Who will be that masked (wo)man?

Still from the documentary SuperheroesNot long ago, the ladies and I had an opportunity to see a documentary entitled Superheroes. The film technically hasn’t been released yet – we viewed it as part of a film festival – but it’s a nice bit of work that’s definitely worth checking out when you get the opportunity.

(Here’s a short clip if you’d like a taste of it.)

The movie’s subject is the variety of Real Life Super Heroes (RLSH) which have cropped up in recent years, and the fellow behind the project does a great job of trying to convey who these people are, and what motivates them.

Unfamiliar? You’ll be surprised how many hits googling RLSH will return.

Master Legend and friends

The truth is, the majority of those dressing up to patrol the streets rarely confront crime directly. Instead, most seem to involve themselves in assisting the homeless and the less fortunate, sometimes with material goods, (snacks make heroes quite popular,) and sometimes simply by brightening their day with the feeling that someone is watching out for them.

While many do strive to put themselves in harm’s way, the lack of heroic fisticuffs is probably a boon; those who take a secret identity often seem to find themselves with a strong heart, but an, er, untrained body. The reasoning behind their risk-taking seems to fall into two camps: there are those who may be a little naive about the true brutality of the world, and their place in it, and then there are those who’ve suffered some sort of trauma in their past, and are dealing with their issues by attempting to help others.

It’s that second path that I find the most interesting.

Mr Xtreme

I suspect nearly everyone who left the theater had the same thought nagging at them: “these people seem nice, it’ll be a real shame when one of them finally gets shot.”

Obviously, none portrayed have superhuman powers, and it’s easy to get anxious about those who do take the “fighting” part of “fighting crime” quite seriously – especially when they decide to confront a drug dealer twice their size, as happens in the film.

Still, I don’t think the idea will remain at the level of costumed social worker forever.

It’s that traumatized archetype that I wonder about. At some point the idea will reach the ear of a billionaire with a past, and then things will get interesting.

Sound ridiculous? Are you familiar with the work of Troy Hurtubise, who develops craziness not but an hour-and-a-half from where I grew up?

[youtube_sc url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPS2l5fQ55A]

Troy sounds silly, I know, but the reality is that his materials tend to hold up. I’ve seen footage of the earlier version of his suit being set on fire, and shot repeatedly, and somehow the mad inventor continues to survive.

Would he have any issue with developing a copy for a secret investor looking to clean up the streets of, say, Detroit?

I doubt it.

Still from Dark Knight