Category Archives: News

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.

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.

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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.

Trick or Treat…or Shoot!

Well past midnight on Halloween night, shots rang out in the U-District. A couple superheroes, who seem to be magnets for crime, were not too far off and soon rushed to the scene. After a marathon patrol in the U-District, Black Knight and White Baron found themselves near a very violent event.

The night began with Red Ranger of ECHO and Boomer of USID making a quick run through the U-District at around 9:30. As they night progressed, White Baron and Black Knight joined them and later on, so did Girl Scout.

A combination of college-aged antics and alcohol-fueled revelry made for a busy nice for the quirky quintet. Dealing with those antics is a story in itself, as more can be found on the patrol log posted by ECHO. The fearless five looped around the U-District several times, aiding where they saw the need. The crew noted potential drunk drivers and even removed a decorative hazard at one point.

By 2:30 AM, the parties seemed to die down and the weary superheroes thought their work might be coming to a close, however…their night was far from over. The group had thought they would call it a night, but the work of superheroes is never done.

Soon after, Black Knight and White Baron were walking north on University Way NE near NE 50th Street. Black Knight reported hearing 6-8 “pops” and started heading in that direction. They then said they heard another 6-8 “pops”.

Correctly assuming it was gunfire; they confirmed it with someone else near the scene. White Baron thought he saw the shadow of a man head west.

It was gunfire, as reported by the SPD Blotter. An argument had broken outside a bar at the 5200 block of University Way NE. Violence started with a punch, but then the punchee got a gun out and started firing. In turn, someone else got a gun out and also starting firing. In all, over 20 shots were fired and 5 people were injured.

When Black Knight and White Baron got to the scene, they saw a black man lying on the ground, surrounded by a crowd, in the alleyway near NE 52nd Street by Pizza Ragazzi. Civilians were already attending to the man.

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SPD arrives.  Photo courtesy of Red Ranger

911 was called and emergency services arrived. Black Knight said SPD had posted at several corners and cordoned off areas, and they arrived on scene with weapons drawn. Black Knight reports then medical services were then cleared to proceed.

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Emergency services on scene.  Photo courtesy of Red Ranger

3 shooting victims were transported to Harborview Medical Center (HMC) with non-life threatening injuries. Another victim was brought to HMC by a friend. A fifth victim was treated at the scene and released.

The 2 superheroes then met back up with Red Ranger and Boomer and stayed on scene till cleared to leave by SPD.

As reported by KOMONews.com, the suspect fled on foot. A canine unit tracked the suspect to Ravenna Park, but the trail was lost at that point.

The suspect is a black male, 25-30 years old, 5’10”, and was wearing a black beanie, prescription sunglasses, grey pea coat, and black pants. If you have any information in regards to this incident, please call SPD detectives at (206) 625-5011.

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Black Knight talks to a witness apparently dressed as Shakespeare.  Photo courtesy of Red Ranger

He’s not being “tricky,” but White Baron refers to Black Knight as his “lucky charm” since he seems to encounter “treats” like this whenever the 2 patrol together. The superheroes finally called it a night for the second time at approximately 3:45 AM.

Boomer runs into Boom Boom

Call it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe right place at the right time, depending on your perspective. Boomer, formerly of the RCSM and now the Director of Project U.S.I.D, found himself in the middle of gunfire.

Before heading home, Boomer while in civilian attire, wanted to thank heaven by stopping off at a nearby 7-Eleven. He got a bit more than a Slurpee.

Around 12:30 AM of Saturday, Oct. 18th, a car prowler broke the window of a van parked behind the 7-Eleven located at 2009 Rainier Ave. S., according to KOMOnews.com. However, a 63-year old man was sleeping inside. The man grabbed a gun, a .357 magnum revolver, and yelled at the car prowler and opened fire on him and his getaway driver.

Boomer had got a snack and was sitting in his car. He had just reset his dashcam that he had in his vehicle. Boomer noticed a Caprice on the side of the building and heard some muffled yelling. His action sense was tingling, so he continued to listen closely.

Shots rang out. A couple of the shots came dangerously close to Boomer’s car.

At that point, Boomer said he ran into the store to tell the clerks to get down and yelled, “Shot fired, call 911 now!”

