Superhero Theme: Extended Notes


(Including some Cautionary Examples!)

How to Become a Superhero  by Mikaela Holmes

Have you always wanted the power to transform yourself at will? At our secret Instructables base, we’ve developed a classified program that will mutate you from an ordinary human into a super-powered costume maker! We think you have what it takes to be our test subject, and all you have to do is follow these instructables to begin your evolution to the next stage of humanity. Are you in?

This is a collection of my Instructables that will walk you through imagining and designing your own character and creating a costume for your new identity! Learn how to design, fit, and sew your very own spandex supersuit on a home sewing machine, and explore techniques for working with EVA foam and Worbla, two fantastic costume making materials that will let you create unbelievable accessories to complete your secret identity.

Whether you’re making a superhero character, or designing some other costume, the techniques and materials in these instructables will be a great addition to your costume design utility belt.  … because YOU Matter! your goals… your desires…your joys! We invite you to use the SuperHERO club as your reason — your incentive —  to dream big dreams…and pursue them; tend to your talents; experience yourSelf bodyproud; pursue your passions; expand your mind; challenge your comfort zone; jump into your power; step up to your own plate; free up your time; be a leader in your own life… and contribute to the lives of others! Your Feel Good Pathway As a Culture of Sharing, Caring and Self-Daring, the SuperHERO Club best serves those of U willing to dig deep, speak up & be true to your heart.  #FeelGood within yourself: this is your personal-growth platform to track your transformation journey, share your story, showcase your talents and gloat about your AHA’s & accomplishments as you live through them! #proudMEmoments #FeelGood as part of a TEAM: this is your opportunity to consciously unite, form one support team, inspiring a shift in society — how people think, eat, look and feel –to ultimately help others improve their life too #howCOOListhat #FeelGood leading the FITNESS Community: trainers, athletes, coaches, promoters get to be Ambassadors of Change helping elevate the fitness industry to new heights!

The Mad Scientists Club: Community Organization · Nashville, Tennessee. Mission: Establish a collaborative network of designers and artists to merge their skills and experiences. This elite brainstorming team can find a solution to the most radical problems of a business venture. Comprises all areas of design, innovation, and functionality. We are dedicated to turning dreams into a reality by unlocking the potential of the mind to concoct design solutions. We have a consortium of projects: Easels & Elixirs: A monthly gathering of serious artists interested in improving their quick sketch skills.  PAN: An annual poetry and art and performance collaborative show.  Illustrate: An annual Fantasy/Sci-Fi art show  PEAK: The annual Pin-up Art Show with Masquerade Ball and Fashion Show

 Superhero Clubhouse is a New York-based collective of artists and scientists working at the intersection of environmentalism and theater. We create fictional performances rooted in complex environmental questions, practice ecological production, and collaborate across disciplines and communities to enact a thriving society. We believe theater is an essential tool for evolving our consciousness in the face of global environmental crises.   NAME  Superhero = powerful individuals dedicated to making a better world  Clubhouse = an inclusive gathering place for serious play
THE LIVING STAGE NYC — WITH TANJA BEER & UNIVERSITY SETTLEMENT –   The Living Stage combines theatrical design, permaculture, and community engagement to create a recyclable, biodegradable, and edible performance space. The NYC version of The Living Stage will feature a lush, living stage situated amidst the urban landscape of the Lower East Side. Created and constructed by Superhero Clubhouse in partnership with community groups, this space is then inhabited by performances made for and by the community.

