Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HERO PROFILE #74: Ira Ui'Raghallaigh

Operates out of: Seven Cities area of Virginia

Team Affiliation: Virginia Initiative

: Night Patrols

Quote: "My girlfriend will argue that it (the name Ira) sounds too feminine but would you be quick to face a masked man with a Billy club in plate armor who calls himself Kathy? He's either insane or capable and sure enough of himself to be ready for you to provoke him."

Author's notes: For more on Ira and the VAI, see entry previous to this one.



Heroes in the Night has reported a few times on the New York Initiative (NYI), a Brooklyn based group that started with four room mates who formed a crime fighting and community outreach team, and now has expanded to over a dozen members in the five boroughs.

A new partnership has led to the formation of the Virginia Initiative (VAI), based in the Seven Cities area of Southeast Virginia (the internet tells me these seven cities are- Norfolk, Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.)

The group was founded by Death's Head Moth (DHM for short) and Ira Ui'Raghallaigh, and includes two other prospective members. The VAI is actively hoping to recruit more members to help them cover the seven cities. Heroes in the Night recently conducted an e-mail interview with Ira Ui'Raghallaigh, and excerpts from this interview follow.

I started by asking Ira about his unique name. He explains:

"In traditional Latin scripture 'Ira' was the name of the demon representing the cardinal sin wrath, something I'm frequently guilty of as I have a very short temper. It's one thing to call yourself 'WRATH' and to sound like a batman villain, but aside from sounding like some vaudevillian boxer or thug, Ira Ui'Raghallaigh just has an unsettling, badass ring to it in my opinion.

Ui'Raghallaigh is the Gael spelling of my family name. It's pronounced O'Riley. Again I take great pride in my heritage and know everything about my family. Customs agents butchered our name and turned it into 'Riley' but I'm taking the name back. Also I think it coincides well with the message I want people to get from what I do: take pride in where you come from, and take care to preserve what's yours. That to me is very important and one of the main reasons I do what I do."

Ira Ui'Raghallaigh

Ira calls himself an X-ALT (as opposed to a RLSH) and says this path began for him when he became angered by increasing gang presence in the Seven Cities. He began with his research and studying of gangs.

“I spent countless hours studying nothing but gang activity and organized crime in Virginia and North Carolina and compiled a wealth of information including gang markers, tags, terminology, identifiers, locations, etc., all for the sake of interest. It wasn't until I started hearing about isolated incidents in downtown Norfolk, my stomping ground, that I decided to start snooping around. It wasn't anything I got overly enthusiastic about to the point that I went out armed to the teeth, more just a 'shits going down an I'm gonna see what's up' kind of deal, Guardian Angels foot patrol type stuff, but something about walking the streets, checking around corners, looming through parking garages and scouting with a pair of binoculars from roof tops of buildings seemed all too charming to just make a once in a while deal. At first, admittedly, it was more about the thrill.”

His first patrols were with friends and were slow, but eventually he saw action.

"One night I just happened to be in the right place at the right time and got into a fisticuffs with a guy who was standing as a look out while another guy attempted a mugging. When the other guy saw I had the upper hand I guess he assumed they were screwed and he fled and left his buddy behind.

The victim got in her car and hauled ass but by the time I cleared three flights of stairs down and across the neighborhood I realize I had possibly just prevented a robbery or worse a murder and the rush was so intense all I could do was laugh."

Ira then stumbled upon fellow Virginian Death’s Head Moth.

"I found him (online)and thought 'this guy is either batshit insane or really has the brass to put on spandex and a mask to go out and do what I've been TRYING to do for three years now.' I thought of donning a mask and going out 'crimefighter' style but figured I had a ways to go before I was on his level.

So a few years later after a conversation with Zero (of the NYI) I got DHM's contact number in order to make a connection with someone who, presumably, was at least relatively closer to me than the guys in the NYI. After talking to him for a few minutes I found out that he moved right down the street from me. The shock was indescribable. I felt then like it was kinda meant to happen. Zero told me he was putting DHM and I in charge of what would eventually be the VA initiative and he had no idea DHM had moved so close to me. I'm a firm believer in fate and if that whole scenario doesn't say something, what does?"