When he heard the shooting stop, Boomer said he approached the shooter with his flash light out and taser drawn. He issued verbal commands to the shooter. Rather quickly, SPD showed up and were able to take over the scene from there. The 63-year old shooter was compliant and surrendered his gun to officers.

Officers arrested the shooter after determining he went beyond the scope of self-defense since he shot at the other 2 men while they were fleeing, according to the SPD Blotter. The man was booked into King County Jail under investigation of assault.

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The “getaway car” from the incident.  Photo courtesy of Boomer.

According to Boomer, the shooter had dumped his brass, including 1 live round, in a trash can on the north side of the 7-Eleven. He also noted casings were on the ground in from the store.

The car prowler and his driver fled the scene, but quickly ditched their vehicle. The driver tried to run afterwards, but collapsed. The car prowler was taken to Swedish Medical Center and hospital staff called the police and the man was identified by SPD as the car prowler.

Back at the scene, Boomer said he was able to direct officers to the shooter and help give a report.

What was most likely very helpful was that Boomer had video of the event as he has a dashcam with automatic time stamp in his vehicle. On the video, you can clearly hear multiple gunshots and the 63-year old shooter yelling at the would-be robbers. Boomer provided the video from his dashcam to SPD and then later made the audio available to the media.

Boomer did get a bag of Butterfinger minis, a Reese’s Fast Break, and a 20 oz. bottle of water. More than that, he also was able to provide a serving of justice not usually available at 7-Eleven.

Wild Night for Black Knight and company

It usually doesn’t get crazy till the end. At least when it comes to superhero patrols. That proved true for Black Knight and White Baron on a patrol on the night of Thursday, Oct. 9th into early Friday morning.

Having split into 2 teams from the rest of ECHO, the superhero veteran pair patrolled Capitol Hill. Earlier in the night, the 2 had pursued a couple of men who were allegedly messing with a fence, but the 2 alleged perpetrators escaped in a car. Other than getting a snack at IHOP, it was a fairly typical patrol night at that point. However, the patrol got a bit more interesting towards the end of the patrol.

At a construction site near 10th and Madison at around 1:30 AM, the super-duo noticed 2 men that appeared to be trying to get into the building. The superheroes recognizing the apparent trespassing, warned the men and stated they would call SPD. The alleged suspects were none too pleased and an argument ensued. The situation started to escalate with the 2 men threatening the superheroes. The 2 men advanced on the superheroes, one even throwing a bottle. Fearing for their safety, Black Knight let loose some pepper spray at the suspects.

Black Knight and White Baron then got away from the 2 men, but still stayed nearby and found the security guard that was guarding the area on another side of the construction site. The security guard called SPD and the 2 superheroes awaited the cavalry.

The cavalry arrived in the form of 4 SPD squad cars and an ambulance. The emergency services did their duty, treating the suspects and taking reports. The cops recommended the intrepid superheroes move along, and with the suspects still pretty angry, the superheroes did just that, ending their patrol shortly after.

What is stranger, and possibly funnier, is that apparently a friend of the 2 men posted about the encounter on the website Reddit.

WARNING: This is definitely not safe for work nor is it suitable for children. Reddit.com is a controversial website and you look at it at your own risk.

You can read the reddit post here.

In what appears to be an appeal for sympathy backfired as a majority of the redditors sided with the superheroes. He pretty much admits that his friends were trespassing, threw the bottle, and were more than likely intoxicated.

His main argument was that the superheroes had no business trying to stop 2 trespassers. Somehow the presence of superheroes absolved them of their wrongdoing in some sort of backwards logic, though he admitted they would have complied if cops had first approached them.

Though the lesson my have been lost on the friend of the redditor, and most likely his friends as well, it was not lost on the superheroes.

Black Knight reflected on the course of events and noted several ways that they could have handled the situation better. Specifically, he noted that he or White Baron should have called SPD much sooner, not just threatening to do so.

The takeaway is that some superheroes learn, but most redditors do not.

Superhero identities are in danger!

A superhero’s secret identity is paramount to his (or her) safety. Or at least many seem to think so. The scourge that is Facebook is putting many of those secret identities in jeopardy…that is, if superheroes want to keep voluntarily using Facebook’s free services.

