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It started as a goof.
My son brought a mexican luchadore mask home that fit me. I put it on and my wife, the photographic luminary that she is, began snapping away. I needed props. My Sherlock Holmes calabash pipe was drafted, along with my hooded robe, fedora hat, and anything I could find. Soon, a new persona was born. One of complete anonymity. The writer in me was intrigued. What if I could post whatever detrius was floating around my brain at will, with it never reflecting on me, or my aspirations of "serious" writing?
Certainly, I've written my fair share of dreck. Most of it has never seen the light of day. It seems to happen when I'm listening to too much music. Suddenly I feel compelled to write the lyrics to an undiscovered Henry Rollins song about being half man, half machine. Several dozen lines of a club freestyle where I trade verses with MF Doom. More than anything, I want to end those writings with: Throw your hands in the air, and wave them like...
You get the point.
In honor of MF Doom, Wu Tang Clan, and a multitude of others who pick the secret identity name's of famous superhero's as their alternate nom de plume, I picked Bruce Wayne. Not very original, I know, but I put all of about a nanoseconds worth of thought into this. So, properly masked, I went off into the great big world completely unaware that I was about to stumble into a world where reality and childhood fantasy collide.
There are REAL Superhero's in the world, folks. I'm not talking about Mother Theresa, or your local beat cop, either. I'm not talking about the guy that shovels out his elderly neighbor's driveway when it snows.
I'm talking grown men in colorful costumes and masks (normally) who go out and "patrol". And they mean it!
Over the past six months I've been in regular contact with approximately twenty RLSH's. That's Real Life Super Hero's to the unintiated. These are men (and a handful of women) who do not reveal their secret identities, do not conform to standard societal structures, and do not give a flying crap what you think about how they look in a cape. Many of them routinely tour a select area looking for a variety of what they consider "criminals." Others focus on more philanthropic pursuits, such as funding massive toy drives where they deliver scads of toys to sick children in hospitals.
I was completely blown away, and hopelessly fascinated.
Two of my favorites have agreed to let me interview them for this site. Over the next few days I will be posting details of my exclusive interviews with Master Legend and Super Hero. I hope you will join me as we go deeper into the mysterious world of the Real Life Super Hero.
HE IS LEGEND
To me, he’s a Jim. I can’t say why. I don’t know his real name, would never dare ask. His real name, as far as I am concerned, is Legend. His rank, or title, if you will, is Master.
At times I am seriously concerned for him. He tells me about encounters he has at his home with people that he’s dealt with in the streets. I imagine him at his house, somewhere in Florida. I’m guessing it’s a tiny place, without much in the way of decoration. They come for him, shouting out names, clinking beer bottles, cursing him. They threaten to smash his windows, or break his car’s windshield.
Master Legend: I have all kinds of enemies. There are people who hate what I stand for and would kill me if given a good chance. Criminals look at me and melt knowing I see right through them and of course want to destroy the mirror.
As for crack-heads, they will do anything to get it. I am often mistaken for a drug addict because I don't cut my hair and they get shocked when they see I'm not part of any of it. I have had to fight many through the years.
It is very dangerous to attack me at my house, though.
To me, he’s a Jim. That’s what I call him in my mind when I think of him like that, looking out the window, wondering whether or not to put the mask on when he goes outside to confront them. I’ve never seen him without his mask, but I imagine he’s kind of a handsome bloke. When he poses for pictures, his mouth has a sly, childlike grin, as if he knows he’s pulling one over on us, but isn’t rubbing it in.
His hair is long, well past his shoulders. When he’s in costume he doesn’t tie it back, or make any attempt to secure it. It flies freely.
ML: I make my own costumes. The stuff I use is not as great as I wish it was. I use diving suits, leather, metal, padded sports equipment and orthotic (?) parts. Also, a Swiss Army helmet. I wear 6 different types of boots and three kinds of gloves.
The costume, per se, appears as black BDU’s covered in armor. The chest plate, arm guards, elbow guards, thigh guards, knee pads, boots, belt, and mask are all color coded silver. It is as if the costume reflects the man. There is good, and evil. Black, and white (or in this case, silver). The design came to him in a dream.
When I ask him about the dream, he tells me: I had this vision before I knew how to do my first stitch. I fight evil in other dimensions also.
Did I mention he can fly?
ML: I only levitated one time but I have developed other psychic abilities that constantly aid me. I have always had these abilities. It’s a matter of developing them more.
I only levitated about two to three feet. The wind blew me across a field. I'm sure I will be able to do it again when needed. I use most of my abilities to heal people. I don't waste the energy.