Death's Head Moth

As communication continued between Virginia and New York, the concept of a Virginia Initiative grew. Ira explains-

"I was hesitant to talk to Zero about handing us our own branch because he is very particular about who he trusts carrying that affiliation [the Initiative], as he very well should be. Zero and I have spoken for the past year or so about our line of work to the point that he knows I mean business. After meeting DHM it was clear that the most reasonable thig to do was expand the reach of the Initiative so he named us the head. He also knows through DHM that I'm about my business so for him there was little question that, paired with DHM, I was capable of starting a branch here."

Ira also talked about the relationship between the two groups-

"There isn't a lot that sets us apart, lest you count the distance. There is a different type of criminal element that exists here. This area therefore needs a different type of 'hero'. We're not the guys in the NYI and never will be, but so long as we keep close contact and work with them to spread out message and recruit new help not just along the east coast but nation wide I promise you this: those in the 7 cities who live their lives to do others harm, on a great or small scale all the same, will have something to fear and look out for. With the help of the NYI, the VAI will do whatever it takes to bring a greater sense of order to not just our community but also to those around us."

Some of the members of the NYI

Ira also talked about some of the VAI's goals:

"We'd like to build a healthy relationship with local law enforcement to the point that we don't have to worry about cops stopping us for snooping around violent neighborhoods at 3am. I want the VA initiative to be something that people accept, that will make them feel a little bit safer. So they know when the bogey man is right behind them as they walk to their cars late at night there's an even bigger predator right behind him/them who has been hunting them for a long time. That's what we do: we hunt. We're not just out there HOPING to find something to take part in, we scout these areas, we have statistics charted and names on a list. We have the face of sexual predators and the address of repeat offenders. We narrow all criminal activity of one particular type to one point and corral all those in question into one location to make it easier to spot them. I can't give away too much but let me just say that, all parties considered, the NYI and the VAI are a hell of a force to be reckoned with."

Ira also states a main goal for the group is recruitment.

"Our main area of focus for the time being is recruitment of new members. There are 7 cities in our region and all of them need to be swept, thoroughly. It will take a lot more than the power of four to deal with our mess."

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Challenge of Thanatos & OPERATION: Jurassic Park

A rare photo of Anonyman, addressing students at Luther College in Regina


-Vancouver/ Regina

On June 2nd, Anonyman, a RLSH from Saskatoon spoke and presented a power point presentation for students of Luther College in Regina. Anonyman had befriended a student who has a father that teaches at Luther, and it was through them that the appearance was made.

Anonyman's power point led students through the history of RLSH, the New York Initiative, Canadian RLSH, and specifically Vancouver RLSH Thanatos' challenge to help ten people out by the end of June. Heroes in the Night reported on this challenge HERE and you can find another page for the challenge

"When I first entered the auditorium there were loud murmers throughout the audience, but once (my friend Isaac) introduced me they quieted down." Anonyman says of his campus reception. "They were respectful during my presentation, and even laughed at my lame jokes (i.e. I want you to go out and touch ten people. Well, maybe not touch. Help.) When the presentation was over, there was a loud applause from both students and teachers."

Besides the presentation, Anonyman plans to participate in the Thanatos Challenge by patrolling the streets in between working.



"Operation Jurassic Park is a drive looking to create care packages for deployed service members." Explains Red Dragon, of Seattle. "I was inspired by a soldier who is currently deployed in Iraq named Cody Tyra. After talking to the soldier for a few days, I wanted to send those troops some comfort...if for no other reason than I know what it meant to me when I received something while I was there."

Red Dragon says the name of the operation comes from Tyra's unit, Alpha Company 62nd ESB, which is called "The Raptors."
"It seemed fitting to name the Operation after the unit that inspired it." Red Dragon says. "Spc. Cody Tyra wrote me one day and talked about how he loved what we were doing. After a bit I wanted to send him something, but then thought that it would be better to send some gifts of comfort to his whole unit...and more if possible. I wanted to do something special for people that give up just about everything to make the world a better place for complete strangers."

Red Dragon says people not in the Seattle area can contact him for ways to help via his Facebook or at

You can find a Facebook event page for the operation by doing a search for "Operation Jurassic Park."

