All posts by The Watcher

Zanadu no more?

 

Well, all good things must come to an end.  After over 4 decades of selling the coolest comic books around, Zanadu Comics will be closing in January of next year.  Zanadu Comics is a comic book shop located at 1923 3rd Ave in Seattle.

Zanadu started way back in 1975.  At the time, it was only one of three shops that specialized in comic books.  It has been at its downtown Seattle location for 30 years.  At one point, there was even a second store in the U District.

But the times, they are a changing.  The changing economic landscape has not been kind to many small business in the downtown corridor and unfortunately, Zanadu has fallen victim to that.  Increases in rent and city development have dealt quite the blow to might Zanadu.

An ambituous GoFundMe champaign was started late in 2016 and has had quite the success, but not quite enough to save Zanadu as it stands right now.

Zanadu was the dream of Perry Plush.  Having had the pleasure of meeting the illustrious owner on numerous occasions, I can say the legends are all true.  The man is a superhero in his own right.  As the “president and janitor” of Zanadu, he’s a former body builder and comic book fan since 1965.  He’ll gladly share with you his love of comics as well as help you find your own passion in comics.

They have been a mainstay in the Seattle comic book community for years.  This is a loss not just to the comic book and superhero community, but all of Seattle as well.  The Emerald City will be just a touch less shiny when the lights go out for the last time at Zanadu.

According to Zanadu Comic’s facebook page , it looks like there is still hope for a future of Zanadu or another endeavor for Perry Plush in some form, just not likely the downtown comic book shop that has served Seattle for all these decades.  Whatever is next in store, I hope it’s super!

The last day of business is January 28, 2018.

Canadian author pens book about Real Life Super Heroes

“Real Life Super Heroes” is a book written by Canadian investigative journalist Nadia Fezzani.

Like many folks, the first news they heard about “real-life superheroes” was in regards to Seattle’s Phoenix Jones.  Nadia then set out to meet these people who took on comicbook-like personas in an effort to be heroes.  While it is very much an investigative book, much of it is from Nadia’s personal experiences as she met and talk to many real-life superheroes across the country.

A great deal of the book deals with local real life superhero Phoenix Jones, noted by his spot as the cover model.

This book is published by Dundurn Press and is currently available for sale.

More information can be found at Nadia Fezzani’s website.

Phoenix Jones is striking it Lucky this New Year’s Eve

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Courtesy of Phoenix Jones/Lucky Strike Bellevue.

Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones is hosting an event at Lucky Strike in Bellevue. While not fighting crime, he will be bringing his talents to help ring in the New Year…3 hours early.

They are celebrating the East Coast New Years, which, of course, is 3 hours ahead of us.

It’s an all-ages, family-friendly occasion. The party also includes Video DJ D-Twizzle and a performance from Blue Thunder, the Seahawks drum line.

The event goes from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm and is at Lucky Strike Bellevue at 700 Bellevue Way NE, Suite 250. Tickets are $20 and that includes a game card. Tickets are available here.

And, hey, don’t cause any trouble because they have a superhero on duty!

It’s a Festivus Miracle! Superheroes deliver toys to Seattle Children’s Hospital.

With Santa Claus getting ready for his big day, several superheroes gave him a hand by helping to deliver toys.

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El Caballero, Red Ranger, Dragon, and Greg Gibson are filled with holiday spirit.  Photo courtesy of Greg Gibson.

El Caballero, Dragon, and Red Ranger from the Emerald City Heroes Organization teamed up with Greg Gibson of Tim’s Tavern to collect and bring a super load of toys to Seattle’s Children’s Hospital.

This labor of love actually began earlier in the year when ECHO and Tim’s Tavern partnered for a number of charity events at the Greenwood-area venue. This included the toy drive the superheroes helped out on December 6th.

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Superheroes with the Seattle Children’s Hospital staff.  Photo courtesy of Greg Gibson.

