Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Just checking in to post this video, produced by The Watchman that features footage from the Christmas Toy Drive and deliveries. Also features Blackbird, Citizen, Wonderboy, and Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos.

PS- Can anyone tell me why YouTube videos are like a mile wide on blogger and how to fix it?

UPDATE: Thanks to Heroes in the Night readers Silvestro of Italy and 6thNut of Seattle for helping me fix it!

Monday, December 20, 2010


Wonder Boy, a Meta House nurse, The Watchman, and Blackbird outside of Meta House

On Saturday, December 11, I joined The Watchman, Blackbird, and Citizen (of Chicago) for an in person toy/art supply drive in front of Fuel Cafe, here in Milwaukee. People were generous and I wrote more about the day and shared photos in a previous blog entry HERE.

I again joined the heroes for the two deliveries of the donated bounty. On Friday the meet up spot was my kitchen, from which we headed a short distance over to the Meta House. Blackbird arrived first, followed by The Watchman with his son and heir apparent, Wonder Boy. Wonder Boy has traditionally joined Watchman for his holiday charity events.

We had several bags of art supplies and toys. We were met outside of Meta House by two staff members, and led inside into their office. The Meta House is located in a couple of beautiful old buildings that used to house a Catholic school and convent for nuns. As we walked through the halls we encountered some of the Meta House residents who reacted with delighted surprise at the sight of the superheroes patrolling the hall.

The kids of Meta House were all in school, but after dropping of the supplies, the Meta House staff suggested the superheroes stop in the basement to say hi to some of the women who were having some social/ craft time. We filed down the narrow stairway and were met with more surprise. The Watchman briefly told the women what being a RLSH was all about and was greeted with great enthusiasm and well wishes. We wished the residents and staff a happy holiday and left.

Outside of the Gingerbread House

On Sunday I found myself cruising on the highway through the forests of bare winter trees, billboards, and outlet stores in the Birdmobile, with dance mash ups bumping on the stereo. I was riding with Blackbird as we headed to meet The Watchman in West Bend to make the second donation. The Gingerbread House is a charity that gives donated toys to poor families in Washington County. Again, we had several large bags of toys that filled up one of Gingerbread House's bins in their makeshift warehouse facility. The Gingerbread House staff was very kind and gave us each a Christmas card. They said it has been a rough year and any donations were very helpful.
The heroes talk with Gingerbread House staff inside their facility

Geist and Arctic Knight with donations for People Serving People

In Minneapolis, The Watchman's Great Lake Alliance team mates- Geist and Razorhawk, along with Minneapolis's newest RLSH addition, Arctic Knight also did a delivery over the weekend. The trio dropped off toys and food at People Serving People, a large shelter and facility in downtown Minneapolis. They also read Frosty the Snowman to kids who reside in the shelter.

And so, the superheroes did what they could to try to capture the holiday spirit and give to others, and helped out three charity organizations. Good work!

I will be taking a holiday break from Heroes in the Night to try to catch up on some other facts of life and will return to this blog January 5. I hope all of you have a great holiday, no matter if you are a hero doing a Christmas or New Year hand out or whether you are a sinister villain plotting during Ubermas, happy holidays to all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Carrying on with my regular column for our fine friends at FORCES OF GEEK, I made an attempt to talk about where in the world we can find RLSH and the biggest FAQ of all- "How many of them are out there?"


Sunday, December 12, 2010


L-R: Blackbird, Tea Krulos, Citizen, The Watchman

By Tea Krulos

Milwaukee and Chicago Real Life Superheroes worked together to run a toy drive in the Riverwest neighborhood of Milwaukee, Saturday, December 11. I helped the heroes organize the event. After some brainstorming, we decided to host an in person event where people could donate items or money in person. We decided on two charities to work with: The Gingerbread House is a charity which gives toys to families who are financially struggling in nearby Washington County. The Meta House is a rehab and recovery program for women and their children in Riverwest. They also cited a need for art supplies for their many art programs, so we added our scope to include that.


The Fuel Cafe has been serving "Killer Coffee/ Lousy Service" since 1993 and is a neighborhood landmark on Center Street- everyone knows where it is. Since it's opening the neighborhood has developed many bars, restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries in the immediate area. I know one of the owners and thought he might be cool with letting us set up outside. He said that it sounded great. The staff was also gracious and somewhat amused.


I arrived on the scene and found Citizen, who is from Chicago, already at the scene. He made the drive between Chicago and Milwaukee (approx. 90 minutes) in quick time and was early. Citizen had been planning his own toy drive, but it wasn't going the way he wanted so decided to bring his donations up to share with ours.


The first person to stop by with a donation was Molly Snyder, associate editor at Onmilwaukee.com, a daily website that alot of people check out for things to do. Molly had done a write up the day before on the toy drive (HERE). We also were featured in the local alternative paper, the Shepherd Express in the "This Week in Milwaukee" two page spread (HERE). This is like their "picks of the week" for events, a coveted space anyone doing an event wants a blurb in.
Many people stopping by said they saw the Onmilwaukee or Shepherd Express write ups.


The Watchman has become pretty well known because of local media, and in a situation like this it has served him well. That is why I helped push him as a key figure in this- to take advantage of the media attention he's received.

One of our favorite moments of the day was when a fire engine pulled up right in front of us. This is not unusual- firefighters and police stop by Fuel regularily to get coffee and food. Two of the firemen jumped out of the truck, and one started walking toward us.

"Well, I know he's The Watchman- but who is this guy?" He said, pointing at Citizen. Citizen introduced himself. The fireman talked to his partner, exchanged some money, and dropped a twenty dollar bill in the change jar. The Watchman was asking people to sign the toy drive box, and the fireman signed it "MFD- Truck 5."

I asked if I could take their picture, and the fireman said, "yeah, sure, get all of us in front of the truck." Just then, they got a call and the driver yelled "We got to go!" As the fireman climbed in the truck, he told Watchman he should stop by the station some time.


People stopped by at a slow but steady pace. A woman brought a couple deluxe sets of crayons. A man brought a beautiful color pencil/ paint set. One couple had seen the Onmilwaukee article and brought two big bags of comic book hero toys. Not the normal stuff you'd find in a department store, but the collector direct market deluxe ones. Someone brought a monkey stuffed animal. One guy rolled up, said his kid had too many toys, and grabbed a mini basketball and a toy ray gun lying in the back seat of his car and threw them in the box. We got play-doh, coloring books, toy kitchen sets, comic books, and much more. Several other people dropped cash in the jar.


Blackbird had work obligations he couldn't get out of all day, but did manage to make a brief appearance to show his support and drop off a massive amount of donations. He could hardly walk, his arms were holding so many bags of toys and art supplies he had gotten. He stayed for awhile and talked, but then had to get back to work.


Weather in Wisconsin this time of year can be brutal. We had heard nightmare forecasts of rain, sleet, and blizzards. Fortunately for most of the day it wasn't bad. It was cold, but the weather was mild. About mid afternoon it slowly began to mist and then rain, so the guys started loading the donations into Watchman's car.


We filled up a giant box and a huge tupperware bin with donated stuff, lots of really great items. Pictured is just some of the stuff that was donated. We also raised a little bit over fifty bucks in cash, which will be used to buy more items. We will be delivering the donations to both charities within the next week. I will report on that after it happens.

