Friday, February 11, 2011

Bar Harbor Batman: RLSH?

The Bar Harbor Batman with a fan

-Bar Harbor, Maine

Throughout writing Heroes in the Night, especially early on, it has been difficult to get people to understand what I'm writing about exactly.

Example: I told a friend I was writing about real life superheroes, and they were like, "oh yeah, I saw a documentary about them- Confessions of a Superhero."

Confessions of a Superhero
is a good (but depressing) documentary about four actors who hang out in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, soliciting tourists to tip them in exchange for a photo with them. They dress as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the Incredible Hulk. They are not RLSHs.

There have been an occasional person doing RLSH style patrols in already existing personas (or very close to the source material)- in general, I've tried to stay away from them as to avoid confusion, however they have come up a couple times already. The Heroes of Albany, which were profiled HERE include The Spirit of Albany, modeled after Will Eisner's hero, and Kick-Ass of Albany, complete with the green and gold diving suit. Hellpool(profiled HERE) I think it is safe to say, is modeled after Deadpool.

And then there is the Bar Harbor Batman. According to wikipedia, Bar Harbor is a town of approx. 5,000 people (97.88% white) near Cadillac Mountain and the Porcupine Islands in southern Maine. And it's streets are patrolled by a Dark Knight.

The Bar Harbor Times Soup did an...interesting... Q and A with the cowled crusader here:

His activities include patrolling, stopping in bars, and a "honk for justice campaign."

And apparently, it's spreading in Bar Harbor, because now he is joined by (and having some friendly rivalry with): yes, you guessed it- a breakdancing Bar Harbor Spiderman. I can't make this stuff up.

Story on the funky webslinger here:
Bar Harbor Spiderman prepares to bust a move

Would you consider the Bar Harbor Batman to be a RLSH? Vote in the poll to the write and explain your answer in the comments section!


  1. A gimmick is a gimmick is a gimmick. I can't decide whether it's more ego-wanky to make up your own superhero persona or to use the persona of the undisputed fictional KING of the self-made man, but if it wears spandex and arranges things called "honk for justice"... yep. That's an RLSH.

  2. I voted yes because he's active in his community, apparently patrolling. That qualifies him for the moniker.
    As to his level of training and competency, I guess we'll see.

  3. It won't do, if mostly Villains answer the survey: We need more heroes to stand up for what they believe in.

    One votes "Yes" because he claims he is RLSH, and there are no requirements to being RLSH or preventing anyone from claiming association, and everyone with a spare Halloween costume and a cartoon name is allowed into the treehouse.

    Their forum is full of such pretenders, frauds, (Vilains - heh, heh, heh) and drama queens. They do however take steps to keep small children out from their talk of street violence: Credit where credit is due, they at least do this much.

    Go Break Dancing Spider-man!
    -Lord Malignance

  4. I can't vote because the story about the Bar Harbor Batman wants me to give them money before I can view their page. I can't make a rational decision without further insight into the fellow.

  5. Sigh... now see this is why I only exist as an online character. First thought that popped in my head.. dye my hair green, break out the white face paint and purple suit and go all Joker on his ass like in The Dark Knight.

    I will have to say no he is not a RLSH.

    This would mean all those people from the "Confessions of a Superhero" documentary are RLSH as well. Same could apply to the lady that dances dressed as the statue of Liberty in front of the Yarn Barn down town who's sign reads "Honk for Liberty".

    Hell, I rescued a kitten out of a tree on news years eve while wearing a Batman T-shirt... so I guess I am now a RLSH too!

  6. I abstain from voting. I'm getting tired of judging folks who aren't actually hurting anyone, whether they're super competent heroic crimefighters or severely mentally ill.


  7. I'm with Mega-Rad. My bet is that the media and most people will probably never take the RLSH seriously, so it doesn't matter who is and isn't. I'm okay with that. That's not what I'm here.

    The important thing is that someone is out there trying to help.


  8. I don't think you even have to wear a costume to be RLSH, that part of it is only a tool in which form should follow function. IMHO, for example cops can be RLSH and RLSV. A homeless man named Faron Hall is a RLSH as far as I am concerned when he jumped into a ice cold river to save a teenager in Winnipeg and then there are the social workers and teachers who are RLSH every day, our world needs all the different kinds of RLSH.