I am the master of two realms: Metaphysical and a secret martial art. I got my first official title of master after being chosen to teach troubled kids in a juvenile camp. I was already known as The Legend and that is how it became Master Legend.
I achieved the title of Master in the Coven of the Immortals. My mother was a witch and told me about the veil I was born with.
The veil he’s referring to is an integral part of the mythos of Master Legend. Apparently, he was sprung from the womb wearing a mask. A birth veil, or caul, is a thin, shimmering membrane that occasionally covers a newborn child’s face. It’s harmless, and easily removed. The appearance of a caul on a baby has had varying degrees of significance since ancient times. At some points in time, children bearing the caul were considered destined for greatness, others thought it meant the kid would become a vampire. The most popular myth surrounding the caul-born is that they are psychic, or mystical.
Mystical master of a secret martial art or not, there are other abilities ML has that are beyond dispute: The guy can carry a tune. “Epic Of The Sunrise”, by The Justice Force is probably the first song about being a superhero, performed by superhero’s, meant only to be heard by superhero’s. If I could figure out a way to get it on my iPod, I would. My kid would rock out to it, much the same way he rocks out to Harry and the Potters.
Another thing, he’s a complete showman. He makes videos that show him running toward danger, running down the street, running down an alley…did I mention ML is always running? Or, he kicks the crap out of two ne’er do well punks in an elaborate martial arts demonstration where they attack him with weapons and he shouts zingers at them over blazing rock music. “Get out of town!” he tells them. All that’s missing is the “POW!” and “BANG!” As the video closes, ML appears before a digital American flag and tells America to “Get off your ass and support freedom!”
My favorite video of all is the one where ML takes a break from his hard crime-fighting duties and goes into a bar in FULL costume and downs a beer. The guys in the bar all greet him as he enters. Someday, I will go to that bar. I will drink a beer with my costumed friend.
Getting facts from Master Legend is as easy as performing a root canal on a starving Utah Raptor without anesthesia. Oh, he’s told me easy to guess things. He works with his hands to earn money, climbing trees, doing carpentry, whatever it takes to earn a buck. I could tell from the many photos I’ve seen of him at disaster sites wielding a chainsaw with the ease of a seasoned lumberjack that the man knows his way around a power tool.
Perhaps the facts don’t really matter.
What do I really care if the guy can levitate or not? David Blaine says he can, and he makes a ton of money sitting in plexiglass boxes high above New York City for days on end. Who am I to judge?
All that really matters, is when push comes to shove, Master Legend is there for those in need.
ML: I have been to the last two tornado disasters in Florida. I’ve cut trees and rescued people and animals. I’ve brought water and snacks (to those in need) with the help of my friend "The Disabler."
I’ve done big things and little things and they all seem to equalize. I’ve saved a few lives and shut down a lot of crack houses. I love watching them get torn down.
I want people to realize this is not a joke. I have almost been killed doing this. I am always out to save and protect in costume or not. I have scared some people and have been attacked by people I was helping. I walk or drive around looking to help if needed, giving what ever kind of help I can supply.
I did not choose this life, it chose me.
There are pictures of disaster sites where giant trees lay across the roofs of people’s homes, or front decks are split in half, revealing a place where someone used to live as if it had been unzipped down the middle. They aren’t news photos. They’re taken with a regular camera and put up to remind the rest of us of what is happening in the southern regions of our country.
I don’t know his real name. I only call him Jim privately, because I have to put a face behind that mask. I don’t really need to know the rest. Ultimately, all that any of us really need be concerned about is that there are families out there who keep a memento on their wall of the worst day in their lives. When Mother Nature decided to crack her whip and destroy everything they’d built. In those photos is a man wearing a mask, holding a chainsaw, grinning slyly, like he’s getting away with something.
Those people know the truth. There are Super Hero’s in this world.
MAN OF THE HOUR
Their names are as colorful as they are diverse. Master Legend, Citizen Prime, Entomo The Insect Man, Ragensi, Fire Water, Tothian, Mr. Silent, The Eye. Their gimmicks range from the fantastically expensive and intricate (Citizen Prime's, fitted with custom 18 gauge aluminum and voice amplification system) to the simple and direct without even so much as a mask (Tothian).
A few of them genuinely intrigue me. Some weird me out. The Real Life Super Hero Community is as diverse and complex as any group of people assembled under any common banner. If you go to the local bingo hall, you'll find people you like, people you don't, people who you could care less about. Once you get past the extremely unusual aspects of grown adults dressing up in colorful costumes committed to fighting "evil", it basically follows the same social structure as anything else.
