Wednesday, November 30, 2011



Superhero is a Real Life Super Hero from Clearwater, Florida, who first adopted his gimmick as a wrestler. He patrols the streets in a smoking red Supermobile and (among other activities) offers roadside assistance to those in need. His superhero inspiration is not Kick-Ass or The Dark Knight but rather the 1960s Batman show starring Adam West.

While searching the internet for customized Batmobiles, Superhero stumbled across a discovery- a man operating in the 1970s and 80s in Birmingham, Alabama known as the Birmingham Batman.

"Just literally was looking for Corvettes converted into Batmobiles to add pictures to my 'Bat-Vettes' album." Superhero says. "It's a fairly common thing, probably because it's a two seat car. And one site had a picture of the "Bat-Rescue Ship" which belonged to Birmingham (and killed him) which got me looking deeper."

Superhero had in fact found a doppelganger of sorts- a man who was also inspired by the Adam West Batman, had a custom made hotrod and offered people roadside assistance.
The Bat Rescue Ship on display.


Despite the name, it would appear that the Birmingham Batman's costume and car did not very much resemble the famed DC Comics star. Writer Lou Anders recalls meeting the Batman as a child in a 2006 entry on his blog, Bowing to the Future:

"Batman was an African-American. He didn't wear black or blue tights but instead a sort of jump-suit that was white with brown trim. He had a brown motorcycle helmet that said "Batman" on it. He did have the right shape cape, although it was brown... admittedly, he looked a good deal more like Evil Knievel than the Darknight Detective. And even as a kid, I wondered why he had latched onto the name "Batman" and not picked something more original or at least more appropriate. I think it had to do with his car, and with the fact that Batman was the only superhero so strongly identified with his wheels.

The Birmingham Batman drove a suped-up corvette (note: a 1971 Ford Thunderbird), white with brown trim just like his costume, and covered in reflective decals. It had funky flashy lights, fins, and a half dozen different types of radio aerials. There was no such thing as GPS back then, but the car had CBs and police-ban radios, and some sort of bulky telephone. I remember a rocket launcher too, but that's probably just the embellishment of my childhood imagination."

A Birminham wiki entry and other sources say Batman's name was Willie James Perry, who worked as a manager at a window distributor company.

The entry offers this as his superhero mission:

"In addition to carrying gas, jumper cables and tools to help people whose cars had broken down, Perry gave free rides to people who had too much to drink, took elderly people to doctor's appointments and drove kids around to McDonald's or as entertainment for birthday parties."
Front end of the Bat Rescue Ship


The Birmingham Batman made a TV appearance on the show That's Incredible! in 1982.

His car also attracted a famous star- a young Michael Jackson. In a blog entry, writer Ed Reynolds recalls:

"When the Jacksons were in town years ago rehearsing for a tour, Michael Jackson ordered his limo driver to pull over so the singer could examine the Batmobile."

Reynolds also fondly recalls Birmingham giving him a lift- to his own wedding.


The car that had become so important to his life also was the cause of death. In 1985 the Batman was working on his car when his garage door slid shut and he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. He was 44 years old. The City of Birmingham bought his car and displayed it for years at the Southern Museum of Flight and later State Fair Park.

In 2009, the Birmingham City Council voted to keep and restore the car and find a place to display it. It is unclear to me where the car ended up but it was either the refurbished State Fair grounds or the Old Car Museum.

Another RLSH inspired by the story who did some online sleuthing was San Diego's Urban Avenger of the Xtreme Justice League. I asked him what had grabbed his attention about the story.

"Just his completely selflessness," Urban Avenger replied. "The dude took no credit for what he did. He never sought attention. Everything that was written about him was mostly posthumous. And it was his sheer awesomeness that made him legendary. He was the definition of a true superhero. I think more people should aspire to be what this guy embodied. I don't know how he did it or what his day job was to be able to afford the things he had and did for people, but he did it, and without taking anything in return."

Comments sections of articles on the Birmingham Batman indicate he is still remembered fondly after all these years. Someone even paid small tribute to him in 2009 with a MySpace page that linked to Birmingham crime maps.