Thursday, June 16, 2011

HERO PROFILE #73: Charade

photo by Kelly Crandall

Operates out of: Milwaukee, WI

Team affiliation: The Challengers

Gear: flashlights, pen and notepad, night vision goggles

Quote: "I've always wanted to be a super hero. I just never knew how to go around doing it. Then I saw the Watchman in the paper. That's when I knew that it was what I had to do."

Author's notes: Charade is a young hero that lives right here in my neighborhood, Riverwest. He's also a member of The Challengers (see post from a couple days ago)I hear word his brother is also joining him on patrols.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

How's the Book Going?

Bewildered author Tea Krulos. Photo by Paul Kjelland.

I get asked this a lot, so I thought it was time for an update on Heroes in the Night.

When I first started serious work on this in April 2009, I was very naive and thought I would be cranking out a book on Real Life Superheroes in six months, nine months. Yes, I could have done that, but it would have been a total joke book. I decided I needed to take the proper amount of time to do the book right, however long that may be- 2 years, 3 years, 5 years whatever.

I could go into all kinds of reasoning, but it can be summed up by this- its my first book and I don't want it to suck.

This has all been quite a challenge because the RLSH story is a very quickly evolving one. Looking at stuff I wrote a year ago looks highly outdated in areas. A few months ago I began rewriting the chapters so they are more streamline, readable, and updated. I have finished the drafts for the first six chapters. The first four are currently being edited by a mentor to me, Jan, the editor of the Riverwest Currents. When these have been edited I will be making another (my third) round of trying to sell the book.

I will unveil these first six chapters and a brief synopsis:


I describe my first meeting with The Watchman in a frozen city park and give an overview of who the RLSH are.


I recall my early meetings patrolling with The Watchman, and go more in depth into who he is, and also my meeting the man known as MoonDragon.

This chapter talks about the influence of superheroes on our culture and examines them as an American mythology. I write a bit about the Golden Age of comics, Alan Moore and Watchmen, Batman and other heroes, and discuss "comic book revisionism" with Flaming Carrot/ Mystery Men creator Bob Burden. I also talk about some non comic book related stuff, like 9/11 and Kitty Genovese.


The secret history of RLSH is discovered in this tour of a dozen people who created their own costumed personas from 1969- the early 2000s.


This chapter looks at opposite ends of the spectrum- "costumed activists" and "crimefighters," both groups that distance themselves from the term "RLSH." Several people from both groups are described briefly. Also, author Tea Krulos finds himself in an odd situation in Washington DC.


Back in the Midwest, I recall my meeting with Razorhawk and Celtic Viking in Saint Paul to search for a missing college student, a rolling patrol with Geist through the streets of Rochester, and a GLA meet up in dowtown Minneapolis.

This is mainly an account of my weekend at the Superheroes Anonymous 3 conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts in September 2009.

And now I am moving on to revisit Chapter 7. Let's keep those doggies rollin'!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Introducing THE CHALLENGERS and HOPE 2011 Update

Members of The Challengers at Motionary Comics 2.0 (l-r) Electron, special guest Geist, Charade, Blackbird, The Watchman, Crimson Crusader

Over the last few months, new Real Life Superheroes have appeared here in my hometown of Milwaukee. These folks have chosen to join local RLSHs Blackbird and The Watchman in their quest to patrol the streets of Milwaukee and participate in charity and humanitarian efforts.

As such, a new team has officially been launched- The Challengers. In addition to The Watchman and Blackbird, the team includes Crimson Crusader, Charade, Argo, and Electron (of Madison, WI) as a reserve member. There are other prospects, too.

The team patrolled the Riverwest neighborhood on Sunday, after the popular Locust Street Art and Music Festival, and here is an account from The Watchman:

Sunday went well. I met up with Charade, Electron, and Trig (a RLSH prospect) around 10:30pm, and we were joined by Crimson Crusader about an hour later. We arrived on the streets of Riverwest as the Locust Street Festival was shutting down and things were getting packed up. We were amazed at how quickly it was cleared out. Still, a fair amount of people remained at the bars and on the streets of Riverwest for a Sunday night.

