

is a magazine "where knowledge junkies get their fix" and one of their bloggers, Miss Cellania (sounds like an RLSH name to me) has been fixin' to write a series on RLSH, taking a geographical approach. Her blog is titled Miss Cellania's Files, and her first entry was a look at "Real Life Superheroes of the South" on Aug. 17 which rounded up Master Legend, Danger Woman, Superhero, Hardwire, Daddy Man (?!), Enigma, Viper, Amazonia, DC's Guardian, Knight Vigil, and The Crimson Fist. Links within the post lead to Hero Profiles I wrote on Superhero, Amazonia, and Viper.

Moving along, Miss Cellania followed up two days later with "Real Life Superheroes of the Midwest" and included in the round up are Shadow Hare (who disappeared last year after intense media snark and it's after effects) Geist, Razorhawk, Foxfire (who disappeared after claiming to be fighting supernatural forces in the deserts of Utah), Mr. Silent and Dr. Discord (who simply disappeared), Captain Jackson and the Queen of Hearts (who you would have thought disappeared by now but haven't) and The Watchman.

The blog links to my profile on Watchman- (#1, way back in November!) as well as a post reprinting an article on him I wrote for the Riverwest Currents.

Miss Cellania ends the blog by saying "Coming soon: more real world superheroes of the US and around the world."

Friday, August 20, 2010


Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson began his term in November 2008. According to the City of Vancouver website, "He was elected on a platform of ending street homelessness in the City of Vancouver by 2015, and making Vancouver the greenest city in the world."

Thanatos, the Dark Avenger of Vancouver, thinks he can do more. He has offered an online video challenge for the Mayor Robertson to join forces with him to help Vancouver's large homeless population.

You can watch the VIDEO CHALLENGE HERE.

"He really isn't a bad mayor and he has tried to do a lot for the homeless problem.
I think he can do more. I can." Thanatos wrote online on a forum.

Thanatos does monthly hand outs of water, food, tarps, blankets, and other supplies. I myself rode along with him as he did an early morning handout to homeless along with others during the 2010 Winter Olympics. It was very clear that he had a working knowledge of where to find Vancouver's homeless and how to approach them, even while wearing a green skull mask.

Thanatos knew the names of many he encountered, and in return many knew his name and recognized him as a friend. On his most recent mission, Thanatos handed out 70 bottles of water on a hot evening.

Heroes in the Night has issued a media request to Mayor Robertson's office asking if they plan on responding to Thanatos. Any response will be reported here.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

HERO PROFILES #41/42: Crimson Fist and Metadata

Operates out of: Atlanta, GA

Activities: Community Service and Homeless Relief

Crimson Fist quote
: "I can't save the world, but I'd like to inspire the world to save itself."
Crimson Fist's poster for Peter Tangen's Real Life Superhero Project

Metadata quote: "I'd hate to think we'll still be here ten years from now only handing out bottles of water."
The marvelous Metadata visits Florida

Author's notes: Atlanta has a dynamic duo trying to make the world a better place. Metadata, well known for being a RLSH oracle (someone who stays online and communicates with RLSH on the street) has recently debuted her persona on street level, helping Symbiote and Master Legend with a water handout.

Crimson Fist has been active within the RLSH world for quite sometime and the two heroes hope their combined efforts can make an impact.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tangen/ Krulos Crossover Special

Tangen, left, and Krulos in Riverwest

RLSH have now long known Peter Tangen as "that guy who is making us look awesome with his incredibly well produced movie posters" and Tea Krulos as "that suspicious character who is scrutinizing us." And so it's inevitable that our paths have crossed several times.

When I first heard about Peter's LA shoot for his Real Life Superhero Project I said "He did what?!" and was amazed then, as I still am today, by the scope of his project.

Peter Tangen is a real life superhero visionary.

Besides the project itself, Peter has used the project to get a lot of positive press for real life superheroes in general, as well as participating in RLSH projects other than his own.

That is what led him to Milwaukee. Peter has signed on to help with a documentary being produced in LA and has been hard at work helping with the film. The documentary crew has been touring the country and when they heard Peter would be shooting a job on location in Detroit, and then heading to Peter's home state of Minnesota, they all said, "hey wait, doesn't that suspicious character Tea Krulos live somewhere in between? Isn't he working on some sort of RLSH book?"