STA: Superhero Training Academy

Origins The mythology of the hero has been passed down for thousands of years.  When it caught a neighborhood group of childhood friends through comic books, they re-imagined themselves as superheroes.  They transformed into tigers and crusaders, found secret powers, blasted villains with freeze rays, and survived the apocalypse (at least twice).  This ancient journey of becoming, and tapping into the creative power of potential is the same spirit that sustains STA to this very day. 14 years later, after the unique creative genius of childhood, the first STA “curriculum” was written by Dr. Doo Wop (now Laughing Moon).  He taught the first ever “quest” to adults at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.  STA was then reborn at the clown hospital Gesundheit Institute in West Virginia.  The first Leadership Council formed and these clowns wrote the second curriculum, super suited for children.
The First Era  In the First Era, from 2006-2011, STA was focused on just one school at a time, facilitated by one full time teacher of that school.  In the early years, STA ran as a bi-weekly after school program for elementary students in Michigan.  The program then developed into a yearlong curriculum at Red Cloud Indian School in South Dakota.  STA also grew nationally, as we happened upon the Haul of Justice superhero bike riders at their Headquarters in Missouri, and instantly formed everlasting relationship.  STA began riding bikes as superheroes, letting the compass of compassion guide the spontaneous responses to any call for help.

The Second Era In the Second Era, from 2011-2014, STA returned to SE Michigan and developed as a non-profit entity.  STA responded to where called, no matter the age, place, or race.  Steady programs continued in schools and faith based institutions, while spontaneous responses to calls for help happened in elderly homes, backyard playgrounds, youth prisons, outdoor centers, farms, and others.  The second Leadership Council formed, as well as a dynamic and talented volunteer community.  STA naturally developed strong relationships with community leaders, expanding the scope of STA as a youth program to include community organizing and movement building.

The Third Era At the dawn of the Third Era, STA has been led to Detroit to the edge of the known world, where we see the fossils of the industrial revolution – polluted playgrounds, abandoned homes, assembly line schools, violence, poverty…STA returns to its origins in the neighborhood, this time facing global challenges, and invests roots in a home.  The third Leadership Council forms.  We build foundation for the organization, creativity in children, heroic culture for our neighborhood, and self-sustaining village for our world.

Research Paper: In order for a person to truly “become Batman” they need not only cool gadgets and a costume, but education. Lots of education. It is estimated somewhere in the range of 43,800 hours of education is needed in order to be adept at every skill set needed to be on par with Batman. That breaks down to eight hours a day for 15 years! No weekends, no vacations.   The reason this would take so long is because when Batman needed a particular skill, he would learn every aspect it until he had mastered the skill. Things like forensic science and criminology were cornerstones of Batman’s education. The same could be said for hand-to-hand combat.  There are also other skills one would need in order to fight crime like Batman. Strategy and intelligence, counter-intelligence, military tactics, offensive and defensive driving, acrobatics, biochemistry, rappelling, rock-climbing and hang gliding.   In the eyes of many, superheroes encompass many roles.  Do-gooders, heroes, revolutionaries.  Just to name a few.  But to others, superheroes are something completely different, having more negative names attached to them.  Vigilantes, attention-seekers, terrorists.
You have to be creative Gadgets and other supplies are also essential.

Created in 2007, Superheroes Anonymous aims to inspire creative altruism in all people through outreach, education and community service. The primary vehicle for our good works are through unique superhero identities, which is why we are known as Real Life Superheroes (RLSH). What is a RLSH?  A Real Life Superhero is someone who assumes a unique superhero identity and goes out into the real world as this superhero identity to do public acts of good. This can include homeless outreach, safety patrols, activism, and more. Why be a superhero? By assuming the identity of a superhero, it inspires us to become something greater than ourselves, and actualizes our ideals into a physical form that can’t be escaped while in the real world. In other words, when the world sees you as a superhero, they expect you to act like one.

THE 12 STEPS OF SUPERHEROES ANONYMOUS 1) We admitted we have power, and that it’s within our power to do good. 2) Came to believe in a Greater Good that could make the world a better place. 3) Made a decision to turn aspects of our lives and our will over towards the pursuit of this Greater Good. 4) Made a searching and fearless inventory of any actions within our reach that could help achieve this Greater Good. 5) Admitted to ourselves, and to another superhero, the exact nature of our plans. 6) We became entirely ready to assume a new superhero identity. 7) We humbly stepped into our new identity. 8) We prepared ourselves physically, mentally, and materially to take action. 9) As our Superhero Self, we took Action. 10) Now exposed to the real-life trials of Superheroism, we refined and improved our Superhero Self. 11) Continued our Superhero efforts, and made our Name known. 12) Having had an inner awakening as a result of our actions, we continued to carry the message of Superheroism to others, and pursue our Greater Good in all of our affairs.

EXAMPLES OF RLSHs: (see also

Captain Sticky! (and his sad end) Captain Sticky: America’s Only Practicing Caped Crusader! By Bryan Thomas on March 4, 2015
Meet Captain Sticky! “I am America’s only practicing caped crusader,” Captain Sticky — his real name was Richard Pesta, and he was born in 1946, in Pittsburgh, PA — told the San Diego Tribune in 1984. “That is the role I desire to maintain for the rest of my life.”
Beginning sometime in the 1970s, Pesta — who was apparently quite wealthy, a self-made entrepreneur who made his fortune (and he apparently retired, at age 28) after inventing “corrugated fiberglass” which was often used in translucent patio roof construction in Southern California — could be seen driving around in the late evening hours on the streets of various Orange County cities, and especially down in his hometown Escondido, near San Diego, wearing a bright blue jumpsuit. His choice of transportation? A customized bubble-topped Lincoln Continental he called “The Stickymobile.”

We are not making this up. In addition to the crazy golden paint-job and the flashing lights and wind-whipping flags, the good Captain’s tricked-out Continental had two strategically-placed squirt guns, located in the hidden compartment, right beside the car’s headlights. He operated the guns from inside the car — they didn’t shoot bullets though: one shot out a stream of peanut butter and the other shot out a stream of jelly, accurate to within an eighth of an inch at a range of five feet. Captain Sticky would also shoot peanut butter and jelly streams at kids he’d come across late at night who were trying to steal hubcaps off of parked cars, or spray-paint graffiti on public property, which is closer to vigilante-style justice. Captain Sticky was also apparently armed with “peanut butter grenades” made of peanut butter, vinegar and alka seltzer.

A 1974 news report revealed that Pesta’s moniker came from his fondness for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches – which may have been one reason he weighed an estimated 350 pounds. His full title, by the way, included “Supreme Commander in chief of the World Organization against Evil,” otherwise known as WOE, and claimed 20 members at one point, all volunteers in the never-ceasing war against crime, corruption and nastiness. Pesta was really kind of self-proclaimed consumer advocate, you see. He’d mostly “fight crime” by exposing shoddy auto mechanics or car rental shops who were trying to rip-off unsuspecting customers. In 1977, he was credited with helping to launch statewide investigations into nursing homes, resulting in tighter regulations for long-term health care.
The big man also had a big heart: he would make public appearances at events like carnivals for mentally handicapped youth. Sometimes Captain Sticky would be written up in the papers for doing good deeds, like helping stranded drivers who were stuck on the side of the freeway. They’d need a set of jumper cables or something and Captain Sticky would pull over in his Stickymobile and save the day!! Whenever Captain Sticky showed up at an actual “crime scene,” in full costume and cape, the news media went a little crazy trying to interview him. He was one of those colorful characters that no reporter could resist. He’d seize the microphone from them on the scene and start in with the Sticky schtick, warning kids that might be watching at home on TV to not eat too much sugar-coated cereal, and he’d tell them to behave their parents, that sort of thing. TV news crews loved to interview Pesta, who would stay in character the entire time.

>>>> He was apparently not popular with the police community, however, when they were called to extract Captain Sticky – and the media – from whatever business he’d charged into. <<<< [Marvel Comics offered to publish a comic book featuring Captai

n Sticky — if he’d pay for it…] In July 1975, he was written up in a two-page story in an issue of NME, the UK’s New Music Express. Here’s an excerpt:

