Tuesday, May 31, 2011


Thanatos, the Dark Avenger of Vancouver, Canada has issued a challenge to his RLSH colleagues to help ten people in need over the next month. In a post on therlsh.net forum (reprinted here with his permission) he says-

Every so often I like to challenge this community and get it's focus on just what it is we do.


My challenge to each of you is simple.
Right now it is May 29, 2011. Between now and June 30th, 2011 I challenge each of you to go out and touch the lives of ten people by helping them, saving them, keeping them alive with a handout, whatever. Do whatever it is you do for only 10 people over the coming month and post a report, with pictures if possible, here for all to see.

Want to show everyone who comes here out of curiosity what we do? Now is your chance.

I know that some of us already have lots of videos and pictures up, but I'm talking new and done currently. It shows the world, if they're looking, that we are real and are out there.

Accept a challenge from old man death?

In addition, I am extending this invitation to participating RLSH- if you except the challenge, send me a brief (1-2 paragraph) account of the ten deeds along with photo/video, and I will post them here on the Heroes in the Night blog over the course of the month of June.

Challenge accepted?

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Photo by Rob Greig

Note: The following article was written by me for a UK publication titled Delayed Gratification, which is a quarterly almanac that examines the prior three months worth of news in a brilliant way and with a dynamic lay out in a style they call "slow journalism." I absolutely love the publication. The article focuses on the UK's newly formed Justice Union and gives a run down of a few others in the RLSH world. Editor Marcus Webb also contributed to the article.

Delayed Gratification's website can be found here: www.dgquarterly.com


On 13th March, five men tired of the crime they saw around them banded
together to make a stand. Is this an example of the Big Society at work?
Only if Cameron’s vision included martial arts, face masks and outfits ordered
from eBay. Tea Krulos meets The Justice Union, the UK’s real life superheroes.
Portraits by Rob Greig. Additional reporting Marcus Webb.

Outside a McDonald’s somewhere in Salford, a speeding Land Rover screeches to a halt, and two suspicious characters exit the vehicle. Something isn’t right – they feel like they’re being watched, as if someone’s eyes are piercing them. Looking around, they spot a young man wearing a blue Lycra hood, a black eyemask similar to Zorro’s and a black leather trench coat.

He is Knight Warrior,
a “Real Life Superhero.”

“I stood a fair distance away getting ready to do something because it looked like a robbery was going to happen,” Knight Warrior says of this incident. “They looked around and saw me watching. As they saw me they drove off.” If this was a potentially bad situation thwarted by Knight Warrior’s presence, then he has achieved what the Real Life Superheroes are all about: small victories.
The Real Life Superhero (or RLSH) movement started as an American phenomenon, but has since spread to include costumed thrillseekers looking to help out their fellow man around the world. Over the last couple of years, a handful of British citizens have got in on the act with their own larger-than-life personae. Some, such as The Statesman and Lionheart, operate independently, but a group of five new superheroes have formed their own “super team”. After months of discussion, they decided to call themselves ‘The Justice Union’ and opened the closest thing they have to a hideout – a Facebook page – on 13th March.

The group includes Terrorvision, a man from Kent in his mid-thirties who does graphic design work and is co-owner of a music recording studio. He is married and has a family. Dark Spartan patrols town centres and residential areas around Torbay at closing time. He too is married, “outing” himself as a hero to his wife after a series of packages – including a police riot shield, body armour and a cast iron Spartan helmet – started arriving at their house. Rounding out the team are three superheroes in their late teens: Man in Black, Knight Warrior and Blackvoid.
Blackvoid has a part-time job at a comic-book store in Plymouth, wears a Spandex mask and makes his own weapons, including a spring-loaded contraption that fires what looks like golf tees. Knight Warrior also has a Spandex mask and is secretive about his personal life. Man in Black has adopted a classic film noir look – a suit, a fedora and a scarf covering the lower half of his face. What these superheroes and crusaders like them around the world define as their mission varies. Some hit the street looking to stop crime, others have a more humanitarian or charitable focus, and some a balance of both.

