Real Life Superheroes On the Rise (Really)

We talk about Batman a lot in these parts, but with 200 men an women signed up in the World Superhero Registry, his time in the spot dim light may be over.

Both Rolling Stone and the Times Online have written about the US's superhero phenomenon. Labeled by some as a post-9/11 response and apparently spurred by Obama's call for "active citizenry," everyday people are dressing up in spandex to patrol the streets in a manner reminiscent of The Watchmen. From Times Online:

They must stand for unambiguous and unsponsored good. They must create their own Spandex and rubber costumes without infringing Marvel or DC Comics copyrights, but match them with exotic names..They must shun guns or knives to avoid being arrested as vigilantes, even if their nemeses may be armed. Their best weapon is not muscle but the internet – an essential tool in their war on crime is a homepage stating the message of doom for super-villains.

If the rules sound unfair, it's only because they are. Rolling Stone explains that fair isn't necessarily the point.

As the superheroes see it, the fact that they can't project energy bolts or summon force fields only adds to the purity of their commitment. Their heroism, in a sense, derives from their lack of powers. What they have instead is the power to craft themselves anew. "This whole movement is more than just fat guys in spandex," insists Superhero, himself a brawny guy in head-to-toe spandex.

If anyone's interested, here's a guide I assembled anticipating just this sort of movement. To the cave that is in no way affiliated with DC trademarks! [Rolling Stone and Times Online via BoingBoing]