After Hours

The superhero down the street

After checking out sites about real-life superheroes, Edmond Woychowsky admits that there's a part of him that would like to don tights and fight crime. Would you like to be a real-life superhero?

The movie Kick-Ass, which opens Friday, April 16, 2010 in the United States, has been getting a lot of press the last several weeks, especially about the character Hit-Girl. If you haven't been paying attention, Hit-Girl is a prepubescent trained killer and, for some reason, this bothers some people. Go figure!

Kick-Ass follows Dave, a high school student and comic book aficionado, who decides to become a superhero. Unfortunately, Dave has no training, no super powers, and nothing driving him to be a superhero except for the fact that he wants to be one. What I found surprising is David has a number of real-world counterparts.

Google the words real life superheroes and you'll get more than two million hits. One of the sites you'll find is Real Life, which heavily promotes the Kick-Ass. This Web site makes me think that the alternate reality of The Watchmen is real. Check out the FAQs, the forum, hero tips, and the shop run by Cafe Press. My favorite site feature is an interactive map that shows where you can find superheroes in your area.

Another hit on Google is World Superhero Registry, which unlike Real Life, doesn't appear to have any movie tie-ins. What this Web site does have that's really neat is the group's history going back to its founding, as well as a comprehensive list of reasons for wearing a costume; my favorite reason, which is almost like something right out The Incredibles, is to avoid litigation. Yeah, it sounds weird, but it's one of those things that a superhero should worry about.

On some level, I find real-life superheroes a little odd. These are adults who run around in costumes like comic book characters; many of them wear tights, masks, and armor and use gadgets and train in martial arts. It's almost as if they were right out of the film Mystery Men. However, on another level, they remind me of John Ritter's character in Hero at Large; they want to give people hope and make the world a better place. Honestly, there's a small part of me that would like to don tights and fight crime. Maybe a costume like Nite Owl would be better — it could hold in my gut; although... tights might make my job easier because the evildoers would hurt themselves laughing.

My question is: If you were given the chance, would you become a superhero?

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