“My goal is to squash the socially acceptable apathy our country has adopted. I want to motivate “normal people” to help others,” Dark Spartan says. He tries to connect with the public by handing out his business card and fridge magnets to people while on patrol. Like the rest of the heroes, he also has a Facebook page. His day job is spent working in finance where he says he also encounters a fair amount of corruption.

“I hope to achieve lower crime rates and help the homeless to have more of a chance at life,” Blackvoid says, explaining his goal. “I do also want some public interaction.”

There may be anywhere from ten to 15 active RLSH in the UK, but keeping a headcount on a secret society is a hard task. The Justice Union is not the UK’s first superhero team. A couple of years ago there was a short-lived team with a similar name, the Union of Justice, featuring heroes like Captain Champion and Black Arrow, but those RLSH have since “retired”, moved on, or disappeared into
the night.

Superheroes: a secret history

When people hear of the RLSH, many erroneously believe this is something new, probably inspired by films like ‘Kick-Ass’. The reality is that the concept goes much further back, to at least the 1970s, where we find some of the earliest recorded prototypes. Included in that line-up is The Fox, a shadowy environmental activist and Captain Sticky, a rotund man who drew attention to issues he was advocating with his flashy superhero costume.

The first known usage of the term “real life superhero” can be found in a small-press book by a mysterious individual named Night Rider. The rare book was titled ‘How to Be a Superhero’ and was published in 1980. Since then, occasional crusaders have popped up here and there. Super Barrio, of Mexico City dressed as a luchador wrestler and championed working and housing rights in the mid-’80s. Captain Jackson, meanwhile patrolled the small town of Jackson, Michigan, from 1989 onwards.
The notorious Angle Grinder Man, angry at heavy-handed parking laws, spent the early 2000s sawing through wheel clamps on the streets of London. Motorists could get in touch with the vigilante through a hotline and soon Angle Grinder Man would arrive on the scene, firing up his namesake machine. There is no record of him after 2005.
The year 2005 is also when what is now considered the modern Real Life Superhero Movement began to develop rapidly. Hundreds of people have since signed up for the idea. Anyone can become a RLSH: there is no central organisation, list of rules, or membership dues, which has led to a wide diversity of participants in the movement.

On the streets…
This wide range of RLSH, of different political, religious, social, and economic backgrounds, has networked across America.
Phoenix Jones, the catalyst for a lot of media interest, seemed to appear out of nowhere late last year, and for unknown reasons captured the media’s attention. He patrols the streets of Seattle up to five nights a week with his team, the Rain City Superhero Movement.

North of him, in Vancouver, Canada, is Thanatos, a 61-year-old Vietnam vet. Thanatos hands out supplies to Vancouver’s large homeless population, in addition to doing some detective work. Motor Mouth, of San Francisco, leads the Pacific Protectorate who swung into action attempting do-it-yourself crowd-control during riots in Oakland, California last July.

One of the largest teams out there is the New York Initiative, which was started with four members living together in a small Brooklyn apartment. The team now has more than a dozen members who do community outreach and patrols throughout the city’s five boroughs.

The Great Lakes Alliance is a team of superheroes of the Midwest. Team members include Razorhawk and Geist of Minnesota and The Watchman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin plus his associate Blackbird. All four of these RLSH do patrols that are the equivalent of a costumed neighbourhood-watch group, as well as charity fundraisers and other events.

The Justice Union

Now joining this roster of American teams is the Justice Union. Like most RLSH, they seem to agree about what has motivated them to join forces: they are tired of seeing reports of crime and feeling helpless.

“I’ve seen a lot of bad things happen where I live,” The Justice Union’s Knight Warrior (of Manchester) says. “People getting beat up at the bus stop and handbags getting snatched and people standing by and doing nothing.”

The newly formed team admits that collaborating in person will be a challenge, since there is a fair distance between all five of them, although Blackvoid and Dark Spartan are planning on teaming up in late April, and a full team meeting to hand out supplies to the homeless, followed by a patrol, is scheduled for August, possibly in Manchester.

“I would like to see the whole group do a patrol in a well-known crime area at the same time,” says Man in Black. “If we’re in different areas of that town we can have a greater chance of stopping crime. The main obstacle I see is the distance between our areas.”

