While The Observer has no cape, radioactive spider bite or fetching mask, Yours Truly is no stranger to the joys and burden of having a Secret Identity known to only a few — or, for that matter, using the element of stealth and surprise in the eternal struggle for truth, justice and the American way.

Given that, we have been both amused and emboldened recently to learn that, for reasons unknown, North Little Rock appears to be teeming with a colorful ecosystem of real-life superheroes.

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Rest easy, Citizens of Dogtown, knowing that MasterLegend, ShadowVision, Tothian —and possibly several other heroes who haven’t perfected their look yet enough for Instagram — are protecting your fair city. Maybe a few supervillains, too. No foolin’. You can find them on Facebook if you dare visit Silicon Valley’s most fetid digital hive of scum and villainy. 

They’re not just sitting around lint-rolling their capes and scoring cool points from their homemade outfits on Tha ’Gram, either. They’re out there fighting the good fight!

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Our favorite we’ve discovered so far is ShadowVision, Defender of Argenta. His outfit looks to be a future anime-based totalitarian government’s secret police uniform, complete with twin katanas. ShadowVision has a Facebook account that is seriously a true joy. Through that Facebook page, in recently months, ShadowVision has:

*Threatened a League of Shadows-sized ass whoopin’ on Little Rock’s deadly serial killer, who ShadowVision claims is monitoring the official ShadowVision Facebook page. 

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*Crowdfunded for a Scion XD, a compact car that hasn’t been manufactured since 2014, which ShadowVision says he wants in part because the Scion XD is “agile and can take corners at high speed.” Good thing he has that featureless black helmet on at all times. 

*Acknowledged that he has both heard and will heed the call for assistance by the citizens of Rose City (Editor’s note: That phone has been ringing a long, long while, S.V.)

*Announced the emergence of another RLSH (Real-Life Super Hero) in Crossett. Supername: “Rupture.”

*Visually documented a meet-and-greet trip to the Kum & Go store on JFK with fellow RLSH MasterLegend.

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And so on, and so forth.

The Observer sincerely doesn’t mean to make fun of ShadowVision or any of the RLSHC (RLSH community). Lord knows we’ve sat through enough long, terrible trials over short, terrible crimes to know that there are much worse things to be in the world than somebody who just wants to dress up in a costume and rush to help anybody who screams “help!” within earshot.

While we never got our Rich Uncle Alan to spring for a Zorro mask and a snazzy unitard with a big “O” on the front, The Observer was seemingly like our pal ShadowVision at heart for many, many years. Great Caesar’s Ghost! What do you think made our cripplingly introverted ass keep putting a pen and a notebook in our pocket and going to talk to actual human beings, sometimes in dangerous places, for all those years? Sure wasn’t the salary or the perks, which stopped at “seriously?” and “all the coffee you can drink!” respectively. Must’ve been a heart full of help, which some poor fools come equipped with from time to time. 

We would encourage you to go to ShadowVision’s Facebook page and give it a follow, and don’t feel guilty to have a chuckle if something catches you funny in the desperate earnestness and honest absurdity there. But we must warn you, citizen: If we see you giving him some shit over the way he is expressing his heart full of help, we may just have to give you some back.

There are plenty of wiseacres on his page who do that, who come there to tear down instead of lift up. He bears it with the grace of Bruce Wayne, often ending his gentle retorts with “I only want to help.”

The Observer only wants to help as well. So on ShadowVision’s behalf, from our seat behind the typewriter of a major metropolitan magazine that was a minor metropolitan newspaper when we did the bulk of our own attempts at saving the world from this chair, we say: What does it matter if a person dresses up in a costume; if they only want to be of use to others; if they only want to help? It’s the “want to help” that’s the important part. It’s also what could lift us outta so many of the self-made messes our society has found itself in if we only had more of it.

Now ask yourself: What the hell have I done to help today?