Of all the RLSH's I've encountered, I call one my friend. His name, or gimmick, if you will, came about during the days when he first imagined breaking into the world of Professional Wrestling. It seemed a good fit for a young man devoted to staying in shape, motivating children, and entertaining people. He decided to keep it simple. Why not just go with: Super Hero.
EB: Before we get into that, I need to ask the question that has been burning in my mind since I first got involved in all this craziness. I mean, seriously, there's only one good reason for guys to be out doing this stuff, right? Tell me, SH, are there RLSH groupies?
SH: I can't speak for everyone but women THROW themselves at The Suit. I say "The Suit" because they don't throw themselves at me. I'm just a comic nerd. I've been asked to be a stripper, an escort, to make out with a stranger, to rendeveous with a woman. By far the funniest one was when I was working a charity car wash & a gay guy rolled by and said "I'd love to be your Lois Lane!"
EB: Chicks dig the costume, eh? Where exactly does one GET a superhero costume? Is there really a lady like the one in The Incredibles, designing the latest and greatest colorful crimefighting apparel?
SH: Actually, in Clearwater on Hercules Avenue there is a place called "The House of Make Believe." Ms. Yevonne is RIGHT out of The Incredibles. I have two suits, the "Roadsuit" and the "Dress Uniform". The Roadsuit is made by skinzwear.com. It's tough, breathes easy, and is tough to get a hold onto. I used to wrestle in this kind of suit. My dress uniform is not nearly as tough, but is MUCH flashier. My boots are $350 one-of-a-kind, made from pre-crushed leather by Caboots in texas. They have vibrium soles to absorb impact. They are the only Capt. / Capt.Marvel type boots made in that color (saphire blue). My patches are straight military, made by a uniform shop.
My helmet is a $700 Avis 6 helicopter pilots helmet. It reduces engine noise & small arms fire, while it plugs into my scanner & black box flight recorder. My gloves are kevlar knuckled motorcycle gloves.
While Master Legend is more of the Frank Miller-esque Dark Knight Returns vigilante type of superhero, Super Hero is definitely a throwback to the Adam West days. He patrols around town in a cherry red Corvette Stingray emblazoned with the "SH" logo on the front license plate. His helmet, shirt, and belt all bear the same mark. He is more likely to be found smiling, talking about a calm patrol where he took food to the local cops, shooting the breeze with them about going to the gym.
Oh, and he has a girlfriend.
Wait...that's not all. He has a girlfriend that he actually talked into becoming a RLSH herself. Yes folks, my homeboy Super Hero got himself a Lady Hero.
EB: I am dying to know how you meet a girl and then break the news to her. I imagine it goes like this: "Honey, I need to tell you something. It's kind of complicated."
"Oh god, are you married?"
"No, it's nothing like that."
"Are you terminally ill?"
"Not that I know of."
"What is it? Are you moving away? Only out for my money? You secretly want me to have a threesome with Hillary Clinton and Condoleeza Rice? What is it! Just tell me!"
"I am a Real Life Super Hero."
It went like that, right?
SH: To be honest, it was no big deal. We met at the gym. She saw my business cards laying around, and gradually, over dating, she found out.
EB: And then she went nuts, right?
SH: Sorry it's so mundane of an answer, but she really just glided into it. It was even easier to get her actually involved in patrolling.
EB: This truly astonishes me. You have to admit, it takes a special person to do this type of thing, but it takes a REALLY special person to overlook and even get involved with it.
SH: We're really not crazy. We simply want to make a difference and give people some hope.
EB: You say that, but some of the RLSH's definitely seem bugged out.
SH: (Laughing) Yeah, you're right. Some do operate a few short of a six-pack, but we love them and encourage them anyway. As long as they're doing it the right way. What we don't need is guys who defy police and laws for their own definitions of Law and Justice, burning down crack houses, etc. They only time I've really run into them is on the internet. Ooooooh...scary. But I let them know my views on their activities. If I catch one, I'll turn them in. They're a danger to themselves as well.
This type of reasonability is the reason that most young RLSH's seek out SH for guidance. He regularly discusses the best uses a superhero can put himself to, constantly reaching out to the younger generation. In January of this year, Super Hero wrote this to all the fledgling RLSH's out there:
I thought I'd finally sit down & give you the start up advice you wanted.
ANYBODY can be a superhero, all it takes is Attitude & a costumed persona that you LIVE! (What wrestlers call a "Gimmick" you'll see that term thrown around here alot)
Stay well on the side of the law, from seeing my blogs you'll know I'm extremley pro-cop. I started out bringing them lunch & stuff and these actions have kept me from being hauled in on a few occasions.
You don't have to be jumping from rooftops on top of Crack heads to make a difference.
1. kept a little girl company infront of her pad til her mom came home after school.