To prepare for this fight, most members say they have been training in martial arts. Unlike their American counterparts, there are very few legal weapons they can carry, so their arsenal consists of torches, first aid kits and binoculars. The most heavily armoured is Dark Spartan, who dresses from head to toe in police riot gear and carries a riot shield. Knight Warrior is looking into getting a bulletproof vest.

The superheroes have encountered police a couple of times while on patrol, and report the meetings as positive exchanges.
Knight Warrior says he posed for a photo with an officer, who suggested he should call if he needed help. Dark Spartan crossed paths with police four times in one night. “They were really supportive and thought it was a great idea,” he says.
In the States, police reaction has been mixed. Some appreciate the effort; others are concerned about the heroes getting in over their heads. The standard line is usually something like, “We appreciate citizens helping the police out, but leave the crime-fighting to us.”

In the UK, The Statesman reports that he and his fellow heroes Barns and Vague (both of whom now seem to have vanished) actually helped police chase a criminal in 2009. The trio were hanging out in Trafalgar Square at 3.30am when they saw a man running from two WPCs.

“I’m proud to say that nobody hesitated,” Statesman recalled in a journal entry. “We were off after the getaway, pounding up the steps and away out of the square. I was right behind the crim as he ran, and we ploughed around the corner. The street ahead was empty. We stopped, and caught sight of our man, huddled in a shop doorway and trying to cram himself into the shadow.” The trio stared down the criminal. Statesman wrote, “After a cold few seconds of eye contact, the WPCs caught up and the crim gave up – he held his hands out for the cuffs and
was placed under arrest for a previous charge and failure
to appear.”

It was another small victory for the RLSH. When asked what their ultimate goal as a superhero was, all five members of The Justice Union gave an almost identical answer:
“To make a difference in society.”

It’s a sentiment that might be appreciated in Downing Street. Outlining his vision of the UK’s future in February, David Cameron said: “I don’t believe it is impossible to do your duty at the same time as having a sense of mission and purpose about what would make this country stronger, better, a nicer place to live.” They might not take the form he was expecting, but for vocal, active examples of the Big Society in action, the members of The Justice Union might just be the ambassadors he’s been looking for.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Phoenix Jones with fans on the street of Seattle




Tea Krulos, reporting

Phoenix Jones
, Rain City Superhero Movement leader* and pop culture figure from Seattle is featured in a 30 second public service announcement for the Game Show Network (GSN)as part of their "The World Needs More Winners" psa campaign. You can see his spot here:


On a recent episode of the blog talk radio show It's Joker Time, guest Master Legend had a heated debate with "Real Life Supervillain" Malvado. Malvado challenged the Florida RLSH on his views on homosexuality, religious beliefs, and claim that he had found a cure for cancer.
The episode can be found here and the debate sparks around the 25 minute mark:

An enraged Master Legend challenged Malvado to have a battle royale with proceeds to benefit charity. Malvado has thus far declined.


Portland superhero (who actually might appear to live 5-20 minutes from the city center, as argued passionately for several volumes online) Zetaman has apparently retired from RLSH status. Zetaman was a founder of the reallifesuperheroes.org site, its accompanying forum, The Alternates team, and was the subject of a web series at Zetaman.tv. In a blog entry from May 17 titled "I Am Retired," Zetaman says-

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

"I am afraid due to the constant harassment and my own personal real life and physical safety I have to retire. I am sorry to say this but there are people in my life whose lives are being threaten and I can no longer have a blue target on me. I wish the rest of the world well and to stay safe."

* This post originally referred to Phoenix Jones as a RLSH, which is incorrect- that is a term he has distanced himself from. Heroes in the Night regrets the error.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I've been meaning to post the finished results of Motionary Comics 2.0 for some time, but a series of deadlines and technical issues has kept me from it.

But at long last here are the six pages created for the event. All photographs were taken by Kelly Crandall, and if you click on the thumbnail, larger versions will pop up.

You can read more behind the scenes stuff in a series of entries from the first week of this month- Motionary Comics Week, in which the artists, RLSHs, villains and various other angles are discussed.


The two panels of Page 2 were split here into two separate pics.








People were given the option to vote on the ending by placing money in one of two jars, as seen here. Jar B, the "smiley face emoticon" ending won.

