Meet the real life registered superhero

by Ben Goldby, Sunday Mercury
IS it a bird? Is it a plane?
No it’s a portly middle-aged businessman in a mask and cape.
Birmingham has its very own superhero patrolling the streets, and he is out to tackle the city’s toughest criminals.
Captain Britain, as he likes to be called, promises that he is “the protector of this Blessed Isle and all who live here”.
The brave Brummie is part of a new online fad which sees comic book fans carry out real-life crimefighting deeds dressed as their own Superhero alter egos.
The World Superhero Registry site boasts scores of characters, from across the globe, many of whom post videos of their heroic acts and pictures of their bizarre costumes.
While Captain Britain remains elusive, some of the “Superheroes” on the site have gained notoriety in their communities, and have even been pressured to reveal their secret identities.
Shadow Hare, 21, who “protects” the US city of Cincinnati, featured on his local TV news channel and has been battling to maintain his anonymity ever since.
“Despite the coverage I have been patrolling just as usual,” he wrote on his blog.
“I’ve heard about the lame bounty on my identity. Who cares? It doesn’t distract me from the people out there that I need to help.
“Besides, anyone can give you people a name. If they do, does that mean you will give them money? Nice try guys.”
And Shadow Hare is not the only real life superhero to hit the headlines.
California-based crimefighter The Eye, 50, has become a legend in his home state, and uses social networking site Myspace to promote his skills.
“I am a street-level, practical crime fighter and Neighborhood Watch Block Captain who uses various self-created electronic devices and other means to prevent crime, and help others in need whenever and wherever possible,” the Eye writes.
“My background as a certified private investigator as well as over 25 years of electronics expertise have aided me well in these efforts, and will continue to do so.
“I am also trained to mastery in the style of Kung-Fu known as Northern Shaolin Praying Mantis.”
Britain boasts five other crimefighting comic book stars, based in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester, Edinburgh and Whitley, on the ouskirts of Reading.
Scottish superhero Seagull Man has targeted his feathered foes in a campaign to: “Keep the city clear of the vermin that live on our streets”.
And Whitley’s Batman and Robin are also tackling the lighter side of superhero duties.
Dressed as the famous dark knight and his sidekick, the Reading crimefighters are attracting more laughs than plaudits from the public.
One damsel in distress said: “They just appeared. I saw them running down the road in Batman and Robin outfits – I was laughing so much.
“It was like a scene out of Only Fools and Horses and they stayed in character the whole time.”