Posted in Heroes, News on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 at 1:38 pm 90 Comments

Heroes come in every shade, from light to dark. And Z, who describes himself as “by definition, a radical. No other way to say it,” struggles to embody the full spectrum on a near daily basis.

First entering the scene in 2001, he began from a place of anger and depression, looking to lash out as strongly as possible, all in an effort to “tame the flames inside my head.” He patrolled his neighborhood, searching out a fight, welcoming the chance to engage, clad in battle gear that included a full, daunting mask. “Look, you have a list of people in your life who should die. People who hurt, molest, rape. I’ve seen how much damage they’ve done in my life, and in the lives of others, stealing the innocence from those they claim to love.”

A personal torment that led him to attempt taking his own life. Twice.

“The second time, I tried a little harder. But when I woke up, I realized that I had a lot of things I was able to do. I found a reason to live, and decided to go down in a good light, rather than for nothing.” Still, the past clings to him, and he grapples to access his better angels. “As much as I’m capable, I’ve lost quite a bit of that darkness. On purpose,” he says. “The me before was consumed with cocooning myself inside that darkness, it was my truth, my edge.” But with the realization that an aggressive stance would only be met with aggression in return, he came to understand that those actions closed people off from his point of view. “I’m starting to think of people in a more connected way now,” he says.

So he began patrolling again, this time without the mask, and correspondingly, with a very different endgame in mind. “Now I’m more interested in a more pragmatic approach, avoiding conflict. I can still handle myself, if need be, but I would rather engage a potential criminal creatively, distract them, start a dialogue,” he continues. “As much as I want to, I can’t write anyone off. I can’t ignore the fact that people need to be redeemed, and nearly everyone in the world can be redeemed.”

And that list of those he wanted to suffer? “The biggest sign of maturity is that the list keeps getting smaller,” Z explains, “until there’s no one on it, and you realize that these are human beings caught in the web of the loss of their own compassion. And when you refuse compassion, you’re the same as they are.”

Oftentimes at odds philosophically and tactically with the wider Real Life Superhero movement, Z is a founding member of “The New York Initiative,” committed to maintaining the safety of their Brooklyn, NY neighborhood, while “providing a better communication network for help resources.” Yet the life lessons handed to Z through his participation in the community of heroes have not been lost on him. “It’s a beautiful thing if you can let yourself sink into Time, and be present. There are too many things to live for, no matter how perception messes with you. That one took me the longest.”

An accomplished artist, sculptor and designer, Z could easily go off and live life as a fully private citizen, but professes to never feeling the need to live in that manner. “I like to be in the worst parts of the world,” he says, “I need to because I think I have a plan, and I want to make sure that I never forget that reality. My patrol is every day of my life. I am a lifer.”

To learn more about Z, the artist, visit:
Z’s Photographs

Learn more about keeping your neighborhood safe at:

Z’s Pictures:

Z's Poster Z's Portrait

90 Comments to “Z”

  1. Chris says:

    Hey Z,

    You and Citizen Prime must be the most well-armored heroes.
    I think, light armor is needed, even for the bad guys here in Greece.. who are carrying even firearms or more sofisticated than knives, weapons.
    Too bad in my country most people are so bored to build a costume, an armor, a “character” and, the most useful, a life dedicated to counteract crime.

    I wish the best, for all you heroes :-)

    Keep up!

  2. lizard man says:

    this is a good thing the innocent must be avenged and evil dooers punished and reformed as productive members of society

  3. jo says:

    z is awesome

  4. ZERO says:

    What I think you and the other Real Life Superheroes are doing is great. You do what is needed to make your area a better place. Something the local law enforcement isnt able to accomplish. But remember, there is always a dark side to the light. I am getting ready to be a Costumed Crime-Fighter myself. I know martial arts, sword fighting as well as bo staff fighting. But thats just for self defense. I would like to ask you and the other Heroes, what you do in preparation for your duties.
    Thanks in advance,

  5. Z says:

    Much training in as many things as possible.

    Licenses, martial arts, eat up everything and live to the fullest.

    Also you can go join the RLSH.net to learn more. Lots of discussion.

    And you’ll have to pick a new name, if Zero was the one you were going with. I actually changed mine to Zero a few months ago.

  6. TF says:

    Hey Zero you inspired me to become a guardian like you ppl. I live in germany and i got in trouble with some dudes which looked for trouble and this made me real angry. I want to help ppl in similar situations. I will learn wing tsu and buy 2 batons/tonfas. You seem to be one of the more serious ppl here. Maybe you can help me with stuff i need (armour or something) because you have some experience. keep going, your awesome

  7. Zero says:

    I would suggest not going out angry. Figure out how much of that anger is due to those guys, and how much can be accredited to something in your past. Only with righteous and passionate fury can we keep a cool head. Otherwise you’re part of the problem.

