It's been a week of exciting writing news, so why not end the year with another announcement? After a lot of work on and off last year, my long-in-the-works article has appeared in the pages of Rolling Stone. It is the epic tale of Master Legend, a "real life superhero" who is just one of the many people around the country who assemble homegrown Bat Man lives, with personas and costumes and utility belts and sidekicks. And yes, this is all true.
As in the pages of comics, there is a wide variety of philosophies as to methods among real life superheroes, from The Eye, who prefers using surveillance to compile information for the police, to Mr. Silent, the (now-retired) pioneer of the crime prevention wing who once made regular visible patrols with his mask, cane, and elegant homburg. A few self-proclaimed masked vigilantes say they stalk the shadows, lying in wait for bad guys, while at the other end of the spectrum are those superheroes who focus on charity efforts, showing up to community events or donating to good causes in costume. It is the classic Batman/Superman split: dark vengeance versus the beacon of hope, and Master Legend is a bit of both.
Master Legend began as a brawler, mixing it up on patrols out in Orlando, where he lives, but he and his Justice Force also mount peaceful missions as well, including visits to skid row, where they hand out supplies to appreciative homeless recipients. “I love to take on the criminals,” Master Legend says, “But we’ve got a lot more than that going on. We set an example by helping people and asking nothing in return.”
In short, just wants to make the world a better place. And he has succeeded at times, in his own way. A lot of the press coverage of real life superheroes sees at best the novelty, or at worst takes the opportunity to laugh at the people in costumes. This article is not that. Yes, the story of Master Legend can be very funny at times, because Master Legend lives life like he's in a comic book. He even has a band, also called the Justice Force, made up of his superheroes, and they get together to sing prog rock jams of Manichean struggle of good against evil. It's strange, but also strangely sympathetic. Spending time with Master Legend, who is willing to give a guy his last dollar, made me genuinely think about what I do to help people. And the answer is not enough. Take it from an enthusiastic reader who already saw the article and tracked me down to summarize as follows:
Everyone has a bit of Master Legend in them. But we don't have courage to let him out.
And also: check out the Master Legend Bonus DVD Extra Deleted Scenes! More thrilling tales from the real life superhero realm that didn't make it into the article. For the true fans!
Thanks for reading!