It probably wasn’t apparent in my little blurb last week about Phoenix Jones, Seattle’s own superhero, just how fangirl excited I am about his appearance.
Because, obviously, I am. Hi, have you met me? Comic-book superhero stuff combined with weird new social phenomenon? I am so there.
And yet I am totally late to the party, because this is apparently a whole Movement, not just this one guy. The Real Life Superheroes have apparently been operating globally for about 5 years. They’re a very loosely organized group of individual humanitarians, social activists, environmental activists, and yes…crime fighters. They give blood, work in soup kitchens, stage protests, and prevent muggings, all while wearing a costume.
You’d think that would get attention, and it has. There’s a movie, The Real Life Superhero Project. There’s a book, Heroes in the Night. (There’s even an unofficial manual, in case you’re interested.) And yet…not as much as attention as you’d assume, over the course of 5 years. I mean, they are wearing spandex and patrolling the city streets. I’m a comic book nerd and I live my life online, and yet, I hadn’t heard of them until I started looking into this Phoenix Jones dude.
Apparently, despite the flashy spandex outfits, quite a lot of the Real Life Superheroes aren’t interested in personal media attention at all. They just want to do their part to make the world a better place, raise a little awareness about being kinder to your neighbour, and go home and hang up their capes at the end of the day like everybody else. The irony of wearing an attention-seeking outfit while eschewing the press seems lost on them, but they’re out saving the world (which is more than I’m doing), so I guess they’re allowed to be a little quirky.
Phoenix Jones, on the other hand, is much more vocal. And…hands-on. In less than a year he’s already been stabbed, and last week he had his nose broken while being held at gunpoint. He seems to think this is all in the line of duty, and is adamant that “Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background, and we're well aware of what it costs to do what we do."
(Of course. Because nobody’s ever been maimed or killed because of a cockup in the military.)
Phoenix and his ‘team’ have already been offered several reality TV opportunities, because, OF COURSE THEY HAVE, and I’ve read conflicting reports about whether he turned them down or is “considering” them.
And, in true comic-book fashion, another Real Life Superhero has already created a public schism by calling out Phoenix Jones for his amateurism, though that persona doesn’t appear on the Real Life Superhero roster, and Phoenix Jones does. Phoenix Jones has also informed the police that they “shouldn’t listen to” Knight Owl or Captain Ozone, as they’re not part of the team. So nyah. I smell Evil Arch Nemesis Origin Story, how about you?
(And does it make it worse, or does it make his message of “people looking out for people” stronger, that he apparently has a 9-5 job and a wife and kids? What kind of wife is okay with her husband wandering the streets looking for carjackings to stop? What kind of employer doesn’t care if you come in totally exhausted and covered in blood? And where can I apply?)
Eccentric do-gooders, or attention whores? I’m not sure, but they’ve certainly got MY attention. And I’ll be watching.
Though I draw the line at the reality show.