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Real-life super heroes

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Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s real-life superhero!

The StatesmanAverage Joes are donning capes and taking to the streets to fight crime. They wear masks and suits to disguise themselves in order to perform their heroic deeds.

This colourful take on neighbourhood watch is growing in popularity. While we are used to seeing superheroes on the big screen, one internet site shows that these heroes are increasingly becoming reality.

The World Superhero Registry lists the many real-life superheroes, (RLSH) and their lifestyle while documenting the evolution of their superhero subculture.

The site launched in March 2005 and has been growing ever since. They have superheroes registered from all over the world – even the UK.

Despite this not all superheroes fight crime. The RLSH community from the World Superhero Registry have two different viewpoints.

At one end of the spectrum they have superheroes participating in humanitarian causes, such as helping the victims of natural disasters, assisting the homeless, promoting awareness of domestic abuse, or protecting the environment.

Others are the crime-fighting real-life superheroes, some of whom actively pursue criminals and sometimes physically confront them.

Recently two young teenagers joined forces to fight street crime. Masked crusaders Night Warrior and The Man In Black, both 18, teamed up like Batman and Robin.

They have already hunted down a suspected drugs gang and tipped off cops about their den in North London.

Hat-wearing The Man In Black said he has been in a few scrapes tackling crime before and was cut on the hand by one thug, but only uses an umbrella for protection – similar to Batman villain the Penguin.

He revealed his identity as unemployed Joseph Falica, of Harrow, who started patrols two years ago. He said: "I'm willing to risk my life."

Spandex-clad Night Warrior, who has joined him on patrol in London, is from Salford. He said: "I'm saving up for a bullet-proof vest."

The pair join a long list of other real-life superheroes in action including Black Arrow. Others that operate in Britain include names like Vague, Swift, Lionheart and Terrorvision.

Researcher Tea Krulos said many more operated in the shadows. He said: "Britain has more amateur superheroes than you'd guess."

In February this year, chubby bank worker Scott Cooke, 26 – also known as The Statesman – hit the headlines when news broke of him secretly donning a Union Jack outfit to fight crime in Birmingham.

US author Krulos has investigated such comic-style heroes for years in the States. And he said: "In America we have many, but they tend to seek publicity.”

"In Britain it is a very secretive underground society. They do all they can to avoid publicity and communicate online. Whole forums are set up and often they operate in groups. I have spoken extensively to The Statesman, and he takes what he does very seriously."

You may be wondering why anyone would dress up and fight crime one UK RLSH named Black Arrow said: “I am a female RLSH, I aid those in need while serving justice to those who deserve it, but I also give advice and guidance.”

“But I am not just here for the people; I am here for the animals and the environment, for they are part of this world too.”

“Everyone has the power to stand up for themselves, to stand up for other people, but it's the few that decide to embrace that power and be heard, and these people are RLSH, and rightly so.

“We stand for our beliefs, the rights of others we stand for those who cannot, we stand because we can.”

“It's not the uniform you wear or the training you have done that matters it's how big your heart is and how far you are willing to go for your fellow man. "

Krulos - writing a book on superheroes - said he had spoken to six UK crusaders, and was trailing ten more. He said: "These are normal people wanting adventure and to improve communities. They achieve more than you'd think."




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