When I first read writer Ward Rubrecht's column from the Minneapolis/St. Paul City Pages last week, I didn't quite know what to make of it. Here are select portions from the article, so you decide for yourself:
"BY MOST OBSERVERS' RECKONING, between 150 and 200 real-life superheroes, or "Reals" as some call themselves, operate in the United States, with another 50 or so donning the cowl internationally. These crusaders range in age from 15 to 50 and patrol cities from Indianapolis to Cambridgeshire, England. They create heroic identities with names like Black Arrow, Green Scorpion, and Mr. Silent, and wear bright spandex or black ninja suits. Almost all share two traits in common: a love of comic books and a desire to improve their communities.
It's rare to find more than a few superheroes operating in the same area, so a community has sprung up online. In February, a burly, black-and-green-clad New Jersey-based Real named Tothian started Heroes Network, a website he says functions "like the UN for the real-life superhero community."
Last October, an organization called Superheroes Anonymous issued an invitation to any and all real-life superheroes: Come to Times Square to meet other Reals face-to-face and discuss the future of the movement. The community roiled with discussion of the invitation—was it a trap by an as-yet-unknown real-life super villain? In the end, only a dozen Reals attended, but the gathering attracted the notice of the New York Times and the BBC, which gave the budding league of justice worldwide ink.
"We're basically normal people who just find an unusual way to do something good," Geist says. "Once you get suited up, you're a hero and you've got to act like one."
A recent thread on Heroes Network debated whether it was appropriate for a Real to carry a shotgun in his patrol vehicle."
Fantasy-meets-reality, fanboy extremism, utter foolishness?
Who the hell knows?
Just when you think you've seen it all, the world proves otherwise. It is difficult to cast judgement on these folks, but given the benefit of the doubt, the best that they can hope for is that one of them doesn't get the living shit beat out of them [ or worse] by a "real" bad guy that they attempted to bust or just some vigilante-disdaining law enforcement officer who objects to their encroachment on official turf.