I think this was a success. It was experimental- we had no idea if anyone would show up at all, what the weather actually would be like, etc.

The group of us who collaborated on this would like to thank Fuel Cafe, for letting us set up out front, Molly and Onmilwaukee.com, the Shepherd Express, Jan Christensen from the Riverwest Currents (who stopped to take our picture and write notes for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue), and Citizen for making the drive up. Of course most importantly, a big thanks to all the wonderful people who made it happen by taking time to stop by and donate, from hippie artists to firemen.

Happy holidays!

Friday, December 10, 2010

ONMILWAUKEE.com story on Watchman, Krulos, Toy Drive

Tomorrow I will be doing a toy drive event in front of the Fuel Cafe, a landmark business of Riverwest. The Watchman will also be there along with Citizen (of Chicago, see yesterday's Hero Profile) and an appearance by Blackbird.

Molly Snyder, associate editor of onmilwaukee.com wrote a great article about the event in a post titled "Real Life Superhero Plans Toy Collection," posted in the Holiday Guide section. I knew she'd be into it- Molly has a great love for Riverwest and all the unique things that go on here.

The link is HERE.


Thursday, December 9, 2010

HERO PROFILE # 57: Citizen

Operates out of: Chicago, IL

Activities: "I work with charities in the area to help raise money and awareness for their causes. I also do night patrols in an attempt to help fight the growing crime rates in my area."

: Working on body armor and a "Citizen Mobile."

Author's notes: I have heard through the superhero grapevine that Citizen is going to make the drive from Chicago up to Milwaukee to lend a hand in the holiday toy drive going on here on Saturday (see previous entry)- welcome to Milwaukee, Citizen!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Milwaukee Holiday Toy Drive

I am helping the local guys with their holiday charity mission. Below is the press release for the event-


Milwaukee, WI-December, 1, 2010- You’ve probably read an article about him in a paper or heard people talk about him. Maybe you’ve even seen him on the streets of Milwaukee. Now you can not only meet Milwaukee’s Real Life Superhero, The Watchman, but you can help him with a heroic mission- donating toys and art supplies to charity.

Saturday, December 11, The Watchman will be in person in front of the Fuel Café (818 E. Center Street) from 10AM-4PM collecting donations of cash, art supplies, and (new) toys. Online money and in person cash donations will be used to buy additional toys and art supplies and everything will be delivered in person to two charities the following week.

Those charities are the Gingerbread House, located in West Bend, which provides toys to low income families who can’t afford to buy gifts for their children and Meta House, a rehab center for women and their children, located in Riverwest. Meta House has also cited a need for art supplies for their various art programs.

This is the third year The Watchman and his Great Lakes Alliance teammates in Minnesota are participating in a holiday charity mission. Fundraising will be open online on the team’s site, www.wix.com/glhg10/gla2010, until December 10. The online funds will be divided between Milwaukee and the Minnesota heroes, who will be donating to People Serving People, a shelter in Minneapolis.

This year Watchman has the additional support of Milwaukee author Tea Krulos (who is writing a book on real life superheroes) and fellow Milwaukee real life superhero Blackbird (who is helping with the mission, but won’t be at the drive, due to his mysterious nature) and other volunteers on hand to help out. In a comic book reversal, The Watchman is shining a batsignal to the public, hoping people will stop by and donate gifts for these great charities and share the holiday spirit.

At a glance:
WHAT: The Watchman’s charity toy drive
WHEN: Saturday, December 11, 10AM-4PM
WHERE: Fuel Café, 818 E. Center Street
The Watchman is collecting toys, art supplies, and money for two charities- the Gingerbread House in West Bend and the Meta House in Riverwest. Donations can also be made online until December 10 at the Great Lakes Alliance’s website: www.wix.com/glhg10/gla2010

Contact: Tea Krulos


Monday, November 29, 2010


In a report posted here at the beginning of the month, I detailed the college craze for local RLSH The Watchman and Blackbird. They appeared in a front page story for Marquette University's student newspaper, the Marquette Tribune. They also appeared in a segment for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's campus news program PantherVision. They were interviewed for radio station 88.9FM Radio Milwaukee (I'm being told there were production delays on that, but it might yet appear in the future.)

The UWM Post, UWM's student newspaper, has also picked up the story in a special Riverwest themed issue of the paper that came out today. "Real Life Superheroes- The Watchman Patrols Riverwest," was written by staff writer Kevin Kaber and I think he did a good job with the article. He keeps it light-hearted but not insulting, shares who these guys are at a glance pretty well, and includes a quote from yours truly. It's also great to see the guys included amidst the other articles on interesting things going on in Riverwest.

The print version has an additional gag that the online version doesn't. The article ends "As for his secret identity? Obviously The Watchman is (See WATCHMAN page 21)"

After flipping through the pages in confusion, you realize there is no page 21 (the paper is only 16 pages) and that the UWM Post has been pulling your leg as you look for a reveal that doesn't exist. It fooled me and caused me to LOL, so well done!

You can read the article HERE.

I got a chance to hang with The Watchman and Blackbird last night. Before we went on a patrol in Blackbird's Birdmobile (it was a quiet patrol while I was with them, after they dropped me off they encountered a suspicious vehicle and reported it to a police officer they found nearby) we discussed strategy in taking part in the Great Lakes Alliance annual holiday toy drive.

We will be donating the toys to at least two (maybe three) Wisconsin charities. We will be setting up a time and location for people to drop off toys and meet the heroes in person here in Riverwest. People can also donate funds online at the GLA's website HERE.

Updates on this mission will be posted throughout December.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Rain City Superheroes meet Sky Man- L-R: Troop, Dee, Phoenix Jones, a fan, Buster Doe, No Name and Sky Man

Seattle superheroes have hit the news in a big way over the last week as the Seattle media (and beyond) have gone into a feeding frenzy over the Rain City Superhero Movement, a new group of Seattle RLSH who seemingly have appeared out of thin air. Who are these people? That is something everyone, including the RLSH community, are still trying to figure out.

History of Seattle RLSH

Seattle actually has a RLSH history that goes back several years and has an interesting cast of characters. My observations on these guys are mostly based on online interactions I’ve seen and from watching episodes of www.Zetaman.tv, which revolves around Portland superhero Zetaman, and his team The Alternates composed of Portland and Seattle RLSHs. A few episodes were filmed of group meet ups in Seattle.

In those episodes, we are introduced to Neurocybe’X (status unknown), who is by all accounts, including video footage-is an oddball. He claims to be a some order of jedi knight, with a working knowledge of ice planet Hoth.

Black Knight (Retired-also went by many other different names) had a dramatic falling out and retirement from the Real Life Superhero community,for reasons a bit complex to get into here.

Mr. Ravenblade and The Dreamer, both still active, have very different looks and methods- Mr. Ravenblade is clad in all black and actively does crime patrols. Dreamer has a bright blue and white motif and seems to focus more on charity events and such. The Alternates briefly disbanded after the falling out with Black Knight, and now list The Dreamer as their sole Seattle represenative.

