Real-Life Superheroes Among Us

There are real superheroes walking among us.  Of course, there are the teachers, healthcare workers, and other professions that often don't receive the thanks that they deserve, and then there are the folks who risk their lives to protect us, such as firefighters and law enforcement officials.  Yet, when we think of superheroes, we envision the costume-clad crimefighters from comicbooks, movies, and television shows.  How many of us have daydreamed of such heroes actually existing in the real world?  Believe it or not, there is are a number of people inspired by those comics to don masks and patrol their streets to combat the vices of our society. HBO has a new documentary called, simply, Superheroes, that sheds light on their ranks, examining their motivations, struggles, and triumphs. 

An episode of the guerilla documentary series G4 Underground explored the exact same story a few years ago, but like everything HBO does, this new documentary takes it to a new level.  Directed by Michael Barnett, it reveals the multifaceted lives of these crusaders.  Are they vigilantes?  Do they have psychological issues?  Are they seeking publicity, fame, and fortune?  Or are they genuine do-gooders trying to make a positive difference in this troubled world of ours?

The 82-minute film documents the lives of such real-life superheroes as Mr. Xtreme in San Diego, Zimmer in Brooklyn, Master Legend in Orlando, Life in Manhattan, and Apocalypse Meow in Portland.  It's a truly eye-opening revelation of a very real subculture.

Superheroes is part of HBO's Documentary Films Summer Series.  Other titles include Bobby Fischer Against the World, A Matter of Taste: Serving Up Paul Liebrandt, Sex Crimes Unit, Hot Coffee, Citizen U.S.A.: A 50 State Road Trip, Love Crimes of Kabul, Mann vs. Ford, There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane, Koran By Heart, and Gloria: In Her Own Words.

Like many of HBO's fine programming, Superheroes will be repeated a lot of times, so check your TV listings and don't miss it.