Comic books are as essential to American culture as baseball and apple pie; ever since big names like Superman were introduced, kids have grown up wanting to be a superhero, zipping around town and putting a stop to would be evildoers.. Being in the superhero business is tough since it doesn’t pay, and by the time you start adding up the cost of a costume, gadgets, and impending hospital bills, it becomes more and more unlikely that you will ever have your crime fighting dream realized; then again, the whole “not having superpowers” thing can be a bit of a problem as well.
But just because you don’t have any superpowers doesn’t mean that you can’t be a superhero! There have been several vigilantes that have created a persona and took to the streets in their own cities to deter crime, and to increase the morale for its citizens; while you can’t walk around town with a bunch of weapons, or hang villains from a streetlamp like Spider-Man, these everyday heroes still do their best to keep the streets safe. But who are the greatest real life superheroes to ever walk the Earth?. Here are the top 10 real people who didn’t need to fly in order to put on a cape.
#10 – Captain Australia
The first superhero on our list tackles crime from Down Under, since he doles out justice in Brisbane, Australia. While the United States might have Captain America, the Aussies have their own Captain Australia, except their version comes with the added perk of being real. Hiding behind his secret identity, Captain Australia wears a low cost costume with garden gloves and an “at” symbol emblazoned on his chest, so if you are in dire need and want to summon this Australian do-gooder, just shoot him over an e-mail . Captain Australia is claimed to really be a house-husband with two children, but at night he becomes a superhero to keep his town safe.
Captain Australia wears a utility belt, but he doesn’t actually carry around any weapons, and he has the boxing skills of a kangaroo, so what’s his secret to stopping crime in Brisbane? Captain Australia claims that by simply showing up and making himself visible to criminals, that they will stop what they’re doing and scurry off. While there hasn’t been much video evidence of Australia’s tactics working, he did say that he once prevented a woman from being assaulted.
#9 – Wheel Clamp Man
In the eyes of the people he helps, Wheel Clamp Man is an undeniable hero, but in the eyes of the local authorities, Wheel Clamp Man is one of the most dastardly villains around…a modern day Robin Hood, if you will. Donning a fake mustache, an all-green latex suit, and an odd pair of rainbow socks, this native of Perth, Australia, sneaks around the streets and saves people who have had their wheels clamped by parking enforcement, by cutting it off the restraints!
Wheel Clamp Man uses an angle grinder to dispatch the clamp antagonists off of illegally parked cars (a violation which normally results in a $135 fine for the parker); the crime for cutting these off is even greater, but Wheel Clamp Man is looking out for the little guy: if you’re ever in a clamp, he’ll be there!
#8 – Shadow
Not many of the superheroes on our list are dressed anywhere near as well as our favorite comic book characters, but Shadow looks like he is ready for some serious action. Shadow is the alter ego of Ken Andre, a man in his mid 30s from Yeovil, Somerset, in the United Kingdom. Andre dresses in all black protective gear, and uses ninja-like martial arts to keep his neighborhood safe.
Shadow shows up whenever a drug deal is happening in Somerset, and mysteriously appears to thwart potential muggers that would threaten his community. According to Andre, his Shadow persona has stopped dozens of people from following through on crime, and he carries around a dangerous pair of nun-chucks to make sure. Shadow also wears a hearing amplifier which is typically reserved for the elderly, so he comes equipped with a super sense of hearing: even if you have never heard of him he certainly hears you!
#7 – Knight Warrior
Hailing from the Greater Manchester area of the United Kingdom is Roger Hayhurst, a mild mannered gardener who becomes the Knight Warrior. Hayhurst was 19 years old when he first got the inspiration to become a superhero, and said that his only power is the desire to make the world a better place to live. Hayhurst travels around at night and browses past some of the busiest pubs, looking to help anyone that may have had too much to drink.
Hayhurst made himself a costume so that he was easily identifiable, but he doesn’t carry around weapons or protection, so every day he patrols could potentially be his last. Hayhurst spends a lot of time dealing with drunkards on the street, but if it’s a quiet night, then he will walk around and give food to the homeless, although if you cross him then you may wind up being fed a knuckle sandwich!
#6 – Thanatos
Normally, superheroes don’t walk around calling themselves “Death,” but that is exactly what Thanatos is doing: according to Greek mythology, Thanatos is the demonic form of death. Thanatos lives in the Canadian city of Vancouver, and has so far been able to keep his identity a secret. Thanatos attempts to intimidate his foes by looking like a bad guy as well, including a green mask, all black gear, a tie that is adorned with skulls.