We walked down Center Street before weaving up and down the streets that cross it. As usual, there was no set route. We simply enjoyed the freedom to travel whichever course suited us, visiting whatever locations we felt needed visited along the way.

There was no set mission save for one - to meet Trig. He doesn't even have all of his gear together yet, but my first impression was positive. I would love the opportunity to meet with him where we could discuss his plans more in depth, and give him a better opportunity to ask me questions.

It was also an opportunity for me to talk to Electron in person for only the second time since he started. The first time being the Motionary Comics 2 event, during which I was kept far too busy to really get a feel for what he is like, I had to form my previous opinions of him based on his online postings and personal messages sent to me. I was pleasantly surprised.

There wasn't much going on. There was a good police presence in the area, and although we heard a lot of sirens, they seemed to be mainly due to traffic violations.

We did hear the typical things called out like "What, is it Halloween?", and were called everything from Batman to the Power Rangers, but the night was filled with a lot of positive reactions.

We heard a lot of thank yous and got to answer some questions about what we do from some people who lit up at the idea of people like us being out there. One man even mentioned being friends with the owner of the Art Bar, and suggested swinging by the next time we're trying to raise money for a charity.

H.O.P.E 2011

HOPE 2011
is an event conceived by Razorhawk of Minneapolis- the idea being a large scale RLSH meet up to coincide with the San Diego Comic Con. The heroes, through donations and their own means are assembling about 200 backpacks filled with supplies to hand out to San Diego's homeless population.

The main hand out will be Saturday, July 23. Approximately 28 RLSH have been confirmed as attending, many of which have been written about here at Heroes in the Night.

In realizing that not everyone can make it to San Diego, Razorhawk and others developed the concept so that RLSHs in other cities around the country by hosting their own HOPE event on the same day in their own city. The Challengers, for example, will be hosting a Milwaukee event on that day.

I myself will be attending the event in San Diego, to join a good mix of people I've met before and many I haven't. Of course I will be reporting the experience here on Heroes in the Night.

You can see the full list of attending heroes, find more info (including a list of the contents of the supplies in each backpack) and make a donation towards buying the supplies on HOPE's

Thursday, June 9, 2011

HERO PROFILE #72: Red Voltage

Operates out of: Salt Lake City

Team Affiliation: Black Monday Society

Activities: Night patrols, charity events

Quote: "How I got my name, I am a smaller guy and at first I was really small, and not too versed in fighting technique and I wasnt too built. Things have changed since then, but I used to care a stun baton, hence the VOLTAGE, now I just carry a flash light and mace pens. Also my car is a Red Dodge Charger, so I thought of RED to match it, RED VOLTAGE. Kinda cheesy but I have stuck with the name and I am still fond of it."

Author's notes: Red Voltage is the new leader of the Black Monday Society, and you can read more on how he got the position and where he wants to take the team in an entry previous to this one.

Black Monday Society- Under New Management

BMS members (l-r) Owl, Red Voltage, Lunar Wolf


The Black Monday Society is a RLSH team based out of Salt Lake City. They were founded and led by Insignis, a tattoo artist who transformed his tattoo shop into a team headquarters of sorts. The team, whose membership peaked at ten or so members, become well known for their signature ghoulish look.

Leadership was recently passed to Red Voltage, and Heroes in the Night recently got him to talk about his new role via e-mail.

First, he tells of how he got involved with the group in the first place:

"It all started last year, my first patrol was a spontaneous meet with another new comer, Professor Midnight. Now we've patrolled together at least fifty times if not more. I started in April 2010 and plan to do this until I can't any fact I'm getting my Black Monday Society tattoo next week, finally. I'm pretty much the last to get it, haha. so after I had patrolled a few times with professor midnight we eventually met the BMS. I think Insignis' first impression of both Midnight and myself was pretty good for new comers we both had good heads on our shoulders and had a similar idea as to what the patrolling thing was all about! After over ten patrols I think Insignis felt we were trustworthy and he extended his hand out with an invitation to join the BMS."

