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5 KICK-ASS Real World Heroes

Costumed Crusaders aren't just found in comics and movies any more.

By Rob Worley     April 14, 2010


5 KICK-ASS Real World Heroes
© Mania/Bob Trate

"Why does everyone want to be Paris Hilton but nobody wants to be Spider-Man?"

That's the question Dave Lizewski poses to his friends just before he embarks on a life of crime-fighting in the comic and film Kick-Ass. In that fictitious world there are no super heroes or even costumed heroes.
 
In the real world, it turns out, there are plenty of people trying to be Spider-Man. Mania is here to guide you through a few of the costumed adventurers that inhabit the world outside your window!
 
 
 

5. TERRIFICA

Alternate Identity: Sarah
Milieu: New York City
Special Ability: Devastating Cock Block
Nemesis: Fantastico
Gadget: Gold-leaf fortune cards
Signal her: http://www.myspace.com/12511747
 
Terrifica definitely doesn't want to be Paris Hilton, and doesn't want the ladies of New York City acting like her either. Born in the fires of a nasty hump-and-dump, a young Brooklynite known only as Sarah forged a secret identity in order to steer drunken young lasses away from regrettable hook-ups from the city's Lotharios.
 
"Sarah is a very weak woman. Very needy, very insecure," Terrifica said derisively of her alter ego in an interview with “New York Magazine,” revealing a Hulk-like identity split.
 
Reports from various NYC magazines had her patrolling the bar scene in the mid-2000s, looking for evil gents who dispense the lethal combination of "lies and alcohol" to dupe wide-eyed women into the sack. She'd also hand out gold leaf cards with words of wisdom for the unwary party girls. As with any force, her actions were soon opposed by a costumed male villain of the bar scene named Fantastico.
 
Terrifica is presumed retired.
 
 
 

4. ANGLE GRINDER MAN

Alternate Identity: Unknown
Milieu: London
Special Ability: Auto Liberation
Nemesis: Wheel Clamps
Gadget: The Angle Grinder (duh)
Signal him: 07984-121043 (disconnected)
 
So you've parked your car in the city, only to come out and find one of your tires locked down by a parking boot or wheel clamp. That's right, you parked illegally and now have to jump through hoops and pay fines to liberate your ride,right? Well, not if you're in London and Angle Grinder Man is on the scene!
 
This populist hero is known for rushing to the aid of confined motorists with his special weapon (the angle grinder, natch) and cutting the wheel clamps off illegally parked cars. What does he charge for this service? Nothing! Action is his reward.
 
Naturally Angle Grinder Man has numerous and high-ranking enemies in the government so his identity has always been a carefully-protected secret. In fact, we fear the authorities have gained the upper hand because AGM's phone number has been disconnected and his website went offline in 2007.
 
 
 

3. THE HUMAN FLY

Alternate Identity: Rick Rojatt
Milieu: The Friendly Skies
Special Ability: Super Tough
Nemesis: 195 MPH Rain
Gadget: Rocket Cycle
Status: Presumed retired
 
Rick Rojatt not only wanted to be Spider-Man, but Evel Knievel as well. And in the 1970s this motorcycle stunt-man tried to one-up America's favorite body-cast wearer by doing his stunts in an awesome red superhero costume. The trick worked, sort of: we saw 19 issues of "The Human Fly" published by Marvel who billed the star as "The Wildest Super-Hero Ever–Because He's Real!"
 
But the Human Fly's greatest super-human act, and tragic defeat, came right around the same time. The Fly had arranged a highly-publicized stunt to wing walk on a DC-8 jet plane in flight. Pilot Clay Lacy recalls taking the Fly up for several test runs in the Mojave Desert. Then the stunt moved to Texas for a television taping, although bad weather was threatening to ruin the show. His reputation on the line, the Fly took to the air and was battered by rain at 195 miles per hour. Lacy reports the hero suffered terrible bruises.
 
As far as we know, he never attempted the stunt again. His comic was canceled in 1979.
 
 
 

2. SUPERBARRIO GOMEZ

Alternate Identity: Marco Rascon Cordova
Milieu: Mexico City
Special Ability: Inspiring Hope
Nemesis: Poverty
Gadget: Leaflets of knowledge
 
Active from the late-1980s to the late-1990s, Superbarrio roamed the streets of Mexico City in red tights, a gold cape and a Luchador mask. His mission: to champion the rights of the poor and the homeless.
 
"I can't stop a plane or a train single-handed, but I can keep a family from being evicted," the costumed character told CNN in a 1997 interview.
 
