Phoenix Jones, along with other superheroes in the Rain City Superhero Movement, fights crime -- and calls 911 a lot -- on the streets of Seattle. This Seattle super squad, a group of crime fighters whose members include characters such as Green Reaper, No Name, and Catastrophe, patrol every night, and among them carry batons, pepper spray and tasers -- plus cell phones.
Jones looks like a comic-book superhero, costumed in molded, Batman-style body armor, including a ballistic vest, a ballistic cup, and arm and leg trauma plates. Like his fellow superhero crime fighters, he hides his identity behind a mask; Jones' is black and gold.
His true identity, revealed after the superhero was arrested in 2011, is Benjamin John Francis Fodor, a special education teacher and father of two.
Author's Note: 10 Real-life Costumed Crime Fighters
While researching this article, I learned our most favorite comic book superheroes are Superman, Batman and Spider-Man -- and that when it comes to the most well-known real-life superhero in the U.S., well, that's probably Phoenix Jones. And as it turns out, it doesn't necessarily take much to become a real-life crime fighter. While some vigilantes have some self-defense training, there are no mandatory requirements for the job. Cape optional; mask recommended.
- Behind the Mask: The Ultimate Superhero Alter-Ego Quiz
- Heroes Unmasked: How secret are secret identities?
- Is Batman a sociopath?
- Wonder Woman's Dirty Secrets
More Great Links
- Brougham, Rachel. "'Petoskey Batman' facing felony charges." Petoskey News. 2012. (March 16, 2013) http://www.petoskeynews.com/news/featured/pnr-petoskey-batman-facing-felony-charges-20121003,0,5403676.story
- Captain Australia: The Real Life Superhero. (March 16, 2013) http://www.captainaustralia.net/
- CNN. "Defender of justice Superbarrio roams Mexico City." July 19, 1997. (March 16, 2013) http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9707/19/mexico.superhero/
- del Olmo, Frank. "A 'Viva Super Barrio' in L.A. Is Not Exactly the Message Official Mexico Likes to Hear." Los Angeles Times. March 20, 1989. (March 16, 2013) http://articles.latimes.com/1989-03-20/news/mn-217_1_el-salvador
- George, Rose. "Dirty little secret: the loo that saves lives in Liberia." Feb. 3, 2012. (March 16, 2013) http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/feb/03/liberia-sanitation-johnson-sirleaf-toilets
- Glionna, John M. "Real-life masked crusaders fight crime their own way." Los Angeles Times. Aug. 25, 2012. (March 16, 2013) http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/25/nation/la-na-utah-superheroes-20120826
- HomeAid Atlanta. "Why Help - Homelessness by the Numbers." (March 16, 2013) https://www.homeaidatlanta.org/helpnumbers.php
- Johnson, Craig. "Amid hard times, an influx in real superheroes." June 4, 2009. (March 16, 2013. http://www.cnn.com/2009/LIVING/06/04/real.life.superheroes/index.html
- McCormack, Simon. "Mark Wayne Williams, 'Petoskey Batman', Gives Interview." Huffington Post. Nov. 5, 2012. (March 16, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/05/mark-wayne-williams-batman_n_2078873.html
- McNerthney, Casey. "Police alerted to 'superheroes' patrolling Seattle." Seattle PI. Nov. 18, 2010. (March 16, 2013) http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Police-alerted-to-superheroes-patrolling-Seattle-821425.php
- McLaughlin, Michael. "Mark Wayne Williams, Real-Life 'Batman,' Gets Probation In Mich." Huffington Post. Oct. 18, 2011. (March 16, 2013) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/18/mark-wayne-williams-batman-probation_n_1017782.html
- Mental Floss. "Real World Superheroes of the South." Aug. 17, 2010. (March 16, 2013) http://mentalfloss.com/article/25493/real-world-superheroes-south
