Ladies and gentlemen, By the Gods airways would like you to buckle your safety belts and make sure your seats are in an upright, locked position as we descend into our all night tour of Fist City and it’s most famous resident…MASTER LEGEND!
The article “The Legend of Master Legend,” written by Joshuah Bearman and appearing in the January 2009 edition of Rolling Stone was my (and many other people’s) introduction to the concept of “real life superheroes.” Reading about that fascinating idea led me to seeking out my local RLSH, the Watchman and talking with him led me to forming the idea that I would like to write a book on this subject.
After setting up a MySpace page for the book, I shortly received two very different e-mails. One was from someone telling me what a great, awesome guy Master Legend was and that I should get in contact with him. A second e-mail told me that Master Legend was a nutjob and they were sick of writers using him as a representative of the RLSH community.
And so it has gone ever since. I have seen a large amount of debate online and heard many people’s opinions on the phone and in person. Because of this amount of controversy I have put off writing about the man here on my blog, but I feel the time is now to have a thorough discussion about him. My goal is to provide as fair of a representative of views supporting or criticizing him. In this first part, I will be presenting an overview of “pro” and “anti” statements I have seen repeatedly during my course of writing about RLSH.
-Tales of Comic Book Bravado and Crimefighting
Something that appeals to some RLSH about Master Legend is that he is very dynamic and energetic. He is often documented running, jumping, and doing things like hitting the wall of his garage with a giant metal fist. He makes comic book exclamations like “By the Gods!” He threatens to give evil doers “an all night tour of Fist City!” His stories are wild, action packed, and never a snoozefest.
Some of them are fantastic and we must take them at Master Legend’s word, since the only witnesses are Master Legend himself and the claimed league of frightened criminals who have had the misfortune of crossing paths with him.
Here’s a recent blog post:
There has been an evil doer in my town and you know I won't allow it. This guy known as Big Red has been terrorizing my homeless friends but now it's time to meet the Legend.
This guy has tried to evade me because he knows of the whispered tales behind shuttered doors of Master Legend. He has a few punks that do crack, friends, so I got Brimstone to come along for mission: attack. I knew where he would be and right on time. He has been running his mouth out in the streets saying he can kick Master Legend's ass. I tell you this, he will need more Cheerios then the universe has.
So yesterday (fellow Team Justice member) Brimstone and I made a quick approach in the Justice Van. We caught him hassling my friends red handed, so I told him "so you want to kick my ass, here’s your chance!" I threw off my shirt and slipped on my fighting gloves and said," alright boy you can run your mouth but can you run your fist!"
Sorry to say the big lug ran for it. He got on his bike and zoomed away faster than I ever saw him go before- ha ha ha. It just goes to show you my friends that the bully is really a sissy inside. It is up to us all to stand against evil and destroy it. I know if we all work together we can.
-“Master Legend Wards Off Dangerous Criminal,” June 28, 2010, MySpace blog
It’s a good story, I see why people would like it. An evildoer is threatening the homeless, Master Legend shows up and scares him off, then parts with some good advice. If Big Red was hassling my homeless friends, I’d load up the Justice Van with Brimstone and go threaten to kick his ass, too. Big Red, if you’re reading this- Fist City.
Master Legend’s energy and his war stories are contagious and has won him RLSH and non-RLSH fans alike.
-Work with Team Justice
Something that has been well documented are the things he does with Team Justice, which made RLSH history by becoming the first RLSH non-profit group. Along with his fellow team members Superhero, Lady Hero, Symbiote, Ace Diamond, Brimstone, and others, he has delivered food and supplies to Florida’s large homeless population. He very sensibly has handed out socks to the homeless. That may seem like a very minor thing, but if you are homeless in a climate like Florida’s clean socks aren’t just a matter of being more comfortable- they can literally be a life saver, preventing fatal disease. He has participated in Christmas time toy drives, charity events, and helped distribute flyers of missing children.
These missions are well documented with photos and video which you can see at www.teamjusticeinc.webs.com
-Acting as a Media Ambassador
Besides the Rolling Stone article mentioned, Master Legend has attracted media attention from around the world and for many documentarians, flying to Florida is at the top of the list. I know for a fact he has been visited by two documentary film makers in the last two months and receives a steady stream of visiting journalists, authors, documentary film makers, and photographers. I have heard rumors that he has had interest from HBO about developing a show of some kind and strangely has even had talks about his own cooking show! Some RLSH say this media attention is not just good for Master Legend, but good for RLSH in general.
Not only that, but Master Legend runs his own RLSH forum, leading a platoon at the Master Legend Army and recently began his own internet radio entry- The Master Legend Show.
-Can Shred on Guitar
One of America’s great exports (besides comic book superheroes) is rock n roll, and Master Legend likes to shred on the guitar as evidenced by video showing him performing with the band Alias Punch, as well as his own musical projects. Master Legend tells me his favorite guitar players are Randy California(Spirit, also played with Jimmy Hendrix), Eric Lifeson (Rush),and Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds).
It stands to follow that Americans like superheroes, and they like rock n roll, so a rock n roll superhero who fights crime and can do a guitar solo is going to impress a certain amount of people.