Thanatos patrols Vancouver and looks for any evildoers who may be roaming the streets, but since Vancouver isn’t exactly the most dangerous city, he spends a lot of his time helping out those less fortunate by giving them food and clothes. Something tells me that even though this superhero refers to himself as “death” that he might not exactly be prepared to take a life himself: maybe it’s the “Watchmen” button.
#5 – The Crimson Fist
The Crimson Fist might be the smallest superhero on our list, standing at just 5’6,” but he still packs quite a punch. There isn’t much to The Crimson Fist’s costume, which consists of only a suit that has his symbol printed on it, and a simple mask that looks like something out of the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” but he is here to fight crime, not look pretty. Atlanta can be a pretty rough city, but that’s where The Crimson Fist is from, and he is trying to make it a safer place to grow up than when he was a kid.
The identity of The Crimson Fist has yet to be revealed, but his acts have ranged from helping out the homeless, to picking up litter off the streets. Interestingly enough, The Crimson Fist is married, and his wife is also a superhero known as Meta Data. Crime isn’t a top priority for TCF, but during his first night as a superhero, he was able to prevent a mugging that was happening in a dark alley, and that deserves a crimson fist-bump.
#4 – Mr. Extreme
2012 was a tough time for everyone living in the beautiful city of San Diego; the police department faced a lot of cutbacks, which meant that several of the city’s officers were let go, and the crime rates skyrocketed as a result. It seemed like there was nothing that anybody could do about the city’s dangerous conditions, until Mr. Extreme started showing up on the streets to set things right. Mr. Extreme has been patrolling the streets for nearly a decade now, and over the past few years his appearances have become increasingly more frequent.
The identity of Mr. Extreme is still a secret, but we do know that during the day he works as a security guard, so it’s safe to say that his life is dedicated to the safety of others. Mr. Extreme keeps himself well protected, wearing a vest, helmet, leg protectors, and a pair of safety goggles. In terms of keeping armed, Mr. Extreme carries around a taser, pepper spray, and a pair handcuffs in case he needs to make an “extreme” citizen’s arrest.
#3 – Nyx
We now meet the only female super heroine on our list, a member of the “Real Life Superhero Project” named Nyx. During the day, Nyx is a New Jersey accountant in her mid 20s by the name of Irene Thomas. In order for Thomas to become Nyx, she puts on a cat-suit with red gloves and boots, and travels to Manhattan in her Honda Accord. Thomas selected her superhero name because “Nyx” is the Greek Goddess of the night and that, like the night, there is no trace of her alter ego in the morning.
Nyx doesn’t do a lot of actual crime fighting other than trying to prevent the possible crimes in progress that she may happen across, but instead she mainly spends her time providing food and clothing to the homeless people of New York City. Nyx is still active in her New York City patrols, but it gets a little tough to patrol the streets during the winter when the snow gets bad (not that that should phase a superhero).
#2 – Dark Guardian
If you want to be protected from evil, then you can probably do a little better than a sleeveless shirt with a hood, and a plastic mask that looks like it could be shattered with a single blow; still, being seriously injured is a risk that the Dark Guardian is willing to take while trying to help make Manhattan a safer place. Chris Pollak is the man behind this cheap mask, but he looks like he might actually have the physique of a superhero; this is because Pollak has actually taken the time to learn martial arts, and with years of training under his non-utility belt he isn’t taking flack off of anyone.
Pollak garnered a lot of attention while he was in New York City’s Washington State Park after he confronted a successfully stopped a drug dealer. Drug dealers have been the main target of the Dark Guardian, whose only form of weapon is a flashlight that he shines in the face of people acting suspicious. In addition to busting these narcotic baddies, Dark Guardian has stopped fights and muggings across his home town: so the town truly feels like it has its own personal guardian.
#1 – Phoenix Jones
Phoenix Jones has actually received a considerable amount of coverage from the press compared to a lot of the other superheroes on this list, although it hasn’t always been as good as you would expect from a superhero. Benjamin Fodor is the man that moonlights as Phoenix Jones, and he is absolutely decked out in superhero gear: looking like someone who could actually prevent a crime from happening (it also doesn’t hurt that Fodor is an MMA fighter).
Fodor knew he had to become Phoenix Jones after someone broke into his car, and nobody that saw it happen did anything to stop the criminal. Jones wears a suit of armor that is actually bulletproof, which is good because he has been stabbed and shot at before. Jones made the news four years ago when two women were breaking the law, and he used pepper spray to subdue the pair: some people call that excessive, but I call it the sweet sting of justice.