By finishing the job and bringing the toys to Seattle Children’s, the superheroes and Greg Gibson were able to see the fruit of their labors. In this writer’s humble opinion, Greg Gibson has earned the title of honorary superhero. The super-quartet gathered and delivered the toys to the Seattle Children’s Hospital on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 23rd, which just so happens to be the oft-mentioned holiday, Festivus.

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El Caballero, Red Ranger, Dragon, and Greg Gibson with their delivery of toys.  Photo courtesy of Greg Gibson.

The trio of superheroes from ECHO was thankful to be able to be part of such a giving event. The Emerald City Heroes Organization wishes to publicly thank Greg Gibson and all the great crew at Tim’s Tavern for making this charitable mission possible.

ECHO at Tim’s Tavern

Though the city has been embroiled in protests,

For the past two weekends, more than just rock music and good times were found at Tim’s Tavern located at 602 N. 105th Street. Several of Seattle’s superheroes were there to support some good causes.

While patrolling the streets is by far their main activity, charity work is vital to mission of these superheroes.

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Red Ranger, El Caballero, Girl Scout, and Dragon at Tim’s Tavern.

Night of Heroes” was an event hosted by members of the Emerald City Heroes Organization for homeless outreach charity on Friday, November 28th. El Caballero, Red Ranger, Dragon, White Baron, Girl Scout, and SkyMan were there representing Seattle’s superhero. Paul Diamond Blow, Butterflies of Death, and Angie Martinez were among the acts that performed. The night was an overall entertaining and rocking show.

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Flyer for the Night of Heroes event.

But it was not all play and no work. Both nights proved to be fruitful in the superhero/crime-fighting department.

The first night the superheroes did not even have to go further than the establishment to spring into action.

An overly inebriated man was asked to leave by the establishment. El Caballero was happy to help the man to the door, but once outside, the drunken man become rather belligerent and even more troublesome. Red Ranger was there for back up and the two superheroes got the man to the ground. Dragon kept on eye on the door from inside, while White Baron checked the man for weapons. Girl Scout called the police. Sky Man was even able to help by helping to hold the man down for a bit and also flagging down the cops.

The superheroes were met with applause by the bar-goers when they reentered the bar.

But the night was not over.

Later, a drummer in one of bands was performing but inexplicably found himself with a deep cut on his hand. Girl Scout and Red Ranger were able to render him medical aid, and as the saying goes, the show went on.

Their presence proved such a good omen that they were asked to return the next weekend for a Toys for Tots event on Saturday, December 6th.

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El Caballero watches over the crowd while also enjoying the music.

El Caballero, a connoisseur of the local music scene was of course back at the show, and he was joined again with Red Ranger, Girl Scout, and Dragon.   Red Ranger bought a bag of toys he bought to add to the good collection of donated toys at Tim’s Tavern. Milhous and Suburban Vermin were among several of the bands that rocked out the night.

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Red Ranger drops off some toys at Tim’s Tavern’s Toys for Tots event.

After the Toys for Tots event, the team hit the streets and went out on patrol around Pike Street Market and Belltown. They had a small incident but were able to handle it.

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Some of the toys donated.

Tim’s Tavern is hosting another benefit, Homeless for the Holidays, on Friday, December 19th.

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Dragon, Girl Scout, Red Ranger and El Caballero were happy to see all the toys donated to the cause.

 

Here is ECHO’s report of the first night via their Facebook page:

 

ECHO Patrol Log: 11-28-2014

Report By: Red Ranger

Roll Call: El Caballero, Dragon, Red Ranger, Sky Man, Girl Scout, White Baron

Location: Tim’s Tavern on 105th Patrol Time: 20:00 – 02:00

This report is a little different from most of our others in that we didn’t necessarily patrol this evening. Rather, Emerald City Heroes Organization hosted our “Night of Heroes” fundraising charity event at Tim…’s Tavern on 105th street. We made our appearance and bands and performers filed in behind us. Around 21:30 the shindig got started and patrons started coming in to participate and donate to our cause for raising money to benefit the local homeless, and the bands started playing. The featured musical and burlesque acts were amazing, and everyone was having a blast. We could not have asked for a more joyous atmosphere.