2. stopped to assist at accidents (this is only a good idea if ambulances have not arrived yet.)
3. help stranded motorists.
4. searched parking lots for Hit & Run felons for the police. (heard the call on my scanner, call it in if I find them first)
5. done charity, this is the BEST & MOST high profile option. It gives people hope.
If you DO choose to jump off of roofs onto crackheads (Master Legend's hobby) do it smartly, get your rig & Technology up to par. look at Prime's & Legend's Armor, look at my Shoulder rig & gloves, NO DEADLY WEAPONS! ALL DEFENSIVE! Bear mace , stunners, tazers, ASP batons etc.
Discuss your Patrols with other Superheroes. Post them in a Blog and take advice.
above all else remember that you're doing this to HELP people, not hurt them. provide inspiration to the masses. Like Prime says "make this the year of the Superhero!"
(Taken from SH's January 20, 2007 Post)
Another thing he does is routinely seek out the best advice he can find for legal matters, asking for the opinion of law enforcement professionals as he encounters new and strange situations. He does this for his own benefit, as well as that of the people he knows will be following in his footsteps.
For the up-and-coming RLSH, SH has offered to do everything from talk to your parents when you make the fateful decision to "come out" (ANOTHER conversation I would LOVE to hear. Please, if you are an RLSH and considering telling your parents, CALL me and let me listen in.) to organizing Toy Drops at Christmas-time at the local All Children's Hospital. You can see some of the photos on his webpage from the visit. I have an easier time envisioning those sick kids faces when a caped man in blue boots walked in carrying 200 presents.
It's almost enough to make a grown Enemy cry, folks.
For now, this concludes my series on Real Life Super Hero Encounters. For anyone interested, my final opinon is thus:
The world has gone completely nuts. The government, the business world, the religious organizations, media, all of it. Completely bonkers. Nobody knows what the hell is going on anymore, what is right anymore, or who we are supposed to be anymore.
It's all twisted and skewed and cynical and corrupt.
If, in that twisted, skewed, cynical, and corrupt world a few men and women want to put on easily identifiable costumes or uniforms that shine brightly like a beacon in the dark that say "I Am Here To Help" then more power to them. I hope they do it in a constructive way. I hope they do it safely. I hope they let the police do the dirty work, because it is their job to do it, and they have the training and experience and knowledge of the law and civil rights. I hope, in short, that all the young Real Life Super Hero's look toward the example of a bald man in bright red tights.
My friend, the Man of the Hour: Super Hero.
It's Hard Being a (Real Life Super) Hero These Days
Some days you just don't wanna put on your batsuit, ladies and gents, I'll tell ya.
At first it seemed like things were looking up for the RLSH's (Real Life Super Hero's). They received a large profile piece in Rolling Stone magazine ARTICLE which focused on my buddy, Master Legend. The Watchmen movie is scheduled to be released soon, which, if it does what the comic book did for it's readers, will elevate the concept of costumed crimefighters to a more adult level. Christmas time has just passed, which is always a big crowd-pleaser as my other good friend, Super Hero, leads a procession of RLSH'S to local charities and gives out presents to sick kids.
What could possibly go wrong?
Yesterday the London Times published an article Amateur Crime Fighters Are Surging in the US that does less than flatter the RLSH's. At one point in the article, it astonishingly alludes that "other police departments" are concerned that the RLSH's could evolve into similar activist groups that began as "community defenders" that we now know as the "Crips" and the "Bloods."
Please, God, if you can hear me up there, let them be right.
As insane as this world is, I would think nothing could possibly be crazier than a group of rampaging costumed superhero-turned-gangbangers. What kind of gang graffitti would they use? Would we see a bunch of Batman symbols crossed out by the Riddler's question marks?
It would be like the movie The Warriors, except it wouldn't just be one gang dressed up in costumes, it would be all of them. We'd have huge gang wars where they used nothing but potato guns and boomerangs. There would be spandex in the street, people!
If you are currently living in a town where the "police department" thinks this is a possibility, I would suggest you seriously consider moving. First off, I work with more than thirty other people. You couldn't get us all to agree on what color to paint headquarters let alone something as serious as the "RLSH As Potential StreetGang Threat."
Several RLSH's tried to comment on the Times article, but so far, no comments have been published. Strangely, many mocking comments made their way on easily.
And then, to make it all worse, I read an article today that Fox is suing Warner Bros to keep "The Watchmen" from being released. I'm too afraid to tell Super Hero about it. He's an even bigger fan of the book than I am. He's written FAN FICTION about The Watchmen that not only continues the story but incorporates the RLSH's into the continuity. Fox Article
Now, for anyone who's been a longtime reader of The Enemy Blog, you know that I go way back with these guys. I've always had a soft spot for ML, SH, Tothian, Citizen Prime, Entomo, all those guys. I don't like to see them messed with. In my personal opinion, the world could use a little color. A little light. A little fun.