And so you see, I got the news that Peter Tangen was coming to Milwaukee to film me for possible use in the film and to meet our local RLSH.
"Now that is pretty sweet." I thought. And it was.
The interviewing went well, the only issue we were frustrated with was background noise. Peter (and I) both wanted me to be interviewed in my office, which made sense since my office is set up as a RLSH headquarters, as you can see from this photograph revealing it for the first time.
Towards the top:framed pictures of RLSH at Superheroes Anonymous 3, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman (my patron saint for this book project),and Thomas Jefferson as well as the clocks of justice. Middle: A Calendar(one of my most important tools), bulletin board, and a US map pinpointing RLSH I've interviewed (although it badly needs to be updated). Bottom: Framed articles I've written on RLSH, messy desk, messy shelves. Far right: Another bulletin board with press I've gotten for the book so far. Far left: dart board.

Although the background was a good visual, the noise level was not. You see, my neighborhood is very noisy on a hot Sunday afternoon- kids yelling and jumping in kiddie pools, dogs, lawnmowers, car vacuums, babies, engine revving, sirens, etc. So we struggled frequently with outbursts of noise interrupting. Also, I live without air conditioning so my office got to be pretty stuffy.

Still, we kept at it and got it done. After that we had a long discussion at my kitchen table with Watchman and Blackbird. I'd like to point out that this kitchen table has so far hosted RLSH meet ups with not only a local photographer, but RLSH seekers from Paris and Los Angeles now! Not too shabby for a small upper flat in Riverwest.

We had a great conversation with Peter about his project and developements of where it might go in the future, as well as some stories from his photo shoots for the Spiderman movies and Batman Begins, and Watchman and Blackbird got to share their stories with him. Peter then hit the road, trying to get a couple hours start on his trip to Minnesota, where he was going to visit family as well as Geist and Razorhawk.

It was a great meeting and I am glad to support Peter in any way I can.

Monday, August 16, 2010

RLSH v.s. The Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are upon us, the time of year when dehydration is a very serious threat, especially to those unfortunate enough to be stuck out in the heat. Three separate water hand out missions were conducted by RLSH on August 15. The expense for these missions is low and the goal is simple- keep people hydrated.

Vancouver, August 15-
It was a "hot and hazy" day in Vancouver, almost 100 degrees(Fahrenheit). Thanatos, the Dark Avenger of Vancouver (along with Lady Catacomb) packed his van with 70 bottles of water and headed to the Main and Hastings area of downtown, delivering water to people in places like Oppenheimer Park. Thanatos reports he handed out the water in less than an hour, and that his total cost for the water was merely ten dollars.


Seattle, August 15
Meanwhile, further south, a crew of RLSH hit the streets of Seattle to hand out water, including SkyMan, White Baron, The Irishman, and Mr. Jack. The RLSH quartet walked the area by the waterfront and the Pike Place Market, handing out a case of water. While on their mission they crossed paths with the Bag Monster and talked about entering into a diplomatic Bag Monster/ RLSH relationship. (You can see Bag Monster's site HERE.)
L-R: White Baron, Mr. Jack, the Bag Monster, SkyMan. Not pictured: Irishman.

Orlando, August 15-
The hot streets of Florida were the site of the third water handout. Team Justice members Master Legend and Symbiote were joined by Metadata to do the handout. The trio loaded up the Justice Van and headed to an area where a large group of people lined up to get a cold water.


Ps- Report on meet up with Peter Tangen soon!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

HERO PROFILE # 40: Catman

Operates out of: McMinnville, Tennessee

Activities: Patrols and offers assistance

Quote: "That's what it's all about: Helping people every time you see the opportunity."

Author's notes: I featured Catman today because I just saw a news report about him online. I think the report on him was pretty respectful and tried to highlight that he tries to be helpful with limited resources. You can see the report HERE.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Longboard Update

I finally got a few extra bucks and so I was able to pimp my ride the way I wanted it.

On the front end of the board I attached two small but powerful LED flashlights. The initial problem was that they were rattling loudly within the brackets, but this was solved by stuffing foam between the flashlights and the brackets. The lights came in handy when I joined Watchman and Blackbird for a patrol during a streetlight blackout (Which I wrote about HERE.)