Funds raised for the vote and through other avenues were donated to United Way(www.liveunited.org)and break down as follows-

Silent Auction: $240
Bins placed for simple donations: $17.30
Competitive comic ending: $60.23 ($21.23 for the "Oops, the apocalypse" ending, $39 for "smiley face emoticon" ending)

: $317.53

In addition, sponsors Chang Beer donated part of their beer sales to United Way. I have not yet gotten through to a representative to see how much they were able to raise. Hopefully a fair amount- I saw a lot of people toasting each other with Chang bottles!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

HERO PROFILE #71: Short Cut

Operates out of: NYC

Group affiliation
: New York Initiative

: patrols

: First aid kit, flashlight, longboard

Quote: "Well, I've always been quick to help people in need, and I'm trained in all kinds of stuff. Growing up I always thought "normal sports" were boring. I was into martial arts, snowboarding, mountain climbing, skateboarding, swimming, and such. I also used to act in short action films."

"In 2005 I tried doing this alone in Philadelphia, but I was hiding in the shadows with swords back then. Very stupid. I only went out a hand full of times before I decided to move to NJ. In January of 2010 I saw Dark Guardian on G4 while I was in Boston on business. I kept track of the community for about a year before I made contact. I met up with the NYI one weekend in February, then not long after, I left my life in NJ behind and moved to NYC."

Author's notes: The NYI has been rolling strong lately, so I wanted to profile another one of their members--Short Cut--you can see him and Zero longboarding as "speed scouts" in this video shot by fellow member Samaritan:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011



Kevin Bacon >>> Rainn Wilson
, co-stars in the film "Super" which I saw last night and then had the idea for this brilliant post.

Rainn Wilson >>> Phoenix Jones
, met for coffee and then Wilson tazed Jones, as reported HERE.

Phoenix Jones >>> Heroes in the Night
, this blog has featured a few entries on Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superhero Movement.

So there you go! Success!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011



I think The Watchman has a pretty decent sense of humor about what he does and has been a good sport about participating in appearances- he agreed to be one of the hosts (along with Blackbird) for a bonus checkpoint at the Riverwest 24 bicycle race last summer, for example. And of course he and other RLSHs made an appearance at Motionary Comics 2.0 this month. It was at that event that The Watchman met the creators of Half in the Bag, a unique internet movie review show that combines comedy with frank film criticism.

For this week's episode, the hosts discuss the new Rainn Wilson film Super. The Watchman dramatically enters the show around the 16 minute mark, is interviewed and becomes part of the sketch.

You can see the show here:


Monday, May 9, 2011


A worker installs a giant portrait of Zimmer by French photographer Pierre-Elie de Pibrac inside of a Paris airport.

Yesterday was our annual day of celebrating motherhood in holiday form. Just before the weekend I received an e-mail from Zimmer, a former Austin, Texas Real Life Superhero who moved to Brooklyn to help found the New York Initiative (who I last wrote about HERE)-

In what he calls "the toughest challenge I've ever faced" Zimmer is back visiting home trying to defend his mother, who is currently in jail.

Rather than trying to explain further, I thought I would just share the press release on the case in it's entirety, which follows.

(UNRELATED NOTE: More delay in final Motionary Comics report-see last week-hoping to post it Wednesday!)


Real-Life Superhero Defends Wrongfully Accused Mother

Zimmer, subject of this year's smash hit documentary, “Superheroes”, is active aiding in trauma emergencies as an EMT, doing homeless outreach and even fighting violent crime. When he learned his mother, attorney Carolyn Barnes, was in jail, he traveled from New York to Texas to defend her.

“She's being accused of shooting at a census worker,” says Zimmer, 23. “However, this accuser, Kathleen Gittel, has changed her story twice. When the police searched my mother's home, ammunition, bullet holes, casings and gun powder residue couldn't be found. They didn't even find a gun. Bullet holes and gun powder residue can't magically disappear, they weren't found because they don't exist.”

Kathleen Gittel, 68, alleges that she walked over a mile to get to Carolyn Barnes' very rural residence, even going over a low water crossing and ignoring “No Trespassing” signs. However, she originally stated that the incident had occurred at 33 Indian Trail, an address in another town over, and her description of Barnes' residence does not match it's actual appearance.

