they are going to lose money, they can turn quite nasty. I do sometimes have to use the baton.” Throughout his activities, Nighthawk endeavours to stay on the right side of the law, but does keep his baton hidden from the police – while some are very supportive of his work, others are more sceptical, and he has been told to move on or that he should leave it to the professionals. Many see him as completely mad, something that he insists is incorrect. “I’m not crazy. I’m actually quite levelheaded. If you saw me with my friends, you would never guess I’m an RLSH. If someone tried to tell my mates I was Nighthawk, they would never believe you,” he says.
he Real Life Superhero movement has gained a lot of traction in the past few years, particularly in the US. Across the country, there are hundreds of men – and women – throwing on suits and heading out to fight crime. There are a group of RLSH operating in nearly every major city in America. The most famous collective is Seattle’s Rain City Superhero group, led by the mightiest RLSH of them all, Phoenix Jones, an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter and celebrity in his own right. He is the reason Blane and Zacharia adopted the name Jones.
Phoenix has been assaulted, stabbed, and allegedly shot, all in the line of duty. He is the RLSH who has come closest to the persona of Batman – Batman without the money being what many RLSHs liken themselves to (although Kick Ass probably remains the best comparison for most). The movement has grown in the UK over the past five years or so, although personalities come and go. Notably, Night Warrior in Manchester, The Dark Spartan in Torbay and The Statesman in Birmingham all received fleeting national media coverage before hanging up their capes.
urrently there are around 14 active RLSHs in Britain. Some, such as The Man in Black – who many of the community, including Nighthawk, look up to – have ceased wearing a costume as they feel that their work is more productive in plain attire. One of the 14 is Stylus, an RLSH who operates in Birkenhead. Like Nighthawk, he has a slightly more physical approach than Blane and Zacharia. He has been patrolling with a bo staff – a wooden kung fu stick – ever since he was attacked in the town on the way back from, yes, watching Kick Ass at the cinema. “I was beaten up pretty badly and, as I came to, I looked up and there was a name spray-painted on the wall: ‘Stylus’.
Published on Jun 21, 2013
Published on Jun 21, 2013
A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...