HBO helps break comic book-like characters through the 4th wall and into our living rooms with it's recently released Superheroes. The result of the story is both inspiring and sad.
Many young kids, boys especially, tie a towl around their necks and pretend to be a super-powered fighter of crime. And many of those kids grow up to actually fight crime -- as police officers, lawyers, and first responders to emergencies. The pretend-cape gets put away about the time we start liking girls.
Chicks dig men in uniform. They mock those of us who still wear a Batman T-shirt.
Those profiled in Superheroes, however, took off the fake cape to put on a real one. Mr. Xtreme, Master Legend, Lucid, and members of Team Justice take the Neighborhood Watch concept to new heights by putting on tights and buckeling up a utility belt before patrolling streets after dusk.
It's funny because it's real.
But it's also sad. Watch the documentary closely and you'll find a gaggle of folks most likely challenged with living a typical lifestyle: people with what appear to be personality disorders, potential alcoholics, and aggressive types itching for a fight. Perhaps their efforts are simply a colorful, interesting mask placed on real dysfunction.
Many of those interviewed in Superheroes reported being inspired by the story of Kitty Genovese, the New York woman murdered in public during the mid-60s as neighbors went about their business and refused to get involved. Genovese is a legitimate martyr for their cause, as the apathy that aided her murder is an epidemic in today's society. The heroes serve the cause best, however, when they band together to feed the homeless, and inspire children to be better people. In these non-violent roles they can truly be heroes and benefit their communities.
Even while wearing tights.