The alleged shooting was a national story last year, when Carolyn Barnes, 53, was arrested on the charges, the first person ever to be refused coverage of Texas' Castle Doctrine. After posting her bail, she was released, forced to wear an ankle monitor that tracked her movements by GPS. On February 28, 2011, Judge Doug Shaver revoked her bond and Carolyn Barnes remains in jail.

While the conditions that lead up to Carolyn Barnes being detained in jail are troubling, the conditions inside the jail are even worse. Carolyn Barnes is in solitary confinement, shackled at the ankles and wrists. She is under 24 hour surveillance, including when she uses a toilet or shower. She is forbidden from making phone calls or having any visitors, including her son, currently authorized as her attorney-in-fact.

“There are convicted serial killers, pedophiles and terrorists that get better treatment than what she's getting,” says Zimmer. “From a civil liberties standpoint, it's totally inappropriate for someone that should be assumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Zimmer has been featured in a front page article in New York Press, interviewed on Indie Film Nation and Fox News, as well as photographed for Peter Tangen's Real Life Superhero Project. In “Superheroes”, he can be seen acting as an EMT to aid in a trauma emergency, and helped stop a drunk man from driving home. His team, the New York Initiative, was recently profiled in The London Times for their efforts to track down the infamous Long Island serial killer.

“I've patrolled high crime areas, removed gang tags and defended people from violent attacks,” says Zimmer. “I'm currently helping to coordinate the NYI to stop the recent muggings in the West Village and track down the Long Island serial killer. But this is the toughest challenge I've ever faced. I'm not leaving until she's free.”

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sorry, folks...

...due to scheduling conflicts and technical difficulties, the final report and pictures of Motionary Comics will have to wait until Monday. I know, the suspense is killing me too.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

HERO PROFILE #70: Crimson Crusader


Photo by Kelly Crandall

Operates out of: Milwaukee, WI

Activities: Night patrols, charity events

Equipment: Medical kit, cellphone, "whatever sort of gadgets Blackbird might hand me, working on some myself as well (possibly archery related)"

Quote: "I'm pretty new to the whole mask wearing crowd, but it's been an amazing experience so far. I had ideas of donning a mask and patroling the streets for around seven years now, but it didn't seem like a realistic idea until I heard about RLSH (or X-Alts, for those of you who prefer the newer term)...I have a huge drive to help people in need. Even before the mask, I was often told that I have a 'hero complex.' I've always admired guys like Robin Hood, Zorro, Batman, Green Arrow, etc. The guys without any superpowers that still try to make the world around them a better place. And that's exactly what I'm hoping to do."

Author's notes: Another new hero I met at Motionary Comics and one from my home base, the Milwaukee area!

HERO PROFILE #69: Electron

Photo by Kelly Crandall

Operates out of
: Madison, WI

Activities: Night patrols, charity events

: Working on "Hands of Fate"- electrical stun gloves

Quote: "My name is Electron. For three and a half years I've spent my time watching the RLSH movement from afar. The more I watched others living the life I had so longed to be apart of, the more I started to see the state of the world around me. I had always known of the treachery and malevolence that seemed to be seething from everywhere I turned, but until then I had not really seen it."

Author's notes: Electron was one of the new RLSH I met last week at Motionary Comics. Madison isn't very far from Milwaukee so I predict crossing paths with the electricity inspired hero again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Meanwhile, High Atop Mount Lupus...


Superhero comics are not only known for their memorable heroes, but also for their memorable villains. And that was a challenge for Motionary Comics 2.0- we knew who the heroes would be- Milwaukee's Real Life Superheroes, The Watchman and Blackbird. But who would be the villain?

Originally we were going to try to feature actual Real Life Supervillains, like the members of ROACH, making appearances via video and/ or Skype. This idea was fun, but as we ran out of planning time we realized the best option was to create our own fiction villain with the help of an actor.

At a meeting, one of the crew suggested actor Paul Weir to take on the role. After e-mailing back and forth with him, we came up with the mad scientist archetype Dr.Lupus, who had created a gang of werewolves named Team Werewolf in his lair on Mount Lupus.