[quote]What Sticky is armed with, however, is a shrewd acumen for the peculiar appetites of the news media and how to manipulate its power for the purpose of his freelance do-gooding. This, plus the fact that underneath all the gimcrack and chickenfat, Sticky is deadly serious.
“There is a philosophical difference between do-gooders and actually doing good,” he cloudily pontificates. “A do gooder is pure at heart but naive to power politics. I’m sophisticated in tactics which intimidate bureaucracies which I feel are the festering sources of evil in our society.”
With a true sense of schmaltz he declares, “If I were to wear a pinstripe suit while trying to aid the oppressed, I would have no efficiency. Thus my characterization. When I stage a surprise raid in my costume, you can be sure I’m not ignored.” It would take a strong person indeed to remain oblivious to a bearded, crash-helmeted Rasputin running wild in nightmare pajamas, gold lame boots and a peanut butter bazooka. You can be sure wherever he treads, the news cameras aren’t far behind. [end quote]

The TV series Real People also briefly made a celebrity of him in 1983, and …[oh dear, some naughty things]…  In the early 90s, Pesta apparently had had enough of his crime-fighting life and he put his Captain Sticky costume in mothballs. He started a business selling eco-friendly products for gardening. The products, marketed under such labels as Organa and Am-Kel Farms, are still being sold at various nurseries and home and garden centers.

Pesta began to focus on the seedier side of his private persona, …[So sad, more naughty stuff] … Pesta passed away on December 12, 2003, of complications from emergency bypass surgery. He was 57 at the time, and vacationing in Bangkok, Thailand with his fiancée, Lynne Shiloh, who said of Pesta:”He was a huge man with a huge heart filled with love for everyone.” She also said, another time, “His dream was to alter the course of history. He was a huge man with a huge heart filled with love for everyone.” Apparently peanut butter clogs up a big heart, no matter how many good deeds you do. He was cremated in Thailand, and his ashes were scattered there, at sea. …

 10 Real-life Superheroes (masks, capes and all!) 7/24/2007    Strange People    635,721 views Tags: Superheroes, Real-life Superheroes And you thought superheroes existed only in fiction? Inspired by fiction superheroes such as Batman and Superman, these people wear masks and capes in order to fight real crime on the strets. Here’s a list with 10 of the most famous real-life superheroes.

1 Superbarrio (Mexico) He’s faster than a speeding turtle, able to leap small speed bumps in a single bound. Look, up in the sky … Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s Superbarrio — a flabby caped crusader in cherry red tights who traverses the streets of Mexico City, defending the lower class. A high school dropout with a humble upbringing, Superbarrio has become one of Mexico City’s greatest folk heroes. For the past 10 years, he has stood as the champion of the working class, the poor and the homeless.  “I opened my eyes and found myself as you see me with a voice telling me, ‘You are Superbarrio,'” he said, explaining that his name means super-neighborhood. “I can’t stop a plane or a train single-handed, but I can keep a family from being evicted.” His role is primarily symbolic as the protector of low-income neighborhoods. But on behalf of squatters and labor unions, Superbarrio leads protest rallies, files petitions and challenges court decisions. Rumors also have circulated that he attempted to run for the president of the United States to better protect Mexican workers. His followers find him inspirational and recently erected a statue in his honor — a giant lifelike replica that looks like an oversized Cabbage Patch doll at 40. The awed crowd chanted, “You see him. You feel him. Superbarrio is here!”

2 Terrifica (NY City) Terrifica patrols New York City’s bars, clubs, and streets by night, in an effort to protect inebriated women in danger of being taken advantage of by men. Since the mid-1990s Terrifica has donned a golden mask, Valkyrie bra, blond wig, red boots and cape, to distract the men she tries to dissuade from seducing drunk young women. She carries a utility belt containing a pepper spray, cell phone, lipstick, a camera to photograph alleged predators, a journal, Terrifica fortune cards, and Smarties for energy. Terrifica has an arch-nemesis, a self-proclaimed philanderer who calls himself Fantastico. “I protect the single girl living in the big city,” says Terrifica. By day, she is Sarah, a 30-year-old single woman who works for a computer consulting company. “I do this because women are weak. They are easily manipulated, and they need to be protected from themselves and most certainly from men and their ill intentions toward them.”

3 The Eye (Mountain View California) The Eye is a 48 year-old superhero who patrols the streets of Mountain View, California. He is a street-level, practical crime fighter, who uses various electronic and other means to prevent crime. He has even got a myspace page!