More RLSH began to appear- The Irishman, who I met on a trip to the West Coast, White Baron, who joined Mr. Ravenblade and Black Knight on a patrol, and Sky Man, relatively new and eager to participate. This newer crew has done patrols and things like a water handout (which I wrote about HERE).

My Trip to Seattle

In February I joined RLSHs for a meet up in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics, hosted by Thanatos. After the meet up, I found I had an extra day or two free before I needed to be home and decided to check out Seattle. I joined The Irishman in a Greyhound trip from Vancouver to Seattle. The next day I joined Irishman for a walking and driving patrol of the downtown area.

I also had the opportunity to meet four members of the “real life supervillains” organization ROACH, at their West Coast HQ- a gourmet hot dog stand called Po’ Dogs. Real life supervillains are people who mock RLSHs online. I felt it was important, journalistically, to hear an opposing point of view.

I wasn’t able to meet up with the other Seattle RLSH at the time.

Unsuccessful Article Attempt For Seattle Weekly

After returning home, I decided I would try to pitch an article to a Vancouver or Seattle publication about my adventure. This concept had been successful after I attended Superheroes Anonymous 3, in New Bedford- I was able to land a good sized article in the Boston Phoenix, and would again prove to be a success after my trip to New York, with a cover article in the New York Press. These were win-wins- I got to write an early draft of part of the book, see it in print, and get a little bit of money to help with the travel costs. Pitching the Vancouver story was a bust, though.

After getting no response from a couple of publications (which is really, really annoying) the Seattle Weekly gave a reluctant response.

The editor then suggested I hand the story over to them so they could assign it to a staff writer who would meet up with the RLSHs and join them on patrol. In exchange, they would give me a modest amount of money to offer my insight to the writer and get him in touch with the Seattle RLSH. I thought about it for awhile and then decided to go with the offer. I would still be part of the story in an advisory role, and would get some money reimbursed from what was a somewhat expensive trip.
I spoke with the writer, the writer spoke with the RLSH, and for whatever reason, the story flatlined and never happened, and I never got paid. And that, folks, is the glamorous life of a freelance writer.

Rain City Superheroes

The Rain City Superheroes have adopted the RLSH concept to fit into their own group in their own style and have had little association with the larger RLSH community, something that has caused some alarm and frustration from established RLSH who are being tied to the group. The group is led by a young man named Phoenix Jones. Other confirmed members include Buster Doe, No Name, Dee, and Troop.
More alleged members are listed as Thorn, Green Reaper, Gemini, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, and Penelope.

Rain City has what I’ll call a “minimalist” look- Phoenix Jones has a mask, fedora, and chest piece but the rest of his crew simply wears ski masks and bandannas. This look has gotten them in some small trouble- they’ve been reported to police as robbers at least once.

Reaction From RLSH

Emotions have flared over the group and the media representation of them, in particular with the established Seattle RLSH. Some have tried to reach out and communicate, while others have denounced them as “liars” and “posers” who have fabricated who they are for “street cred.”
Several items in the flood of news reports raise alarm bells as well.

As the Seattle PI site reports:
“In one instance, police say a caped crusader dressed in black was nearly shot when he came running out of a dark park. In another case, a witness on Capitol Hill saw the crusaders wearing ski masks in a car parked at a Shell station and thought they were going to rob the place.”

It also reports police found the group confronting a violent man using a golf club as a weapon.
“Police took the golf club as evidence. The "costume-wearing complainants" refused to press charges because they didn't want to identify themselves to officers,(department spokesman)Kappel said. So the suspect walked.” Phoenix Jones addresses these issues in an interview that follows this entry.

On a more positive note, the article does report that Phoenix Jones did go to police headquarters to talk to the police there in person.

Komo News also reports:
“Phoenix says police were extremely wary at first, but now accept his help. He says he calls them ahead of time to tell them which neighborhood he’ll be patrolling. He fills out police reports and gives witness testimony.”

Particularly vocal in deriding Phoenix Jones and company, is the aforementioned Seattle RLSH Mr. Ravenblade, who issued an open letter to Jones on his LiveJournal. In addition, he wrote an entry titled “Real Real Life Superheroes Follow Through And Don’t Wimp Out,” and in that entry, Mr. Ravenblade says:

“The fact is, This "Phoenix Jones" guy is a fake hero. A wolf in sheep's clothing, and I really want to do my best to protect people from people like him that are OK with criminals walking the streets able to hurt people. He talks the super hero talk, but he does not walk the super hero walk.”
You can read the entry in its entirety on his LiveJournal page HERE.

This in turn prompted New Jersey RLSH Phantom Zero to issue his own open letter in reaction, posted on his Facebook. He starts it by saying:
“Recently, you've come to my attention. Because of this, I began questioning someone who has made strong, but baseless, claims.
I believe he hates you and very much resents you. This individual is acting in a highly subjective and emotional manner, and I believe this person's negative emotions stem from personal reasons: primarily jealousy over you getting press attention while he, feeling entitled because of his assumed seniority, while he himself is being completely ignored (despite being in roughly the same geographic area).”

You can read that letter in it’s entirety HERE.

The most proactive person in communicating with the Rain City Superheroes has been Seattle’s own Sky Man. Sky Man has taken a diplomatic approach, meeting with Jones and company three times over the weekend, joining them on patrol , and trying to make sense of the whole thing. After patrols Friday and Saturday, Sky Man says Phoenix Jones and crew blindfolded him on Sunday and took him to a secret hangout spot. It was there that they discussed RLSH politics while enjoying a snack of pudding.

I have been informed that an additional newscast featuring the group will be out soon.

To break journalistic character for a moment here, I have to say this is all very strange and I don’t quite know what to make of it, and where Phoenix Jones and company fit into the scheme of things. But I thought a logical next step would be to interview the man himself, and look at some of the media surrounding him, which you will see in parts 2 and 3 of this write up.

Part 2- The Phoenix Jones Interview

What follows is a transcription of my interview with Phoenix Jones, conducted November 23, 2010. It has been edited for clarity, but not content and appears in it's entirety. I am presenting it here without editorial comment- you can make of it what you will.

TEA KRULOS: Why don’t we start by you telling me about yourself and how you got started with all of this, when and why this all began for you.

: Well, I’ve read comics and watched movies and have had an interest in this since the beginning of time. I wanted to name my son after a Dragon Ball Z character (laughs) -I’ve always been into martial arts and training my entire life, so I’ve always thought you ascend to a certain level when you become stronger than the average person.

It was one of those evolutions for me because after I got my black belt in Tae Kwon Do, I kind of felt let down, because in a weird way Tae Kwon Do is sort of a lie. It doesn’t actually work in practical fighting situations. It’s like who can dance better, but it has nothing to do with real life, so I felt like I wasted a lot of time, you know? From there I went to collegiate wrestling, and I became a state collegiate wrestling champion, and I thought this is where it’s at, right? Then I saw a boxing match, and I thought, yeah, I can’t do that though, those guys would kill me, that sucks. Again I felt let down, like I wasted my time again. From there I moved to sport jiu jitsu, which has a little bit of punching, but is still mostly down on the ground, again I felt let down.

It wasn’t until I moved to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)that I felt I had moved to the real thing, it’s stand up, it’s grappling, it’s wrestling, it’s kicking, anywhere the fight goes, in any situation mixed martial arts has an answer for it.

