Attention ROACH: 2010 Is The "Year Of The Real-Life Superhero"S

Apparently, it's time for ROACH, the secret society of evildoers dedicated to thwarting real-world superheroes, to mobilize. Because 2010 is the year of the citizen superhero, says one expert.

Insiders in the movement are seeing 2010 as a "make it or break it" year, blogs Tea Krulos, who's working on a book called Heroes In The Night: Inside The Real-Life Superhero Movement. And lots of activity is planned. There's a superhero meet-up planned for Vancouver, and a convention, Superheroes Anonymous 4 in Portland. There's also a green power rally, at which many superheroes will attend. (It's good of the superheroes to let the villains know in advance where they'll be gathering.)

But the biggest 2010 event for real-life superheroes? May be the release of one particular movie. Writes Krulos:

Things will be interesting in April with the release of the film Kick-Ass, which features a fictional (and violent) portrayal of RLSH. The RLSH are divided on their opinions on the film's release. Some see the benefits of the film drawing interest and potential new recruits to the movement. Others are concerned about just what caliber of people it might attract, as well as unwanted attention. The full scale of the potential positive or negative benefits of the film will have to wait until the film's release.

Krulos also wrote a recent article about real-life superheroes for the Boston Phoenix, which has the best opening ever:

THWAK! I swing with my right fist, trying to connect with my opponent's face. In a smooth motion, he deflects my punch with his forearm, which is protected with a black and metallic-plastic arm gauntlet. I swing with my left fist, and am again knocked away effortlessly. I can see my reflection in his sunglasses, framed in white. He smiles and smoothes out his red and white spandex shirt - adorned with a letter "C," a flame shooting out of the top - and then crouches into a fighting stance.

"Oh, no," I think. "I'm about to get my ass kicked by a Lycra-wearing superhero."

This non-caped crusader goes by the name of Civitron, and lucky for me, our combat is not a battle royale to the death. Rather, we are sparring at Rebelo's Kenpo Karate, in New Bedford, where Civitron has trained under sensei Joseph "Kenpo Joe" Rebelo on and off for more than 10 years. We aren't alone.

Photo by Mike Pecci, from Boston Phoenix. Bigger version at the link. [Heroes In The Night]