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The Rise of Real-Life Superheroes: and the Fall of Everything Else

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Meanwhile, back in the darkened alleys of a city near you… trouble is brewing. A fight breaks out. A mugger shakes down an innocent tourist. Inequality is on the rise. Enter our heroes. Dark Guardian chases off an angry drug dealer in Manhattan. Mr. Xtreme charges in and breaks up a San Diego bar brawl. T.O. Ronin hugs a homeless man on the snowy streets of Toronto. These a Meanwhile, back in the darkened alleys of a city near you… trouble is brewing. A fight breaks out. A mugger shakes down an innocent tourist. Inequality is on the rise. Enter our heroes. Dark Guardian chases off an angry drug dealer in Manhattan. Mr. Xtreme charges in and breaks up a San Diego bar brawl. T.O. Ronin hugs a homeless man on the snowy streets of Toronto. These aren’t the big-screen or comic-book heroes that have been increasingly dominating pop culture. They’re real-life superheroes: individuals who take on masked personae to fight crime and help the helpless. They don’t have superpowers, but they do try to make the world a better place. Lifelong comic-book fan and veteran journalist Peter Nowak goes to the source of this phenomenon, meeting with real-life superheroes in North America and around the world to get their stories and investigate what the movement means for the future of society. To some people, real-life superheroes may seem like quirky outliers or dangerous vigilantes but, as Nowak shows, they are also archetypes whose job is to remind us of the better part of human nature.


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Meanwhile, back in the darkened alleys of a city near you… trouble is brewing. A fight breaks out. A mugger shakes down an innocent tourist. Inequality is on the rise. Enter our heroes. Dark Guardian chases off an angry drug dealer in Manhattan. Mr. Xtreme charges in and breaks up a San Diego bar brawl. T.O. Ronin hugs a homeless man on the snowy streets of Toronto. These a Meanwhile, back in the darkened alleys of a city near you… trouble is brewing. A fight breaks out. A mugger shakes down an innocent tourist. Inequality is on the rise. Enter our heroes. Dark Guardian chases off an angry drug dealer in Manhattan. Mr. Xtreme charges in and breaks up a San Diego bar brawl. T.O. Ronin hugs a homeless man on the snowy streets of Toronto. These aren’t the big-screen or comic-book heroes that have been increasingly dominating pop culture. They’re real-life superheroes: individuals who take on masked personae to fight crime and help the helpless. They don’t have superpowers, but they do try to make the world a better place. Lifelong comic-book fan and veteran journalist Peter Nowak goes to the source of this phenomenon, meeting with real-life superheroes in North America and around the world to get their stories and investigate what the movement means for the future of society. To some people, real-life superheroes may seem like quirky outliers or dangerous vigilantes but, as Nowak shows, they are also archetypes whose job is to remind us of the better part of human nature.

34 review for The Rise of Real-Life Superheroes: and the Fall of Everything Else

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tea Krulos

    When I first heard about this book, I was a bit like "well, been there, done that," as I wrote a book about Real-Life Superheroes in 2013 titled Heroes in the Night. I'm glad I read the book-- Nowak does a first rate job telling this story. There's some familiar names and history to those who know RLSH, but Nowak explored some fresh angles as well. I really enjoyed reading about a Superman tulpa, African interpretations of superheroes, and really great material on the Guardian Angels, as well as When I first heard about this book, I was a bit like "well, been there, done that," as I wrote a book about Real-Life Superheroes in 2013 titled Heroes in the Night. I'm glad I read the book-- Nowak does a first rate job telling this story. There's some familiar names and history to those who know RLSH, but Nowak explored some fresh angles as well. I really enjoyed reading about a Superman tulpa, African interpretations of superheroes, and really great material on the Guardian Angels, as well as reading about teams I never got around to meeting. Nowak presents an engaging book that explores comic book (and vigilante) history and ends up on street level with the Real-Life Superheroes in San Diego, Chicago, Orlando and beyond. It's an accurate portrait of a fascinating, colorful, and timely subculture.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark Sewell

