In this week's cover story, we presented The Ray, a Target employee from
Antioch who was arrested in the General Strike march in Oakland last
month while acting as a Real Life Superhero. The Ray is far from the
only civilian-turned-comic book hero fighting crime or helping the needy
around the Bay Area.
Oh, there are more. Many more.
Here's Motor Mouth, the yammering crime fighter who claims to have sparked the local superhero scene when he starting crime patrols four years ago. He now heads the Northern California Protectorate, and is always looking to recruit. (He says any superhero aspirants can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Handle: Motor Mouth, for his propensity to talk. And talk. "I like to speak up. Not everything I say may be what they want to hear, but I'm going to say it, nonetheless."
Patrol Turf: San Francisco's Tenderloin, Mid-Market, and SOMA; Oakland.
Day Job: Former security guard and Eagle Scout, current special ed teacher.
Costume: Black Doc Marten boots with orange stripes, bulletproof vest, face cover, and sometimes a Captain America shield.
Superhero services: Crime
patrols and riot control; supplies drops to Occupy encampments;
homeless hand-outs of bottled water, juice box, granola bars, trail mix,
socks, and a poncho.
What comic books he's reading now: "A lot of Justice League, Fantastic Four."
need to realize there is good in the world, things that are genuinely
good and genuinely evil. The problem is people aren't wiling to admit
that it's bad or good anymore. People would rather go with the general
consensus of things than have their own thoughts."
On how to sniff out crime: "We're
almost like old-fashioned beat cops, being steered around the streets
by our senses. I go where my gut tells me to go. Sometimes my guy will
tell me to go six blocks ahead, sometimes my gut will tell me to zig-zag
back and forth."
Motor Mouth vs. Oscar Grant rioters: During
the riot in downtown Oakland protesting Oscar Grant's death at the
hands of a BART cop, Motor and two teammates saw a mob about to break
the windows of a tapas bar. "I was like, 'Oh hell no!' I tapped both my
guys on the shoulder and said follow my lead, and I was sparking my
[stun-gun blast] knuckles, my guy with a Taser on my left and the guy
with a shiv on right, and the whole crowd was just staring at us like,
'Who the fuck are you?' People started seeing the cops coming and
realized it wasn't worth the trouble and walked away."
On why you can be a superhero even with a beer gut:
"I don't care if you weight 400 pounds or are underweight and have
never been in a fight in your life. I believe the beauty of this is
anyone can do it.... If you have the mindset, the other stuff will fall
On why he likes to wear a superhero costume: "We can make people believe, for a fraction of a second, that comic book heroes can exist and can help
people. Whether it's helping a lady across the street or catching a
purse-snatcher. You are taking something fictional on every level and
trying to do something that's real."