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In Holiday Guide

The Watchman wants to keep the peace in Riverwest. In the mean time, he's donating toys to Wisconsin kids.

Real-life superhero plans toy collection


Milwaukee's real life superhero, The Watchman, is planning a heroic mission of donating toys and art supplies to charity. But good people of Brew City, he needs your help.

On Saturday, Dec. 11, The Watchman will be in person in front of the Fuel Café, 818 E. Center St., from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. collecting donations of cash, art supplies and new toys. Online money and in-person cash donations will be used to buy additional toys and art supplies and everything will be delivered in person to two charities the following week.

"This is a total DIY superhero event," says Tea Krulos, a Milwaukee writer working on a book about real-life superheros.

"The thing is, when people hear about 'real life superheroes' they immediately jump to the conclusion that they are guys running around the streets, delusional about their crime fighting ability. For a lot of them, though, they don't want to get beat up but they still want to help humanity out with their superhero persona so they do activities like charity donations, hand out supplies to the homeless and that sort of thing."

The Watchman -- who does not want to reveal his real identity -- is a Riverwest resident who patrols the neighborhood's streets on most weekend nights. Sometimes he wears black boots, black pants, black leather gloves, a black trench coat and a black hoodie with a large yellow circle and a "W" on the chest. During other outings, he has worn a red leather mask and a red, blue and black costume.

"He has a couple different items that he mixes and matches depending on weather and what type of event he is doing, charity vs. street patrol. He does bust out a cape once in awhile, too," says Krulos.

After the toy drive at Fuel, The Watchman plans to donate the goods to two local charities: the Gingerbread House in West Bend, which provides toys to low-income families who can't afford to buy gifts for their children and Riverwest's Meta House, a rehab center for women and their children. (Meta House has also cited a need for art supplies for their various art programs.)

"The Watchman's family struggled greatly with finances when he was a child, so I believe that is probably a major factor to him wanting to try to help out people having a hard time in the holiday season. He also participates with charities in and out of costume year round and is a regular blood donor. He is a very generous guy," says Krulos.

Krulos' book, "Heroes in the Night: Inside the Real Life Superhero Movement," will be available in 2011. According to Krulos, a lot of the book takes place in Milwaukee, and Riverwest in particular, but he interviewed other real-life superheroes in Minneapolis, Vancouver, New Bedford, Mass., and Brooklyn.

"It has been a weird and wonderful adventure," says Krulos.


Talkbacks

Southern_Ex_pat | Dec. 10, 2010 at 4:08 p.m. (report)

a "real life superhero" is quite a stretch.

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milROCKeeguy | Dec. 10, 2010 at 3:49 p.m. (report)

"black boots, black pants, black leather gloves, a black trench coat and a black hoodie with a large yellow circle and a "W" on the chest." Not scary at all, especially at night. Also, doesn't seem to be crazy.

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