By Mark Metcalf
The children (and now, adults) of Generations X and Y spent their formative years deeply immersed in a culture of fantasy. Between comic books and Saturday morning cartoons, the cultural fascination with super heroes — specifically those who, underneath the masks and capes, are just average people — grows with each new generation.
But America’s love, and in some ways, yen for a hero is nothing new. In fact, those well-known characters of fantasy were all borne out of a collective desire to have control when the world seems to be going down the toilet. When senseless crime is on the rise and the people and institutions put in place to protect us can barely keep an adequate staff on the payroll.
In pop culture, people have found hope in fictional Everyday-Joe-cum-caped-crusader stories since the early days of Spider-Man. But in real life– and right here in Milwaukee — there are a few among us who have taken the concept and run with it.
Several years ago, Tea Krulos caught wind of a real-life superhero movement happening right here in the Midwest and, as he learned, beyond. Though apprehensive, Krulos immersed himself in their world, interviewing as many people as possible and traveling as far as Vancouver and as near as his own backyard of Riverwest to learn more.
Local author Tea Krulos.
What he found was a diverse group of people, fed up with the state of their own neighborhoods and cities who decided to do something about it… mask, cape and all.
You can learn more about Tea’s book Heroes in the Night here, and more about his research here. Be my hero and subscribe to Backstage with Mark Metcalf through iTunes.