4 Citizen Prime (Phoenix) Citizen Prime, a 40-year-old married man whose first name is Jim, has been protecting the streets of Phoenix for a year. He became a superhero to spread the message that people don’t have to be fearful of crime. “Are you going to sit inside scared that a terrorist might attack your city, or are you going to go out and live your life?” he asked. But Prime, who patrols once or twice a week in a black, blue and yellow costume, found one chink in his armor. He couldn’t find any crime. “The only crime I’ve ever stopped is when I was actually walking out of a sporting goods store with my wife,” he said. “A shoplifter came running past me, and I managed to throw him to the ground.”

5 Tothian (NJ and NY city) Tothian, 22, is a superhero who protects New Jersey and New York, is one of the more active heroes. He uses his skills as a Marine reservist and martial arts expert when patrolling the streets, and has escorted women home at night and broken up fights. His uniform–he prefers that term to costume–is black combat boots, green cargo pants and a T-shirt. His logo, which is stitched into the middle of the T-shirt with cut-up bandanas, is made from the letters used to spell Tothian. Tothian doesn’t wear a mask because it blocks his peripheral vision, and says he doesn’t wear a cape “because capes get in the way of actually doing real superhero stuff.” Tothian says he doesn’t want to become a police officer because he doesn’t agree with every law on the book. “I’m not out to punish every single criminal,” he said. For example, he would counsel marijuana smokers, but wouldn’t apprehend them as bad guys. Tothian said he gets some strange looks when people find out he’s a superhero. But after people realize he’s out to protect them, he says their trepidation eases somewhat.

6 Angle Grinder Man (London, and Kent) [? I guess some would consider this “civil disobedience”??] Angle-grinder Man patrols by night looking for unhappy drivers who have been clamped and then sets their cars free. An odd-job man by day, he operates in Kent during the week and in London on weekends. He decided to go “full-time vigilante” in May this year. “My obsession with wheel-clamping is actually a rebellion against a much deeper malaise,” he said. “Namely, the arrogant contempt that politicians hold for the people who put them into power, and whom they claim to represent.”

7 Mr. Silent (Indianapolis) Mr Silent patrols the streets of indianapolis. Unlike his hero Bruce Wayne, Mr. Silent’s alter ego isn’t a billionaire. He has a full-time job to tend to, so he only makes it out about once per week, cruising the alleys of Downtown after dark, looking to help where needed. “I roam the streets of the city looking for those in distress or danger and I do my best to help them. If those in need of help are being mugged or hurt in anyway, then you can be assured that I will do something about it. One may ask, how I can call myself a superhero when I can’t fly or run at mach 3. The answer is simple. I am idealistically super. I see what, in my opinion, needs changed in society and I work towards that goal,” said Silent.

8 Chris Guardian (NY City) It started out as a normal night. That is, until the bad guy started dancing like the devil in the pale moonlight. Chris was minding his own business on the streets of Staten Island, N.Y., when he saw a man dash into a convenience store. The man sprinted through the aisles, trashing the place, then broke a glass bottle on the floor and brandished the shards as a makeshift knife. Chris, coming to the rescue, cornered him in the aisle. While Chris kept the villain at bay, customers called the police. That night, one of the most dangerous nights in his career, Chris truly earned the right to be called “Chris Guardian”. He is now 23 years old, and who patrols the sidewalks and alleyways of New York City. “I’ve always had something inside of me that made me want to really make a difference and just make the world a better place,” Guardian said recently during an interview.

9 Geist (Minnesota) Geist aids the homeless and others in need and patrols the streets of Rochester, Minnesota. Geist describes himself as “a real person doing something out of the ordinary and somewhat unorthodox to attempt to make my city of Rochester, Minnesota a better, kinder and safer place. My personal cause is the Forgotton, those overlooked by mainstream society. If there is a crisis situation, I have training and equipment to aid myself and others. My equipment and methods are completely legal. I’m prepared to make Citizen’s Arrests if necessary.”

