Imagine my sheer joy when costumed crime fighters started appearing around the world. It was finally happening! Others didn't seem as excited and I'll agree that in most cases it is an unusual choice to go down the route of having no riches, powers, secret identities or abdominal muscles. But it didn't matter to me then and it doesn't now. As long as there are people dressing up like maniacs and 'fighting crime', the world I live in is a step closer to being the world I want to live in.
Obviously, this phenomenon will come to a grinding halt as soon as someone is beaten to death, but for now let's simply enjoy it.
As an introduction to anyone that doesn't read important news, I thought I'd run down a couple of the main players on the 'Real Superhero' scene and feed them into my top trumps generator. The results were interesting, not least as I had no idea that machinery could commit suicide.
I've provided the top trumps in a 'cut out and keep' form, so Christmas presents can be a no-brainer this year.
Phoenix Jones was the first Real Life Superhero to hit the news and still remains one of the best. He has an awesome costume, is a real-life cage fighter, and is not afraid to pepper spray arguing strangers in the eyes. Also, there's a video of him kicking the crap out of an aggressive drunk while cops watch and (don't) high five.
He loses points for revealing his identity so early on, but retains a few bonus points for actually having a believable superhero alter-ego.
Phoenix scores high in the sidekick desirability factor (whether or not I want to be his sidekick), but gets an average score for a name that could feasibly belong to a detective in a novel about sexual vampires.
His suit cost ten grand and absolutely looks the part but...accenting body armour with trainers?! The police might be big fans...but the FASHION POLICE SURE AREN'T! OH ZING PHOENIX!
One of the first in Britain, The Statesman was a banker who decided to 'give something back to the people'. This came in the form of exterminating crime in Birmingham, a task just slightly less achievable than teaching your stomach to digest gravel. After The Statesman's identity was revealed, his girlfriend confessed to having suspicions, due to 'odd items of clothing'. If my girlfriend found pieces of body-shaped latex lying around I'd have just pretended I was in a sex club with her sister (possibly the only time when this is less awkward than the truth).
His costume is good, though he loses points for instantly revealing his identity, having the name of a boring newspaper and for doing interviews sat next to his mum.
Knight Warrior and Knight Maiden
The snaggle-toothed Knight Warrior's costume was bought for him by his mum and his face was bought for him by a wholly inadequate hygiene regime. However in defiance of all natural rules, Knight Warrior attracted a mate. This pleases me, though I admit to being jealous of them. My girlfriend is incredibly understanding, but that's partly as she has no idea about the extent of my illness. She's pretty convinced that my comic collection is limited to three boxes. If she ever decides to investigate why our mattress feels like four thousand compressed issues of Spider-man I'm FUCKED.
Thanatos takes an immediate nosedive in points for his costume. For a start he's wearing a Watchmen badge and a Batman belt. That's the super hero equivalent of wearing socks with sandals! Also he's 66. That's the Superhero equivalent of being 66.
He has kept his identity secret so gains points, but nobody really gives a crap so he loses most of them again. Basically what we have in Thanatos is a creepy old man that hides his identity and feels most comfortable 'amongst the dead'. Check Saville’s grave. CHECK. SAVILLE’S. GRAVE.
According to his official biography, 'while others focus on the end result, Phantom Zero is more interested in the journey.' The other thing Phantom Zero is more interested in is sprinkling bacon on his donuts.
I'm not saying that keeping in shape is a must, but it's probably not a good sign when rockets can't take off anymore due to your gravitational pull. While Phoenix Jones was treating a copy of Punisher as his instruction booklet, Phantom zero accidentally picked up a Waffle House menu.
In terms of career successes, Phantom Zero says 'Trying my hardest to keep my promises to people who have trusted me.' Hmm. OK I'll admit that I want my superheroes to be less 'mentoring upset girls' and more 'throwing a robot lizard into the sun', but I guess it's a start. In terms of being a lovely chap, Phantom Zero is the top trump. Sadly the top trump generator never made a 'being a nice man' category, mainly because it likes to focus on things people give a shit about.
Phantom Zero has kept his identity pretty safely under wraps, so he gets points for that. But if you ever go to New Jersey, hear a police siren and then see a three hundred kilogram man bolt into a public urinal and start to panic-apply makeup then you've probably cracked the code.
“Like the night, I cannot be proven or disproven to certain degrees; and also much like the night, when morning comes, there will be no trace of me.”
Although Nyx sets out to prove that women shouldn't be allowed to be superheros by coming out with this kind of nonsense, she is attractive. I guess what I'm saying is that grading her is a difficult balance.
Nyx worries about her female counterparts not being taken seriously in the Super Hero community: “We can do just as good a job,” she points out, “so it’s important to be viewed as a person, not just some chick.”
I'd find it easier to take her comments to heart if the top half of her costume couldn't best be described as a ‘tit window'.
She scores highly for costume and keeping her identity a secret, but she loses points for talking about herself the whole time. I mean, I do that, but at least I have the good manners to be frigging hilarious.
A genuine contender. When others on this list were putting an emphasis on having the best face mask, The Shadow was taking the time to powerlift and silently seeth.
A man who describes a childhood of bullying and misunderstandings has grown up to dress in an armoured ninja outfit and own semi-legal weapons. This just screams Batmanat me.
Then there was the testimony of a witness about the shadow seeing a Scottish man breaking into a car and 'headbutting him to the ground'. This just screams Holy shit Batman! at me.
The Shadow's main downfall is his family life. By all accounts he appears to have a very nice wife and two children. This is against the rules. You can be a happy brightly-coloured superhero and have a nice wife, sure. You absolutely cannot be a post 1990's gritty-reboot superhero without your family being wiped out. However, there is still time for a horrific series of events that will set this man on a path to becoming my greatest hero.
The Shadow is the top trump. Partly because he ticks the most boxes, and partly because if he ever learns to read and sees this I'm worried he'll perceive me as a nemesis.
There are literally bajillions of Real Life Superheroes out there and choosing which to review was a complex process with many criteria, the most important being whether or not they had a full body picture on Google images.
I thought I'd quickly run down a couple of my other favourites for you in case you wanted to further study their teachings.
The Dark Spartan
There are so many of these guys names with black in them. Black Void, The Black, Black Stranger, Black Noir (this means 'Black Black' for blacks sake...). Black Void makes the list for, in his first ever interview, instantly admitting he has Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
It takes balls to name yourself after a dildo. Welcome aboard, kid.