- Nsubuga, Jimmy. "Salford 'superhero' hangs up cape after being punched in face in Manchester." Metro UK. March 16, 2013 (March 16, 2013) http://metro.co.uk/2013/03/16/salford-superhero-hangs-up-cape-after-being-punched-in-face-in-manchester-3545109/
- Omaat.org. "Real Life Superhero: Lion Heart." (March 16, 2013) http://www.omaat.org/2013/01/20/real-life-superhero-lion-heart/
- Pearlman, Jonathan. "Wheel Clamp Man with his hard hat and angle grinder on the streets of Perth." The Telegraph. Aug. 27, 2012. (March 16, 2013) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/9502363/Wheel-Clamp-Man-with-his-hard-hat-and-angle-grinder-on-the-streets-of-Perth.html
- Prieto, Bianca. "Master Legend: Orlando's real life super hero." Orlando Sentinel. Sept. 16, 2011. (March 2013) http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2011-09-16/features/os-master-legend-orlando-super-hero-20110916_1_super-hero-patrols-downtown-mask
- Real Life Superheroes.org. "About Superhero." (March 16, 2013) http://reallifesuperheroes.org/about/about-superhero/
- Robinson, Bryan. "Meet the Anti-Sex in the City Superhero." ABC News. Nov. 5, 2002. (March 16, 2013) http://abcnews.go.com/US/Valentine/story?id=91072&page=1
- Ronson, Jon. "It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's...Some Dude?!" GQ. August 2011. (March 16, 2013) http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201108/real-life-superheroes-phoenix-jones
- Ross, Winston. "Meet the Superhero Vigilantes." The Daily Beast. Dec. 6, 2010. (March 16, 2013) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/12/06/the-rain-city-superheroes-seattles-amateur-crime-fighters.html
- Rojo, Gabriela; and Elvia Velazquez. "Marco Rascón Córdova." Agencia Informativa de la Izquierda Mexicana. March 16, 2012. (March 16, 2013) http://www.izquierdamexicana.com/component/content/article/133-2012/4172-marco-rascon-cordova
- Sacks, Ethan. "Phoenix Jones, costumed super hero arrested in Seattle last month, loses civilian job." New York Daily News. Nov. 4, 2011. (March 16, 2013) http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/phoenix-jones-costumed-super-hero-arrested-seattle-month-loses-civilian-job-article-1.972509
- Scrivener, Zoltan. "At Last--A Real Superhero!" Car and Driver. November 2004. (March 16, 2013) http://www.caranddriver.com/news/at-lasta-real-superhero-car-news
- Sky News. "Argentina 'Superhero' Menganno Is An Ex-Cop." Jan. 24, 2013. (March 16, 2013) http://news.sky.com/story/1042293/argentina-superhero-menganno-is-an-ex-cop
- Smith, Graham. "Self-proclaimed superhero 'Shadow Hare' declares war on crime... although at 5ft 7 ins tall he might need a little help." Daily Mail. May 2, 2009. (March 16, 2013) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1176031/Self-proclaimed-superhero-Shadow-Hare-declares-war-crime---5ft-7ins-tall-need-little-help.html
- Templeton, Anthony. "Captain Australia is Queensland's first superhero, and has vowed to clean up the streets of Brisbane." March 4, 2011. (March 16, 2013) http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/captain-australia-is-queenslands-first-superhero-and-has-vowed-to-clean-up-the-streets-of-brisbane/story-e6freon6-1226015976662
- The Real Life Super Hero Project. (March 16, 2013) http://www.reallifesuperheroes.com/
- The Telegraph. "The Real Life Super Hero Project by Peter Tangen." (March 16, 2013) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/7973066/The-Real-Life-Super-Hero-Project-by-Peter-Tangen.html?image=1
- Zunger, Nurit. "Seven Real-Life Superheroes." GQ. Aug. 4, 2011. (March 16, 2013) http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/201108/real-life-superheroes-mr-extreme-geist-insignis-master-legend
Are you worried about package theft? HowStuffWorks has some excellent tips to derail porch pirates.