Sometime around midnight, a gentleman at the bar had had too much to drink and was getting fresh with other patrons. He was asked to leave by the bartender, and El Caballero escorted him to the door and babysat him with some water. Eventually, our purple-clad comrade was able to get the man outside, but the way the guy was acting made me uneasy so I followed them out in case El Caballero needed backup. Sure enough, the man was so inebriated that once he was outside he didn’t understand that he had been asked to leave by the proprietors of the establishment. When we asked him to relax he tried to assault El Caballero, and immediately he and I worked together to get the intoxicated assailant on the ground. The gentleman became infuriated and attempted to fight us some more and even tried to swing at others standing by, so El Caballero and I had to hold him down on the ground while our fellow team mates came to assist. Dragon watched the door from the inside and kept the event going, White Baron helped check the man for weapons while we had him pinned, Girl Scout called the authorities, and Sky Man briefly helped hold the man down when he continued to struggle before going to help flag down police. We had to hold him on the ground for about 5 minutes before SPD showed up. We gave our statements and the drunk aggressor was arrested. Upon reentering the tavern, we were met by cheers and applause from the event patrons, who watched the whole thing transpire.

The party continued and the bands played on. Everyone got back to their activities and had a good time. However, a superhero’s work is never done. Around 01:00 we were enjoying the riveting musical performance of local band “Butterflies of Death” when the percussionist informed the audience that his hand had started bleeding rapidly and inexplicably. He had a deep cut on his hand and wasn’t sure how it got there. Not to worry though, because Girl Scout and I rushed up to the stage to remedy the situation. I took my medpack from my utility belt and she and I went to work on disinfecting and bandaging the hand. Soon enough, all was well and we were met with even more applause. The band was able to play on and once again, the frivolity resumed.

The event continued for about another hour before we decided to call it a night. In the end we raised a lot of money for our cause. Emerald City Heroes Organization will be able to buy lots of supplies to hand out to the homeless on our next outreach projects and future patrols. Although it got a little hairy in the middle, this event was a smashing success and we are excited to do more events like this in the future. Peace and harmony prevailed!

 

Ferguson Protests in Seattle

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Phoenix Jones and Shade outside the U.S. Courthouse while monitoring the protest Monday night.  Photo courtesy of Jimmy Lovaas.

A grand jury decision to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of Michael Brown came down at 6:00 PM Pacific time on Monday night. The reaction reverberated throughout the nation with protests happening in several cities including Seattle.

A large group of protesters had already gathered at Westlake when the decision was announced. Though initially starting off peaceful, it grew and got rowdier over the next several hours.

KOMO News reported that some protesters threw can foods and fireworks and one even threw a knife. In return, SPD reacted with pepper spray and percussion grenades. At one point, protesters made it onto I-5 causing a shutdown of the highway and SPD worked with the state patrol to regain the freeway.

As the protests flowed through the streets of Seattle, disrupting traffic and clashing with both SPD and WSP, Phoenix Jones bided his time.

After midnight, Phoenix Jones posted that he was preparing to go out there alongside fellow superhero Shade. Apparently, seeing vandalism committed moved him to action.

Twitter prep

Within an hour of posting his intent to patrol, he had some feedback for the public.

Twitter Monday report

Phoenix Jones reported via twitter that it was a peaceful protest, however there were expletives shouted. He also reported there was a shooting. Not sure how a shooting factors into a peaceful protest.

The SPD Blotter reported a slightly different account. The Blotter described individuals within the crowds throwing bottles and rocks at officers. There was property damage and vandalism consisting of spray painting and broken glass. By 1:00 AM on Tuesday morning, 5 people had been arrested.

I have not been able to obtain any corroborating evidence or reports of any shooting that night in Seattle.  One man was arrested on weapons charges, but I haven’t found any credible reports on any actual shooting that night.

Phoenix Jones also reported that Ghost was possibly out in plain clothes. Omega was apparently on patrol down in Tacoma.

The protests have continued throughout the week.

