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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Have Armor, Will "Adjust Your Claims"

Posted By on Sat, May 17, 2008 at 5:15 AM

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By Matthew Shaer

In this week's "Batman" – the first in the "R.I.P." series, which is shaping up to be pretty damn good – Bruce bemoans the fact that "the only criminals left in Gotham are these stupid homemade guys the cops can take care of."

To which Alfred responds: "It's an 'American Idol' era of equal opportunity supercrime. Every Tom, Dick, or Harry with a make-up box and rampant Tourette's fancies himself the next Joker."

Well, I don't know about supercriminals, but there plenty of real-life superheroes prowling the streets these days. Sayeth Vark, of the World Heroics Database: "There's a lot of different kind of crime. Not all of it is in the dark alleys."

Yes. Amen. Tell me more!

Vark continues: "Have a cover story. A business card that says you are a 'claims adjuster' can explain why you are at the scene of an accident. And it's true. As superheroes, one of things we do is adjust claims. You can be a mild-mannered reporter, or a documentarian, a private detective, or a member of the crime watch, or something like that."

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Find a cape, and you'll be all set. Just don't try to fly.

The wiki is large and full of fun facts, like this one (!), about the men and women prowling our streets today: "Some have overcome tremendous odds to achieve mind blowing feats; others have actively pursued charitable acts while maintaining a distinguishable image."

Still, the dudes running the site are pretty savvy. They don't want you just running into a fight, all willy nilly. No way! Take some time to train, ladies and gentlemen. Take some time to know your enemies. And then, when you're ready prepare an acrobatic routine.

"Personally," says a contributor named Noble, "I'm a trained acrobat who has been performing for a few years now, so all of these techniques I have acctually done, over and over. However, you may not have been. Because of this, I thought it best to rate the techniques between one and five, based on their individual difficulty. I suggest you start off with the lower-level techniques if you feel unsure about the mid- and high-level ones.

I also recommend you start training in these techniques in a light gym outfit, then work your way up to gradually wearing your hero outfit. You armored heroes might have a hard time with some of these."

Duly noted.

More: A sweet Utne Reader piece on the real lives of superheroes.

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Matt Shaer

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