Real life superheroes create ethical movement

Originally posted:
Throughout Washington heroes are deciding to join “The Real Life Superhero Movement” to do more than keep locals safe
By: Amy Johnson
Posted: 1/27/11
Something epic is happening in the late night, city streets of Washington. Footing around areas like Seattle, Kent and Vancouver are some do-gooders who tackle crime, lend helping hands, bring hope and spread inspiration throughout the night.
What makes these good samaritans unique from all the rest is that they fulfill those tasks while in costume, more specifically in custom superhero costumes.
With names like Knight Owl, SkyMan and White Baron, these “superheroes” are more than what meets the eye.
They don’t pretend to be fantasy like or to have super human power, they are simply real-life heroes making an ethical movement. These ordinary fellows are dedicated to an extraordinary project called “The Real Life Superhero Movement.”
The Real Life Superhero Movement is a community of “superheroes” from all across the United States dedicated to inspiring and connecting to one another and the public. describes the project to be, “a living, breathing community that inspires people to become the positive forces for change we all can be. To become more active, more involved, more committed, and perhaps, a little super in the process.”
Though they stay in contact with one another and often patrol together, they are all very independent from each other.
There are many “superheroes” that devote themselves to Washington communities, and a few of those heroes recently met up in Seattle to do some charity and crime patrolling.
Knight Owl, who has been a Real Life Superhero for three years, patrols and works in the Vancouver and Portland areas. His name was not inspired by “The Watchman,” but by more personal reasons.
“Knight as in a chivalrous knight. Their history is something that is really inspirational to me. The ‘Owl’ comes from seeking after wisdom and knowledge,” he said.
Knight Owl is training to be a paramedic. He is EMT and firefighter certified.
SkyMan patrols and works in the Kent area and he received the nickname from his former high school football coach. A former student of Highline Community College, SkyMan is working on transferring to UW Tacoma to study political science and U.S. history.
“I aspire to be a teacher so I can teach youth the importance of history,” SkyMan stated. “Education is necessary.”
Icarus has been a Real Life Superhero for about a year and patrols areas of Oregon. Previously a small-time actor, Icarus now attends EMT school. Icarus also has a history of doing charity work.
“Back when I was doing some acting I helped to raise money at some benefit productions,” Icarus said.
The Dreamer has been a part-time superhero since 2007. He patrols in the Seattle area at night and attends work and school during the day.
White Barron also patrols in Seattle. He has been a “superhero” for two years and is training to be a pilot. He currently has his pilot’s license.
“I would really like to work in the search and rescue field,” he said. His “superhero” name and costume are both inspired by his fascination with aviation.
On a typical night, the heroes will patrol certain areas that they believe are in need of some looking after. Often they will patrol in groups, but sometimes they are alone. They keep their eyes out for anyone who may need help. Whether it be a typical bar fight that needs to be intervened or a homeless person in need of some supplies, the heroes are there to help.
They are all trained in CPR and are Red Cross certified. Most of the real life superheroes also have background experience, like martial arts or military work.
They often carry supplies with them, like first aid kits, to be prepared for any situation that may arise. Not only do they hand out socks and water to the homeless, but they also make a great effort to get to know each of them so that they may further help them.
“Some encounters can be depressing,” said The Dreamer. “You just wish you could do more outreach.”
“A frequent misconception about what we do, is that people expect that our nights are filled with extreme action, or that we are looking for that,” stated Knight Owl. “In reality, we hardly come across an extreme situation and we are not thrilled to find them either.”
There are some who don’t take these superheroes seriously. As they walk around Seattle in their costumes some bystanders antagonize them.
“They look at me like I’m a joke. I mean I’ve had garbage thrown at me, people yelling curses at me or just trying to pick a fight. Some people just don’t like it when others are trying to help,” Icarus said.
“We often see the bystander effect, where people are afraid of helping others, afraid to get involved,” Knight Owl said.
These heroes refuse to stand by and do nothing when someone is in need of help.
“How many times a day do you pass over someone who needs help and it is at no cost to you to help them?” Knight Owl asked.
The Real Life Superheroes explained that their costumes aren’t for personal attention.
“Our costumes are very functional. Some heroes also work as gadgeteers for others,” said White Baron.
“It also helps to bring attention to what we are doing. Not to anyone specific, but just so that our actions and helping hands are recognized for the purpose of inspiring others,” Knight Owl said.
The costumes help citizens feel more comfortable, when being approached, if they can recognize who the “superhero” is. The heroes also get to have a little fun with their costumes too.
“You have to have a sense of humor,” The Dreamer said.
“I don’t take myself too seriously,” Knight Owl said.
When asked about the possibility of a super villain movement forming, Knight Owl replied,
“I don’t believe in super villains. You are either a criminal or you are not.”