Alternate universes and super powers may be limited to comic books, but costumed crusaders are everywhere in the real world. If they aren't fighting crime, they're doing good deeds, raising awareness, helping the downtrodden, setting an example, steering kids in the right direction, and generally making the world a better place, each in their own strange way. Here are a few that are based in the southern part of the United States.
Master Legend goes on missions to find and help the homeless of Orlando. He began his superhero career in Winter Park, Florida. He works together with other Florida superheroes in both his missions and his music, as several heroes has formed a band called the Justice Force. The article The Legend of Master Legend was printed in Rolling Stone in 2008 and is reposted online at Real Life Superheroes. See a video featuring Master Legend at vimeo.
Danger Woman calls herself a "karaoke crimefighter". She's also a disability rights activist. Danger Woman is autistic and use her trusty microphone to give evil a headache with her singing. Her life and crusade against disaba-phobia (the fear of disabled people) is the subject of a documentary called Disabled But Able to Rock! Watch the trailer at YouTube (warning: singing). You can keep up with Danger Woman's activities through her MySpace blog.
Superhero may have a generic name, but he's well known in Clearwater. A former professional wrestler, he roams the streets in his 1975 Corvette and helps stranded motorists. He also makes appearances to teach road safety and to raise money for various charities with a particular emphasis on helping the homeless.
Greensboro, North Carolina
There's not a lot of information on Hardwire, except that he used to go by the name Point Guardian and he's retired from the superhero scene. Hardwire appeared as himself in the 2008 movie Your Friendly Neighborhood Hero.
Daddy Man is a role model. His alternate identity is Ivy Butler of Zachary, Lousiana. He created the superhero persona first as an inspiration to his seven children, and became a hero to other children, then a role model for other fathers. You can keep up with Daddy Man's activities on his blog. Butler is the subject of the book The Chronicles of Daddy Man. Hear what Daddy Man has to say at YouTube.
San Antonio, Texas
Enigma patrols San Antonio looking for any opportunity to do good. He posts his exploits at MySpace, where you can read about an incident earlier this year where he stopped a pair of car thieves. Enigma also lends his powers to environmental causes.
The Viper is a 20-year-old college student who dresses in green and patrols the streets of Columbia, Tennessee. The local police aren't impressed, and in fact warned him against wearing a mask in public. The Viper says, "I am just a guy trying to do what's right in tights." Columbia citizens think it's kind of neat to have a superhero in their small town.
Amazonia has been working as a superhero since 2002, beginning in Lowell, Massachusetts and worked in both New York City and Ocala, Florida. She is now based in an "undisclosed location". Amazonia patrols the streets looking for opportunities to help people and takes part in activities such as blood drives, helping the homeless, and environmental activism. Read more on her blog.
DC Guardian is part of the Capital City Super Squad, a group of nine superheroes who patrol Washington. An Air Force veteran, he hands out copies of the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and the Bill of Rights to remind everyone of what it means to be an American.
KnightVigil also goes by the name Darian VanLansing, although that's not his true identity. He is a Christian superhero who works to provide needed food and clothing to the children of migrant workers in Florida.
The Crimson Fist
The Crimson Fist turned to his superhero practice after years of drugs and alcohol. By day he's an IT programmer; by night he spends his time helping the homeless of Atlanta. He patrols the streets and hands out supplies such as bottled water and socks to those in need, using his own funds. He wishes he could do more:
"I think for the most part, it makes me feel good to do it, as selfish as it sounds. The biggest motivation is just helping people, it's enjoyable to me," he says. "And if it means a little sacrifice, I'm OK with that. Because if I didn't do it, I wouldn't feel whole."
Coming soon: Real World Superheroes from other parts of the US and the rest of the world.