    What someone wears should not factor into their label, it should be about what they do with the tools available to them at the time. That some people make preparations to be able to help others is only commendable.

    There are people wearing these costumes that would do what they do even if they didn't have the costumes, so ask yourself, what is the purpose of that tool? The answers will be many and controversial.

  9. ...I don't think the answers will be "many" when it's so obvious: the costumes are solely for attention. It's been overly justified in every egotistical direction you can imagine, but when it's all said and done, the only function of said tool (lol, "tool") is for attention. As you mentioned, CW, there are tons of people out there doing good every day, making other peoples lives better and safer (sometimes at the cost of their OWN lives), and none of them ever ask to be put on the pedestal and called a "hero" of any kind.

    Those are people are the REAL real life superheroes, not the people in silly Halloween get-up's that circle-jerk on internet forums every time they do a "good deed". True heroics ask for nothing in return, not even a pat on the back.

  10. It seems unfair for any of us on the internet who don't know the guy personally to "decide" or "judge" whether he is or isn't a real life superhero. It just seems stupid.

    Heroes aren't dubbed heroes because of a bunch of opinionated individuals on the internet. I believe it's up to all of the people he may help or protect out on the streets to have their own opinions and perceptions of what they consider heroic, villainous, normal, weird, or whatever.

    So, because of that, I see the titles as irrelevant. And as long as he's out trying to protect the people and all that cool stuff, he'll have my respect.

  11. Malvado, first off I hope you are making progress with the situation you are in. Putting the gimmicks aside I want you to get well as the person behind the mask.

    But speaking of masks and costumes and I brought this up a few times before. Both RLSH and RLVs wear costumes but more often than not I see the RLSH gettign slammed for it and I think that's rather unfair. As has been said before by others and much better than perhaps I could ever describe, the costume is a functional tool that can assist the RLSH depending on when abd how they use it. Even folks like Silver Sentinel and Crossfire who are respected in the RLSV community have said this countless times.

    And I think the whole "asking to be put on a pedestal" notion is exaggerated, often times for the purpose of justifying the villification that RLSH endure almost constantly. I know alot if not most people won;t take what costumed activists/RLSH do seriously but as has been mentioned by others on this thread, if the ultimate consequence of the actions of a RLSH/cosutmed activist is positive then the costume is part of this success but not the sole reason for it. In all my time doing charity work at least with the group I'm associated with, I've never asked to be put on a pedestal. I've never gone into a project with the primary reason being self-adulation or feeding my ego. It's always been about helping people, whether it's a toy drive, a hospital visit for kids with cancer, or assisting the homeless.

    And yes, there are alot of people out there that are heroes without costumes or fancy garb and I have mad respect for them. Ultimately it's up to the people we help to decide whether they consider us or anyone else who helps them a hero.

    And this quote by Canadian Wolverine sums it up rather well.

    "What someone wears should not factor into their label, it should be about what they do with the tools available to them at the time."

    Anyways, again I hope things are progressing well for you Malvado and that you are focusing on the positive.

  12. crime can happen to anyone, even in a populous of 5000. if he's out there trying to help out in some kind of capacity, more power to him.

  13. I think he brings fun and joy to what can sometimes be a dreary town in the winter and gives the summer an extra pizazz. No harm in making people happy. How many other people are making our community a more interesting and fun place to be daily? Some people make painting groups, some people organize sports games. It's great! He's the Bar Harbor Batman. He gives people a cheer. That's special.

  14. I am glad that you the blogger has taken such a grand interest in bhbm . First off have you ever been to Bar Harbor I am guessing no due to the fact your info says it is in southern maine. I have lived in bar harbor for many years and i will guarentee you there is no place like or no people like it. so maybe you should consider this before judging my friend
    bhbm. It some random guy just trying have a little fun dude lightin get out of your mothers basement and stfu.


  15. Lord Barrington III-

    Where did I ever rip on Bar Harbor or the Bar Harbor Batman? I did not say a single bad word about either. I offered the story but not opinion. I am sure Bar Harbor is a great place- so maybe it is you who should "lightin" and/or "stfu."

