Milwaukee’s very own “Real Life Superhero” may not drive a Batmobile, but rather, as journalist Tea Krulos says, a “pretty normal-looking” four-door tan Pontiac. And yes -- Krulos is referring to a guy who prowls the streets of Milwaukee wearing a mask, spandex and rubber gloves. He calls himself “The Watchman.” But the Watchman also happens to have a basketball hoop in his driveway and a living room covered with his children’s superhero action figures. And he’s not alone. (Krulos also wrote about the Watchman for this very magazine in 2009.)
In Krulos’s new book Heroes in the Night, he discovers these “Real Life Superheroes” -- random citizens who’ve adopted comic book-style personas -- are part of a subculture Krulos and others are calling the “Real Life Superhero Movement.” Krulos first meets the Watchman on a freezing night in a Milwaukee park. “Only two people were crazy enough to be out in that weather,” Krulos writes. “And one of them was me.” But that doesn’t deter Krulos, as he tracks down dozens more (plus some ex-superheroes) and in 300 pages reveals the subculture’s surprisingly lengthy history and active present.
Krulos will be at Boswell Book Company tomorrow to promote the book.