    If you want to be amazing, strive to be different from the herd. And being different means being accountable for your actions, fully aware of who you really are (and not just who you want to be), and being something amazing to yourself before you can help others. Only then can someone else ever be inspired by your truth.

    Truth is the way. And that is not some new age crap, it’s for real. Truth is the only way.

  8. TF says:

    Sure thing! By angry i meant shocked about their actions. Those boys/kids did not know what they do. Someone has to tell them that this is not the right way. The police does nothing cause nobody tells em what happened if its just a bleedy nose or something. If nobody tells them its not right this can evolve to even worse things.

  9. Animal says:

    Z (Or Zero Now) You Have Told Me You Live In Indiana, However It Says You Are In Charge Of A Group In New York, How Does That Work?

  10. Animal says:

    Never Mind, I Understand Now, The Z I Have Been Talking To Is Z-2

  11. Chrome says:

    hey, im chrome, im searching to be come a crime fighter, rlsh.
    i am currently being inspired what some u guys do, is there anyway u can give me help on a chrome coloured silver, costume any idea? off where to buy bullet anti penetration vests, and battons? if theres anyway you can help, im experienced in martial arts, ufc, i no the laws, and im extremely eager to take my actions to the next level, please tell me some great ideas of how to improve and gain experience, and btw when u go out partroling, do u have a ipod playlist, cus when im traiing i find it alot better to do my work to a nice fast tempo dubstep/drum and bass, thanks. Chrome.

  12. Reichenbach says:

    0, what protection do you have for your legs?
    Also, maybe cover up those eyes.
    Also, was wondering what you diet consists of.

    Good luck and all that.

  13. Geist says:

    Zero (Hey, I knew him when he was Z. We go back that far, luck me.) is the closest we probably have to a Rorsharch in our community. He’s a bit dark and blunt, but man, can you trust him if and when when he trusts you!

  14. Geist says:

    Hillel, I meant “lucky me.” Sorry for the typo.

  15. Ray says:

    When I first visited the website I thought, what a rip – it just lookied like a bunch of snazzy photos, no real content, but then I found the bios. You guys (RLSH) are awesome and inspiring. I used to do kung fu alittle. Now I want to pick up my training again and become badass like you. Of couse, there are much smaller ways to do what is right, so I will have to start off with the small battles. Thank you for the insipiration. And, Z, I love you!

  16. Slade says:

    I want to say thank you. It is a very comforting thing to know I’m not the only one learning to love my way through conflict. I personally think of universal flow, of surrender to the brilliant, infinite depth of everything, which I know is also me, which is the only thing there ever is or was. (The concept may not translate, and certainly sounds pretty New Agey. :) But that’s the way I think of it.) “Love truth, but pardon error.” — Voltaire

    You may like the work of a guy named David Deida. He talks a great deal about the strength of opening oneself as far and as deep as possible to the universe and to other people. It’s a lot about love and integrity and living your truth. I had some trouble getting through his wording and the general New Ageiness of his concepts at first, but it has paid off in spades. Highly recommended.

  17. Zero says:

    Reichenbach: Have drastically redone the gear since this was put out. An update will be put up soon enough. And I don’t discuss the specs of my gear anymore. Bad tactics.

    Ray: What’s badass is compassion. Seriously. Just looking at another person and considering how they are handling the current situation, or life in general, and giving a little something if you have it… be it a friendly word, or a hot meal. Sometimes you have to step into the middle of a hairy situation and pull someones ass out of the fire, but that’s maybe 30% of the work. The rest is just remembering how to be human, and why.

    Slade: It’s refreshing to see just how clearly some of you are looking at this. It’s easy to kick someones ass. Its hard to look at what theyre doing and extend a helping hand. The “bad guys” are often victims too.

    Although. Sometimes you just have to take someone down if they can’t be reasoned with. And for that, we should all be prepared.

  18. Joel Zovar says:

    I appreciate Z’s work, but not the rhetoric of “private citizenry”…there’s no such thing. Citizens exist in a society, therefore citizens are PUBLIC. We share the load together, and Z proves that. Charity and social welfare work together, not against one another.

  19. Redviper says:

    Hi I’m going to be joining the RLSH community soon and wondered what training and equipment you have?

  20. Redviper says:

    Hey could people please read these definitions at: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=rlsh now down the first 2 and up the last 1.