-Recognition From Local Law Enforcement
In "The Legend of Master Legend," Joshuah Bearman reports that he got in touch with a local police Sergeant, who spoke favorably of Master Legend.
(The) Sergeant, who’s in charge of vice investigations, took a chance and tracked Master Legend down. Based on the neighborhood, he figured, Master Legend might be a good local contact. “And sure enough,” the Sergeant tells me, “I start getting calls from Master Legend with information. And it checks out. Master Legend has helped put away a few criminals.”
--“The Legend of Master Legend,” by Joshuah Bearman, Rolling Stone, Jan. 2009
Additionally, a photo on MySpace shows Master Legend receiving a certificate of recognition from a police officer.
ALSO ADDED: RLSHs tell me that Master Legend helped Florida residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Charly- "He helped cut apart trees on roads so relief trucks and traffic can get through. He was also pulling people out of their houses who were trapped."
-Tales of Comic Book Bravado and Crimefighting
The very thing that appeals to some people about Master Legend is what others use as a criticism- his storytelling. Many of his claims have no documentation and are outlandish.
For example, in his article Joshuah Bearman writes about how Master legend and Justice Force (a pre-Team Justice) had a mission to “put the stomp on a child molester and his gang of crackheads.”
“Master Legend has many more florid tales of adventure, some plausible, like retrieving a friend’s stolen money, others quite outlandish, like the child molester and his gang of crackheads. (For starters, doesn’t it seem like you’d have to be one charismatic child molester to attract an entire gang of crackheads to do your bidding?)”
-“The Legend of Master Legend,” by Joshuah Bearman, Rolling Stone, Jan. 2009
In another blog entry, Master Legend himself describes a confrontation he has in an alleyway with three criminals he encounters while give a homeless man blankets. After engaging them in combat he writes about how he wins the back alley brawl:
I then see the first guy back at me so I throw a drop kick on him. I then take off my helmet and bash him in the head with it, by this time they hear the Legend yell as I go into Fist City mode. The one guy’s head is bleeding and (he) staggers off as the other two are back on me. I still use my helmet as my weapon. Then one whips out a knife so I quickly reach into my utility belt and grab a habanero pepper. I quickly chew it up while backing off then I snap kick the first one that charged. The guy with the knife slashes at me and I spit the pepper in his eyes. He hits the ground screaming I turn around and laid out about 20 punches on the other guy. Then ran back over to the guy with the knife and stomped it out his hand and even sprained my foot kicking him into the brick wall. –
- “Fist City in the Scummy Alleyway,” Jan. 12, 2009, MySpace blog
He goes on to say that he flees the scene when someone comes across it and says they are calling the cops. Master Legend says “call them” and gives the person his card before heading to a pizza joint and ordering pizza and beer. The police show up there and basically tell him to keep up the good work.
So Master Legend triumphs over three armed street hoods using his WWII helmet and habanero pepper he has tucked in his utility belt. Do I have evidence this story is false? No, I don’t. But I will say if I tried to file this story as factual, I can tell you my editors most likely would:
1. Check the calendar to see if it was April 1.
2.Tell me to get out of their office, possibly permanently.
-Claims of Metaphysical and Religious Powers
Master Legend has claimed to have various metaphysical and voodoo based powers.
From the "about me" section of his MySpace:
I am a real life super hero born with a purple veil and certain psychic abilities and gifted with powers by a voodoo queen. I am here to help you and will put my life on the line to do so. Never hesitate to ask for my advice or for me to use my powers to help you.- MySpace
In January 2010, Master Legend posted a message that he was the archangel Metatron. It first appeared at the Heroes Network, which led to him being banned from that forum. Here is the post in question:
“I, the arch angel Metatron, am taking prayer requests. Do not be afraid and let me cast away demons and ailments in your life. God has told me I can do this at this time, so come to me with your troubles and I will help and it doesn't matter who you are.”
Master Legend has received some controversy from statements he’s made regarding homosexuals. For instance, on March 4, 2010 Atavistik, a RLSH from Northern California posted a thread titled "RLSHSF- Meet at Pride Festival" at therlsh.net. He suggested that RLSHs in Northern California meet up for San Francisco's Gay Pride Fest.
Master Legend responded to the thread:
“Do you not see this is like a gateway drug to even worst (sic) immorality? I tell you this because I care and I can rest easy knowing I tried to warn you. I don't care if people want to hate me for being a man of the bible but the bible is not all my reason. Can you not see the sickness that leads to death? This is just horrible. You want to praise disgust and evil and call it freedom? What’s next, child molester pride day? Hey, it's freedom so that gives me the freedom to say the truth. I don't feel sorry for them or praise this. I also have the freedom to destroy this evil. I cannot believe that this is not seen.”
-March 4, 2010
-Allegations of Alcohol Abuse
By this, I’m not talking about the fact the Master Legend drinks in the comfort of Legend Tower. Many people of all professions drink- police officers, doctors, ditch diggers- even RLSH bloggers.
The allegations I am talking about are Master Legend drinking and then going on patrol or driving the Justice Van. I want to be very clear- I have no evidence that will back such an allegation up and will give full benefit of the doubt that these allegations are false until I see proof otherwise.
The reason it has made this list is that I have heard these allegations not once, but several times.