On Tuesday, a protest that started with UW students blocked traffic, but was overall fairly peaceful.  Friday protests brought a disruption to the downtown Christmas tree-lighting and caused Westlake Center mall to shut down several hours early.

Saturday night brought out yet another protest, so that meant another night of superheroes.

This protest proved to be the most violent and seemingly the least related to the Ferguson decision. An officer was injured when someone threw a rock through the window of the SPD vehicle the officer was driving.

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Midnight Jack, Phoenix Jones, and Omega look over at the protesters.  Photo courtesy of Omega.

Phoenix Jones along with Omega, Midnight Jack, and Ghost convened along with the protest on Capitol Hill. Omega said they came across intel that anarchists were planning to cause trouble. If any group has become an arch-nemesis to Seattle superheroes, it’s anarchists.

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Protesters out on Saturday night.  Photo courtesy of Omega.

The superhero quartet gathered at 9:30 PM in an attempt to get ahead of the group that was to meet at 10:00 PM. Omega counted at least 100 protestors, several in various masks and even helmets.

The superheroes trailed beside the protest group, helping with obstacles that some of the protesters disturbed. Occasionally, protesters would throw “junk” at the superheroes, but no rocks or anything the injured them.

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Phoenix Jones follows closely behind the protesters.  Photo courtesy of Omega.

Omega also handed out hand-warmers to homeless people he encountered during the cold night.

SPD had a decent presence, but Phoenix did not seem pleased with SPD’s response to the unruly protesters.

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Towards the end of the night, the protest group broke up in smaller groups and eventually dispersed.  By the end of the night, protesters had broken a plate glass window at the Ferrari dealership at 12th and Union. SPD had difficulty finding specific individuals though they did monitor the crowds as best they could.

The superheroes then drove around afterwards, but the cold seem to keep the streets fairly cleared.

It is unclear what if any protests will continue later on.

ECHO versus the Anarchists on Veterans’ Day

Though superhero patrols are usually relegated to the hours of darkness, this past Veterans’ Day brought out a number of superheroes out into the light.

Members of the Emerald City Heroes Organization (ECHO) had heard some intel of potential anarchist activity to occur on Veterans’ Day. Superheroes in Seattle have quite the colorful history with anarchist types. El Caballero especially has had more than his share of dealings with anarchists. So it is no surprise that he would be at the forefront of watching out for subversive anarchist activity.

Red Ranger met up with El Caballero and heading down to downtown to find a smaller-than-expected group of so-called anarchists readying for the march. The group was getting appeared to be readying themselves with flags, banners, masks, and the like. Meanwhile, the 2 superheroes kept a safe distance and a watchful eye.

Also, Shockwave later was in contact with the ECHO duo and he provided “mobile support.”

The small group did their little protest/march. SPD had a presence for part of it, also keeping an eye on the assemblage. It lasted for a couple hours and ended where it started.

For the most part, it was just random ranting and angry diatribe. Other than a bit of traffic slowdown here and there, the group was relatively peaceful and trouble-free. As far as the superheroes were in regards to the alleged anarchists group, it was a war of words versus silence. The superheroes just watched for trouble, while allowing the group to demonstrate their 1st Amendment rights, despite how disagreeable the cluster may have been.

Though the tension was thick enough to cut with a batarang, relative peace and harmony prevailed and no major incidents were noted.

 

Here is the report by Red Ranger as posted on the ECHO Facebook page:

ECHO Patrol Log: 11-11-2014
Report By: Red Ranger
Roll Call: El Caballero, Red Ranger, Shockwave
Location: Westlake and Capitol Hill
Patrol Time: 12:30 – 15:30

ECHO received some intel about an anarchist protest that would be occurring in downtown Seattle today, so we headed there to make sure everyone involved was staying safe and not harming others or property, as they have in the past.

The patrol started with El Caballero and I meeting up and mobilizing into the main downtown area. Shockwave got in touch with us later and provided mobile support.