- "The Batman of Birmingham," Feb.18, 2006, Lou Anders,
-Willie James Perry- BHAM Wiki entry
- "Runaway Bridegroom," June 30, 2005, James Reynolds, Black & White
- "Birmingham's "Batmobile" will be kept, restored and displayed by city," March 31, 2009, Jeff Hansen, Birmingham News
-"I Remeber the Night Batman Died," 2009, G.W. Brown, Herald-Citizen
-Online interviews with Superhero and Urban Avenger
-"A New Batman for Birmingham," Jan.27, 2009, Birmingham Terminal

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Just days after having charges dropped (but also being reprimanded by Seattle's City Attorney) Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones was back on the street with his Rain City Superheroes Movement team mates El Caballero, Ghost, Midnight Jack, Pitch Black, Mantis (sometimes also spelled as Mantissss), and cameraman Ryan McNamee.

McNamee captures some exciting footage of the group, who encounters someone who has just been stabbed. The superheroes then chase the suspected stabber for 8 blocks, eventually trapping him in a taxi as he tries to escape. Police arrive on the scene very quickly, draw their weapons and arrest the man.

Some of the group runs back to see if they can help the stabbing victim, who is soon on his way to the hospital while the suspect is taken to jail.

You can see the video below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

HEROES in the NIGHT Author Tea Krulos at Film Society of Minneapolis Event

On Saturday night I was a guest at a showing of the Real Life Super Hero documentary "Superheroes," directed by Michael Barnett. The screening was presented by the Film Society of Minneapolis at the St. Anthony Main Theatre.

Also in attendance- Minnesota Real Life Super Heroes (and members of the Great Lakes Alliance) Geist, Razorhawk, and Arctic Knight.

Attendance was kind of small- about 25 people. It was suggested we would be doing a Q and A after the film. We didn't spot anyone to facilitate this, so I jumped up and said- "hey, we got some Real Life Super Heroes in the audience, if you want to ask them questions!" We went down to the front of the theater. No one had questions immediately, so I threw out a couple for the guys to answer. People seemed to warm up to the idea then, and we got asked several questions about the RLSHs inspiration and goals.

After that, I headed out to catch up with my friend and the guys headed ventured into the freezing Minneapolis night to make a donation of some canned food at a local charity and patrol.

It was what it was- I'm glad I went, it was nice to get out of town for a weekend trip.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Charges were dropped against Phoenix Jones in what is widely known as "the pepper spray incident." I witnessed this incident myself during a trip to Seattle last month.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes cited a couple of reasons for this- only two out of four alleged victims spoke to investigators. The other two fled the scene. My guess- didn't really want to talk to police for reasons of their own. The City Attorney also said that an individual is allowed to use force when coming to the aid of another person, and this law casts reasonable doubt on the assault charges.

However, Holmes also made it a clear point that he did not approve of Phoenix Jones.

KOMO News quotes Holmes as saying:

"Mr. Fodor is no hero, just a deeply misguided individual. He has been warned that his actions put himself in danger, and this latest episode demonstrates that innocent bystanders can also be harmed."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HERO PROFILE #79: The Reverend

Operates out of: Salem, Oregon

Team Affiliation: Cherry City Citizen Crusaders (C-4)

Equipment: Cell phone, flashlights, digital video camera, first aid kit, and Bibles.

Activities: Handouts, saftey patrols, and chairty events.

Quote: "Religion is for people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there and don't wanna go back."

Author's notes: The Reverend tells me his most recent patrols have been with the Salem branch of the Xtreme Justice League and he heads into Portland once a month to patrol with Icarus, the Anti-Man, and other locals. Hero profiles will now be back every Thursday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hero Profiles Return!....And Other News

The weekly Thursday Hero Profile has long been a staple of this blog and has been on hiatus a couple months for a variety of reasons. This Thursday the feature will return and I now have a back log of several months worth of profiles, including ones to roll out on people I met in Portland and Seattle.


