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.
There are more. Many more.
Here's Rock N. Roll, one of the few ladies among a sea of male superheroes, and a founder of the California Initiative.
Handle: Rock N. Roll, a combination of being a rock guitarist and a motorcyclist.
Superhero turf: Oakland, San Francisco.
Superhero cred: Former bouncer at the End-Up, rock guitarist, teaches women's self defense.
Superhero exploits: Rock and the superhero group she co-founded this summer, the California Initiative, pick up used needles off Mission streets, coordinate toy drives, homeless hand-outs, and patrols of high-crime areas in civilian clothes.
Secret weapon: Humor. "One of the things we can do is try to defuse the situation in a funny way. It's almost like being a parent. like, 'Hey guys, are we going to have to separate you?'"
On why Occupy Oakland's tent city needed superhero security help more than
was "so calm, they even had meditation circles. Whereas in Oakland, we
all have friends who stayed for a few nights in Occupy and they said,
'You should have seen what happened.' There are a lot of homeless people
who do wander through, for the most part they're friendly ... but then
there's the other ones who haven't had their meds."
On why she and her teammates won't intervene between Occupy and police:
"It wouldn't be in line with us remaining neutral, because you'd
instantly be on the side of Occupy. None of us have a police record. I
can say that with confidence. And even if for a good cause, none of us
want to lose our job or be on probation."
On why the California Initiative doesn't wear costumes for security
work, except for bulletproof vests: "A bunch of people in weird masks
tend to look like you're trying to remain anonymous, and not for the
On why she wears costumes for charity work: "There could be someone
doing good work for 15 years in a soup kitchen, but nobody will join the
cause. You put a mask on that guy, all of a sudden everyone is like,
'Hey, what are you doing?' As soon as you put on something thtat reminds
someone of their childhood comfort -- childhood comic books -- they are