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Heriocally stupid? Insane? Perhaps, just heroically heroic.
December 28, 2008 3:35 PM   Subscribe

There are, according to the recently launched World Superhero Registry, more than 200 men and a few women who are willing to dress up as comic book heroes and patrol the urban streets in search of, if not super-villains, then pickpockets and bullies.
posted by Kickstart70 (65 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
(and my hope for humanity is not restored, but perhaps having a good day)
posted by Kickstart70 at 3:37 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I believe it. I mean, I believe there are people who dress up in costumes but I hardly think the number of people putting on spandex and patrolling the streets rises to the level of a "surging" presence. I suppose "a couple people in crappy costumes have myspace pages" doesn't make a good story.
posted by Justinian at 3:45 PM on December 28, 2008


If you want to help, call the police, don't try to intervene.

It's annoying for us and dangerous for you.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 3:46 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's been pretty well established by law that the police have no duty to protect you, C17H19NO3, only to pick up the pieces afterwards.
posted by Justinian at 3:47 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Here's a recent Rolling Stone article on the subject.
posted by box at 3:49 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow. Just... wow.
Also, no thanks. I'll take my chances with the cops coming to my rescue, not some lone vigilante dude in tights from Michigan.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:56 PM on December 28, 2008


Also, let's resolve to post more links tagged tothebatcave.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 3:58 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


That first site is just awful...looks like something from a decade ago.
posted by GavinR at 4:04 PM on December 28, 2008


To replace the unwieldy name "World Superhero Registry" I recommend "Future Gunshot Victim Registry".
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:07 PM on December 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


Mr Invisible is cheered that at least his grey one-piece “invisibility suit” works, proven when a drunk urinated on him in an alley.

"Duude, (hic) did you she dat?"
"What?"
"Dish guy (hic) in long under...(burp) underwear (hic) shtanding on de schtorm drain? I pish on him 'n' he doshen't even moove."
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 4:09 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I believe it.

A few years back there was an hilarious 10-20 pages of a comedy forum. It started out as a challenge / competition between a bunch of friends in the UK writing fake letters to newspapers about dog poo. The forum contained the updates etc.

Somehow it morphed into a fake superhero. The MSM picked up on it and it became international news.

… but I’ll be absolutely buggered if I can find it. I thought it would be dead easy to Google.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 4:10 PM on December 28, 2008


I'm pretty sure Dark Guardian has an hourly rate.
posted by nthdegx at 4:13 PM on December 28, 2008


I like that Doktor DiscorD is a member of the Justice Society Of Justice. I wonder what they stand for.
posted by nthdegx at 4:15 PM on December 28, 2008


"Master Legend patrols the streets of Florida, fighting crime, passing tips to the police and helping underprivileged people (and turtles) in his community".

Finally! There is a growing void between the privileged and underprivileged turtles of Florida.
posted by nthdegx at 4:18 PM on December 28, 2008


Voluntourists. Want to help? Join your local EMS or Fire Dept.
posted by The White Hat at 4:21 PM on December 28, 2008


Any and all violent beatings well deserved.

Though I may have to actually become a supervillain to hunt these annoying fuckers down.

Maybe I should just set Darth Vader on them, I'm sure he'd give them a kicking for a special brew and a packet of fags.
posted by Artw at 4:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


are any of them willing to dress up as detroit lions? - we're dying, here

0-16 NEVAR FORGET!!
posted by pyramid termite at 4:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've been patrolling the DC area for years. Stopped 1 robbery and captured one criminal,but he got away because he was hot and sweaty.
posted by doctorschlock at 4:33 PM on December 28, 2008


There needs to be a superhero to patrol the faux-superhero set. Like, say, Sober Sarah the Super Psychiatrist.
posted by billysumday at 4:42 PM on December 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


"Superhero" (who may also be known as Unimaginative Man) has a sweet 'Vette.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 4:43 PM on December 28, 2008


Black Arrow

"Everyone has the power to stand up for themselves, to stand up for other people, but it's the few that decide to embrace that power and be heard. We stand for our beliefs, the rights of others. We stand for those who cannot. We stand because we can."

