By Tea Krulos
Hello my heroic friends!
Now is a good time for me to talk about what I’m doing, especially since there are a lot of new people to the forum, who may not know what I am all about. I’m a freelance writer from Milwaukee, and I’ve been working on a book for the last 13 months about real-life superheroes titled Heroes in the Night.
The book is built on three major key methods:
1. Research. That would include not only the history of the RLSH, but of comic book heroes, and groups or individuals that may have similarities to RLSH.
2. Extensive interviewing. I have interviewed over a 100 RLSH (and other people involved somehow) by e-mail, phone, and in person. I would like to point out that my lines of communication are open, and they are open to everyone. If I haven’t contacted you, please don’t be offended. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to you; it’s the simple fact that there are only so many hours in the day. Another thing I’d like to mention is that I consider myself a completely neutral party. I don’t have a “side” and don’t favor one style of RLSH over another.
3. “Field work.” This is my favorite and most exciting aspect of the book. I have had the time of my life getting to travel and meet RLSH on their turf. Its one thing to read a blog post about a patrol, but it absolutely cannot compare to getting out there and joining in on one. I have fully gone out and participated as much as I can. Starting in my hometown, I’ve joined the local RLSH, Watchman and Blackbird, out on the street several times for patrol, and have helped them organize strategy in my own neighborhood. This continues to this day, and in fact we were invited to participate in a community event which will allow at least a couple hundred neighborhood residents meet the RLSH.
I also have been to Minneapolis twice and Rochester, MN once, where I met Razorhawk, Celtic Viking, and Geist. I don’t know what to say about the Wisconsin and Minnesota RLSH except that they are all fantastic guys that I admire greatly and consider personal heroes.
My next trip was to the Superheroes Anonymous 3 conference in New Bedford, an amazing weekend for sure, with 15 or so RLSH in attendance. I met several people I would say are very active participants in RLSH organizing. Civitron was a great host, and in fact everyone was very hospitable to me. I honestly had a great time participating in the workshops and just hanging out.
I then traveled to the West coast to participate in an invitation by Thanatos for RLSH to join him on the streets of Vancouver for the winter Olympics. It was a humbling experience for me, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for Thanatos and his work. Along with the other RLSH in attendance, we visited homeless camps and even the set of Watchmen.
In Seattle I not only hung out with The Irishman, but also proved I can give villains a fair shake, and had a nice lunch with the members of ROACH.
My last trip (for the book at least) is scheduled for early June, to NYC. I am looking forward to not only reconnecting with some of the great people I met at SA3, but to meeting new people as well. It is with some sadness that I report that as my last trip-there are many places I would have liked to have gone, unfortunately money restricts my travels(everything so far has been funded out of my own pocket) and also the book must have an end someplace.
Now that I’ve told you the methods I’m using, I’ll also tell you how I got into writing it. What caught my attention back then was actually a blurb in News of the Weird; a great column by Chuck Shepherd syndicated in alternative newspapers that rounds up strange news. The blurb mentioned the article on Master Legend in Rolling Stone and an article in the London Times, both of which I checked out.
My interest at first was purely because it was a unique story, which I’m always looking for as a freelance writer. I’m a lifelong fan of comic books, which also grabbed my attention. I’ve imagined how awesome it would be to be a superhero. My dad read me comic books at night as a kid, mostly DC titles- Batman, Green Lantern, the Flash, and many others. I won’t say I’m a comic book nerd- not that I find the term insulting, but I’ve never really collected heavily- I’ll buy a few random titles here or there, and then usually pass them on to someone else. I buy comics to read them, not collect them.
I did an internet search and found out that we did indeed have a local RLSH here in Milwaukee- The Watchman. At this point, I still wasn’t sure what to make of all of this RLSH business, but I was willing to give the benefit of the doubt. I got a local magazine interested in running a piece on Watchman and set up a meeting one night at a city park near my house.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but after meeting the Watchman I found a lot of what he said made sense and I didn’t think he was crazy at all. In fact, at this point I asked myself who was crazier- guys in homemade costumes trying to make their neighborhoods a safer place, or people sitting on their ass complaining and moaning about how terrible everything is and asking oh, why doesn’t anyone do something?
After talking to the Watchman, and studying some people on the internet, I determined there was enough material for a book, and my adventures with the RLSH began. I have gotten to know some RLSH (and associates) pretty well, and I will continue to support these people and their efforts long after the book is sitting on a shelf somewhere.
The status of the book is that the writing should be done within the next few months. There are a couple of publishers looking at my book proposal right now. They could reject it, and I could reject them if I don’t like what they present me. For example- and I’m announcing this now for the first time- in keeping with the generous spirit of the RLSH, (as well as great people working on other RLSH related projects, like Peter Tangent and Amber Gant) I will be pretty insistent with my publisher that a percentage of book sales go to charity. I already have a pretty solid idea on this, but don’t want to mention more before things are ironed out.
Even if these publishers don’t go for it, it does prove there is an interest. I’m pretty confident it’s going to happen soon. In the meanwhile, I’m just focusing on making the writing the best it can be.
There are a few ways you can keep tabs on the project.
Some of you may not know, but I maintain a blog at www.heroesinthenight.blogspot.com where I post stuff at least a couple times a week, and in the past I’ve had special weeks where I post every day. I encourage you to add the blog to your “follow” list (if you have a blogger account) and to comment.
I post a “Hero Profile” every Thursday. By the way, that feature isn’t done because I think anyone is better than anyone else, I kind of just randomly select someone and go with it, and hopefully people get to learn a few small details of what the RLSH is all about.
In addition to the Hero Profile, I occasionally post excerpts from the book and also try to act as an unbiased RLSH news wire, reporting interesting events I see on the forum and elsewhere. The comments section often has interesting input and debates. These debates range from productive ones to ones that are kind of like people chasing each other around in fast motion like on the Benny Hill Show. What can I say? Never a dull moment.
In addition to the blog, I have social network sites and it would be great to have you as a friend-
Lastly, anyone is free to PM me on the forum or at my e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be safe and smart out there, and keep up the good work!