It's hard to imagine what would compel an individual to go out on the streets and look for trouble, even if their intentions are in the right place. Taking on the role of a vigilante is extremely dangerous, but at the same time this person is probably of a very strong moral fiber. It's hard to say, "You're being stupid and reckless!" when their heart is so clearly in the right place.
Most of today's real-world masked crime-fighters do work on a more charitable level. Others actually do engage in violent altercations with criminals (and have paid for it). Here are ten of these real-life individuals that are putting others first under assumed super-hero identities.
10 Wheel Clamp Man - Base of Operations: Perth, Western Australia
Wheel Clamp Man fights for truth, justice and the Australian way!
This costumed crime fighter doesn't fight crime per se, but actually commits crimes. Of course that would depend on your definition of a crime. Many Australians see this masked man as a true hero. What exactly is it that Wheel Clamp Man does? Using an angle grinder, he removes the wheel clamps from the tires of motorists that have been stuck with simple parking infractions. These clamps go around a cars tire and prevent the motorist from moving. In many cases, this can disrupt a motorists livelihood over a small violation that could be solved with a ticket. Wheel Clamp Man's service saves the motorist around $135 and he only asks the drivers for a donation, which he then uses to help the homeless.
Many police officers see Wheel Clamp Man as a menace, which sounds an awful lot like Spider-Man's situation.
9 The Dark Guardian - Base of Operations: New York City, New York
The Dark Guardian aka Christopher Pollak is recruiting sidekicks.
Pollack, 29, is a martial arts instructor who donned a bullet proof vest to patrol the streets of Greenwich Village for two nights a week over the course of ten years, turned to Indiegogo to raise money for the world's first ever school for superheroes. His goal is to combine martial arts training and self-defense with good Samaritan ideals like helping the needy and how to handle bullies. When Pollack himself patrolled the streets he wouldn't just use his martial arts training to fight criminals; on other occasions he would use the time to hand out food and money to the poor.
The Dark Guardian does clarify that he will urge kids to turn to the police if they witness a crime, rather than take criminals head on themselves.
8 Mutinous Angel - Base of Operations: Sacramento, California
Mutinous Angel patrols the Sacramento streets at night, along with what some claim are a dozen other masked crime-fighters. It's unclear if he himself has been in an actual brawl with any criminals but he does claim an associate of his was jumped and beaten by group of thugs.
Angel seems to play things a little safer. He is generally covered from head-to-toe in protective clothing in the event he does find himself in a fight and he will use a cellphone to assist the actual police in apprehending criminals. In many cases he is more of a protector, once watching over two young women from a distance when they decided to party outside in a bad part of town.
A local Sacramento news station reported that Mutinous Angel does plan to work in law enforcement under his real name, which he has kept secret outside of a few close friends and family members.
7 Dark Spartan and Black Void - Base of Operations: Torquay, Devon, England
Dark Spartan and his sidekick Black Void represent the lighter side of crime fighting. Mainly because they're having trouble finding any crime to fight. The masked avengers claim they can go months without finding any crime to fight. Most of the time they can be found posing with tourists in their resort town home of Torquay. The two me have not given their full names to the public but have admitted to a few details.
The Dark Spartan has admitted his name is Will. The Black Void admits to working in a comic book shop during the daylight hours and has also divulged that he suffers from irritable bowel syndrome. They both claim to be members of a larger group of UK heroes known as The Justice Union.
6 Superbarrio Gomez - Base of Operations: Mexico City, Federal District Mexico
Superbarrio Gomez doesn't use violence to battle criminals, but rather helps organize the working class so they can better help themselves.
Superbarrio Gomez helps "the ordinary person" do things like organize protests, file petitions, organizes labor rallies, and challenges court decisions. Gomez even put in a symbolic bid for President of the United States to help protect the rights of Mexican workers. He has become such a symbol to the people he helps that two books have been written about him, and a statue has also been erected in his honor.
Superbarrio translates as "super-neighborhood" as a testament to the environment he is trying to create.
5 Knight Warrior- Base of Operations: Salford, Greater Manchester
Mild mannered Roger Hayhurst was just your average 19 year old gardener that lived with his mother. One day his life would be changed forever when he was overcome with a "supernatural desire to make the world a better place." It was that day when Roger became the UK vigilante known as Knight Warrior!
Knight Warrior does the basic community services that a lot of these real-life superheroes engage in, such as handing out food and clothing to the local homeless. Roger also does partake in actual crime-fighting which he says is generally calming down drunks that have gotten out of hand outside of the pubs.
According to Roger in an interview with the Daily Mail, "When people see me coming it does tend to stun them into silence. I just carry on trying to get them to calm down, and eventually most of them do."
Since getting coverage in the media, Roger has gained a sidekick and girlfriend in the form of fellow superhero Knight Maiden.
4 Nostrum - Base of Operations: New Orleans, Louisiana
Nostrum is perhaps the most seemingly legit of all the masked crime-fighters. He once had a Myspace page where he referred to himself as a moral absolutist. Nostrum hasn't responded to e-mails or Myspace but people have claimed to see him. He's never given an interview and the charity services don't seem to be something he dabbles in.
This vigilante seems to take his adopted roll very seriously. People who claim to have seen him say he has lost an eye (or just vision in one eye) due to an altercation with criminals. Some even claim that he carries a gun, among other weapons. There are also claims that he's since moved north from New Orleans.
3 Terrifica - Base of Operations: Brooklyn, New York
Terrifica is a hero of a different sort. Instead of wandering streets looking for crime, she has taken a more direct approach towards a specific type of crime.
Sarah, a computer consultant by day, didn't agree with the notion that a girl has to go out and get drunk to meet someone in the city. She noticed this generally led to bad decisions and the alcohol could be used by men to lure women into situations they might regret later.
For several years, Terrifica has hit up the New York bar scene to help escort intoxicated women home safely, calm down and disperse altercations, and has even handed out condoms to couples that looked like they would definitely be going home together for the evening.
2 Purple Reign - Base of Operations: Seattle, Washington
Purple Reign is another hero who has picked a specific cause and may very well be the only superhero named after a Prince song.
Purple Reign is a member of Seattle's Reign City Superhero League and mainly uses her costume and image as a spring-board to raise awareness and funds for charitable organizations established to stop domestic abuse.
Every superhero has an origin story and Purple Reign herself is a survivor of domestic abuse. She is also married to perhaps the most popular real-life crime-fighter of our time...
1 Phoenix Jones - Base of Operations: Seattle, Washington
Phoenix Jones has built quite a name for himself and is perhaps the most comic-book-like of all the heroes on this list.
He changes into his superhero attire in a secret room (in a comic book store), he wields an assortment of gear, is trained in various martial arts, and even wears a sculpted bullet-proof body-suit. If one were to do a search on YouTube, they would find several videos of Jones in the news, and street level video of him subduing criminals, breaking up fights, getting punched out himself, and even working with other superheroes. Jones also devotes time to charities in addition to fighting street crime.