The Real Life Superhero Files: Motor Mouth
Oh, there are more. Many more.
Here's Motor Mouth, the yammering crime fighter who claims to have sparked the local superhero scene when he starting crime patrols four years ago. He now heads the Northern California Protectorate, and is always looking to recruit. (He says any superhero aspirants can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Handle: Motor Mouth, for his propensity to talk. And talk. "I like to speak up. Not everything I say may be what they want to hear, but I'm going to say it, nonetheless."
Patrol Turf: San Francisco's Tenderloin, Mid-Market, and SOMA; Oakland.
Day Job: Former security guard and Eagle Scout, current special ed teacher.
Costume: Black Doc Marten boots with orange stripes, bulletproof vest, face cover, and sometimes a Captain America shield.
Superhero services: Crime patrols and riot control; supplies drops to Occupy encampments; homeless hand-outs of bottled water, juice box, granola bars, trail mix, socks, and a poncho.
What comic books he's reading now: "A lot of Justice League, Fantastic Four."
Manifesto on standing up for what's right: "People need to realize there is good in the world, things that are genuinely good and genuinely evil. The problem is people aren't wiling to admit that it's bad or good anymore. People would rather go with the general consensus of things than have their own thoughts."
On how to sniff out crime: "We're almost like old-fashioned beat cops, being steered around the streets by our senses. I go where my gut tells me to go. Sometimes my guy will tell me to go six blocks ahead, sometimes my gut will tell me to zig-zag back and forth."
Motor Mouth vs. Oscar Grant rioters: During the riot in downtown Oakland protesting Oscar Grant's death at the hands of a BART cop, Motor and two teammates saw a mob about to break the windows of a tapas bar. "I was like, 'Oh hell no!' I tapped both my guys on the shoulder and said follow my lead, and I was sparking my [stun-gun blast] knuckles, my guy with a Taser on my left and the guy with a shiv on right, and the whole crowd was just staring at us like, 'Who the fuck are you?' People started seeing the cops coming and realized it wasn't worth the trouble and walked away."
On why you can be a superhero even with a beer gut: "I don't care if you weight 400 pounds or are underweight and have never been in a fight in your life. I believe the beauty of this is anyone can do it.... If you have the mindset, the other stuff will fall into place."
On why he likes to wear a superhero costume: "We can make people believe, for a fraction of a second, that comic book heroes can exist and can help people. Whether it's helping a lady across the street or catching a purse-snatcher. You are taking something fictional on every level and trying to do something that's real."
|On patrol with the Nor-Cal Protectorate.|
Photos by Joseph Schell