Red Voltage goes on to describe Insignis' role in the group, and the traditional Black Monday Society tattoo:

"Insignis is the traditional mentor trainer/leader, he is all about being the main man, he does everything for the group, and you go to him for your everything, from adding new guys, to your look, to your BMS tattoo. The Tattoo is a traditional BMS thing, you basically should be repping the tattoo if your in the group, so some of the other guys have been harping on me to get mine, but I finally came up with the right design."

"After loads of fun patrols, some that get your adrenaline going, some that touch your heart, and some that just feel inspiring, I have finally made it to this point in my RLSH career so to speak, but I don't think of this as anything other than a duty of mine, cause I can, cause I believe in it and I am crazy enough to do it, just like my team, we all share that opinion. We are all crazy."

"Like Insignis once said, "you go around dressed in a mask and a cape...its a special breed of stupid, but it works" and its kinda like that, but its driven by the heart and the love of justice, its one my life passions, and sadly it might be some of the best times of our lives, but I guess that is why the tattoo is going to mean so much to me, just like my team and what we do."

Red Voltage describes the transfer of the leadership role:

"So just recently on one of my days off work, I was still sleeping in my bed, sun peering in through the window well, and I feel my phone buzz which is the final push to wake me up for the day, I look at the text message which happens to be from Insignis, he tells me that the BMS is mine and that I have earned it."

"I was surprised and shocked to get the message with my initial reaction of panic, and I was worried about Insignis, wanted to be sure he was okay, he was. To him it was just the time to hand the mantle over to the person he trusts, and I think he sees himself in me. We both occupy lots of our time focusing our creative energy on creative things, He taught me his craft for making the ABS masks, I have since taken on some of the communities mask making, I have made Voodoo's Mask and I am working on Bearman's. I naturally also have the ability to talk to people while getting out the right message, he wants someone who can talk as good as he does, which isn't really possible, but I try."

And when asked what the near future holds for the BMS, Red Voltage explains:

"My big plans are mostly some local events, like charity raising events such as Bowling with the Black Monday Society. I also want to get some of the guys together to help sandbag around here, since the snow is melting off the mountains, we wanna prevent flooding, and people need that right now!

I am just sticking to it and trying to do the best I can for the team and the community as well as SLC and its needs."

Monday, June 6, 2011




This is not usually the style I write things on this blog. Oh well.


Oh boy, where to begin with this one? At the beginning, I suppose. Keegan Hamilton is a writer who has penned a front page expose on Rain City Superhero Movement founder Phoenix Jones for the Seattle Weekly, titled "The (Alleged) Adventures of Phoenix Jones." Mr. Jones has sustained a presence in the media since November.

A few months ago, Keegan gave me a call and we spent an hour or more discussing the interesting world of Real Life Superheroes (RLSH). He used part of this conversation to help explain the secret history of this movement, citing 70's consumer rights/ quality of life costumed activist Captain Sticky as an example. I was quoted fairly and given a fair amount ink and Heroes in the Night was mentioned. I can't complain about that.


"What kind of person dresses up like a superhero? Long before Hollywood unleashed Kick-Ass and Super—two movies released within the past year about real people who don capes and masks—Tea Krulos was asking himself that very same question."

See, that's a good quote.

The article makes another attempt to get the Phoenix Jones origin story straight-

"Then, the next night, while at a club celebrating a friend's birthday, a fight broke out between two of Jones' friends and a larger group of men. Running to his car to retrieve his cell phone—Jones says he never keeps it in his pocket because he doesn't want to risk damaging it when he break-dances—Jones, a cage fighter in his spare time, impulsively threw on the mask and chased down the fight's instigator."

This I can understand- I never have my cell on me while breakdancing, either.

The article then goes into two common bones of contention with Mr. Jones- no evidence of received injuries- a shooting, a stabbing, a swat with a baseball bat, etc. Jones claims these injuries were treated by a private doctor who "won't agree to an interview for fear of losing his medical license."

And also, the lack of a paper trail/ evidence in several of Mr. Jones' crime fighting adventures (that is why the word "Alleged" is in parenthesis in the article title, you see)- they document several calls to the police, a couple that led to arrests, some that didn't.