10 Foxfire (Michigan) Foxfire is a 25 year-old woman who patrols the streets of Michigan. She is dedicated to helping those in need, preserving natural resources, and, most importantly, “teaching anyone who will listen about the hidden world, the more interesting stuff that goes on beneath the surface of their humdrum little lives. The current air of apocalyptic apathy is indicitive of how much humanity has lost. Together with the rest of the Nameless Few, I will help to re-integrate humanity–as well as protect the downtrodden, the forgotten, and the helpless.”

 10 Outrageous Real Life Superheroes by ANDREW HANDLEY,  MARCH 24, 2013

If you’re anything like anybody, you’re in love with the idea of superheroes. The rest of you are female, or adults. In either case, all of us have an innate urge deep inside that makes us want to do good for the people around us, and while some of us are content to read about the super powered good deeds of others, the people on this list decided to stand up and show the world that crime does not pay. Unfortunately, they chose a route that looks absolutely, thoroughly ridiculous. Here are 10 real life superheroes who could be behind you right now.

10 Knight-Warrior – Secret Identity: Roger Hayhurst. Personal Gotham: Salford, Greater Manchester, UK.  Gardener by day, masked crime fighter by night—that’s the tagline for Knight Warrior, a 19 year old in the UK whose self-proclaimed superpower is a “supernatural desire to make the world a better place.” His main target is drunk people who get a little too rowdy as they leave pubs. When there aren’t enough people fighting each other, he hands out food to homeless people in the Greater Manchester area. Although he doesn’t have any combat training, gadgets, weapons, or identifiable means of protection, he does have a flashy costume, and sometimes that’s exactly what you need to get people’s attention. According to him, “When people see me coming up it does tend to stun them into silence.” Knight Warrior lives with his mother.

9 Mr. Extreme Secret – Identity: Secret!  Personal Gotham: San Diego, California.  Honestly, if there’s any city that needs a superhero it’s probably San Diego, especially after the police department was downsized in 2012, leading to an increase in crime. And Mr. Extreme might not be the hero San Diego deserves, but he’s the hero San Diego puts up with. A security guard in the daylight hours, once the sun goes down he suits up with shin guards, cape, army helmet and identity-protection goggles, then vigorously strolls into the crime-ridden sidewalks of the East Village. Mr. Extreme has been working for about seven years now, armed with a taser, handcuffs, three cans of pepper spray, and the conviction that right is always the right thing to do. While he doesn’t get into a whole lot of action, he has instigated several citizens arrests throughout his career.

8 Wheel-Clamp-Man – Secret Identity: Secret!  Personal Gotham: Perth, Australia.  The path of a hero is never black and white. It’s an uncertain world filled with lesser evils and shades of gray, because sometimes the duty of a man requires him to go outside the law to prevent a crime. Or commit one. This is the path of Wheel Clamp Man, one of the darker shades of gray in the colorblind spectrum. In fact, his main “heroic” activity is a full-fledged crime—he patrols Perth with an angle grinder and cuts wheel clamps off cars that have been illegally parked. Dressed in a skintight green leotard, rainbow socks, and a glue-on mustache, Wheel Clamp Man has only been working in the area for a relatively short time, but motorists are grateful for his help in helping them avoid a $135 fine.

7 Dark Guardian – Secret Identity: Chris Pollak.  Personal Gotham: Manhattan, New York.  The people who like superheroes and the people who look like superheroes usually sit on opposite sides of the cafeteria, but Chris Pollak’s first major victory was being both of those people at the same time. In a costume reminiscent of a leather biker suit and backed by years of martial arts training, he actually looks the part, and he seems to be making a dent in the crime, at least the obvious crime, around Washington State Park. This video shows him confronting a drug dealer, and it’s actually sort of inspiring. During his crime-fighting career, Dark Guardian has helped break up fights and prevent muggings. And as that video showed, he’s waging a personal war on the drug dealers in the area in particular. Apparently, one tactic he uses is to scout the area, identify a dealer, then sneak up on them. When he’s close enough, he’ll leap out, beam a flashlight in their face, and shout, “This is a drug free park!”