I've said time and time again that there should be limits as to what they attempt to get involved in, how they exactly go about "fighting evil", and what their relationship should be to local law enforcement. I've acted as counsel for several of them, guiding them when asked about the best way they can contribute to the larger effort to fight crime.
Do I think they are crazy?
Nutty? Fo sho.
But what the hell. In the immortal words of Planetary's Elijah Snow, "It's a strange world. Let's keep it that way."
(Article for the Minneapolis City Paper where I was interviewed about the RLSH's City Paper)
HE F**KING DESTROYS EVIL!
Maybe it's because I only know a few Real Life Super Hero's that I tend to assign them archetypes. The archetypes I give them are basically based on whomever I meet first.
Super Hero is definitely an archetype. He's an unmasked community servant who spends as much time smiling and making people feel good as he does patrolling in his Corvette, listening to his scanner.
On the othe side of the equation is Master Legend. ML is quite different from SH, in that nothing seems to make him happier than "busting up crack heads," but he still has a large focus on community projects, such as: cutting trees up that block roadways during hurricanes, etc. Of course, ML wears a mask, and will gladly tell you about his experiences with the supernatural that gifted him with special abilities. Magic, if you will.
And then, there is Tothian.
I admit, when I first came across him, I thought he was just a punk ass kid. He'd say nutty things, like, "I fu**ing DESTROY evil." A lot. I didn't quite know how to take him.
Over time, though, the kid grew on me. At the tender age of 23, he has firmly established himself as one of the senior RLSH members, standing at the forefront of the entire cultural movement. Since last year, Tothian has founded and has since spent a year as President of the Heroes Network.
As I interview him, the RLSH community is in a place I never expected to see it. The front page. There have been numerous articles and news pieces on the RLSH's as of late, and not all of it has been kind. In particular, my old friends at Fox News used their typical smarmy, scummy, pandering, elitist, inflammatory style of "broadcasting" to really kick these guys (and girls) in the nuts (or ladyparts.).
So as I sit down with Tothian to talk about his role in the community, remember, I'm talking about the future of Real Life Super Heroing for a good long while. At 23, the kid's going to be around awhile.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Who is Tothian? Can you give me a little background?
TOTHIAN: I am currently 23 years old. When I was 16, I graduated from a military school, and at 17, joined the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves as a Grunt/Infantry Machine Gunner. Where I served for 5 years.
I also have studied different forms of martial arts for some years now, my 3 main styles consisting of (but not limited to) Aikido, Muay Thai, and Stickfighting. As for my primary location, that must remain a secret. I do travel around a lot though, and meet up with other real life superheroes in the community.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Your Myspace profile has a New York/New Jersey feel to it. Would it be safe to say that you protect the 5 Boroughs, and Jersey? My Senior Vice President would certainly feel more comfortable having a superhero to call on in times of emergency.
TOTHIAN: I prefer not to give too many details on the exact locations I patrol, especially since I travel around out of state a lot, to meet up with other real life superheroes. My focus is not on protecting on only one general area, but rather on doing my part to protect people everywhere.
THE ENEMY BLOG: All right, then, who is Tothian as a hero? What does he do, what is his target audience, so to speak? Crime buster, or helper of little old ladies crossing the street?
TOTHIAN: I do not consider myself a crimefighter, since I am not a cop and it is not my job to enforce the law. I can't call myself a hero. I can only do what I can to try to be heroic. It's up to others if they consider me a hero. I am a Warrior and a Protector.
I fight the evildoers who harm the innocent and defenseless. I'm out to save lives. Even if it means giving up my own life in the process. If I die doing this, I'll die with no regrets. I just want everyone to know that.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What do you mean by dying?
TOTHIAN: I mean exactly what you think I mean.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Have you ever been in any situations where you think that might be a possibility? What is your closest call in terms of being Tothian?
TOTHIAN: Yes. My entire life, since I was no older than 5 years old, I thought I would die shortly after my 23rd birthday, in 2008. So about a year ago, Zimmer did a past life hypnosis with me, half of which was done over the phone, and the other half of it done online. He was trying to help me see why my entire life, I thought I would die then. Not only did I see how I was killed in a past life (another story all together), but I also saw clear as day how I was going to die in this life. May 22nd, 2008.