Members of the Xtreme Justice League were invited to be guest speakers at Riverside Community College in San Diego on November 10. The group was presented an award as honorary speakers (pictured above). Other recent activities XJL members have participated in include a charity walk, a panel discussion after the screening of the documentary Superheroes, and foot patrols.


A new video shot by Ryan MacNamee shows Phoenix Jones, Mantis, Pitch Black, Ghost, and Purple Reign intervening in a fight in Seattle. The group broke up the fight, chased a suspect and then waited for police to arrive on the scene.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy Oakland Bails The Ray

The Ray at Occupy Oakland.

The last few days I've followed the story of The Ray, a RLSH and member of the Pacific Protectorate who was arrested at an Occupy Oakland protest.

The latest word- The Ray has been released on bail provided by the Occupy Wall Street legal support fund.

The Ray's parents along with his team leader, Motor-Mouth, were interviewed on the Flashpoints radio show on KPFA in Berkeley yesterday.

On the show, Mr. and Mrs. Ray maintain that nothing like this has ever happened to their 22 year old son, who they describe as a former boy scout, a college student,a "champion for the underdog" and a "peacemaker."

They said an attorney who spoke to The Ray in jail found him to be "frightened, had black eyes, and stitches on his face."

Occupy Wall Street has sent money to Oakland Occupy, whose General Assembly decided to allocate the funds to pay for the bail of The Ray and one other protestor.

The Ray was released late last night/ early this morning.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update on The Ray

The Ray, left, and Motor-Mouth.

The last couple of blog entries have been about the arrest of The Ray, a RLSH who was arrested at the Occupy Oakland protests. The Ray had a court date yesterday and I asked Motor-Mouth to give an update on the case. Motor-Mouth is team leader of the Pacific Protectorate (a team roughly 7 members strong that includes The Ray)and he attended the hearing.

Here is Motor-Mouth's account:

Update on The Ray's case: The original charges were dropped (in part due to no PD officers coming forward, go figure) but he was charged with something along the lines of "Failure To Comply With An Executive Officer". What has surfaced, though, is that The Ray jumped in-between a riot cop & a protester being senselessly beat. At the moment, police attacked him & he defended himself but was shot in the face with an unknown projectile, fell unconscious and was continuously beaten. He awoke handcuffed, in a daze, & bloody.

He was taken to an Oakland area hospital and had his face stitched up, of which his attorney said he received 3 or 4 stitches. He was then taken to Oakland City Jail & transferred out to Santa Rita County Jail the following day.

He is going back to court on Thursday but here is how YOU can help: His bail is posted at $15,000 but he only needs $1,500 to get out. Myself & his family are by far too strapped financially to get him out but if everyone chips in, maybe we can gather enough cash to get him out.

Also, if you or anyone you know were present the night of the violence in Oakland after the General Strike when the police squads attacked, then please contribute any video or pictures you might have that may feature The Ray in them (the guy who looks like a ninja with the Captain America shield that got beat to a pulp by the riot squads).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

CAI Responds to Arrest of The Ray

A scene from Occupy Oakland, captured by the San Francisco Examiner.

In a blog entry yesterday, I reported news out of Oakland that a RLSH named The Ray was arrested at the Occupy Oakland protests. The Ray is a member of the Pacific Protectorate (North Cali Division) and the news was reported via phone by The Ray's team leader, Motor-Mouth. Motor-Mouth says the Protectorate has been doing security at the protests. Another Bay Area team, the California Initiative, has also been monitoring the protests and posted this statement on the arrest of The Ray:

The CAI (California Initiative) was mentioned in Tea Krulos' recent Heroes in the Night blog entry.

We do NOT endorse the use of body armor, shields, masks or anything other than everyday street clothing while providing support at Occupy.

The CAI has spoken with heads of security at Occupy Oakland (OO), and they do not, nor have they ever asked any RLSH (or anyone, for that matter) to "gear up" for security. Further, they do not advise anyone to label themselves as "security."

