The Black Monday Society started five years ago, when a Salt Lake City-area tattoo artist and lifelong comic-book fan named Dave went exploring on MySpace. “I always told my wife, even before we got married, that if I ever see a real superhero, I’m so going to be one,” he says. “Come on, just the idea of wearing a mask, going out, doing something good? Being somebody else for a little bit? Doesn’t that sound a little enthralling to you?”
After doing a search for comic-book-related fan groups, Dave happened upon the Web pages of two Indianapolis men who go by the names “Mr. Silent” and “Doktor DiscorD.” They called themselves Real Life Superheroes, and they went on patrol on the Indianapolis streets searching for wrongs to right.
“So,” Dave says, “I set up a MySpace page, made an identity for myself, just to talk to them, and it kind of evolved from there. It was really inspiring.”
Dave couldn’t believe this was happening, that his childhood obsession was taking shape, and that people all over the world were a part of it. “I went home to my wife and told her about it and she said, ‘Wow,’ and then she said, ‘Is this for real?’ and I said, ‘Yeah,’ and she said, ‘So, when do you go out?’ and I said, ‘As soon as possible.’”
Like all Real Life Superheroes, Dave, 37, uses only his first name, and he’d rather go by his character’s name anyway. His first superhero identity was “The American Corpse.” He dressed in an Israeli army gas mask, fedora and a suit and tie, much like classic DC Comics superhero The Sandman. Dave’s good friend, a very tall man with a lazy Johnny Cash drawl, says he’s “always been fascinated by ghosts and goblins and demons and things of that nature,” so he decided to call himself “Ghost.” He made a costume of a rubber Halloween skeleton mask adorned with a shock of white hair and a matching ribcage on his chest. Ghost is 32 and works in real life as a concrete finisher. Quiet and unassuming, he explains his unusual hobby by saying, “It’s every little boy’s fantasy to be a real life superhero.”
Ghost sums up his passion for the street with a comment on his blog: “Doesn’t matter how many people snicker at us. What matters is we are out there doin’ our duty for justice.”
Recounting their first night out on patrol in 2001, American Corpse and Ghost say they were standing by their car on a city street having a smoke. A Salt Lake City cop on patrol approached them and pulled over. American Corpse says he decided to slowly approach her to explain their costumes and superheroic intent. She firmly told them, “Please stand by the hood of the car.” American Corpse kept walking toward the officer, then reached into his jacket to pull out his wallet and identification. Reacting to Corpse’s decision to keep moving, the officer put her hand on her revolver and shouted, “Stand by the hood of the car, now!” American Corpse says he wasn’t even really thinking but decided to try and calm the situation by saying, “It’s OK, ma’am, don’t worry. Relax; I’m a superhero.”
The cop eventually let them move on, but the heroes claim the Black Monday Society is on the Salt Lake City Police Department’s official list of street gangs. A spokesman for the SLCPD would not confirm that statement.