We shortly arrived at Westlake Center and found the crowd of black-clad anarchists gathering themselves and preparing for their march. We expected a much larger group to be protesting, but the turnout was only about 25-30 people. With them they had their black bandannas, Guy Fawkes masks, as well as several flags and banners including a defaced and upside-down American flag (on Veteran’s Day, no less…). We staked them out from afar for a while and did a few laps around the block, running into some other anarchist disturbers who were following us and seemed to be trying to cause trouble, shouting hateful speech and jeering at us. We didn’t stop to pay them mind and they seemed to get bored pretty quickly.

Shortly after 13:00, the anarchist mob began shouting and ran into the streets, disturbing and slowing down traffic. They proceeded to march and chant down the block and we followed, keeping a close eye on them. Soon a few SPD bike officers arrived and followed slowly behind the march, but the police’s presence faded in and out over its course.

The protest continued for another couple hours and went all around the downtown area, but the anarchists caused no trouble aside from aggressive, anti-patriotic shouting and slowing down traffic a significant amount, even draping their banners over vehicles that were stopped by their protest.

We followed the anarchist protesters all the way back to their starting point in Westlake Center and saw them pack up, bringing their little parade to a close. With no serious harm done, El Caballero and I decided to call off the patrol and we parted ways at around 15:30.

Although this kind of thing isn’t at all what one would want to see on Veteran’s day, we are happy that the protest didn’t become dangerous and that everyone was staying safe. Peace and harmony prevailed!

**((Note: I have included a video clip from my chest-mounted camera of our patrol around the anarchist protest. I do apologize for the awkward camera angle and incorrect time stamp, but I suppose I still have a few kinks to work out. — Red Ranger))**

Superhero Patrol Log for November 6, 2014

Though it’s been quiet on my page for the last couple weeks, the superheroes of Seattle have been busy.

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Dragon, Red Ranger, White Baron.  Photo courtesy of Dragon.

The Emerald City Heroes Organization got in a patrol on a Thursday evening a little over a week ago. The trio of Dragon, Red Ranger, and White Baron patrolled the Capitol Hill area. They encountered one situation involving some yelling between a couple. They observed the situation from a safe distance to see if any intervention was needed. White Baron used his tech to inquire if everything was alright. Noting the situation appeared to be de-escalating and seeing no actions they though could take to help, they left the scene with some in trepidation.

There had been some tips about increased car prowls in the Harborview area. The 3 superheroes patrolled that area and took opportunity of the relative calm of the night to take some picture. They continued their patrol through “Glass Alley” and by several of the clubs on Capitol Hill. Per ECHO’s usual protocol, it was noted that both peace and harmony reportedly prevailed.

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View from Harborview.  Photo courtesy of Dragon.

Of significant note, Dragon had return to patrolling after taking some time off to handle personal matters.

Here is ECHO’s account via their Facebook page:

ECHO Patrol Log: 11-06-2012
Dragon Reporting From “The Lair”
Roll Call: White Baron, Red Ranger, Dragon
Location: Capitol Hill
Patrol Time: 21:30-2:30
I have been on a sabbatical for 5 weeks and finally was able to get back to patrolling.

Patrol started with Red Ranger and Dragon patrolling down Broadway, going past various clubs as they made their way south.

We had water and food on us, but very little demand for it as we encountered almost no street-folk.

We met up with White Baron at midnight, and patrolled going north on Broadway, past Seattle university, Cal Anderson Park, Glass Alley and Harborview.

We encountered a couple where the girl was yelling at her date to not touch her. I hung back to “rest” and observe the situation. When the yelling got louder Baron flipped his flashlight and voice amplifier on to ask if everything was okay. We were told by both individuals that “everything was fine”. We weren’t entirely comfortable leaving that situation but it seemed to have de-escalated on its own after that.

The view was pretty good from Harborview so we snapped a few pics and made our way back to Glass Alley and some of the clubs that were letting out at that time. We called patrol at 02:30, walked with Baron back to his vehicle. Ranger was dropped off at the Stronghold and proceeded back to “the Lair”

Aside from a little drunken yelling, Peace and Harmony Prevailed!