After that I thought, well what do you do when you have the powers? Because I always wanted to have these powers and now I feel I am trained, I’m trained to know more about combat than the average person. I always wanted to be a superhero so I went and made a supersuit. I started working on it, but left the idea alone because I was working a job. But when I saw fights on the street I broke them up and stuff. I actually broke up so many fights without a mask on that people knew who I was, they’d be like ‘there’s the guy always breaking up fights.’

I was at a water park in my home town and someone broke into my car, and the glass was on the ground. My son fell into it and cut his knee. I was telling people to call 911 and everyone just stood there and stared. And even- one guy started recording it for like YouTube or something. I was like what is this? Why does the world suck? It’s because they are afraid. They’re afraid to call 911 if you’re troubled or if someone is breaking into your car- there are teenagers walking down the street breaking into cars and no one is doing anything, it’s ridiculous.
So my son got stitched up and I still have the glass in a jar in my house as a reminder that bad things happen. There was enough glass you could take it out and put it in a jar.

The following week I was at a bar. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t do any kind of drugs- I did one time in 8th grade, anyhow, I was at a bar because my friend was there and we went outside and there was a commotion and someone tapped me on the shoulder and said ‘your friend got beat up,’ and he had irreversible face damage. And I said ‘who did it, show me who it was that did it.’ There was like seventy people outside and no one did anything and everyone knew exactly who beat him up. And I just kept thinking- why didn’t anyone do anything?

The next day I was out on patrol looking for that guy, I didn’t find him and that’s actually really good, because I probably would have done something extreme in the process. And in case there was a crowd or something, and I started beating up this person, I didn’t want anyone to know who I was and that’s how it started with the ski mask and everything. But I’m glad I didn’t- it wouldn’t have been heroic.

TEA KRULOS: So then you developed your own group- how did that come about?

: That came about before I heard about real life superheroes. I was on a patrol by myself and I walked into a fight between two people outside a bar, there were 11 or 12 people. I felt I couldn’t really get in there to help, I was nervous and apprehensive because there was 1 of me and 12 of them. I didn’t have any weapons- I just had my MMA gloves on, a pair of spandex shorts I use for fighting, a spandex shirt, and a robbery ski mask (laughs)- it didn’t look like I was a hero by any stretch of the imagination, it looked like I was robbing someone and had stumbled into the fight in the process.

So I talked to a friend and he said- ‘dude, that’s you? I heard about that guy. I totally want in.’ And I said ‘Ok, I don’t want to be out there alone so next time come with me.’ He told a riend, and I told another friend, and before you knew it, there was nine of us, and we all have either military backgrounds or MMA training so we came up with a procedure how to stop a conflict.

How we do it is- we got one guy not in uniform across the street with a camera that can also act as a witness for the police. One guy will approach the situation- which is normally me- we got another guy yell that we are real life superheroes and we’re coming to break up the argument, and announce our presence. The other two people stay back, so I’m in front and they’re a little bit in back and then I try to get between the fight, I try to put myself into the position of one of the fighters, basically taking the punishment for that guy and like I said, I’m pretty well trained so I don’t get hurt.

And while we do that, we have another guy who runs around to try and remove the hurt person from the fight by dodging them and walking away. I have a group of lawyers now that I’m working with that I’m working with on a procedure out and we also have paperwork that we fill out every time that we contact everybody before starting, and that’s pretty recent. I got a call from a lawyer that totally wants to represent me and I was really happy about that and they said we should make a procedure book so I can write down what we do and how we do it and then if cops have a problem, we can show them our procedure.

: Speaking of the police, how has your relationship with them been?

: It depends on what police officer you run into (laughs)- some of them love me, literally stop their car, come out and shake my hand and take a photo with me. Other cops think I’m a real vigilante and don’t want to have anything to do with me. I went down to the police station, I went down and talked to them, they said what I was doing was completely legal. They said they just wanted to know my name because if anyone claims they were beaten up or assaulted by me- because I’m actually out there stopping fights- they want to know who to call and I was ok with that, so I released my information to them.

Which I’m kind of regretting now because other people in the community found out my identification and they think I’m not qualified to do this because –this is the thing, I wasn’t even arrested. I was summoned to appear. I drove with my license suspended three times in a row. But really what that means is I had tickets, I couldn’t pay them because I was broke and I got another ticket when I was broke and I had to go to court, and when I went I got it taken care of, I never spent a day in jail.

Then about a month later, I got pulled over again, and I still had not paid my fine and they gave me a summons to court and said I had to appear, and I said OK, and it was the same thing. The judge said you can go to jail, or pay the fine. And my mom paid the fine for me, which was cool, and then I paid her back for it. But I never spent a day in jail and I don’t know why, why people don’t think I’m qualified to be a superhero. Mr. Ravenblade came after me, saying he knew information about me- that is the only information he could know.

I thought it was more important to be out there on the street fighting and protecting, and everytime I got pulled over it-I was on my way-I had the ski mask on, I’ve never been pulled over in my civilian attire. The more of the bigger crimes I’ve stopped, the more police have started to respect me.

: You mentioned Mr. Ravenblade- how has your experience with the Real Life Superhero community been?

: I’m actually really ecstatic about real life superheroes. I can’t take the RLSH off my name. People are mad at me for certain things I can’t control, which is amusing to me. The RLSH has to be in my name because Phoenix Jones is a very famous band, and the guy from the band who my friend knows I guess is really angry that I call myself Phoenix Jones, but my lawyers tell me if I put Phoenix Jones RLSH or Phoenix Jones- Guardian of Seattle as my entire title, they can’t sue me. So I’m legally bound to those titles.

And they got mad at me for that. Not only that, but what does it matter? What does fighting crime have anything to do with the title of my name, it’s ridiculous.
(Editor’s note: I’ll summarize this next few minutes of the interview- Phoenix Jones was criticized for typing in all capital letters, which he attributes to a broken computer keyboard.)

: You did get a chance to meet White baron and Sky Man.

PHOENIX JONES: Those guys are awesome… Guess who’s calling me right now? Sky Man’s on the other line, I’ll be right back…
He says hello. I think he really expected me to relax or take my mask off, but I never take my mask off. I had to blindfold him when we took him to our secret hideout, so I’m sure he thinks I’m crazy. (laughs)

: So what are your plans now that people know who you are, you’ve gotten this media, and what do you plan on doing with this momentum?

: The plan for the Rain City Superheroes is to help people, that’s the number one goal. I think the best way to help people – if you give someone a sandwich, your help lasts as long as the nutrients in that sandwich, but if someone stops you from being killed by a knife or a shot, if I step in (Editor’s note: audio is completely unclear for a couple seconds, but basically explains how saving people’s life from violent crime is his goal)

And I think that is why I took crime fighting and street prevention as my number one task, but what everyone doesn’t know is that before all of my patrols I do a hand out to homeless people. That’s how I start all my patrols. I’ve also gone to a couple schools to talk about drug prevention, and looking at more schools in my neighborhood to talk about drug prevention. I have a comic book that is going to be released soon. It talks about being bullied, because I was bullied a lot in high school- I spent a lot of high school in a locker. So I have things to tell people that have nothing to do with crime fighting. But I feel that the attention is needed to get the other message. I don’t think anyone is going to listen to a guy walking around handing out sandwiches.