I was gonna save a kid from getting hit by a car, thus getting hit in the process, and bleeding to death minutes later. So, being absolutely sure I was going to die that night, I went out on patrol that night anyway. I knew I had to save this kid's life. I didn't care that I was going to die. That night, I did stop a kid from getting hit by a car. I don't think he had any idea what would've happened if I wasn't there though, because it all happened so quickly.
It was exactly the same scenery like how I foresaw it happening. But I believe that in knowing that, that I was able to subconsciously prevent it.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What would you consider an evil doer to be?
TOTHIAN: People who look to cause harm upon others, with little or no regard to how it will affect their lives. Those who steal from others are evil. Those who rape or molest innocent women and children.
THE ENEMY BLOG: How do you find them?
TOTHIAN: I patrol various locations, paying attention to everything and everyone around me. Doing my duty to make sure that those around me are safe. Sometimes, they can be found anywhere. You never know exactly when and where they will be, or what they will do.
I believe that RLSH's should be ready for anything and everything that comes their way. That's what I do.
THE ENEMY BLOG: How do you fight them?
TOTHIAN: My primary focus is on protecting others. I only fight if it's absolutely necessary to protect or defend myself or other people. I have martial arts training, too. So I can handle myself pretty well.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Give me a couple examples of being a warrior, and being a protector.
TOTHIAN: Being a Warrior is something that many people will compare to being a Fighter. But a Fighter is someone who is judged by how well he or she can fight. A Warrior is judged by what he fights for, and how honorably he fights for it. It doesn't matter how well you can fight, as long as you can stick to what you believe in, and not be tempted by greed, power, fame, money, or glory.
However, training one's self as much as they can, should be a huge focus for Heroes. Being a Protector means dedicating our lives to keeping others safe from harm or danger, regardless of the consequences. Stepping outside our own bubbles of safety to keep others in their's.
THE ENEMY BLOG: How long have you been hero-ing?
TOTHIAN: My entire life. It was something I always just knew I had to do, from as early on as I could possibly remember. It became second nature, to the point where it's not even a job, it's just a way of life for me. But to give you a more specified answer, I started patrolling when I was 5 years old. I used to carry around a stick and that was my weapon back then.
THE ENEMY BLOG: How long have you been in the Tothian uniform?
TOTHIAN: I can't give you an exact time. Since in one way or another, I've had a uniform for years. But I improve it more over time, where I see necessary.
THE ENEMY BLOG: I understand always being on alert and always being a force for good, but how long have you actually been going on standard patrols.
TOTHIAN: Age 5.
THE ENEMY BLOG: All right. Can you at least tell me what are your patrols like? How long do they last? How many neighborhoods do you go to? Do you go by foot, by car, by bus? Plane, train or bobsled?
TOTHIAN: I consider myself on patrol the second I leave my house, in uniform or not. My phone is usually on, and I'm ready to help out where I am needed. But when I go out for the primary purpose of patrolling, that can last anywhere from a few hours, to all night. I try to make it my point to never set patterns in times, routes, or locations, or methods of travelling. Be it by walking, bike, car, or public transportation. I do it all.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What influenced you to get started?
TOTHIAN: I was abused at a very early age. What that did, was give me this urge to dedicate my life to protecting others from danger or harm, so others don't have to live through the kind of crap that I lived through. That is why I am so f**king passionate about destroying evil. I did find out about fictional superheroes at a very early age. I always had this theory that it could be done in real life. So that's what I did.
THE ENEMY BLOG: How exactly does one destroy evil? Please be specific.
TOTHIAN: Many ways. You can fight off an attacker from a victim, kick their ass, scare them to not ever want to do it again, or send them to jail. If it's a Terrorist who is killing people and there is no other way to save them other than to kill that Terrorist, then I'm all about killing that Terrorist. The punishment must fit the crime.
But at the same time, if you can destroy the evil 'within' someone, instead of destroying that person who 'is' evil, than you accomplished a great act of heroism. Make others not want to be evil. But when that fails, I feel that one of the greatest evils in this world is to sit idly by and let other's do evil. So a Hero must take the courage and initiative to stand up and do the right thing. Always.
THE ENEMY BLOG: In your years as an RLSH, what advances have you seen the movement make?
TOTHIAN: I've been doing this years before there was an RLSH Community. There've been a few of us who have been operating at a time before the internet became big and popular, many of us thinking we were the only ones doing this. But when we all started coming together online, after making ourselves known, networking, getting to know each other, updating each other with what's went on in our training and on our patrols, showing pictures of us in our uniforms out on patrol, our weapons, our gear, all of that.