    Mega-LOL at the mother's basement line. You'd think royalty would have access to better intel.

  16. I voted "It doesn't matter" because it really doesn't matter if anyone is or isn't a RLSH. All that matters is whether or not he, or anyone else, tries to live life right and is making an attempt at bettering the lives of others while doing it. Be the best person you can be and what you wear or call yourself does not matter.

  17. Real Life Super Hero or not....aren't they all just playing dress-up. Kind of like Halloween 365 days a year.

    A "RLSH" is a pretty loose term.

    But he did go out and bring some Valentines Day cheer to our fair city:

  18. I live in Bar Harbor. The local police are a joke. Most of the force is a bunch of kids right out the academy with nothing but gung-ho and no brains. Nevermind that the Deputy-Chief's son is probably the worst real-crime we have in town. There's a couple of good, decent cops, but that's not enough. The presence of BH Batman is something of a ray of hope. A statement that the local police are not cutting it. But the graft goes higher. Those of us in the know, know. Sure, we have no obvious villains like Joker or the Penguin, but they're here. We know who they are. BH Batman, unlike the comic book version doesn't take cartoon-balloon "BIFF/SMACK/POW"s. He takes real-life snarky comments from those who haven't ever done anything but point fingers and laugh. I believe. I'm glad he's here.

    He's real life. He's a super hero in a time and place that needs him. And he's assailed by the non-believers who don't have anything to contribute to our community.

    Our crime isn't the comic book kind, it's the insidious, look-the-other-way corruption that needs accountability. BH Batman stands to tell people NOT to look the other way.

    There will be an accounting.

    I vote, Yes - he is a RLSH. In my book anyway.

  19. I can't believe some of the comments on here, criticizing someone who is doing something harmless. The question whether BHBM is a "RLSH" or not is so completely irrelevant. My vote was "who cares?" because it DOESN'T matter. It's not like there's a Super Hero tax status that he's in violation of misrepresenting himself for. He's having fun, entertaining people, and certainly not hurting anyone. If seeing BHBM walk down the street, wave to a child or pose for a photograph makes people smile, then doesn't that make the world a better place?

    I guess that does make him a Real Life Super Hero.

  20. BHBM is a great friend of mine as well. I think this article is ridiculous. He is doing the community a lot of good through the unique gifts he brings to Bar Harbor. A little humor, alot of balls, and the strength to make kids believe in heroes, is just a small part of what BHBM brings to the table, and in that sense, Is more than any cartoon superhero could do. So my vote is RLSH and great friend.

  21. I happen to know the Bar Harbor Batman personally, and I believe he does a lot of good for the community. I believe he is the embodiment of positivity and (mostly) good morals, and gives without expecting to receive. What more could we expect in a RLSH?

  22. Seeing the positive comments on this story overshadowing the negativity is pretty cool. Let the guy do his thing and help people. Nothing nefarious about that.

  23. The only hug I received on Valentine's Day was from the BHBM, that makes him a Super Hero in my book. He makes us smile and promotes justice. What's not to like?

  24. It is great to see so many of the fans of the Bar Harbor Batman on here. What I just can't understand are the people who seem to be slamming Tea's blog entry about him. There was nothing negative said in the blog itself. Tea simply asked what the rest of us think of him in relation to others who are typically considered RLSHs. The only negativity I've seen has been in comments about the blog and it's related poll, not in the blog/poll itself.

    I have to ask, have you all actually read the blog, and do you all understand the difference between the initial posting and the comments? Or, are some of you just assuming it was put here to make fun of the guy and are jumping to your own conclusions?

  25. Not to be a naysayer, but unless the Bar Harbor Batman gets the authorization from DC Comics to represent himself in such a way (name, dress, demeanor, etc) synonymous with one of their most prevalent characters, isn’t he breaking the law?

  26. Then what about Albany Kick Ass --- isn't that a non-original persona? Wouldn't they be considered "breaking the law"?

  27. Yes he would be. So, technically, I guess DC and Marvel could both take legal action.