Superbarrio has donned the red suit to distribute literature, lead protest marches and challenge his enemies in the court of law. He even declared himself a candidate in the 1996 U.S. Presidential Elections where he was defeated by Bill Clinton.
 
The character hasn't been seen in the real world lately, but he lives on in a series of new cartoons available on YouTube.
 
 

1. THE FRENCH SPIDERMAN

Alternate Identity: Alain Robert
Milieu: Worldwide (Based in Paris)
Special Ability: Wall-crawling
Nemesis: Global Warming
Gadget: Climbing shoes
Signal him: http://www.alainrobert.com/
 
If anyone wants to be Spider-Man it's Alain Robert. Not only did the French rock-climber turned crusader start his super hero career wearing a Spider-Man knock-off costume, his remarkable claim to fame is that he scales the walls of the worlds' skyscrapers without any special equipment. He even calls himself "Spiderman".
 
He began wall-crawling in 1994 and since then has scaled such world wonders as The Eifel Tower, The Empire State Building, The Sears Tower, The Petronas Towers and the Jin Mao Building to name but a few. He's an environmental activist as well, sometimes capping his exploits by unfurling banners with messages like, "Global warming kills more people than 9/11 every week."
 
Robert remains active and was registered in the “Guinness Book of World Records” this year for having scaled more than 100 towers.

 

If you are looking forward to the Kick-Ass premiere, check out some of our Movie Maven Kick-Ass coverage.  Here is Tara's interview with Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr.  If you missed it last month, Tara got to check out the premiere in Austin at South By Southwest, check out the red carpet coverage



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COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

Showing items 1 - 10 of 19
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Darkknight2280 4/14/2010 4:24:18 AM

Firsties!!

WOw lame...

ChadDerdowski 4/14/2010 4:40:08 AM

The Human Fly!  I had a few of his comics that I'd found in a quarter bin a few years ago and I've always wanted to know more about the real life guy, but finding information on him is surprisingly challenging.  The only thing I really even remember about the comic was that he had been in some horrible injury that left him in a full-body cast but he willed himself back to fightin' form... and his driver had two hook hands.

Calibur454 4/14/2010 5:24:35 AM

The only one I have hear of is the human fly- I was wondeering how long it would take mania to do something like this- I really could care less about something like this- I just want to watch kick ass and be intertained

littlemikey979 4/14/2010 5:48:30 AM

Isn't there some group of people in the northern U.S. called the Knight Stalkers, or something like that, who dress up like heros and do like neighborhood watch type stuff?

Wiseguy 4/14/2010 6:22:35 AM

How about the Guardian Angels. Although I haven't heard much from them lately they used to patrol NYC and surrounding troubled areas in the past

And the Minute Men, not the premature ejaculators but the ones patrolling our southern border.

monkeyfoot 4/14/2010 6:39:12 AM

Cool idea for an article! I've always wondered what would happen if people tried to be superheroes in the real world. The Punisher is probably the closest thing to being real in actual comics. Chris Nolan's Batman in the movies. The big problem is how do you go about fighting bad guys? If you just patrol the streets looking for trouble you're not going to run into bank robberies in progress and mad scientists trying to rule the world.

Rheul_home 4/14/2010 6:40:40 AM

I have a complete run of The Human Fly! I bought it many years ago at a now defunct comic shop. I think I payed 3 bucks for it. Wiseguy, the Guardian Angles are alive and well and can be seen regularly on the NYC subways. They don't get the press they did back in the 80's but they are still a common sight. Their founder Curtis Sliwa has a morning AM radio show in NYC and regularly competes in the Nathans July 4th Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest. The GA's really should be on this list.

Roqueja 4/14/2010 6:54:29 AM

Vampiro is considered a hero in Mexico to many.  He's the closest I could think of to be worthy of bringing to the table for a consideration.  You mentioned Evil Kneivel, but I figured to see the Kneivel family as one of the heroes.

Wiseguy 4/14/2010 7:06:26 AM

Rheul, I ride the 1 almost everyday and I haven't seen any GA in like forever. I used to listen Sliwa when he was partnered with that hippie lawyer but my listenimng habits have gravitated towards Bloomberg now. Anyway Imus bumped him from his show I think.

The GA's probably patrol the other boroughs more if anything
 

lracors 4/14/2010 7:22:29 AM

I have actually heard of 2 of these peeps before.  Teriffica and Superbarrio Gomez have been prowling the streets for years.  I vaguely remember the "Spider-Man" guy.  As for the rest most of them resort to community awareness projects.

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