Phoenix Jones…people believe Phoenix Jones may help them, I mean they know they can’t count on it 100 percent, because it’s so random, but they know it is possible.

: You mentioned stepping in front of a knife. Tell me the story of you being stabbed.

: Well, it’s kind of a catch-22. The reason there is a dispute about this story is because when you have a secret identity, it’s because of the police. I wasn’t able to confirm if the police were crooked, so that is why the police report says I was not stabbed. On my Facebook I had (a picture of the scar) but I had to take it off because the scar is kind of signature looking. Basically what happened was I was underneath the Hub(?) bridge at about 3 in the morning and I actually had my girlfriend and two kids in the car down the street.

Before I was really fighting crime, I was handing out food just to get comfortable. I parked down the street and my girl was in the car and the kids were sleeping in the back because we just got home from a trip. And so I was walking around handing out apples and bananas and I saw these two guys fighting and I ran in there. One guy pulled out a knife and I pulled out a tazer and started flashing the tazer and a guy came up behind me and grabbed my shoulder and I felt a punch to my kidney. I was wearing bulletproof apparatus on my back- not the kind I have now. I turned around and that guy was running and the other guy had sat down. I went to pursue that guy and the police showed up and pulled out their guns and told us to get down on the ground and handcuffed all of us to figure out what we were doing. The other homeless people vouched for me, said I came there a lot and I was a good guy, and that’s why the police uncuffed me.

Then in the middle of the thing they said ‘it looks like you have a hole in the back of your suit.’ And that’s when I felt pain. They said, ‘it looks like you’ve been stabbed,’ and I said I was not, I was fine, but I said that because I didn’t want to reveal my secret identity. Then I went to the hospital and got that taken care of. Then later, a news reporter I know personally asked me about the scar on my back, and I said ‘that’s where I got stabbed.’ He ran it in the story because I didn’t tell him not to. You don’t see Batman walk into the ER in his batsuit, you know?

: How often do you patrol?

PHOENIX JONES: I try to put in four or five nights a week. There is a couple days I can’t go out, but I try to shake it up and keep it random. Because once I started getting out people started- not looking for me, but- I recently had a run in with a gang from Oregon called The Peckerwoods, it’s a white supremacist gang. I was able to get a guy arrested with my brass knuckles, and that was probably the scariest encounter I’ve ever had, and the whole gang actually put a hit out for me. So I’m not sure how true- how seriously- the gang is about putting hits out on people but, a friend of mine told me ‘hey, did you mess with The Peckerwoods?’

I hadn’t told anybody about it and I said ‘yeah,’ and she said ‘a friend of mine tells me there’s a little hit out for you.’ It made me uncomfortable, so I’ve gotten paranoid in my older superhero age. (editor’s note: Phoenix Jones is 22 years old) I patrol randomly, I blindfold everyone that bring over, I don’t have a listed address, only a PO Box, my phone numbers are blocked, I’ve become very secretive, because once you actually start fighting crime, you can’t just spit in the face of criminals and expect to walk around.

TEA KRULOS: I’d like to give you the floor now if you’d like to give a message to anyone reading this blog or to the people of Seattle.

PHOENIX JONES: I have a message to two separate groups of people. My first message is to the RLSH.

That message is- I’ve really been hurt by the things that have been said about me. I love you guys, man. When I watched the Dark Guardian video with the drug dealers in New York, you should have seen me. I went crazy! I immediately felt like what I was doing with the homeless outreach wasn’t enough. The day I got a bullet proof vest was the day after I watched that. The way I’ve been perceived has really hurt my face in the superhero community. At large if you didn’t like me or respect what I was doing, talking trash and flaming other people’s reputation isn’t something that I’d be doing to another person, let alone an image or icon or figure.

The last thing to the superheroes- I don’t let criminals go. The incident they are referring to about the guy with the club, he swung the club at me and I was actually able to take the club by force so he was going to charge me for assault, and I was going to charge him for assault, then they found drugs on him- a crack pipe and some crack rocks. So I decided to drop my charges and he dropped his charges on me. But his charges also included crack possession and possession of paraphernalia. And he did walk away, but they gave him a summons to appear in court. So he did not escape, I didn’t press charges because there was no need to at that time. My assault charge wouldn’t hold nearly as much weight as a felony drug possession.

And to Seattle- I really appreciate you guys embracing me. People in the street give me high fives and hugs, and free coffee at a couple different spots, the comic book store is releasing my comic book for me, I met with Seattle police and I’m going to try to set up a meeting with the mayor and I really appreciate the way you guys embrace me, and I hope I don’t let you down. I hope nothing bad happens, but I have a feeling it probably isn’t going to end well. But until it does, I’m going to be out there and I hope every time something bad happens, you guys can fill in for me. There is not enough me to cover the entire city. So when I’m not there you guys can be me. Don’t go in over your head, don’t get yourself in trouble, but what I do is something the average citizen can’t do- I’m just the first one to stand up and say I’m not taking it anymore and I hope you guys stand up with me.
Phoenix out.

Part 3- Seattle Media Frenzy

In a recent column for the website Forces of Geek, I introduced the RLSH Media Love Meter, which I use to rate media reports and projects on how positively they portray their subject matter, with factors like accuracy and overall tone taken into account. Media reaction to the Rain City Superheroes has been an excellent opportunity to get the meter rolling.

Story: “Police Alerted to Superheroes Patrolling Seattle” by Casey McNerthney
Publication:SEATTLE PI
Rating: 05/10
Type of piece: Police Blotter
Positive: I give credit to this author for remaining objective and trying to just present the facts given in a report by the police. I believe this writer broke the story.
Negative: Almost the entire article is information filtered through the police. There is no real connection made with Phoenix Jones or anyone from the RLSH community.

Story: “Phoenix Jones: Real Life Superhero,” by Jenny Kuglin
Media: KOMONews.com
Rating: 10/10
Type of Piece: Full Report
Positive: This writer went through the effort of talking with Phoenix Jones in detail about what he does, and then forming their conversation into an article. The result is a pretty positive piece that let’s Jones talk about what he does.
Negative: None.

Story: “Real Life Superheroes Guard Seattle Streets From Crime” by Linda Brill
Media: King 5 News
Rating: 0 out of 10
Type of piece: Puffy haired journalism
Positive: Maybe one good quote about RLSH goals pulled from either reallifesuperheroes.org or Peter Tangen’s site.
-Uses the line “It’s superheroes…and they’re real.”
-Refers to RLSH as a “national group of superheroes,” then immediately shows Canadian superhero Thanatos.
-Uses several images from Peter Tangen’s Real Life Superhero Project without citing where the images were coming from.
-Implies several of the heroes shown operate in Seattle.
-Interviews a confused man on the street and asks him if he is a superhero.
-Shows a picture of DC’s Guardian, and calls him “The Dark Guardian”
-Mistakenly implies Ragensi as a female, when he is a male.
-Cuts interview with police spokesman to one negative sentence.
-Makes a weirdo joke, using a shot of a punk rocker in a top hat smoking a cigarette.