Boy, I bet her feet are tired from all that standing.
posted by netbros at 4:47 PM on December 28, 2008


Yeah, I find myself wishing there were Real Supervillains too. But then I think, what would they do? I don't really want them to actually hurt people... Maybe they could stand around smoking and smirking at the Real Superheroes.
posted by overglow at 4:47 PM on December 28, 2008


I don't like the idea of "surging" and "tights" mixing so much.
posted by adipocere at 4:52 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I feel safer already.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:53 PM on December 28, 2008


"...And so I rise from the ashes...
The people need a Super-Hero!
Someone to save them ..."

posted by Auden at 5:06 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I find myself wishing there were Real Supervillains too. But then I think, what would they do? I don't really want them to actually hurt people... Maybe they could stand around smoking and smirking at the Real Superheroes.

Oh, they exist. And yes, they do stand around smirking at the good guys. They're not hard to find, you don't have to dress up like a jack-ass either. Just look here or here. It's fun!
posted by P.o.B. at 5:08 PM on December 28, 2008


Supervilliany was so much more fun when minions wore butterfly suits, not Blackwater uniforms.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:20 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whoa! According to my extensive research, there is an incredible amount of overlap between the World Superhero Registry and the World 35-and-Older Virgins Who Live in Mum's Basement Registry! We need a Gantt chart motherfuckers!
posted by Mister_A at 5:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whoa! These are all fake! The only real superhero among them is Angle Grinder Man. Where is Retardicus? Where is Dipshitocles?
posted by Mister_A at 5:26 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


This could be an invaluable resource to virgin-sacrificing cults everywhere.
posted by Cyrano at 6:05 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


""Now it's June, a charity event with several costumed adventurers attending... friendly middle-aged men who like to dress up. I have nothing in common with them."

Dr. Manhattan, Watchmen, chapter IV.

This also reminds me of Zot! (the collected B&W issues just came out in trade), especially the scenes where he tries fighting crime in our world and gets his ass thoroughly kicked.
posted by Halloween Jack at 6:07 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


-Whoa! According to my extensive research, there is an incredible amount of overlap between the World Superhero Registry and the World 35-and-Older Virgins Who Live in Mum's Basement Registry!

-This could be an invaluable resource to virgin-sacrificing cults everywhere.

Who will save us from the tired jokers?
posted by longsleeves at 6:16 PM on December 28, 2008


Props (and also kudos) to Doktor DiscorD whose outfit not only conceals and intimidates, but also gives clues to his superhero weakness, namely a red/blue anaglyph poster of an yawning pit, held up in front of his face with great rapidity. He'd fall over like a drunk kitten and that'd be the end of that.

Looking at their costumes, at least a quarter of them are playing for the wrong team. (No, not like that) I know Bats was all about striking terror in the hearts of superstitious low-level criminals, but some of those folks look like they should be in some stalactite-dripping underground lair, shoving terrified, bound dinner theater actors ("You said we'd get S.A.G. and a half for this!") back and forth on some giant Risk board and cackling through somewhat damp masks about how they will finally bring Paducah to its knees. *double fist clench*
posted by adipocere at 6:50 PM on December 28, 2008


I think worldsuperheroregistry.com needs a visit from the Caped Coder, aka HTML Lad. I feel like I'm in lounging in Area51/Dreamworld in 1998.
posted by ford and the prefects at 6:55 PM on December 28, 2008


This Utne Reader article mentions Glitterous, St. Louis' own superhero, who sadly is missing from this database.
posted by limeonaire at 7:06 PM on December 28, 2008


I'm sure they're only too excited to finally make use of their collection of items culled from The Knife Shop, but I doubt they're trained to any degree necessary for damage. Maybe they're hoping that flashing said weaponry at "bad guys" would cause a shit-pants-and-run-away situation.

