Real-Life Superheroes Now Patrolling The South Bronx
Originally posted: http://gothamist.com/2011/05/12/real-life_superheroes_now_patrollin.php
By Ben Yakas
Between the NY Press cover story last year, the documentary Superheroes and the book, “Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement,” the group of real-life superheroes known as the New York Initiative have been getting a lot of press lately. Though we have yet to see them in person ourselves, the BBC followed them around recently on one of their missions, and it sounded mighty…real: “Tonight, NYI members are patrolling the notorious South Bronx projects, looking for troublemakers and their victims.”
The group, which includes costumed members Zero, Short Cut, Samaritan Prime, Battlestar, Nitro and Deaths Head, arm themselves with weapons (including a long metal torch that can be used as a club), and they have “martial arts trainers and practitioners on the team.” They gave the BBC an idea of the kinds of cases they’ve handled: We find drunks fighting out, domestic abuse, a robbery, anything like that…I stopped a rape once. A couple of guys were taking a drunk girl home with them. They were talking about all the stuff they were going to do to her. I came up and I told them to get away from her,” said Deaths Head Moth.
The BBC seem kind of clueless about their origins—they say at one point, “Crime fighting Hollywood film Kick-Ass is based on them,” which is not true, seeing as how the movie is based on the comic series…but perhaps they meant that the real-life superheroes were inspired by the film. The Brooklyn-based group released a statement on intent on Craigslist late last year, in which they vowed to protect sex workers from the Long Island Serial Killer, but on their regularly-updated Facebook page, they say that they’ve also been patrolling the West Village for muggers.
The group has called their exploits like “a community block watch or safety patrol,” but police haven’t been as supportive of their antics: “Block watch? Naw, fuhgetabout that. You’ll get shot. The guys in this neighborhood, they’ll shoot you and no one will tell us who did it. There’s a strong ‘no snitching’ rule out here,” one officer told NY Press. At least none of them are dressed up like Batman: