Sometimes life imitates art and sometimes it’s the other way around, with real life superheroes leading a double life – not to fight crime per se – but to make the world that little bit more bearable in the worst of circumstances, offering inspiration and instilling hope in the fearful. These superheroes don’t have the athleticism and sweet gadgetry of Batman, they can’t fly like Superman, or scale tall buildings like our favorite web-slinging Spiderman. Instead, they offer hope in a more traditional sense blurring the lines between fiction and real-life in doing good deeds in the real world and restoring faith in humanity.
These real life super heroes are everywhere; there’s the stranger who will stop to help you fit your spare tire or jumpstart your car, or the myriad volunteers working for numerous charitable associations. Those people are everyday heroes indeed; but there are also genuine costumed and caped heroes in many cities; and you don’t have to go to the movies to see them.
Thusly, we have compiled a top-ten list of some instances when the good deeds of real caped crusaders eclipse the deeds of our favorite fictional crime fighters. The list makes for some really heartwarming stories, so tissues at the ready folks.
1. Ron Perlman and Spectral Motion Bring HELLBOY to Life for Make-a-Wish
Ron Perlman (Hellboy) has accrued a superbly geek-tastic filmography throughout his long spanning career. However, he has also built a reputation as being a really nice bloke along the way, and bringing back Hellboy (which is a gruelling four-hour transformation) after he received word that six-year-old leukemia patient Zachary wanted to “meet and become the horn-shaving wise-cracking, anti-hero. This was all done with the help of Spectral Motion, the team behind the amazing special effects in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy and Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and is testament to Perlman’s awesomeness as a human being.
Here’s what Spectral Motion had to say about Zachary’s meeting with Hellboy (via Facebook):
In the past three weeks, Spectral Motion has been honored to host two wonderful Make-A-Wish children, Caleb and Zachary. Zachary loved his visit for two very special reasons. It was Zachary’s wish to meet Hellboy and also to become Hellboy. When the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted Spectral Motion with this request, Mike thought it would be fantastic to have Ron Perlman reprise his role for the day. Ron loved the idea and donned the makeup once more (with the assistance of Lufeng Qu and Eden Elizalde) and also ordered a Hellboy sized meal of burgers, shakes, and fries for Zachary and his family and the entire Spectral crew to enjoy. Later in the day, Zachary was transformed into Hellboy with the assistance of makeup artists Lufeng Qu and Neil Winn. Both of the Make-A-Wish days were a complete thrill for the families of the children, as well as for the crew at Spectral Motion!
What an amazing thing that the make-a-wish foundation set-up that wouldn’t have been made possible without the awesome Ron Perlman and the amazing make-up team at at Spectral Motion. Looks like everyone had a great day, especially the pint-sized Hellboy a.k.a. Zachery.
Via – Collider
2. Bat Kid Saves San Francisco
Miles Scots a.k.a. Batkid, another pint-sized superhero apprentice from San Francisco, not only saved the city from some of DC comics deadliest foes under the wing of The Dark Knight himself, but proved that social media can bring out the good in people the world over. As, if people were not directly contributing to the ‘Make-A-Wish-Foundation’ superhero extravaganza, they were watching and living the experience of Miles Scots dream-come-true vicariously, via myriad online updates.
Miles, who is in remission from leukemia, dreams came true thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The comic book obsessed Miles, was able to become his favorite superhero for a day and take crime into his own hands, preventing The Penguin’s plan to rob a band, helping a damsel in distress, and saving San Francisco Giants mascot Lou Seal from the clutches of his nemesis
San Franciscans turned up by the thousands due to the viral impact of social media, with loads there to help facilitate and make the day the success that it was.
Carmen Kiew, 30, a sports blogger who sat on the steps of Union Square with a handmade sign that read “Gotham’s Hero,” had this to say:
“This just restores your faith in humanity, …I love that this city came together for a little kid who has been so brave,” Kiew said. “Between the police and everyday citizens who felt it was important to show their support, it just makes you feel great.”
Make-A-Wish has fulfilled similar wishes across the country. In Anaheim, a child became Batman’s sidekick, Robin; and in Seattle a child was a secret agent, said Jen Wilson, a spokeswoman for the local organization.
Via – USAtoday
3. Superheroes (Heroes4Higher) Visited Gabe In The Hospital and are pallbearers at Gabe’s Funeral
Joshua Gabriel “Gabe” Lyall was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare liver cancer found in children. After four rounds of chemotherapy including a clinical trial in Morgantown, West VA, the cancer metastasized, giving Gabe just seven months to live, but never breaking his spirit.
His Mother said that each day Gabe woke up, he requested to be addressed as a particular superhero for the day.
“Gabe felt safe among the superheroes of Heroes4Higher. When they came to visit him, he didn’t feel like a sick child. He felt like he was saving the world along with them. He saved a lot of people.”
Heroes4Higher granted Gabe his last wish with Heroes4Higher founder John Buckland Stressing the impact that Gabe has had on the organisation:
“Gabe was the strongest, most resilient child I’ve ever met in my life”.
Several heroes visited Gabe during his battle with cancer. Buckland said that Gabe never saw the heroes faces, but as the men carried him to his final resting place, they removed their masks to honor and respect him.
Heroes4Higher inspire many with their message of hope.
Since its creation in September of 2012, Heroes4Hire has taken messages to an estimated 70,000 children through events at schools, churches, hospitals and the public, Buckland said. The goal is to inspire children to “Be The Hero” in whatever situation life brings.
Earlier this year, the group gained national attention when they were teaching a lesson to a group of children in Milton, West Virginia and saw smoke coming from a nearby home. They ran to the scene and were able to rescue the family cat.
“It’s not about us. It’s about the children and what they go through – the adversity, the abuse, the bullying and illnesses. We do this for the kids,” Buckland said.
Rest in heaven little Hero.
Via – Funeralfund
4. Marvel invent Blue Ear for Hearing Impaired Child
Marvel created this poster for 5-year-old Anthony Smith, who uses a hearing aid, to make him an “honorary Avenger.”
Five-year-old Anthony Smith didn’t think superheroes wore hearing aids, until he became one.
His mother, Christina D’Allesandro, says the epic journey began in May, when her superhero-fanatic son, who is deaf in one ear and partially deaf in the other, refused to wear his blue hearing aid because “superheroes don’t wear hearing aids” either.
Desperate, she decided to consult the experts. She found a general e-mail address on the Marvel Comics website and sent a message “into the ethers,” asking if there were any hearing-impaired superheroes.
A few weeks later, the mother of two was shocked to get an overwhelming response from Marvel, including comic book art that honored her son.
She told CNN that:
“When he first saw the comic book cover, he said, ‘Oh my God, it’s me,’ “He was very excited.”
Marvel editor Bill Rosemann added:
“We decided to make him an honorary Avenger,” a member of the Marvel Comics superhero crime-fighting team.”
Two artists, Manny Mederos and Nelson Ribeiro, sent the D’Allesandro family comic book covers featuring their very own versions of honorary Avenger Blue Ear, inspired by Anthony, whose blue earpiece gives him the power to hear a pin drop from the other side of a state.
One cover features a younger Anthony and his buddy Hawkeye ready to fight crime. The other shows an older version of Blue Ear perched on a rooftop, tapping into his superpower and listening to a faraway call for help.
As of yet there are no comic books planned for future release.
Via – CNN
5. Hospital Rebrands Chemotherapy as Superhero Serum
While there are plenty of heroes out there who got there powers from being dosed with radiation (usually under less than controlled conditions), this isn’t a campaign that convinces kids that chemotherapy will give them superpowers. What it is, is one that might make them feel less scared about a pretty scary situation. After all, not everybody is old enough to appreciate xkcd’s epic reframing of cancer treatment.
In case you’re wondering how the copyright agreements on this were worked out, it was pretty simple: international ad agency JWT happens to have both Warner Bros. and the A.C.Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo as its clients. They mediated a collaborative refurbishment of the Children’s Ward, IV bag covers, and matching comics that frames their child patients’ treatments as a superscience cure for a superhero they know and love. From their press release:
Covers for intravenous bags were constructed based on characters from the Justice League, creating…a child-friendly version of the treatment. Co-developed with doctors, the covers are easy to sterilize and handle and meet all hospital hygiene standards.
(The) experience went far beyond the covers by also providing a new look to the entire Children’s Ward: the game room was turned into the Hall of Justice, corridors and doors were decorated in the same theme, and the exterior acquired an exclusive entrance for these little heroes.
Comics were also created in which Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, and Green Lantern are laid low by their greatest foes, and depend on a superformula (delivered in an IV pouch just like the real ones the kids use) to regain their fighting strength and defeat the bad guy.
If that’s not enough to make you think there’s onions in the room, just watch this video:
You can check out some more pictures of the A.C.C. Cancer Center and their superheroic work at Buzzfeed.
Via – themarysue
6. Marvel Hold A Private Screening For The Brain Damaged Co-Creator Of Rocket Raccoon
*****WHAT AN INCREDIBLE DAY FOR BILL MANTLO*****! Marvel hooked Bill up with a PRIVATE VIEWING of “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, and my wife Liz and my beloved cousin Jean assisted Bill throughout, enabling him to sit back, relax and relish in the AWESOMENESS of what is going to be, in my humble opinion, Marvel’s GREATEST AND MOST SUCCESSFUL FILM EVER! Bill thoroughly enjoyed it, giving it his HIGHEST COMPLIMENT (the BIG “THUMB’S UP!”), and when the credits rolled, his face was locked into the HUGEST SMILE I HAVE EVER SEEN HIM WEAR (along with one or two tears of joy)! This was the GREATEST DAY OF THE LAST 22 YEARS for me, our family, and most importantly, BILL MANTLO!
According to Michael Mantlo, the men responsible for Bill’s front row seat to Guardians of the Galaxy was Marvel’s attorney David Althoff and Marvel’s Vice President David Bogart.
The gentlemen that made it possible for Bill to see his creation, ROCKET RACCOON, come alive in “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, Marvel Attorney David Althoff (far left) and Marvel VP David Bogart (center). Giving Bill this opportunity was a daunting challenge (with all the legal & security protocols that needed to be breached), but these two FINE MEN made it happen, and Bill had the HAPPIEST DAY OF HIS LIFE! I will NEVER be able to thank them enough for all that they have done for Bill!
Not only did Bill Mantlo get a private screening of the movie and, of course, a part in the credits.
7. Marvel Stars standing in solidarity with one man’s desire to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier before he dies.
Sixty-year-old Stratford Caldecott, a lifelong comic book fan — and Marvel fan in particular — has only 12 weeks left to live from advanced prostate cancer, an illness that left him too sick to see the last Captain America movie in its theater release. Last week, his family decided to try and help him see the movie nonetheless.
“We’re going to try and get in touch with Marvel to ask if they can fulfil dad’s dying wish by sending us a copy of the film for him to watch at home,” Sophie, his daughter, blogged. “But I think we can go further than that. We’re also going to tweet the Avengers actors and see if they will take a picture of themselves holding a sign saying ‘Captain America/Thor/Iron Man [insert name of character here] for Strat!’ so that we can surprise him with their messages of support and encouragement.”
It worked. Thanks to the Twitter hashtag #CapForStrat, actors from both Avengers and Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD posted images of themselves supporting the campaign, starting with Mark Ruffalo. Here are just a few:
— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) May 14, 2014
— Cobie Smulders (@CobieSmulders) May 15, 2014
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) May 16, 2014
Fans also joined in the campaign, sending images of themselves in costume. More importantly, Marvel got in touch to organize a screening for Stratford upon his release from hospital. “We’ve been truly bowled over by all the messages of support and the interest in what we’ve been doing here,” Sophie updated last Friday, adding “If we all take anything away from all of this, let it be that the world can be a good and gentle place, despite what we often hear to the contrary, and that the kindness of strangers is very real.”
It may not be fighting cyborg former comrades now controlled by forces that aren’t exactly on the side of good, but this was arguably a far, far more honorable thing to do, all told.
Via – THR
8. Maryland’s Lamborghini Driving Batman Entertains Sick Children In His Spare Time
Practically every super hero legend is the story of an ordinary person who finds a power that either he/she didn’t know they had. An ordinary guy named Lenny B. Robinson learned if he dawns his cape and climbs into his batmobile he can change the lives of sick children.
In March 2012 the cyberworld was introduced to Lenny B. Robinson, a Baltimore Maryland based business man who was pulled over by police dressed up as Batman –Batmobile and all — in Silver Spring, Md. He was pulled over for a problem with his plates. This wouldn’t ordinarily make international news, but the car was his black Lamborghini, the license plate was the Batman symbol, and the driver was dressed head-to-toe in a full Batman costume. When videos of this masked Batman went viral, the Caped Crusader’s true intentions came to light for the world to see. It turns out Robinson is a real life hero. Robinson, 48, has been visiting sick children in hospitals in the Baltimore area monthly since 2001, and has now ventured out nationally, and soon internationally, to bring his superhero to thousands of sick children in hospitals around the globe. He also visits schools to talk about bullying, but he does not do birthday parties. Trading in his Lamborghini for a custom-made Batmobile, that debuting in Coeur d’Alene Idaho on the 4th of July 2012, Lenny traveled around the country in July 2012 giving out Batman toys and goodies to hundreds of kids in children’s hospitals along the route.
Robinson, a self-made success recently sold a commercial cleaning business that he started as a teenager. He became interested in Batman through his son Brandon, who was obsessed with the caped crusader when he was little. Robinson resides in Owings Mills, Maryland and is the father of three adult children.
Check out Batman give these drivers a friendly salute and motor away to keep Gotham Montgomery County, MD safe (via YouTube):
Via – BusinessInsider
9. Window Washers Dress As Superheroes, Cheer Up Kids At Children’s Hospital
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A lot of people are celebrating Halloween today. But how to you celebrate if you are in a hospital bed?
For kids at Children’s Hospital, it often means trick-or-treating in the halls. So, a Pittsburgh company decided to bring a Halloween party to the kids.
Did you know America’s favorite wall crawler does windows? Four crew members from Allegheny Window Cleaning, Inc. worked in costume to brighten the day of sick kids and their families.
Mark Errico, who dressed up as Captain America pitched in:
“Do it for the kids. They enjoy it. We enjoy it. It’s a good time for everybody,” said Mark Errico, who dressed up as Captain America.
“I thought it was very cool. My husband was more of a big kid than he cared”.
Don’t think for a minute it was just the kids who cared that superheroes were hanging out in Lawrenceville on Halloween.
Greg King, the father of a patient said:
“The lady over here said the kids are loving it. I’m like, I’m loving it. It was really cool. It was really nice that they did that and everybody was excited to see it.”
One crew member, Ed Matuizek, of Allegheny Window Cleaning, Inc., says it’s a small way to give back because Children’s gave so much to him:
“I had a young daughter that had an incident when she was about 3, …I followed an ambulance to Children’s Hospital. Everything’s okay today, but I know what a lot of these people are going through.”
So, for a day, these superheroes aren’t worried about wiping out crime as much as they are concerned with wiping dirt and grunge from the windows of the 12-story hospital.
“A lot of kids will hit the streets tonight in their neighborhoods with their families, and unfortunately, these kids won’t; so, we are just trying to bring a little joy and a little love to the day”.
And while these superheroes rely on ropes and harnesses, this day is really all about their super-sized hearts.
“When you think you are having a bad day, look in the window. You know what I mean? It’s tough for those kids. We know it. They know it. Their parents know it and anything to bring a little smile to their face and help them out.”
Via – CBSPittsburgh
10. Watch Chris Evans Meet A Hospitalized Kid, Live Up To Captain America Title
Chris Evans may only be Captain America when he is on screen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but he just proved that the good-hearted superhero qualities he portrays through his character are also true to himself. Evans made a young boy’s dream come true, when he showed up to surprise the Captain America fan. Watch the adorable interaction below:
Towards the end of December, WBZ-TV caught Chris Evans surprising a 9-year-old fan suffering from a brain tumor at Christopher’s Haven in Boston, Kenny. Kenny is a huge Captain America fan, and was absolutely ecstatic to see the actor in real-life. They took pictures together, Evans gave Kenny lots of signed goodies, and he even got to tie Captain America up. Kenny got to show his favorite superhero his bedroom and wicked fort. Evans exclaimed his own excitement at the fort, and you can tell from the young cancer patient’s reaction, that the actor truly did make his day.
Evans, a Massachusetts native, was in town for a fundraising event for Christopher’s Haven at Fenway Park. He took the extra time to visit young Kenny and give him the smile he’ll never forget. Evans told WBZ-TV:
“It’s their strength that gives me strength. No matter what hurdles are in my life, it’s nothing compared to what these families go through, so any way I can bring a smile it’s worth it.”
Oh Captain America. Always the kind-hearted and caring character that just wants to protect and serve. We’ve seen Chris Evans portray Steve Rogers in multiple MCU films now, including Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, andCaptain America: The Winter Soldier. A leader and a patriotic icon, Captain America always remains level-headed through battle and is highly-respected by the other Marvel superheroes. He may not have the genius of Tony Stark or the other-worldly powers of Thor, but he serves as the true American hero.
We’ve seen Captain America tested time and time again, but he still remains true to himself. And Chris Evans is set to reprise the role in more films to come. InAvengers: Age of Ultron in theaters May 1, 2015 we’ll watch as Cap and crew take on the testy villain, Ultron. While the Steve Roger narrative has been rooted in the present as of late, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer teases a flashback that may give us even more information into the Captain’s past. We also have another solo film to look forward to in the near future. Captain America: Civil War will be released May 6, 2016 and while we are still waiting on more details, it’s bound to be yet another exciting look into the fan-favorite superhero.
But, one of the more amazing aspects of portraying a popular superhero on screen is that the actor becomes a face of that character, a role model for all those kids out there watching the movies and wanting to wear a cape (or hold a shield). Accepting that responsibility can be difficult, but Chris Evans proves that doing great can go beyond the screen.
Via – CinemaBlend