We echo Occupy Oakland's stance: We don't advise anyone to come between the police and protestors that are being arrested. We are peacekeeping and do our best to teach de-escalation tactics. We believe in non-violence, especially where police are involved. We are there to provide first-aid and a helping hand in the camps.

There are other groups in northern California that will be attending Occupy Oakland and SF, as well. The viewpoints of these group do not reflect those of the California Initiative or those of the Occupy movement as a whole.

We wish The Ray a speedy recovery and are sending him our best.

In addition, CAI founding member Rock N Roll offered this advice for RLSH (or X-ALTs, an alternate term) attending Occupy protests (and I would guess particularly ones where tensions have escalated like in Oakland):

Let me preface this by saying that I give the majority of you the benefit of the doubt; that I believe your hearts are in the right places and that you aspire to make the world a better place.

It's with this in mind that I implore you - If you are heading out to your local Occupy, remember these things:

Masks (other than vinegar-soaked bandanas) are foolish. You are making yourself a target for the police. If you're that worried about people finding out your identity, wear a bandana. If you need protection, wear a bike helmet. There are thousands of other people out there who aren't drawing attention to themselves or protecting their heads, yet they've endured weeks of living there.

If you bring any type of apparatus that looks like you're preparing for a battle, the police will give you one.

If you think you can insinuate yourself between the protestors and the police, you'll most likely wake up in the hospital or in jail. Your greatest tool is a voice of reason, a cool, clear head, and a recording device.

If you are there for any reason other than to support the movement by providing assistance to the injured, or helping de-escalate any in-camp altercations, you're in this for the wrong reason.

The best you can do for the Occupy movement is to supply food, water, an extra set of hands, eyes and a calming presence in the face of possible violence.

If you're there because you need more press, or recognition, or you're itching to take someone down, for f's sake, go as yourself and DO NOT go as a representative of this community. This is not about you.

Friday, November 4, 2011


The Ray, posing for an action shot.

Breaking News: Pacific Protectorate Member Hauled in at Occupy Oakland Protest

On my way to my day (or night is a better description) job, I noticed I had received a call from Motor-Mouth, marked "urgent." Motor-Mouth leads one of two groups of RLSH/ X-ALTS in the California Bay Area. His group is the Pacific Protectorate, North-Cal division. There is also a team called the California Initiative- a team that also includes branches in Virginia and the team's origin point in New York.

Both groups have made an effort to do security detail with the Occupy protests in the area. The Occupy Oakland protests in particular have turned very ugly as protestors have clashed with heavy handed police over the last week. Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades into the crowd.

Motor-Mouth called to tell me that his team mate, The Ray, had been out in the middle of it during protests Wednesday night. He says he received a text from Ray, saying he was at the protests, but was probably heading home after another walk around to check out the scene.

The next morning, Motor-Mouth received a call from family members of The Ray, saying he had not yet returned home. Later in the morning, Motor-Mouth says he watched a news report where police displayed weapons confiscated in the arrests. Among the items- a customized shield, similar in design to the one made famous by Captain America, which Motor-Mouth had lent to The Ray for his patrol.

Later, in a follow up message to me, Motor-Mouth says he confirmed with police that they had indeed nabbed The Ray, charging him with "assault" and "failure to disperse." He is being held at Oakland City Jail, but will be transferred today, and will be arraigned on Monday. Meanwhile, Motor-Mouth says the rest of Pacific Protectorate will be out in force doing security at the Occupy Oakland site this weekend.

Further developments will be posted here.

In other news:


Phoenix Jones' day job was caring for autistic children. The Department of Social and Health Services sent a letter informing him that he was not allowed to work with children due to the pending status of “the incident." The incident I'm referring to is one I witnessed in person in Seattle- Phoenix Jones saw a group of people fighting and intervened by pepper spraying members of the group. He was taken in under charges of assault, although charges have not been filed at this point.

Jones says he will do more day time patrols in addition to looking for a job.


Los Angeles based RLSHs Sage and The Handler are also going up the river, but in their case it is a "bail me out" style charity fund raiser. Their goal is to reach $800 dollars to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and they are a little over half way there as of this posting. Check out their donation page: