Real life superheroes have long had a love/hate relationship with the media.
Some have avoided it all together, adding to their mystique.
Some have agreed to participate, only to be embarrassed later on.
And many have tried to harness the media to convey a positive message about what they are doing and try to inspire others. The story has been “breaking” for a couple years and stories continue to roll out on a local and national level on a regular basis.
Some of these stories have been positive portrayals of the RLSH, some have been bland, neutral reports, and others have been negative digs.
If we can imagine a RLSH positivity scale, a RLSH Media Love Meter, that rates stories 1 to 10 (with 1 being a terrible, negative portrayal and 10 being an inspiring, positive portrayal) then I will use that scale to give you an idea of the range of media. These ratings are just my own perception, of course.
Ask any RLSH and the top of the scale, probably cranking that baby up to 11, is Peter Tangen.
Tangen is the man behind the Real Life Superhero Project, a collection of portraits of RLSHs as well as some incredibly crafted faux Hollywood movie posters of a select group of RLSHs, gleamed from Tangen’s expertise as a Hollywood movie poster photographer (he shot material for Spiderman, Batman, and Hellboy movie posters, among many other movies of all genres).
|Participants in Peter Tangen’s Real Life Superhero Project. (Back row, L-R) Death’s Head Moth, Z, Citizen Prime, Dark Guardian, DC’s Guardian, Zetaman. (Front row, L-R) Good Samaritan, Zimmer, Motor Mouth, Geist- Photo by Apocalypse Meow|
Tangen really has gotten the ball rolling doing interviews about the project around the world. I’m always seeing articles on him being posted from places like Brazil. I’ll admit it makes me somewhat jealous.
Peter, Peter, Peter.
No one cares about the hack writer from Milwaukee.
Tangen is also a part of an upcoming documentary film about RLSHs, which also gets a 10 without even having seen in it.
I believe it is debuting this winter season and from what I know, sounds amazing. I’ll be writing more about it closer to release date.
Photography projects in general score pretty high- French photographer Pierre-Elie de Pibrac toured the country over the summer, and his portraits of RLSHs posing on the streets definitely shoot up to a 10.
In an update a month ago, Pierre says his big gallery show will take place in June 2011 in Paris. I’ve also seen some work from a German photographer who I’m not familiar with but has gotten some great shots.
I feel certain write ups get high marks as well. A recent article on Atlanta duo Metadata and Crimson Fist was informative, well written, and as a bonus included a side bar on ways people could help the heroes do charitable things- a solid 9.
A lot of articles fall into the 5 or 6 range, for a number of reasons- they are somewhat lazy, they are recycling material easily googled, or they don’t really make a connection to the subject matter. These articles are written quickly, sometimes instantly and they usually aren’t exceptionally good or bad, they just are.
At the bottom of the press love scale, in the 2 or less category we find blog writers who grasp onto one element of the story in a negative way and run with it.
Examples would be the Milwaukee Onion AV Club who ran a feature on my local RLSH, The Watchman, and called for his unmasking and labeled him as “dopey.” I was also surprised to see a blog on Wired magazine’s website run amok with one sentence from an article I wrote on a group from Brooklyn named the New York Initiative, which they titled “Real Life Superheroes Gear Up With Ninja Throwing Stars, Ax Handles, ‘Stun Knuckles.” I was glad to see my article picked up by Wired, but irritated to see such an out of context interpretation.
As I’ve reported in an entry on my Heroes in the Night blog, a RLSH themed reality show is in development. It’s premature for me to rate it, but members of the RLSH world having been hitting the scale like a xylophone with their reactions.