  21. Dess says:

    you are amazing! You inspired me even more to being a superhero, to helping people. I used to practice tae-kwon-do and almost finished. But I stopped and began with music. I can catch up, though. Maybe you can help me with armor and costume. I have learned how to throw knives and another pretty basic thing for being a superhero… PARKOUR! I think that parkour is really needed when being a superhero. Its all about overcoming obstacles. Getting from one point to another the fastest way possible. The only problem is that I am not from the US. If anyone can help me with the costume and weapons please email me at: best-banana@hotmail.com

  22. Omen says:

    Zero, do you still do custom jobs for masks/helmets. I have the materials, but would like a professional such as yourself to put it together for me, and possibly throw in some of your own creative instincts as well. Please get back to me, I am willing to pay what it costs. Thanks.

  23. Omen says:

    Oh, by the way Zero, you can contact me at Anzodd@gmail.com if you prefer to go through there. I am also interested in shoulder and upper chest armor as well if you would be able to do that, but the helmet/mask is what I am really after as of now. Thanks again, and keep up the great work.

  24. mike says:

    So your like a real life Batman.

  25. Zero says:

    I no longer make gear for the community. You can get custom fitted gear from my friend Doc Adventure at http://www.newfleshworkshop.com

    and Mike… If only in the way that I am a person, combat crime and use innovative gadgets and unconventional tactics… then sure. If you need to put it in a box, go for it.

  26. fan says:

    Just thought I might post this for anyone in the community.

    An artist, and friend of mine did this a while back, and I think several people may be interested in the armored approach taken here. Especially the pragmatic approach taken in the written description.

    The link has several details on the things included in this costume, but what it doesnt mention is that most of this can be bought online without need for customization…

    I will mention that this character was originally intended to be female, and it would probably be best to contact the artist concerning how she may feel about anyone donning somethin actually akin to the costume. (Im pretty sure her idea was to make a comic with it) But I could see alot of people out there benefitting from this type of approach.


  27. Monica says:

    How do you feel your costume affects what you do?
    Aren’t you worried that having a darker looking costume will intimidate people?
    I’m not sure if wearing these costumes is a good thing for people who intend to do good.
    If people are afraid of you, isn’t it counter-productive to your cause?

  28. VA says:

    UR MY IDOL !!!!!

  29. Zero says:

    yes, it is. i used to wear darker looking gear, but its been a while since i looked like this. and i actually dont even wear superhero-style gear anymore.

    you can find me on FB under Jack Cero. Look for the red mask.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I think it is good what you are doing because it is important to help people. I agree that people need to be “redeemed” in their life. I believe that it is important that more people don’t go through what you did because it could scar them for life. I feel bad for you because you went through it, and you and no one else deserves it. I think it was a good idea to take off your mask though, because some people might have gotten intimidated by it. I think so because with it, you look more evil than good.

  31. the preymantis says:

    you are 1 of my insperations for becoming a superhero! hope to talk to you soon!
    – the preymantis-

  32. Sacred Justice Protector says:

    You are by far my favorite Hero ! I love all the heroes but you to me look the greatest ! You look like you ready for the thick and the thin of it ! There is no night to dark for your optimism ! You are my role model ! May the fates protect you as you protect your self and our streets !

  33. o SUPREMO says:


  34. ... says:

    Hey Z i’m 13 and well i want to be a super hero i’m tall for my age but super fast and super agile any sugestions for good sites to get equipment from? ps i also do martial arts so yer

  35. blackdog phantom says:

    What combat training do you have?

  36. blackdog phantom says:

    Oh,and i saw you on the h.b.o doc.really good.

  37. tony says:

    this shows that you cant make fun of someone because he’s a super hero for 1 superheroes are really cool but there not different from us. They have simple lives, they just like to do something extra to help us out. Z is An accomplished artist, sculptor and designer so if you wish to make fun of him he could probably be more successful than you in every way.

  38. person says:

    How do you meet up with real life superheros and kind of become an apprentice to them.

  39. z says:

    you are the best of the best z

  40. 海盗 says:

    我是中国的 我们这里有好多小偷黑夜里有抢劫的 人们不敢喝斥小偷 怕小偷们会报复 所以我们这里成立了一个联盟 但是不知道怎么做 希望得到你的帮助 我的电子邮件 912289520@qq.com

    edit: Google translation: I was here in China we have a lot of night the thief has robbed people afraid of thieves afraid to yell thief would retaliate so we set up a league here, but do not know how you do want to help my email 912289520@qq.com

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