Story: "Real Life Superheroes" Descend Upon Seattle In Full Costume Wearing, Crime Fighting Nerdery"
Media: Seattle Weekly
Rating: 0 out of 10
Type of piece: Snarky blog report
Positive: Links to the PI article.
Negative: Blog posts are supposed to be opinion pieces, but even after calibrating the meter to consider that, this piece still got a goose egg rating. Here’s why:
-Calls the group “costumed freaks.”
-Based entirely on the PI report, to diminishing returns.
-Erroneously states the group “takes marching orders” from reallifesuperheroes.org
-Uses this fart joke: “Nowhere on the site are any tips for finding a girlfriend or holding down a job.” That is uninformed and inaccurate- Phoenix Jones lists himself as “in a relationship.”

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Seattle superheroes- L-R: White Baron, Phoenix Jones, Sky Man

There has been a lot of speculation, media attention, and emotion involving a 22 year old newbie RLSH from Seattle named Phoenix Jones.

I decided to go straight to the source and interviewed Phoenix Jones via phone today. Sometime over the next couple days I will be posting a three part write up on the Seattle superhero scene.

Part 1 will give an overview and talk about some of the mixed reaction to Mr. Jones.
Part 2 will be the Phoenix Jones interview in it's entirety.
Part 3 will feature the return of the RLSH Media Love Meter as it takes on the various Seattle media entries on this subject.

Stay tuned!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Superhero Media Love Meter

Continuing my RLSH themed column for the Forces of Geek website, I chose today to write about RLSHs and their relationship with the media, introducing a "Superhero Media Love Meter" that rates media entries from 1 to 10 based on positive or negative portrayal. The column link is HERE. I really only scratch the surface of RLSH/ media relations, so expect the love meter to return.

This blog entry
Superhero Media Love Meter Rating: 3
Pro: Includes link
Anti: Only three sentences long, one an extreme run on sentence.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

HERO PROFILE #56: Professor Midnight

Photo by Pierre-Elie de Pibrac

Operates out of: Salt Lake City

Group affiliation
: Black Monday Society

Activities: patrols

Author's notes: One group I've had little contact with and haven't written much about is Salt Lake City's Black Monday Society, a group that uses a tattoo shop as a headquarters and has had a revolving line up over the last couple years. Professor Midnight is one of the group's more recent additions.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Now THAT is a Hero House floor plan, but not the one being used for the show


As reported by several websites, including the Hollywood Reporter, the Independent Film Channel (IFC) has several new shows “in development.” Among these is a show titled “Hero House,” described simply as “a reality show about real-life heroes cleaning up troubled neighborhoods.”

Several unnamed sources have informed Heroes in the Night directly or indirectly about the filming of the pilot episode over the first weekend of November at an undisclosed location in New Jersey. The reports coming in have been…interesting… is the word I’ll use for now. As you might imagine, the production company behind the show, Red Line Films, and IFC have issued gag orders barring anyone involved from discussion about the show.

In respect of this, Heroes in the Night will only be reporting on publicly available information at this point.

Reactions to the show from the participants and the real life superhero community in general have been mixed, to say the least. Some of the “cast” have gone so far as to label themselves “siblings” of their fellow cast members and say the team work on the show has been a positive experience and will reflect that in the portrayal.

Others, such as New York City RLSH and www.reallifesuperheroes.org founder Dark Guardian have been very vocal in denouncing the show.

“I would like to officially announce that www.RealLifeSuperheroes.org and www.therlsh.net does not affiliate with this show in any way. We do not condone or support it in any way.” Dark Guardian posted in a message on the website(which can be seen HERE), continuing, “In fact we openly denounce the show and the production company Red Line Films. While we don’t support Red Line, we do in fact support our fellow heroes. Red Line Films has shown that it does not have real life superheroes interest at heart in this project.”

Dark Guardian added that he is working on writing articles about the production that will more clearly explain his stance.

Much about the show remains unknown, such as where the actual filming will take place and whether the Hero House itself will resemble a more traditional, Real World style housing unit or more of a Hall of Justice comic book image. In any case, like I said, it’ll be…interesting.

Updates will be reported here as they come across the desk.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

HERO PROFILE #55: Purple Lotus

Operates out of: Boca Raton, FL

Activities: patrols, helps bar patrons get home safely

Quote: "FIGHT WIN!"

Author's notes: Local Milwaukee RLSH Blackbird recently traveled and met Purple Lotus and others for an undisclosed media project. Blackbird reports that the Lotus is an interesting, mystical fellow. I'm sure we'll hear more about Purple Lotus and the project he was part of soon.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

HERO PROFILE #54: Good Samaritan

Operates out of: Los Angeles

Activities: charity, patrols, hand outs

Group Affiliation: Pacific Protectorate, So-Cal

Author's notes: Good Samaritan recently "came out of the phone booth"(as one RLSH put it), revealing his dual identity to his Facebook friends. A bold move to make, but also a confident one.

Monday, November 1, 2010


In the last week, two college productions have featured pieces on local real life superheroes The Watchman and Blackbird.


The first was a front page story by Matt Campbell for the Marquette Tribune, the student newspaper for Marquette University. It is titled "Masked Avengers Keep Milwaukee Streets Safe," and it is online HERE. Much of the article was based on a phone interview conducted with me. They got permission to reuse photos taken by Brian Jacobson for Third Coast Digest. I think it is a good, simple article although in the print version Blackbird is mistakenly called "Birdman" in the sub-header and photo caption.

The editors are usually the ones who write headlines and captions, so it's probably a sleep deprived editorial intern's mistake, but still- don't they know about the Blackbird? I thought everybody knew Blackbird was the word.
Angela Payne prepares to be interviewed for Panthervision


Not to be confused with the flashlight headgear of the same name, Panthervision is a news program put together by journalism and tech students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who take turns filing stories, anchoring the show, and so on.

For this report we were followed during the Riverwest Superheroes United community walk that was part of the Girls To The Front Fest(see previous entry). In addition to interviewing The Watchman, Panthervision reporter Sean Willey and a cameraman interviewed Girls To The Front organizers Evelyn Sempos, Lauryl Sulfate (aka 3-D Girl!), and walk attendee Angela Payne.

I think they kind of blurred Girls To The Front and Real Life Superheroes (which was what we were doing) but it's a positive looking piece on both parties trying to do something fun and community involved. You can see the report HERE- it is toward the end of the show so you might want to skip ahead if UWM campus news isn't your thing.

Good job, student journalists. Remember to study hard this fall but don't let your evil deans try to stop your right to party!

Thursday, October 28, 2010


Illustrations by David Beyer, Jr.

Operated out of
: Aurora, Illinois and along the Fox River

Alias: Rey Fox

Died: 2001, age 70

Activities: The Fox staged a battle against industrial polluters of the Fox River, using direct action like capping smokestacks, clogging sewage drains, leaving dead skunks on the front doorstep of company executives, hanging handmade banners and signs, a sticker campaign, and even a mock funeral for the river.