I guess if you were a supervillain, and you could stomach the digital vomitus that is wordlsuperheroregistry.com, you could have a pretty handy database for Syndrome-like revenge.

But then, I guess you'd first have to consider these guys a threat.
posted by revmitcz at 7:29 PM on December 28, 2008


I've just wasted too much time trying to find even one example of a Real Life Superhero doing anything genuinely superhero-like. What do they do? Retrieve a child's balloon, help change a battery, get robbed, worry about the real police, pester kids on skateboards, beat up people who burn garbage, and get snickered at.

It's gotta be all about the costume.
posted by twoleftfeet at 7:46 PM on December 28, 2008


w00t! Found it. I remembered he had a monkey suit and got it as first link.

Doubt if this one will work - but today we sent three letters to the Courier about a mysterious superhero who keeps descending from trees in and around Tunbridge Wells, dressed as a monkey and wearing a cape and mask.

We've given him no superpowers, so he just does menial tasks like picking up litter and helping old ladies across the road. And one, where he walks someone home from the pub.

The letters are all along the theme of, "I'd just like to say thank you to the gentleman in the monkey suit, cape and mask who found my watch" etc etc.


The dog poo fakes [just above it] were just as funny IMO. But then again, I like poo.

One guy complained he didn't have to pick up after his dog because he was a pensioner down on his luck!

Another letter reads: Howard Thompson claimed dog faeces curtailed the enjoyment of walkers on Tunbridge Wells Common (Courier, February 21)
I am sick to death of complainers like Howard. I suspect he doesn't even own a dog and I'm sure he doesn't appreciate how difficult it is to control a hound's bowels in the environs.

I used to carry a poop-scoop, but found them to be totally impractical to carry and use.

Anyway the faeces is good for the earth.

It's moaning minnies like him who tread in and spread the mess for everyone else to slip in.


But I digress. FULL SUMMARY HERE. THE TUNBRIDGE WELLS SUPERHERO.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:21 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, good, that wingnut Tothian is on the list. We had a thread about this Pro-Am superhero stuff before and I sent him a message on MySpace that culminated with him asking me if I could delete less flattering comments from the thread and otherwise attempting a very frighteningly earnest (if sloppy) spin-control campaign.

I think it took several messages to convince him that not only did I have any such power, even if I could I wouldn't be deleting innocuous if negative commentary just to do his spin control for him - and that all and all even asking if it was possible was in bad taste. Though, I'm pretty sure he still didn't grasp this point.

All in all it left me really turned off by the idea of amateur superheros with unresolved control issues and martyr complexes. From the few I've chatted with they seem like they're mentally and emotionally very similar to cops - just without the minimal training, dedication, relative sanity, psychological profiling and criminal background checks.

However, Angle Grinder Man is awesome.
posted by loquacious at 8:51 PM on December 28, 2008


If you want to help, call the police, don't try to intervene.

Call the police? It has been my experience that police react to and don't prevent crime. Police effectively lobby governments for more gear and favourable laws in areas such as telephone eavesdropping which do very little to protect police or the public, but do a lot to curtail liberty. I do not recognize the police as heros, or even very useful. There should be more civilian involvement in policing, not less. Perhaps if civilians were more involved in the policing of communities we would see police concentrate on the dangerous elements of society they are meant to counter instead of teenagers hanging out in groups, minorities in nice cars, or potheads smoking up in parks.

The model of the British constable which was carried to most countries in the anglosphere, walked a community, either unarmed or lightly armed and did things like check for open doors on his patrols, it was nothing like these tactical teams and paramilitaries we see in today's police forces; shows of force by tactical teams are intimidation and unbecoming of police forces in a democracy.

These super heros are more than a bit weird, but I don't think the community should ignore its role in policing.
posted by Deep Dish at 8:53 PM on December 28, 2008


And Super Heroes come to feast
To taste the flesh not yet deceased

posted by The Whelk at 9:13 PM on December 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Artemis of San Diego reported on his blog that he had heard a woman screaming outside his home but by the time he had dressed up in his costume the police were already there.