Recently Facebook has started to crackdown on fake names. According to its terms of service, you must not provide false information and you have to keep your information accurate and up-to-date. Your user name must closely relate to your actual name. If your superhero name is “Super-ninja crime-puncher,” there’s a good chance it doesn’t closely relate to your actual name…unless you have really weird parents.

In addition to real-life superheroes, it also affects drag queens, artists, performers, wrestlers, and entertainers. Even if nobody knows you by your legal name, Facebook terms dictate you use it for your profile.

The Seattle superhero community has not gone unaffected. The most high-profile superhero to have his Facebook account deactivated is Phoenix Jones.

His “fan page” is still up. Facebook is encouraging people that fall into this category to set up fan pages if they would like a presence on Facebook with their non-legal alias.

Another Seattle-area superhero that was caught in the fake-name sting was SkyMan.

When attempting to log in to his Facebook account recently, SkyMan found himself locked out. A screen comes up telling him it appears he is not using his name. That same screen also instructed him to send a picture of photo ID and list his real name. After a weekend of working at that, his account was back, but with his full legal name on it. SkyMan found the whole situation irritating.

The strange thing about SkyMan was that he actually had his real name before the big crackdown. He just also had “SkyMan” in the middle of his name. For clarification purposes, “SkyMan” is not his legal middle name. However, he did have his real first and last name. But after the crackdown, he now has his entire full name, real middle names and all on his Facebook profile, just not “SkyMan.”

This was not the first time something of this nature happened to SkyMan. About 6 months ago, he had to change his Facebook name from “SkyMan TriColoredCrusader,” a name he had for 2 years. However, now the change to his full real name is permanent and he was informed that if he changed his name, his account would be deactivated.

In the superhero community as a whole, the battle between Facebook and the assumed right to have a superhero name has raged on for a while. Like SkyMan before, many have had to deal with potential account deactivation due to their superhero name. Rumors of “real-life super villains” reporting hero’s profiles ran rampant. Many superheroes have tried to fly under the radar by choosing realistic sounding fake names that alluded to their superhero persona. The results have been mixed.

There has been a call to action. This petition has made the rounds.   Since this policy also affects many in the LGBTQ community, there has been a rally to the cause to combined efforts. Florida-based “Old Superhero,” who strangely has his mother’s name on his Facebook profile now, made a video encouraging superheroes to stand alongside drag queens in the quest for justice.

Heroes in the Night in Seattle

On a whim last week, I felt like checking out the Seattle Northgate Barnes & Noble to see if they had a copy of my favorite book, “Heroes in the Night,” in stock.

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“Heroes in the Night” is a book by Milwaukee-based writer Tea Krulos about the movement of real-life superheroes. Krulos traveled all over the country and even internationally, chronicling the adventures of real-life superheroes and delving into the history, ramifications, and influence of the subculture.

The Pacific Northwest got quite a bit of ink in the book, Seattle especially. Two whole chapters focus on Seattle’s own Phoenix Jones. By chance, Krulos was present for the infamous “Pepper Spray incident” which lead the arrest of Jones and his eventual public unmasking.

The Seattle Northgate Barnes & Noble had one copy of the book, just one, on the shelf. However it should be duly noted that they no longer have that one copy on the shelf because I bought it.

It’s a great book and I can not recommend it enough. Krulos has a wonderful narrative style and he really opens a window into the lives of various superheroes. Even if you are not into superheroes, it’s a good read.

In full disclosure, one of my favorite things about the book is that I am in it, which, admittedly, is one of the coolest things to happen to ever to me. My expertise on superhero dining habits is utilized in the book. No, seriously, it is.

If you would like a copy, you can order it online here or here. However, I highly recommend going to your local bookstore and requesting it.

On another note, there is a special copy of the book currently being offered via eBay. It has been signed by 45 superheroes and the proceeds of this copy of the book go to support HOPE, a charitable endeavor lead by superhero Razorhawk that helps the homeless. The eBay action can be found here.

The eBay auction ends on September 14th at 5:45 pm. More information of “Heroes in the Night” can be found at the blog Heroes in the Night.