Facebook page: www.facebook.com/LegendoftheFox

Author's notes: I wrote a lengthy article on The Fox for the Riverwest Currents, a local monthly community newspaper. You can find it free at businesses throughout Milwaukee. The article is largely based on a blog entry posted previously on this blog that reviewed The Fox's 1999 autobiography. The article is also posted on a Facebook fan page that documentary film maker Matthew Pniewski and I set up for The Fox HERE, which will also be updated with links to other articles on The Fox.

Needless to say I've found The Fox to be an interesting and brave character. He mentions in his autobiography that someone produced a comic book about him in 1971, so I'm keeping my eyes open for leads on that.
Included here are illustrations by David Beyer, Jr. who will be drawing a few graphics for the book.


Monday, October 25, 2010


The Watchman has a posse- Riverwest superheroes united at the end of the walk outside the Cream City Collectives

The idea for a superhero themed community walk started when I spoke with my friends Evelyn Sempos and Lauryl Sulfate who were hard at work organizing an event called Girls to the Front Festival. Evelyn is friends with author Sara Marcus who is on tour promoting her book Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution, which chronicles the early-1990s “riot grrrl movement” of bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile that combined punk rock and feminist ideology. I haven't gotten a chance to read the book yet, but I'm looking forward to it. I enjoyed many of these bands when I was in high school and I know they were very empowering to many of my female friends, especially because the punk rock scene often had a fair share of chuckleheads and shaved apes.

Anyway! Evelyn and Lauryl, along with a cast of other fine folks, decided they would organize a fest of concerts, workshops, and other activities to tie in with the appearance by Sara Marcus.

I was talking to them about some recent crime in Riverwest, most notably our friend Matthew who was shot in the chest (and is alive and slowly recovering) among other bad news. They had seen recent media on our local RLSH and knew I was working on Heroes in the Night and had the idea of doing a superhero walk to show a community presence. They wanted the walk open to anyone in the community who wanted to join in, not just the Girls to the Front attendees. I thought this all was a great idea- a fun way for community to get together and go for a walk around the neighborhood.
Heroes gather outside the Pink House Studios

There was a short amount of time to organize the event, but we got word out mostly by Facebook and the Riverwest Neighborhood Association e-mail list/google group. The walk took place yesterday evening. The meet up spot was the Pink House Studios, which is a space that offers yoga, pilates,and dance classes, as well as therapeutic massage. This might sound like an unusual meet up point for a superhero walk, but Pink House is very involved and supportive of community events.

About 15 people were along for the walk, most in costume (including myself!), although a few weren't which was ok- we were glad to have anyone along that was interested. People designed their own looks, although J. Jason Groschopf (famed Team Cthulhu leader who has joined us for a couple of patrols- he also was subject of an internet rumor that he was The Watchman) dressed as Captain Hammer (from Dr. Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog) and one concerned citizen arrived with his dog dressed as Krypto the Superdog. The Watchman was there and joined us on the walk. Blackbird was caught up elsewhere, but met up with us at the end of the walk.
Groschopf,(on the left!)dressed as Captain Hammer and The Watchman with the group on Humboldt and Locust

We decided an hour or so long walk would be appropriate and stuck mostly to main streets- Center, Humboldt, Burleigh, and Holton. A lot of people honked horns, and one passenger shouted out "ALRIGHT, WATCHMAN! YOU'RE MY HERO, MAN!" Another woman at a stoplight told us to keep up the good work.

I think my favorite moment, though, was a porch full of kids with their dad who had heard superheroes would be walking around the neighborhood at that hour. They were keeping an eye out to see if it was true and were pretty awestruck when they saw it was.
Blackbird and The Watchman stop in the Cream City Collectives

The walk ended at the Cream City Collectives- a social center that has an info shop and library, a screen printing collective, gallery, and meeting space. We said goodbye to the deputized group of RLSH walkers and headed to one of our favorite meet up spots- the basketball courts on Center Street.

The Watchman did an interview there with a couple of guys from Panthervision, who were also along for the walk. Panthervision sounds like a superpower but actually is a news show produced by journalism and film students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. It airs on cable access and on their website. Girls to the Front also had someone filming the walk for what I assume will be a video piece on the event overall.

As Blackbird and I waited for The Watchman to finish his interview, Ben arrived. Ben was there to record audio for a short spot on 88.9FM- Radio Milwaukee, a very cool local station. They are doing a series called "Make a Difference" which are short segments on local people trying to make Milwaukee a better place. Ben was there to interview The Watchman and Blackbird for the series, and I answered a couple of questions as well.

I took off after that and left the guys to hang out with Ben and Panthervision.

You win some, you lose some and I think this was a big win for everyone. I am very happy with the turn out. People had a great time and got to experience being a real life superhero, if only for an hour.

I was also very happy with the media, which I think did a fair job and will target an appropriate audience (I'll link to it here when it's available.) Thanks to everyone who participated!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Operates out of: New Jersey/ New York

Activities: Patrols, homeless outreach, charity

Quote:"Like the night, I cannot be proven or disproved to certain degrees; and also much like the night, when morning comes there will be no trace of me.

I patrol New York and the Northern New Jersey area. It's impossible to define but I feel a certain degree of loyalty to every being that inhabits this earth, a compulsion to watch-to help-to protect."

Author's notes: This Sunday local RLSHs The Watchman and Blackbird, along with myself, will be joining a superhero themed community walk as part as the Girls To The Front Festival. (I wrote an article on the Fest HERE)The fest celebrates the early '90's "riot grrrl" movement through concerts, workshops, and other activities. After talking with the organizers we decided it would be great to end the fest with the walk, which open to anyone in the neighborhood who wants to participate (FB Page for the walk HERE).

My female friends always ask me if there are women RLSH out there, and of course there are- I've profiled a few on this blog. There was a long debate about the place in history of Terrifica, an early take on the RLSH concept in an anti-Valentine's Day themed entry HERE. I've also done Hero Profiles on Executrix, Amazonia, the Herois do Cotidiano (a group of two women and three men)and the marvelous Metadata. Other great lady heroes mentioned elsewhere on this blog* include Lady Hero,Golden Valkryie, Dreizehn, Danger Woman, Scavenger, Lady Catacomb, Rooster, and Tsaf. There are many, many other RLSH women out there and the number seems to be increasing all the time. Recently Shadow-Girl, of Chicago, became active with patrolling and doing hand outs to homeless.

In tribute to Girls to the Front Fest, I chose to profile Nyx today- the first female RLSH I heard about. Nyx became a RLSH in 2006 or 2007 and I got a chance to meet her in September 2009 at the Superheroes Anonymous 3 conference- a very cool and dedicated person.

*And of course there are three delightfully sinister villainesses out there- Agent Beryllium, Fatal Phyllo,and The Overlord.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I was a guest on the Ripley Radio: An On Demand Oddcast podcast. I've been a fan of the Ripley's Believe It or Not franchise since I was a wee kid, so I was excited to be a guest. The interview itself was......interesting.

I expected Ripley's would want to have fun with the story, but the interview was done in a sort of rapid fire jabberjock style- I felt like I wasn't able to speak much about the origins of the book, the people I met, what it was like being on the street with these guys- the questions were bouncing all over and I kept getting cut off by random musings of the hosts.

They were really pushing for the "these guys must be crazy and stupid- am I right or am I right?!" angle. Immediate evidence- instead of a picture I sent of me and The Watchman on street level they dug up some photo of an obese cosplayer dressed as Spiderman.