Is this real? This can't be real. Can it be real?

I liked how the latest Batman movie started with a bunch of fake Batmen trying to fight crime, badly, and getting slapped around by gangsters. But I had no idea at the time that it was a community service announcement, or that such an announcement was necessary. Fortunately, Soylent Ape is on the case.

Anyway, my new favourite superheroes (from twoleftfeet's links) are PurrKayla (catchphrase: "Don't Make Me Go CALICO On You!!"), Entomo (philosophy: "I prefer to revolve on my paranormal faculties"), and Grace under the Sword (superpower: standing in water).
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 9:47 PM on December 28, 2008


These super heros are more than a bit weird, but I don't think the community should ignore its role in policing.There should be more civilian involvement in policing, not less.

Smaller communities (and I mean communities with departments of around 20 or fewer police officers), in my experience, try to do just that. It's a concept called community policing. Again, this is just my experience in my little State.

As for the paramilitarization of the police. It is necessary to keep up with the organized criminals, which are armed to the teeth and are becoming increasingly dangerous. Remember the North Hollywood Shootout? Besides, you just do not see regular patrol units dressed as commandos and wielding assault weapons.

Police effectively lobby governments for more gear and favourable laws in areas such as telephone eavesdropping which do very little to protect police or the public, but do a lot to curtail liberty.

Feel free to prove that.

These super heros are more than a bit weird, but I don't think the community should ignore its role in policing.

And that is to notify the police when something is happening, not turning a blind eye.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 9:48 PM on December 28, 2008


Whoa! According to my extensive research, there is an incredible amount of overlap between the World Superhero Registry and the World 35-and-Older Virgins Who Live in Mum's Basement Registry! We need a Gantt chart motherfuckers!

Don't you mean you want a Venn diagram? (Although I would like to see the budget and timeline for the Justice Society of Justice).
posted by benzenedream at 10:19 PM on December 28, 2008


As for the paramilitarization of the police. It is necessary to keep up with the organized criminals, which are armed to the teeth and are becoming increasingly dangerous. Remember the North Hollywood Shootout? Besides, you just do not see regular patrol units dressed as commandos and wielding assault weapons.

yes a single event over a decade ago proved that every podunk town needs armored personnel carriers and an armory full of ar-15s
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:22 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


yes a single event over a decade ago proved that every podunk town needs armored personnel carriers and an armory full of ar-15s

Yeah, silly me. There definitely are not people out there with high-powered rifles and more that wouldn't think twice about shooting a cop. And I guess that that event I linked to was the only thing that occured in this country that would warrant a beefed-up response by the police.

I'm not sure what kind of world you think you live in, but it is far from a safe one.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 11:24 PM on December 28, 2008


Dorks.

Except for LTC America. Not only is she absent from the Registery, she's genuinely hot.
posted by humannaire at 11:52 PM on December 28, 2008


Real life British Superheroes mainly concern themselves with protesting for rights for fathers with poor judgement skills.
posted by Artw at 12:10 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure what kind of world you think you live in, but it is far from a safe one.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 11:24 PM on December 28


you're a 21 year-old rookie in vermont; spare me the steely-eyed seen-it-all veteran bullshit
posted by Optimus Chyme at 3:50 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Heh. My neighborhood pizza place has its pizza delivered by people in tiny electric cars, wearing spandex superhero costumes. A couple years ago, they made Weird News columns nationwide, after one of their drivers foiled a purse-snatcher.
posted by nicepersonality at 6:25 AM on December 29, 2008


I'm not sure what kind of world you think you live in, but it is far from a safe one

I live in Canada, in a city of about 200K - in the history of this city we have two police deaths, the last one during a riot in the 1930's. I might add, that the area Maclean's magazine called "Canada's Worst Neighbourhood" is three blocks from my doorstep. I can't remember the last time I saw a police car on my street, yet I am supposed to believe these guys are protecting me.

When I worked in private security, we quite often caught guys who commited break-ins after respsonding to alarms. Our normal wait time for the police to show up? Six hours.

These last couple of weeks I have been treated to billboards and commericals, featuring my local PD in their tactical gear, in twilight, casting long scary shadows and warning me I face them when I drink and drive (billed as "Santa's Little Helpers"). I can be pretty confident a weirdo super-hero isn't gathering evidence to throw me in jail, while my local PD likes to make it so regular people don't want to encounter them at all.
posted by Deep Dish at 7:40 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


you're a 21 year-old rookie in vermont; spare me the steely-eyed seen-it-all veteran bullshit

Hey now, Vermont has real crime; one or two a year. On a bad year. Like the lone crackhead in my "bad" neighborhood that pulled off the single worst bank robbery in history, and buried the money in my backyard. It takes real firepower to bring down an unarmed man whose idea of a hideout is his uncle's house.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 7:46 AM on December 29, 2008


Community policing is definitely worth it. I have a friend who volunteers with one working with the Vancouver PD. He gets to wear an anthropomorphic bulldog suit while doing beats - does that qualify him as a superhero?

Heh. This reminds me that a Vermont S. Carolina sherriff's dept. has a .50 MG mounted APC.
posted by porpoise at 9:06 AM on December 29, 2008


Jiminy Christmas, you know something's gone a bit over the edge when REASON mag is edging it's tone towards "Maybe some gun control might be a good idea, after all..."
posted by FatherDagon at 10:44 AM on December 29, 2008


Superhero Registry? IS THAT THE PLOT OF THE X-MEN FILM???
posted by grobstein at 10:45 AM on December 29, 2008


overglow: I find myself wishing there were Real Supervillains too. But then I think, what would they do? I don't really want them to actually hurt people...

clearly, the supervillains should operate under the rules of the GUILD OF CALAMITOUS INTENT.
posted by rmd1023 at 10:52 AM on December 29, 2008


There are, according to the recently launched World Superhero Registry, more than 200 men and a few women who are willing to dress up as comic book heroes and patrol the urban streets in search of, if not super-villains, then pickpockets and bullies.


This is going to turn into a weird sex thing in like, 10 days.
posted by The Whelk at 10:53 AM on December 29, 2008


Danger Woman is not included in the registry, and she's the real deal. There's even a documentary - she's an autistic superhero who is "disabled, but able to rock." The Aquabats have a song about her, too.
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 11:14 AM on December 29, 2008


Also, none of these so-called caped crusaders are fit to wear the thigh-high boots of Zora, the Self-Made Superhero.

She made a list of all the skills she would need to master if she wanted to actually become the superhero she dreamed of being. Sample items: martial arts, evasive driving and bomb diffusion. She actually checked off most things on the list ... and then had a run-in with the CIA.
posted by The Whelk at 11:25 AM on December 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


bomb diffusion

I think you might be doing it wrong...
posted by camcgee at 11:45 AM on December 29, 2008


I have a friend who is an RLS in the DC area -- goes by the name of Captain Prospect and has organized a group called the Capital City Supersquad.

They don't do any crime fighting, just civic activism like voter registration, toy drives for needy kids, etc. It's just volunteerism with flashy outfits.

They got a writeup in the Washington Post last year around Thanksgiving.
posted by camcgee at 11:50 AM on December 29, 2008


However, Angle Grinder Man is awesome.

As soon as I saw this post I thought of Angle Grinder Man
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 12:45 PM on December 29, 2008


....I found their CostCo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on December 30, 2008


Don't draw attention!
posted by ersatz at 5:20 PM on December 30, 2008


They don't do any crime fighting, just civic activism like voter registration, toy drives for needy kids, etc. It's just volunteerism with flashy outfits.

That sums up what it should be about. Trying to go around and act like Batman in real life is more for the benefit of the guy in the costume than the people he's purportedly helping.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:34 PM on December 30, 2008


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