We all got to know each other well, and became good friends and comrades. Over time, it started to be that more of us would teach and learn from each other. There are RLSH's who have served in many jobs that while not defining them as real life superheroes, they do contribute to their skills. Such as Police, Military, Homeland Security, First Aid, Red Cross, Firefighters, and other useful job skills. So when you now got so many skills all put together in one community, and we all work together, we all become more advanced and smarter as a whole.
Those of us who have been doing this a while are better trained mentally and physically, and also with more useful gadgets and stuff. We're able to offer our advice to the newer RLSH's out there. And there've been some RLSH meet ups already, and there will continue to be more.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Let’s say I’m interested in getting into the RLSH world. What do I need to do, what do I need to know, where do I need to go, what do I need to get?
TOTHIAN: While many of us create a superheroic identity, with a name and uniform, that is not what defines us as real life superheroes. It's what we do that matters most. The Heroes Network is where most of the real life superhero community goes to communicate with each other. Heroes Network On there, you'll find a listing of the entire real life superhero community, a forum for RLSH's, RLSH's-in-training, and some RLSH Support. A public myspace group, a frappr map, and a few other useful links. But it's up to the individual to decide why they want to do this. What they hope to accomplish. What drives them toward wanting to do good. What they consider the worst type of evil in this world.
Questions like that, are what potential future RLSH's should ask themselves first, before living this lifestyle, and operating in this line of work.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What RLSH organizations are you involved with?
TOTHIAN: The Heroes Network. It's not so much a team or organization, but rather the primary network of communication within the real life superhero community. I do like to network with everyone in the RLSH Community though. (Thus, the name 'Heroes Network', ha) I have met up and patrolled with Team Justice, which is located in Florida and includes Master Legend, Superhero, Amazonia, The Symbiote, and The Disabler.
THE ENEMY BLOG: How many people belong to the Heroes Network? Is this the Superhero Registry I keep hearing about on the news?
TOTHIAN: No. The World Superhero Registry is a disgustingly inaccurate, outdated website. I spoke to Kevlex, the guy who runs it, since he doesn't communicate with the RLSH Community that much, but I do on pretty much a daily basis. So I know them well.
I gave him some advice to help him fix it up a bit. He didn't respond to me for nearly 5 months, and when he did, he refused to make the accurate changes to give it the credibility it needed. He also admitted to me that he lies to the media, because it helps keep his identity secret. If you want proof, look at the media he's gotten in the past 4 years. It lists him anywhere as young as 36, or as old as 48. It's fine that some RLSH's may want to be more (or less) secretive than others, but lying is a no-no. The more preferable method would be to not give out information we don't want known.
There is no reason for any of us to 'lie'. I found pretty much every single RLSH in our community, and made a listing with all of them. When I was the HN President for 2 years, I kept it updated on a semi-daily basis. New RLSH's, some who might change their name, email address, or myspace url. He copied all the names about a year and a half ago, minus the email addresses and myspace URL's, and has not updated that since.
I don't like bashing others, but I hate ignorant people, and liars. And I feel it's my duty to expose that.
THE ENEMY BLOG: You recently gave up the position of President of Hero's Network. Who set up the rules? Is it a voted position?
TOTHIAN: I created it 2 years ago. My Vice President (I decided to let the HN elect our VP) and I discussed the option of letting the community select who would get to run the HN. We knew that such a decision is what the RLSH Community lacked in the past. We wanted to give it such an option. I called for an election in late 2007, but nobody wanted to run for that position, and everyone wanted me to stay. So I waited another year. And then I decided not to run.
I already accomplished my part. I created it, and gathered everyone there. I felt it was time for a new leader with new ideas. Zimmer was elected our new President, and Nyx as the Vice President. I, however, remain the Founder, which is not a leadership position or anything, just a title.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What does the President do?
TOTHIAN: The President of the Heroes Network has various duties. Representing the HN as a symbol of Leadership, both within our community, and to the public. Accepting or denying new registrations into the Heroes Network. Appointing Moderators and Leaders of Departments within the HN, such as the Oracle Team, Public Affairs, Creative Fundraising, and DOGS(Department of Global Security). Setting up chatroom meetings, conference calls, and hopefully soon to be more meetups.
There's also the Vice President, who acts as an assistant to the President, and helps out where-ever the President needs them to. And obviously, assumes the Presidency in death or resignation of the President, or as Acting President in their absence. But then again, this is a new administration we have now. Which means new ideas.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What, exactly, does the Oracle Team do? What are the DOGS and what do they do? Are these just conceptual ideas?
TOTHIAN: The Oracle Team is a team I founded to be sanctioned by the Heroes Network as it's own department that deals with those interested in the paranormal. They train in psychic abilities for the primary purpose of saving lives. DOGS (The HN Department of Global Security) is a new position created by the new HN President, Zimmer. If you have any further questions about them, ask Zimmer. It's all in his hands now.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Tell me about your gear. How much of it did you build? How do you find materials? Did you buy any?