Moving down the board I painted a design just for fun. I used light blue spray paint with a couple of diamond shaped stencils and hand painted the dark blue with acrylic.

I bolted down a small am/fm radio so I can listen to the oldies station (or 91.7FM- the college radio station) while I'm cruising around town. I was concerned I wouldn't be able to hear the radio, but it turns out the volume is pretty adequate.

Next to the radio you'll notice I pasted a pin up of my favorite green skinned superheroine, the Sensational She Hulk. I guess she's there to keep me company on lengthy commutes.

Last, at the very end of the board I attached a blinking red light designed for bicycles. This is also for cruising on dark streets- I'd rather motorists saw me and I also have a blinking red light that I can attach to my back pocket or belt.

There is only one more thing I'd like to get for the board and that's a new set of wheels.

All of the supplies I used totalled up to be about 15-20 bucks. Poor men know how to find a good deal.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The meeting of 100 heroes?

This year's San Diego Comic Con turned into a quickly assembled RLSH team up and media event.

Mr. Xtreme, Urban Avenger,Good Samaritan
, and Vigilante Spider, all of Southern California, were joined by Razorhawk (Minneapolis), Thanatos (Vancouver), DC's Guardian (Washington DC), and Citizen Prime (formerly reported as retired- from Salt Lake City) as well as photographer Peter Tangen and a documentary crew. The team gathered to do two hand outs of water and other supplies to San Diego's large homeless population.

The event inspired Razorhawk to plan ahead for next year. He is calling the event H.O.P.E. (Homeless Outreach Program Effect) 2011, to take place during next year's Comic Con. He has set up a page for the event here:

It is said that Razorhawk's goal is to gather no less than 100 RLSHs for the event, walking down the streets handing out supplies- a very ambitious and colorful goal. So far he has had about 15 sign up for the event, and counting. Razorhawk says:

"I decided I want to get a real leg up on this one cause the last one meant so much to me and I want to see that if given enough time we can get the biggest homeless outreach on record with an amazing number of RLSHs on hand to do it. Now I don't care if passing out water is your primary goal or not, but I want to band together as many of us to see what we are capable of as a team."

San Diego Comic Con runs July 21-24 of 2011. I will be attending the con and the RLSH activities myself.

* * *

You don't have to wait a year to be part of a team up though- the 4th Annual Superheroes Anonymous takes place next month, September 18-19. It takes place in Portland, Oregon, and will be hosted by Zetaman, Apocalypse Meow, and their team, The Alternates. At SA4 RLSHs will join in the Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, work at a food bank, patrol, and have an awards ceremony.
More info here:

Thursday, August 5, 2010


AKA: Exclamation Mark

Operates out of: Bay Area, CA

Activities: Safety patrols, hand outs

Quote: "The exclamation mark is a symbol of emotion. Emotion moves us to action. Action brings change. We must be the change we seek."

Author's notes: Hero Profiles are back! I haven't talked to the man known as Exclamation Mark much! But he seems like a good guy!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Third Coast Digest pictures

Third Coast Digest photographer (and all around cool dude) Brian Jacobson stopped by our Riverwest 24 bonus checkpoint (which I blogged about with a photo essay yesterday) and snapped a few shots that made it into a photo gallery on their website HERE along with other pictures from the rest of the event. Fun times!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Riverwest 24 Photo Essay

It was great to meet French photojournalist Pierre-Elie de Pibrac and his girlfriend Olivia. I have been communicating with him for quite some time and I was glad to host them in Milwaukee. They are pictured here with Watchman and Blackbird in Heroes in the Night world headquarters: my kitchen.

Pierre and Olivia did in depth interviews and separate photo shoots with me, Watchman, and Blackbird. They have been on a great American RLSH tour- New York, Washington DC, Portland, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Jackson, MI, and Chicago. Here we see Pierre and Olivia interviewing Blackbird.

I was fortunate to see all of the pictures from the trip so far and they were all just incredibly brilliant. They took pictures of Watchman underneath a highway overpass near the Amtrak station. For Blackbird's shoot I spoke to my friends at the Downtowner- a space being renovated and temporarily being used as an artist studio space. The Downtowners were good hosts, let us use their equipment and were very interested in the project. Pierre is in the foreground shooting Blackbird with a "bird signal" shining on him.

The Riverwest 24 goes from 7PM on July 30 to 7PM July 31. It is not so much a race as a community event. It is completely grassroots and DIY with local sponsors, not corporate giants. It is pulled off with a huge amount of work from a small but dedicated group of organizers as well as countless volunteers, businesses, and the neighborhood itself. Block parties are organized, and some neighbors just sit in lawn chairs, drinking beers and cheering the riders on.

This photo is by Brian Jacobson- the rest were taken by me

This year the RW24 organizers asked if we could do something with RLSHs for a bonus checkpoint. The bonus checkpoints are two hours long and spread out throughout the race. Riders must complete the challenge and get their team checked off. Some of them are just for fun- getting a wacky haircut at the local barbershop, or shooting five free throws at a basketball court. Others help with good causes- one of the challenges was going to the local grocery store and buying two non-perishable food items for a local food bank. My checkpoint took place from Midnight- 2AM at the top of Reservoir Hill in Reservoir Park. Pictured with the RLSH are myself and Jenerous Beatings, who volunteered to help. JB is a member of the local roller derby league and helped start a concerned citizens foot patrol in the neighborhood at one point.

Here are the guys with bonus checkpoint coordinator Kelly. She was on hand to sign all the riders off as having completed the checkpoint. Me and Kelly organized a crew of a dozen volunteers. Four people stood at the bottom of the hill directing the bicyclists in the right direction through the park. At the top of the hill, another five volunteers directed people through the entire process- people had to quickly assemble their own superhero costume, picking from a variety of masks, capes, and random things. These were all collected from friends or bought at a local costume store and the Dollar Tree.

Once in costume, they then had to step in front of a video camera, flanked by Watchman and Blackbird. I asked them a rotating list of questions about what it takes to be a superhero, what things every day people can do to be superheroes, etc. Film maker Matthew Miller and an assistant put forward an incredible effort- they drove an A-Team style van up the hill, set up a generator, studio lights, and the camera. The weather was iffy, so we set up a tarp tent over the camera equipment.

Bonus Checkpoint rules are very strict- the checkpoint started as soon as the clock struck midnight and ended at exactly 2:00:00AM. Completing the checkpoints is a key to winning the race, so we soon saw a fleet of bike headlights pedaling up the hill. Here are the guys with one of the deputized RLSHs- we'll call him "Gear Man."

There are a number of solo and team divisions for the race. Here is one of the tandem bike teams- Team Doublemint.

Many of the answers people came up with were really good and some of them, well...not very good. For example one guy cited "giving LSD to your mom" as a heroic act. Here we see, uh...the "Magic Crocodile Avenger?"

I thought this event would be good for the guys because it was a fun way for them to meet a large group of people that are from a neighborhood they patrol frequently. So next these people see them on the street, they'll be like- oh yeah I remember those guys- I dressed up like a superhero with them. There's "Pedal Pusher Woman."


"Tu Tu Man" here showed up in his own costume!

This year the RW24 filled it's 500 rider capacity very quickly. 112 teams made it to our checkpoint. Some of those teams were tandems, though, so I would guess the number to be about 125 riders. Here is an assembled team of costumed bike riders.

"Tin Foil Man" simply grabbed some tin foil and wrapped it around his face.

The pace was very hectic for the first hour and a half. If we hadn't had the volunteers, we would have been screwed. Here is another tandem team.

I think this was one of the last guys (let's call him "Doctor Why") at the checkpoint. Kind of a blur. We were fortunate in that rain held off for the most part until the checkpoint ended. As we started packing up gear, though, it started coming down hard and we all got soaked- but at least we had accomplished it and everything ran smoothly.

And here is the race start/finish line shortly before the end of the race.

The bonus checkpoint went great, and I want to thank everyone who helped out. Everyone had a smile on their face, and many people approached me later in the race and told me how much fun they had. Matthew Miller is now working on editing the footage for a short YouTube video documentary in which I will talk a little bit about Heroes in the Night and then footage from the checkpoint. I will post when the video is online.
You can see more pictures at a flickr page titled Riverwest 24 Heroes. There is about 40 posted now- I have about 70 more, but didn't realize there is a monthly capacity for Flickr, so I will be uploading more soon.