I don't know though- just because there isn't evidence it happened, does that make it a non-event? I once literally bumped into Joey Ramone in Saint Mark's Place. I have no evidence of this, but it did happen.

Still, Jones has many claims that are confused with alternate accounts of the same event, and logic defying claims that would go over better with something solid to go with it.

Yes, Phoenix Jones has traffic violations. And he's had financial problems.

You know why stuff like that gets reported? People love seeing dirty laundry.

Eventually this leads to what may perhaps be the Dumbest RLSH Story Ever Told. I've known of it for quite some time but never reported on it because, do I put this....words escaped me.

Basically an internet argument began to rage between Mr. Jones and fellow Seattle superhero Mr. Raven Blade. This was hashed out on Facebook and on Mr. Raven Blade's blog.

It was very similar to the time Batman started an internet flame war with the Green Arrow. Oh wait, that never happened.

Eventually, Mr. Raven Blade says he received threats from Mr. Jones via phone and internet. The two have not met in person. Mr. Raven Blade filed for a restraining order, which was granted, barring Mr. Jones from being within 500 feet of Mr. Raven Blade.

Call me old fashioned, but I've had guys threaten to beat the (expletive) out of me in person, and I've just shrugged it off. Why? Because guys say stupid stuff they don't really mean when they're pissed off.

The article says "a photographer" distracted Jones while a crime went on down the block. I think you mean to say "our photographer."

After finding out the photo session (which could be substituted for any number of reasons he would have missed the crime- he had to pee, he turned left instead of right, etc.) has caused him to miss the crime, here's what happened next-

After getting a description of the alleged attacker, Jones heads back to the corner where the fight occurred. His plan, he says, is to wield "the Phoenix Cam" — a silver Flip pocket camcorder—and confront the assailant, provoking another altercation.

"I'm going to have to take a hit for the team," he says. "I'll get the guy to punch me in the face and we can press assault charges."

"Are you aware of the concept of blocking?" asks Ghost.

"Yeah," says Jones. "But then it's not assault, it's only attempted assault."

He was going to block, Ghost. With his face. But seriously- I don't think this strategy is a good long term solution for capturing criminals.
The article ends with this quote-

"Sure other superheroes don't like me," he says. "Why? Because they suck at their jobs . . . Tonight we literally didn't stop any crime. But we did definitely talk to some drug dealers, we picked up a girl who fell and hit her face on the ground, and we talked to a bunch of different people in Seattle who may now report crime because they talked to us. That's still 100 times better than every other superhero."

That does sound really bad. My friend summed it up with one word- "hubris." It is also ridiculous since Jones isn't omnipresent- he doesn't know all the RLSH out there (even I don't) and what they are up to. For all we know there are RLSH quietly cleaning up and not publicizing it.

This article was thoroughly researched (in addition to the main article, you can find links of related content at the article to video and police reports) and the longest article on Jones to date, but I think the bias from the Seattle Weekly is pretty noticeable from the get go. It seems like they were sitting around the office, perhaps drinking the excellent coffee Seattle is famous for and decided they were going to bag Phoenix Jones before they even wrote word one.

Indeed, one of the SW's bloggers have been after Jones like a hip J. Jonah Jameson for some time. Blogger Curtis Cartier has cranked the snark to 11 in three posts lambasting Jones. The blog posts and the article are unrelated, but they are under the same roof- the Seattle Weekly.


Mostly I think there is a point that the article only briefly touches on. Yes, Jones has some issues with some RLSH. Yes, some writers don't like him, or can prove there is a lack of evidence. But if Jones is so lame-o, why does he have thousands and thousands of Facebook friends cheering him on, creating fan art work, and defending him when people insult him?

I myself am friends with Phoenix Jones and every time I swing by his page it is loaded with people giving him encouraging words. From what I hear, his reception on the street is pretty enthusiastic, too.

I remember in winter I posted something about the Bar Harbor Batman. I thought he was just a dude goofing around in a Batman costume (and might still think he is)- I was surprised that quite a few people from Bar Harbor took time to leave comments defending the caped crusader, saying that seeing him out on the street made them feel better.

Ultimately, I think that is who decides if you are a hero- your constituency, the people you interact with. Not your internets.