Sunday, May 20, 2012

AS IT STANDS - Coming Soon: a Superhero near you

                      By Dave Stancliff/For The Times-Standard
   Have you ever, even for just a moment, felt like you were stuck in between two worlds? You know, like you were in a Twilight Zone episode?
   Perhaps it’s because of the recent release of The Avengers movie, about a group of Marvel Comic Superheroes. I’ve seen a lot of stories about real life superheroes lately and it’s kind of strange. Case in point; have you heard of the Xtreme Justice League?
   It’s members are everyday Joes who dress up like flashy comic book superheroes and patrol the city streets of San Diego, California in search of crime. The group has an uneasy alliance with local law enforcement (that may be putting it lightly) who’d prefer they take their capes and go play video games.
   Here’s a list of current members: (taken from their website) Mr. Xtreme, Shadow Hare, Urban Avenger, Good Samaritan, Vigilante Spider, and Radnor.
    NBC's "Law and Order: SVU" featured a group similar to the Extreme Justice League recently. They were portrayed as a group of vigilantes who sometimes clashed with the police. Reality and entertainment blended once again. Seattle police have been dealing with a group of superheroes patrolling the streets at night for over two years. They call themselves the Rain City Superhero Movement and say they're part of a nationwide movement of real-life crime fighters.
  Their superhero names are:  Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Penelope and Phoenix Jones, the Guardian of Seattle. No need to stop there. Go to and prepare to meet a lot of superheroes patrolling the mean streets of America.
   I recall a time, from 1964 to 1966, when I bought every Marvel Comic that came out. Spiderman was my favorite. I read some DC Comics, like Superman and Batman, but considered Marvel the home of the coolest superheroes.
   Little did I imagine how decades later, my favorite superheroes would emerge in full blown movies and cartoons on TV. And running around in real life! Maybe you can see my point about feeling like I’m in a Twilight Zone episode.
   Lately, I’ve had to pinch myself to make sure I’m not in an alternate universe. The cops in San Diego are concerned the Xtreme Justice League may take on more than they can handle when they make their next big move into the gang infested areas in South East San Diego.
  Things get a little funky when I consider superheroes who don’t have super powers. How can that be? Anyone stupid enough to dress up in tights and a cape better have super powers if they intend to take on organized gangs.  Mr. Xtreme and his peers carry some self defense weapons, like stun guns and mace, and they all study Kenpo karate. Automatic pistols and rifles trump those trinkets big time! As for getting in a karate move before being shot point blank, I think the outcome is predictable.
    I have nothing against these civic minded superheroes (they could do a better job of designing their costumes) and I wish them well. I just hope they don’t let their flashy alter egos completely take over and have a bad ending for their efforts. There are no second chances in the real world, unlike the comics.
   I was hooked on comics in my teenage years because they provided an escape from reality. Today, I don’t read comics. I don’t watch comic book cartoons characters on TV. I have to admit I may see The Avengers movie because I’m still a kid at heart, and I love how realistic the characters look. To my ever lasting credit, I understood I was reading fiction back in the sixties when I eagerly devoured the latest issues of The Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and  X-Men. 
  Today’s movie audience practically becomes part of the movie with 3-D cinema photography and stunning sound systems. Some theaters even have seats on platforms that rumble the viewer for additional effect. Disaster movies, especially ones with earthquakes, can literally be a jarring experience.
   The whole viewing experience in theatres is designed to blur reality. It seems to be working too well for some folks. Sorry Mr. Xtreme and loyal side kicks, but you appear to be a good example of what I’m talking about.
   I know, I’ve treated this subject in a somewhat whimsical fashion, but there’s nothing funny about people losing touch with reality. Especially if they, or others are hurt.
As It Stands, superheroes are cool, but I’m afraid they don’t exist in the real world.


1) www.squidoo

2) Everything About Comics: Comics Blog

3) Comprehensive real-Time Self-Defense Newswire


Stephen said...

Not seeing any regular TV fare for over, gahhh, 30 years now, I missed the Smallville series about young Superman. I got the first series at our library here in beautiful Rio Dell and got hooked on it. Ended up renting the whole series? Why? Because I was utterly fascinated by the Christian morality plays being taught in these Smallville soap operas. Superman is Christ as Michael. There were even shots of Supe with a statue of the archangel Michael behind him. Knowing from the Gospel of Humanity that future generations will come to achieve the god-like powers of Superman (as Jesus predicted we will have powers that surpass even his) I can see in the resurrection of super-heroes a replay of polytheism, a whole bunch of gods and goddesses running around that finally amalgamated into Jesus Christ and the Abrahamic God.

It's telling that Superman's real mate cannot be a human woman but must be another super-hero. Lois Lane became Wonder Woman in Smallville because Wonder Woman is Superman's true mate. Ya gotta keep these things straight 'cause otherwise the phony Christians, (not with Superman's good morals) will try to claim the Church is the Bride of Christ--not so..never can be. Going to be another Super Savior and a woman at that! And I've seen Her. And I didn't go to any movie to do it.

Dave Stancliff said...

Wow Stephen!

I never looked at the Superman saga as being a Christan Morality've certainly opened my eyes with that observation. It sounds right.

I love it when deep thinkers comment here!

Stephen said...

"Deep thinkers"..I like that. Better'n deep doo-doo or deeply disturbed, speaking of which, are you ready for the end of the world today, Dave? It's the End Times of Pisces as spiritual unification unites the spiritual astro-theological calendar this year, 2012. Super heroes will be the in-thing so grab your cape and fly. Most of us have done in our dreams. This is really deep stuff I tell you..

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Stancliff,

I'm writing in response to your article about Superheros. Actually, I am a retired Superhero. My moniker was SuperFink and an 8mm documentary was filmed of one of my daring rescues. I was the protector of my neighborhood in Azusa in the 1960s. Perhaps you heard of me? Alas, those were the days. Since retirement, I am now only a Superhero to my grandchildren. Who knows maybe I'll don my cape again some day. PS - I never did wear tights.


Jendocino said...

Dave, you're a real-life hero, so you don't need tights or a catchy name. I wonder, though... If you WERE a super hero, what would you call yourself, and what would your super power be?

I always thought I'd call myself Cowgirl Woman, and my super power would be incapacitating people with laughter...

Hope you have a wonderful week, my friend!

Dave Stancliff said...

Hi Jen,

I like "Wonder Wart Hog" but it's been taken. I guess "Wonder Dave" would be okay and my power would be making people laugh.

Hope you have a great week too.

Stephen said...

My actual favorite super hero when I was a kid (smaller version of self) was Plastic Man. I was bored silly with Superman and all the rest of them. But what can you expect from a kid who grew up on the original Mad magazines which really were Utterly Mad, unlike the satirical ones that most people associate with Mad magazine--also boring, boring boring. I was a staff cartoonist for my high school paper and kids thought I'd be working for Mad as an adult. But I fooled them by golly. I went mad instead. No, not really, just got religion which may or may not be the same thing.

Super heroes...why is it nobody puts Tarzan in the group category? He was the only other super guy I respected. Loved animals and they loved him.