Always something with those guys- believe it. Still, there were fun moments and I think this is a story Ripley's fans will be interested in.

Link to the interview here:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Watchman- Third Coast Digest Interview

Photo by Brian Jacobson
Third Coast Digest featured a podcast interview with myself last week, conducted by Mark Metcalf and he followed that up with an interview with The Watchman, posted today.

You can listen to it here: http://thirdcoastdigest.com/2010/10/podcast-the-watchman-cometh/

More about the interviews, including link to previous one HERE

HERO PROFILES#49-51: Heroes of Albany

L-R: Fox and Spirit of Albany- special guest Silver Sentinel- Kick-Ass of Albany

Operates out of: Albany, NY

Members: Fox of Albany
Kick-Ass of Albany
Spirit of Albany

Activities: "We do everything, from escorting people that don't feel safe walking alone, to patrolling the streets for crime, to fund raising during the day.
Albany loves us for the most part, sure we get the occasional drunken bastards, but all in all they love us."- Fox of Albany

Author's notes: One of the interesting things about examining real life superheroes is seeing how the concept is interpreted in different parts of the world- the Herois do Cotidiano from Brazil, for example, do a sort of superhero performance art. The documentary Super Amigos looks at the "social luchadors" of Mexico City.

A group of heroes has formed in Albany who include the suffix "of Albany" in their names. Fox of Albany says his persona is an original(although there is also a clandestine environmental activist and comic book character that share the same name), but Kick-Ass of Albany obviously is one who hasn't tried to distance himself from the comic book/movie of the same namesake(there is also rumored to be a Hit Girl of Albany) and Spirit of Albany has modeled himself after Will Eisner's classic detective hero, The Spirit.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Tea Krulos and Uncle Larry singer/ guitarist Billy Judge Baldus in the Superhero Photo Booth

The Kickstarter campaign was a failure, but not a complete one. I realized that after I thought about the long list of people who I had to thank for their help. I've always been cursed with very little monetary capital, but blessed with lots of social capital. And so a big thank you and a cigar to the following people, divided into categories of the campaign.

The Kickstarter campaign itself
: Although I didn't have success, I think the Kickstarter site is a really awesome idea, and I highly recommend it to others who have wanted to complete their project, but have been held down by monetary concerns. Videographer Matthew Miller introduced the Kickstarter idea and produced the short videos we used for the site. He generously donated his equipment, services, and his very little available spare time to edit.

The Watchman, photographer Paul Kjelland, and Jack of Hero-Gear.org all agreed to donate services as prizes for different pledge levels.

The project had 41 backers, ranging from $5 donations to ones over $200. I would like to thank these 41 people for believing in the project enough to invest money, especially in hard financial times.

The internet campaign
: Many people tried to help spread the word on the internet, via Facebook, MySpace, and their blogs and websites. Thanks to all of these people, some I don't even know. There are so many people who shared the links to the Kickstarter, media articles, and the Superhero Dance Party. Many people mentioned the campaign or attached a widget to their site. I would like to thank reallifesuperheroes.org for not only allowing me to hang around their forum, but also for reprinting the Kickstarter page and media coverage on their main site. Many RLSHs offered encouraging words. I was also quite honored to receive the Award For Literary and Journalistic Excellence in Support of the RLSH Culture which was issued at the Superheroes Anonymous 4 Conference.

Treesong became a Heroes in the Night correspondent when the two of us collaborated on posting his reports about the Superheroes Anonymous 4 conference, so I want to thank him for that and his support.

Real Life Supervillains also offered their evil support- I would like to thank the crafty Overlord and the wily Lord Malignance for posting the project on their blogs and the other supportive villains, too. "Morally neutral" people helped out, too- for example my friend Lacy Landre posted the widget on her site for vintage clothing and collectibles- A-Hem Vintage. My friend, painter Chris Miller, entered the scary world of online comments sections to promote the Kickstarter link.

Flyer campaign: I made a flyer with the Kickstarter info, and mailed copies to some of friends around the country, so thanks to Kelly and Shannon (both of MN), Sarah (FL), Bae Lee and family (AK), Holly (NY), Julie (ID), and Gabe (KY) for hanging flyers in your home towns.

The media campaign- Operation Full Orchestra
: One of the benefits of the campaign was a drive to land some media. First I would like to thank the "editor-in-geek" of the Forces of Geek website, Stefan Blitz. He offered a free banner ad on the site and posted a Q and A interview with me about the book.

Riverwest Currents
editor Jan Christensen has been helping me edit the book and in the October edition of the paper she rewrote some info about the book for a couple paragraph write up, accompanied by a great photo by Paul Kjelland.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote a story accompanied by a video. Thanks to Mike De Sisti for producing that and editor Tom Tolan, who edited the piece and bravely joined us on patrol twice! The Journal Sentinel piece was picked up by other websites here and there and led me to being a guest on The Rob Breakenridge Show, a radio talk show that airs across the great province of Alberta.

Third Coast Digest has produced a wonderful two part podcast series. The first was posted last week and was an interview with me, the next airs this week and will be an interview with The Watchman. Thanks much to Mark Metcalf, who conducted the interviews, Brian Jacobson, for taking some awesome pictures for the website, and managing editor Erin Petersen, who oversaw the operations, along with a team of sharp interns.

Lastly, I'd like to announce that this attention has led me to be a guest this week on Ripley's Believe it or Not Radio (a podcast or as they call it, an "oddcast" on their website)- a link will be posted here when it debuts later in the week.

The Superhero Dance Party: David Beyer, Jr. drew the fun graphic for the flyer, and two of my favorite local bands- Uncle Larry and Danny Price and the Loose Change proved what awesome guys they are once again by playing the show and ignoring my lack of money. Rounding out the entertainment was opening act Paul Kuhn, who played a great set and DJ Lady Blackheart.

The Watchman and Blackbird, in addition to helping me with the aforementioned media, made a guest appearance at the show and got to meet a lot of people attending the show. Thanks to them for all the support.

My sister Megan and her husband Nick took money and sold raffle tickets at the door. That was a huge relief to me so I could walk around and talk to people.

We raffled off 23 prizes. Some of it was stuff from my own collection- some comic books and a framed portrait of Thomas Jefferson that was hanging in my office. Other people donated prizes- Felix Frankee Bofil, a talented artist and anti-litter advocate donated shirts and postcards, local jewelry maker Alana Coppinger of Dragon's Fire Creations donated necklaces, esteemed author Hoam Rogh of Shady House Publications donated books, Comics biz guru Tim Demeter donated design/consultation service, Jan Christensen donated a plot in a community garden, and my girlfriend, Laura Gorzek donated free photo sessions. Laura and her friend, photographer April Heding also operated the popular Superhero Photo Booth- you can see the results HERE.

I also need to thank Laura for her support of me. It takes a brave woman to enter into a relationship with a madman in the middle of a Kickstarter cyclone. But instead of distancing herself from the madness, she began e-mailing her friend list, designed the text for the dance party flyer, and helped organize the event.

Many of you are probably wondering what happens next. I honestly don't know.
I am going to take a few days off from thinking about it and then try to think of a new strategy.

Thanks again, everyone!