TOTHIAN: As of New Years, 2009, I have an updated version of my suit, which consists of:
-Black slip-resistant combat boots
-Black cargo pants
-Knee & shin pads
-Black underarmor shirt, with symbol painted on it
-Elbow pads & arm bracers
-Utility belt, consisting of extendable baton, handcuffs, hearing amplification device, cigarettes & lighter, and cellphone with headset. Occasionally my extendable nunchucks, too.
THE ENEMY BLOG: ….cigarettes and lighter? Cigarettes and lighter! For real? Smoking is a part of your uniform?? That is hysterical. Do a lot of RLSH’s smoke? I never even thought of that.
TOTHIAN: I wouldn't say it was a part of my uniform, but I do like to smoke cigarettes. A lot. And yes, some RLSH's do smoke.
THE ENEMY BLOG: But seriously…about the hearing amplification device. If you were caught using that in certain parts of the country it could result in some pretty serious legal ramifications for violating the wiretap act. Further, sap gloves, batons, nunchaku, all qualify as prohibited offensive weapons in a lot of states. How do you get around that?
TOTHIAN: I usually don't carry weapons on me very much, especially in states where they are not legal. It's not needed, since from my training, I myself am a weapon. And I don't use the hearing amplification device to spy on people. I only use them on patrols if it's a situation where I feel it's necessary to save someone's life.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Ever had any negative run-ins with the police?
TOTHIAN: I'm not a criminal or bad guy, so no. I have ran in to some good cops, and bad cops, but when they saw that I was once a Marine, and just out to help, they didn't bother me. I even gave the police some information on where drugs were being sold, after some drug dealers were trying to sell to me one night on patrol, in a very dangerous town in New Jersey.
From the time I spent being a Marine, I have grown a lot of respect for Cops - especially the good ones. I feel like I can understand them, the stresses of their job, and what they have to go through. So I treat them with respect, and they usually are very respectful in return.
THE ENEMY BLOG: What do you see the RLSH's place in society as in the new year? The next decade?
TOTHIAN: We're only going to grow larger and larger, as we already are. I won't even try to guess what will happen from there though.
THE ENEMY BLOG: Has all the recent publicity helped or hurt the RLSH movement?
TOTHIAN: In my personal opinion, I think since we receive media, it let's the world know that people like us exist. And that it is possible to do this in real life. So they can come to us and we all work with them. It's good for networking.
The more people that 'do' know about us, the more that 'will' know about us. The only problem with the media is that they misinterpret things about us, a lot. It's one thing to hate us, but please understand that we would rather be hated for what we are, than loved for what we are not. And it's even worse to be hated for what you are not. But either way, we will continue doing what we do regardless.
I do believe that people are becoming so much more understanding and accepting of real life superheroes, because they're starting to see that we're doing this because we actually give a damn.
His name is Tothian. He destroys evil.
The following is an excerpt from WHITECHAPEL: THE FINAL STAND OF SHERLOCK HOLMES
Holmes clapped me on the back, “My stalwart friend Watson calmly pulled his pistol and shot the wretched thing dead. His hand was as steady as our Mrs. Hudson drawing a morning cup of tea.”
“Really?” Mary gasped. “Dr. Watson, you must have been in the military service, to remain so calm under such conditions.”
“Well, in fact I did serve in the army.”
“He did more than just serve, Miss Morstan,” Holmes said. “He was wounded on the Afghan front in battle.”
“Then you can be of some help to me,” she said. “My father served in the Army of India, and his involvement there lays at the heart my problem. You simply must stay.”
“All right, Miss Morstan. But, as I recall, Holmes, you fired your pistol at the same moment I did. And then, as the beast was about to devour poor Sir Henry, pumped five more rounds into its belly and put an end to its misery.”
Holmes shook his head, sighing. “The details are but a blur to me, Watson. I was too filled with fright to properly recall. Thank heaven the good doctor is also talented enough to make a written account of our more noteworthy adventures.”
“Oh, so you are an author as well as a man of action?”
“I have not published anything yet, but someday I hope to. Just a few short stories about our more interesting adventures, if anyone is interested in reading that sort of thing.”
“You must tell me, what is the title for your adventure with this most ferocious beast of Dartmoor?”
“I am calling it ‘The Adventure of the Great Detective and the Evil Snarling Beast Which Massacred Most of Devon County.’ What do you think?”
Neither Holmes nor Mary replied. Finally, Holmes cleared his throat, “So, Miss Morstan, what seems to be the trouble?”
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