Real-Life Superheroes

By David Finniss
I’m a big comic dork. Anyone who’s read my articles can tell that is a pretty big hobby of mine. It seems that some people have decided to live out their fantasies, take LARPing to a whole new level and try to become bona fide superheroes.
I’m still not sure what my view on the topic is. I mean, I get it. I would love to be a superhero too, whether it be Batman, Green Lantern, or Superman there is something appealing about having that level of impact. I also want to commend the people for trying to, in their own unusual way, make the world a better place. I just don’t think that that is the way to do it.
What works in the comics and on screen doesn’t work in real life. For one thing, vigilantism is illegal, and the costumes these guys end up donning look silly.
“Oh, but Batman does it” you say?
The cops are somewhat tolerant. They encourage these real life superheroes to be proactive and are grateful for the assistance, but there is a clear line that they don’t want you to cross. As one would expect, they’re not quite as tolerant of the idea as say Commissioner Gordon.
A part of me wants to support this, it really does. I mean, I think it would be pretty cool to live in a world where there are superheroes and I’m all for people taking the initiative to make the world a better place and showcase humanity’s capacity for good. That’s all awesome stuff and for that I commend these people. One of the awesome things about Superman is that he represents what we can all aspire to be. The Nolan movies play up the idea that Batman too is a symbol that has more endurance and impact than a regular man. With most of the role models the media tries to create coming up woefully short, there is something to the idea of becoming an embodiment of goodness and charity.
At the same time… no. I mean, come on. You can become an icon and embody all of those ideals without the costume. Michael Jordan is an icon, Ronald Reagan was an icon, Martin Luther King Jr. was an icon. You can effect the same change via other means (joining the neighborhood watch, volunteering, donating money etc) and bypass the inevitable snickering that a good chunk of people are going to do as they discover this sort of stuff.
Batman isn’t a realistic character, yes I said it. He runs a multi billion dollar corporation, has a genius level intellect, and has the strength and agility of an olympic athlete. That’s like taking the athleticism of Lebron James, the wealth of Bill Gates, the brain of Stephen Hawking and rolling it into one and giving it access to state of the art military technology. Even the people with the drive and determination usually succeed at one or two, but not the trifecta. The real life people who are trying to do the same thing don’t have any of those attributes.

3 Comments on “Real-Life Superheroes

  1. C´mon dude. A lot was impossible, but became real. Sometimes electricity was some kind of magic everyone thought of being devils work.What about cars? Rockets to the moon? Bombs killing thousands of people at once? Impossible is possible.
    Batman isn´t realistic? Might be right. But not because of his abilitiies. Because he is rich and is doing so much good.
    There are lot´s of people who could take the Batman costume and do good. But no one would survive that long.
    Yeah, “Real-Life-Superheroes” are doing good, but they are not superheroes. They aren´t even masked adventurers. They are masked samaritans. You don´t really need a mask to do that work, but, why judge this people? They are doing good things and maybe will inspire some people. Let´s hope this will not go wrong.
    Vigilantism is illegal, right. But what do we see? So much bad is going on and law is not justice. Government is not truth. There will be a time, truth and justice can´t be avoided any longer and some people will see themselves above the law, let´s hope they will do good. And maybe they will not wear masks, but you will see them as heroes. Maybe superheroes. But police will hunt this people down and you will have to support them. Because who seeks out for truth and justice is not a friend of goverment and law.
    Sorry if my english is bad, I´m not american.

  2. Mr. Finniss essentially wrote “finis” to the concept of this movement. I disagree. While worldclass wealth and abilities are definite pluses, worldclass motivation and creativity as applied to reloading concerned citizenship isn’t only possible, it happens globally, daily. Costumed activists and crime fighters are really stopping suspects and actually helping people in need. While reality differs from comic book fiction I know firsthand that a fancy alias draws more attention to good deeds than not. Our role is inspirational and operational.
    While his thoughts on fiction becoming fact are well reasoned and practical they fell short of explaining away those of us doing this in real life.Our fiction becomes fact with eaxh crime interrupted and homeless person assisted. While real pulp types like myself work sans costume to date, RLSH standards like a code name and anti-crime/humanitarian motif are embraced and used quite effectively. This movement is the next step of once way out concerned citizen concepts like the Guardian Angels or police department-affiliated citizens patrols.
    In short, the limits of his vision are necessarily those of this movement.