The life of a real life superhero isn’t an easy path – just ask the protector of Seattle, self-proclaimed superhero Phoenix Jones. During May Day demonstrations in Seattle, the city’s police weren’t the only ones out there trying to do something about the looting and random acts of violence – Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superhero Movement were on the job too.
In an appearance on 97.3 KIRO FM’s Ross and Burbank Show, Jones said his presence at the demonstrations was not about the protest, but about the damage that a small group of participants were determined to wreak on the city. In a post to his facebook page, Jones blamed the trouble on a “small group of black water anarchists that made open threats to try and destroy key buildings in my city. It is ridiculous and against everything I stand for to watch people purposely commit acts of terror, violence, and mayhem.” Jones was joined by other superhero friends Midnight Jack and El Caballero, finally drawn into the fray when windows were broken at the federal building and incendiary bombs thrown inside.
While Jones and company strive to keep the peace on the streets of Seattle, the inherent surrealism of costumed crimefighters has an even more surreal side effect: a self proclaimed real life supervillian calling himself Rex Velvet. KIRO 97.3 FM’s Ross and Burbank Show interviewed Jonesgot in on the action, asking Phoenix Jones about his newest rival earlier today.
“I looked him up. He’s actually just a wedding photographer who made a funny video,” said Jones. “If he was a true supervillain I would be more interested because at least I would have something to do. Right now it’s like war of social media and I have better things to do with my time.”
Few understand the dynamic at play between real-life superheroes and real-life supervillains, and there actually are more supervillians than just this bored wedding photographer. The real-life heroes understand that what they’re doing is on the edges of accepted social behavior to start with despite the good they do for their communities, so they understand that their mere existence is going to attract the attention of people who are in it solely for the attention.
Matt Harrison, director of the forthcoming documentary Citizen Heroes, which bills itself as “a look into the soul of Seattle’s real life superhero movement, says that “the majority of these guys are what you would call Internet trolls,” says Harrison. “[They’re] kind of an accepted part of the movement. It’s kind of understood that they don’t actually go out and do deeds of evil, they don’t actively do anything. They just post things.”
Indeed, contrary to reports, Rex Velvet is not the first supervillain to emerge from Seattle. Agent Beryllium, and her crew ROACH, for instance, have taken up the Seattle supervillain calling in the past. Harrison also references characters like Lord Malignance and Malvado Los Muertos as prime examples of supervillains at work.
While Velvet seems to be all about the showmanship, Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superhero Movement seem to be focused on the task at hand. We’re concerned that there isn’t enough “super” in our real life superheroes, though – things can escalate quickly, and the point of a superhero is to be able to bring something to the fight that nobody else can. As well intentioned as Jones and his ilk might be, their mortality and lack of any real supernormal abilities is a grave concern and it has often been noted that this behavior does put their own lives at risk.
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