    This book gives the reader an in depth look into an interesting phenomenon/sub-culture. It does not follow the same template of other books that tackle the same topic of real life superheroes. This one goes a bit deeper into the motivations behind what drives people to take this approach to helping out their communities. Are they altruistic? Narcissistic? Are they simply seeking attention or trying to fix issues in their own life? Or is it something else entirely? Read it and find out. The extens This book gives the reader an in depth look into an interesting phenomenon/sub-culture. It does not follow the same template of other books that tackle the same topic of real life superheroes. This one goes a bit deeper into the motivations behind what drives people to take this approach to helping out their communities. Are they altruistic? Narcissistic? Are they simply seeking attention or trying to fix issues in their own life? Or is it something else entirely? Read it and find out. The extensive end-notes for each chapter allow the reader to check out sources on their own, and explore many different facets. It is obvious that the author has done meticulous research and spent time thinking about the topic. Other authors such as Tea Krulos have done as many (if not more) patrols with real life superheroes as part of the research phase, but Peter Nowak has gone beyond in interviewing experts in a way that adds something new to the literature. If one were doing a scholarly paper on the topic, Nowak's book would make one's research easier to complete. That said, ideally Tea Krulos' book "Heroes in the Night" should be read as well. In conclusion, if you are interested in the topic and want to find out more about it, this book is essential...and the cover looks really cool too. This is one time where judging the book by its cover would not steer you wrong.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ethan Blatt

    Peter does an amazing job of exploring a subculture most of us have never heard of and will never know. This book explores the unique and storied history of vigilantes and documents the evolution and modern incarnation of the Real Life Superhero subculture. It tells the history of comic books, groups like the Guardian Angels, Mexican Luchadors, and the strange people who come up with interesting names and colorful costumes to combat crime, homelessness and apathy. A great read for anyone even remo Peter does an amazing job of exploring a subculture most of us have never heard of and will never know. This book explores the unique and storied history of vigilantes and documents the evolution and modern incarnation of the Real Life Superhero subculture. It tells the history of comic books, groups like the Guardian Angels, Mexican Luchadors, and the strange people who come up with interesting names and colorful costumes to combat crime, homelessness and apathy. A great read for anyone even remotely interested in comics, superheroes, or delving into the human psyche.

  4. 5 out of 5

    The Grim

    I was not prepared for how good this book is! I've read quite a few books on Real-Life Superheroes and they basically touch on the same stuff. Costumes, deeds, locations. But this book gets to the serious questions like, "Why is Gamora?". It was a fun, educational, and reflective journey seeing that I'm carrying on the traditions of the ones who have come before me. One thing I will warn, is that you may lose sleep. It is legitimately difficult to put the book down. I was not prepared for how good this book is! I've read quite a few books on Real-Life Superheroes and they basically touch on the same stuff. Costumes, deeds, locations. But this book gets to the serious questions like, "Why is Gamora?". It was a fun, educational, and reflective journey seeing that I'm carrying on the traditions of the ones who have come before me. One thing I will warn, is that you may lose sleep. It is legitimately difficult to put the book down.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Simon Langlois

  6. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  8. 4 out of 5

    Frank Lafontaine

  9. 5 out of 5

    Clare Miller

  10. 4 out of 5

    Eric

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

  12. 5 out of 5

    Harold Cardona

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rick Dahl

  15. 5 out of 5

    claire

  16. 4 out of 5

    ZG Stories

  17. 4 out of 5

    Berglind Hendrickson

  18. 4 out of 5

    Treesong Treesong

  19. 5 out of 5

    Julian Lanza

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy

  21. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Dеnnis

  23. 5 out of 5

    Candice

  24. 5 out of 5

    Robert Cojocaru

  25. 4 out of 5

    Hatchet Mouth

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amy C

  28. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Moses

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gen L

  30. 5 out of 5

    Deniz

  31. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  32. 4 out of 5

    Brad Fonseca

  33. 4 out of 5

    Peter Von

  34. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Buchanan

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