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, 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
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 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
-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 founder Dark Guardian have been very vocal in denouncing the show.

“I would like to officially announce that and 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!