6 Captain Australia – Secret Identity: Secret!  Personal Gotham: Brisbane, Australia.  With gardening gloves flexed and ampersat blazing, Captain Australia is waging a one-man war against crime in Fortitude Valley. In his day life he’s a stay-at-home father of two, but a desire to clean up Queensland’s streets has motivated him to put together a makeshift costume and patrol some of the “seedier areas” of Brisbane at night. Captain Australia takes a preventative approach to crime, figuring that the sight of him will be enough to deter most would-be criminals from acting on their insatiable dark urges. And sometimes it works—he claims to have stopped a rape by showing up on the scene and scaring away two men who had been harassing a drunk woman.

5 Shadow Ninja – Secret Identity: Ken Andre. Personal Gotham: Yeovil, Somerset, UK.  Eschewing the pomp and flash of a typical superhero costume, 33 year old Ken Andre took a different approach to vigilante justice: the way of the ninja. He calls himself Shadow and spends up to four nights a week out around his home in Somerset stopping drug dealers and muggers—in the few years he’s been doing this, he says he’s stopped several dozen crimes. And out of all the people on this list, Shadow is the only real life superhero with anything even resembling a super power—a Batman-esque hearing aid that amplifies sound. Ken has been studying the martial art Ninjutsu since he was a child, and stopped a carjacker one time by literally throwing nunchucks at him. In his own words, “I tied him to the lamppost using his own legs and called the police.”

4 Thanatos – Secret Identity: Secret!  Personal Gotham: Vancouver, Canada.  In Greek mythology, Thanatos was the demon personification of death, which is a strange name for someone to choose who wants to spend their free time helping others. But that’s what a Vancouver man did three years ago when he decided to become a real life superhero. Wearing a black trench coat, black hat, and a green skull mask, Thanatos takes a community involvement approach to vigilante justice, passing out food and clothing to people on the street, even though he still keeps an eye out for any crimes that cross his path.

3 Phoenix Jones – Real Name: Benjamin Fodor.  City: Seattle, Washington.   Of all these real life superheroes, Phoenix Jones has probably received the most media attention, especially after being arrested in 2011 for pepper spraying two women. He patrols the area around Seattle and claims that he was motivated to don a mask and cape after his car was broken into and none of the bystanders tried to stop it from happening. Knife wounds, gunshots, street fights—it’s all in a day’s work for Phoenix Jones. The 22-year old is also a professional MMA fighter, which probably comes in handy as he tracks down criminals. Also unlike a lot of other people who pretend to be superheroes, Phoenix’s costume actually has a bullet proof vest and armor plating.

2 The Flashing Blade – Secret Identity: Secret!  Personal Gotham: South Shields, UK.  The Flashing Blade has only been involved in one incident so far, but it was definitely bizarre. A gang armed with chains and knives attacked two detectives in South Shields in 2007. The detectives were unarmed, but out of nowhere a man leaped into the fight, swinging a katana and shouting, “Leave him alone, he’s a police officer!” The sword caught one of the gang members on the arm, and the rest of them turned and ran, according to the report. After the detectives were safe, The Flashing Blade disappeared and was never seen again. The only description the police got was that he was white, in his 40s, and had a mustache. So, be on the lookout.

1 The Chinese Redbud Woman – Secret Identity: Secret!  Personal Gotham: Beijing, China. There are plenty of female superheroes that were just as deserving of being on this list as any of the people above, but few superheroes, man or woman, paint such a heartwarming picture as the Chinese Redbud Woman. She has been spotted several times in Beijing wearing a mask and cape and handing out food to homeless people on the streets.

Are these people vigilantes, putting their lives and the lives of others in danger, or are they actually making a difference in whatever way they can?  ANDREW HANDLEY: Andrew is a freelance writer and the owner of the sexy, sexy HandleyNation Content Service. When he’s not writing he’s usually hiking or rock climbing, or just enjoying the fresh North Carolina air.