The next step was to quickly create some short videos that we could project onto the wall throughout the evening that would feature Dr. Lupus threatening the artists, the audience, and of course the superheroes.

Photo by Matthew Miller

There is Dr. Lupus on the "set," a corner of my bedroom/ office. Alexis Hope Ronsmans provided much of the background props and the lab coat for the Doctor and the videos were quickly shot and edited by Matthew Miller of Kopasetic Productions.

Unfortunately, there was some technical problems with the projector, so only the first two (the second without sound) were shown. But! Matt later edited the five short videos together so you can see them all here:

I wrote the dialog. I tried to stay to standard cliche mad scientist mockery. In one message, for example, the Doctor calls The Watchman "the big red cheese." That is directly from Captain Marvel and is his nemesis Dr. Sivana's favorite insult to hurl.

Created by Leonardo Da Vinci, Lon Chaney, Jr., Dr. Lupus, and Paul Kjelland

One of the most ridiculous props ever made appeared in one of the videos. The "Mona Werelisa" was quickly photoshopped by Paul Kjelland. We actually sold the framed version in a silent auction (benefiting United Way) at the event as well as a couple print versions.

Photo by Kelly Crandall

At 10PM we had a surprise visit- one of Moct's garage doors open to reveal Dr. Lupus and five members of Team Werewolf on the other side! They howled and crept around the bar, handing out "Join Team Werewolf" propaganda flyers.

Photo by Kelly Crandall

The werewolves were played by Jack Packard, Liz Koetting, Danelle Kirschling, Jason Waszak, and David Law (pictured here)and the makeup was expertly applied by Dixie Jacobs.

Photo by Kelly Crandall

We're going to have a werewolf party tonight!

Photo by Kelly Crandall

And here we have the Doctor triumphantly posing next to his 2-D counterpart!

The appearance of the superheroes, villain, and werewolves really made the show a living, 3-D show, and I think the audience was pretty fascinated and surprised. A great performance from all the volunteers!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Art Imitating Life Imitating Art Imitating Life


Once we had established Motionary Comics 2.0 would be about Real Life Superheroes, I had to think about what kind of story I wanted to write. I had thought about doing something non-fiction, but then decided fiction would be more fun for the artists and everyone involved.

Since the story was six pages, I decided to focus on the Real Life Superheroes most well known in Milwaukee- The Watchman and Blackbird (although I added a last minute cameo appearance by Geist of Rochester, MN in the beginning of the story)- we added an open invitation to Midwest RLSH to attend the event and meet the artists and audience. And so we had a crew of six RLSHs for the largest Wisconsin team up to date- The Watchman, Blackbird, Geist, Charade, Electron, and Crimson Crusader.
Here are some pictures by Motionary Comics photographer Kelly Crandall.
The Watchman and I checking out the scene.

The Watchman copying a pose from his comic counterpart.

Geist and Blackbird.

This was my first time meeting these two RLSH- Electron, left, of Madison, WI and Crimson Crusader of an undisclosed Milwaukee suburb.

And here's Milwaukee's newest superhero, Charade. I didn't even get a chance to meet him, or if I did it was in a blur of lots of activity!

Geist casts his vote on the ending of the comic.

We also had some non-RLSH heroes at the event- Chang Beer was a sponsor of the event, and agreed to donate a percentage of beer sales to the charity we were fund raising this evening, United Way (who also had a table set up) and sent the mighty Chang Beer Girls to represent!

Yelp.com acted as a media sponsor and tabled at the event with their representative dressed up as Yelp Girl!

The RLSHs hung around, posing for pictures and answering questions from curious audience members, and also shooting interviews with Matthew Pniewski for his RLSH documentary titled More Than Just a Mask.

After awhile though, they wanted to get out of the crowd so they could have a chance to talk and patrol the streets of Riverwest. They started by taking a trek into the woods to drop off supplies at a homeless camp, then started on a patrol of the Center Street area. It was pretty quiet, The Watchman tells me. At some point, the group encountered some gang graffiti.

Combating gang graffiti is a major mission for Geist, so he reached into his duster jacket* and grabbed a can of grey spray paint and painted over it. This attracted attention from a nearby house party (sounds like it might be the famous punk house known as The Vault) who called the heroes over. A massive crowd from the party gathered to talk with the heroes. Finally the heroes thought the volume of the crowd was becoming a nuisance, so they said good bye and continued the patrol.

Tomorrow: Villainy!

*Earlier in the evening Geist had also pulled a green smoke emitting smoke bomb from his jacket to use as an effect for our group photo shoot as seen HERE.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Art of Motionary Comics 2.0


Motionary Comics is the brainchild of Kurt Hartwig and his production company, Bad Soviet Habits. The first round happened a year ago and the comic created was based on the classic tale of "Rumpelstiltskin."

This year Kurt asked me (Tea Krulos) to step into the creative director role, suggesting I do a story based on Real Life Superheroes. Kurt remained producer of the show, and Chad Edwards helped coordinate things as the art director for Moct, the bar that has hosted the event both years.

I selected a few photos here that I hope will guide you through the creative process of Motionary Comics. All of these photos were taken by Kelly Crandall, who worked hard on photos and video (including live, streaming) all evening. You can see tons more on Bad Soviet Habit's Flickr HERE.

Here we see (L-R) myself, Kurt and Chad beginning to hang the framework for what will be pages 4, 5, and 6. Each page is approx. 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Plastic was hung up to protect the walls from flying paint, then white cloth was stretched and stapled to create a canvas. The next step was to create the individual panels with painter's tape.

After a break, our crew of painters, models in full body tyvek suits and two choreographers showed up. I led the choreographers through the storyline, not being very specific, but describing what poses I was looking for on each page. The choreographers helped pose the models, including kids for small panels and adults for the larger scenes. As they held the pose, the paint crew hosed them down with different paint colors to create silhouettes of the pose.

Here you can see the results of this process on Page 1 and part of Page 2. The crew of painters, models, choreographers, and people shielding with cardboard ("bafflers") slowly worked through the six pages.

After giving a little time for the paint to dry, the next crew of artists was introduced- the six illustrators. For their first round, they went through and outlined the characters. Each illustrator was assigned to a color. Here we see Dan Hernandez, who got the color green, outlining the comic's villain, Dr. Lupus.
Here we see the illustrators starting to go to town! Foreground to back- Pietro Norante, Matt Chic, Topher Macdonald, and David Beyer, Jr.

Following the illustrators is the paint crew, who starts coloring in the illustrator's drawings. Here we see Carri Dahl (left)and Andrea Toussaint adding color to Page 1. In a second round, the illustrators add more detail to the background, and the paint crew follows through again, painting the details. And so it keeps going until the art is sharp and finished looking.

While this is going on, myself and two of the crew were determining what captions and word balloons were needed and started cutting them out and tacking them to the comic so the artists knew where they would be. Here is the almost complete Pages 4 and 5.

The final step- using two sided tape to adhere the finished word balloons, lettered by myself- to the finished art. Here crew member Derek Castor sticks up the first word balloon of Page 1. The last word balloon was hung about 1:30AM. It had been an evening of a lot of hard work by a lot of talented people.

Tomorrow: Superheroes show up at Motionary Comics!

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Real Life Superheroes and Event sponsor heroines battle the forces of evil outside of Moct at Motionary Comics 2.0! Photo by Kelly Crandall

Motionary Comics happened on Friday and was a huge success- artists, RLSHs, documentarians, villains, werewolves, and patrons alike all had a blast!

In fact, there is so many great photos and video that trying to cram it all into one post was very intimidating to me. So by the power vested in me as blog administrator, I am glad to announce that content will be added here daily, Monday- Friday.

Monday: Pictures and some talk about the artistic process of the event, and the amazing crews of people working hard throughout the evening to create the giant six page mural comic book.

Tuesday: Pictures of Real Life Superheroes with their 2-D counterparts, some talk of the other RLSHs present, including an account of their Riverwest patrol after they left the event.

: Pictures and video of the sinister Dr. Lupus and his Team Werewolf, including a behind the scenes account.

Thursday: Hero Profile(s)

Friday: The six page finished Motionary Comic story itself!!!

Fun times!