Posted in Heroes, News on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 at 12:02 pm 32 Comments

Young and restless in the best, most productive sense, his work combines his deep interest in technology and computer science, with his impassioned sense of justice that leads him to patrols on the meaner streets of his adopted home in Brooklyn, NY.

First learning of the movement as a teenager in Texas, he knew he wasn’t fully prepared to jump into the role of hero—not before he could learn more about martial arts, gymnastics, and other creative methods of self-defense. “So when I turned 18, I began patrolling in my hometown. But I knew there was exciting stuff going on in New York, and I had always wanted to live there,” he says. With the movement’s critical mass of heroes living and working in and around the Tri-State Area, moving there became Zimmer’s goal. “There’s only so much you can do on your own,” he continues, “I wanted to learn more, and being part of a larger team was the next step.”

The other major crucible of Zimmer’s life was defined by an even deeper struggle. “I came out in high school, and that was definitely an experience,” he says candidly, “It’s a huge change, not hiding something that’s integral to who you are.” And his involvement in LGBT issues blends seamlessly with his superhero identity. “I don’t hide behind a mask,” he asserts, “that just feels like I’m being pushed back into the closet.” Instead, he works presenting his face to the world, and under his real name. “I’ve had such a positive experience that way. Without the burden of a secret identity, I’ve found I can talk to all kinds of people.”

Geared-up in jeans with built-in padding, and a t-shirt with the binary code for the first letter of his name (“01011010”) emblazoned down the side, he hit the patrolling scene as a part of the original New York Initiative, where his skills as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), made him a highly-valued member of the team. He also became administrator of The Heroes Network, one of the major online forums of the superhero community, marrying his expertise in computer technology to his work on the streets.

Then, in June 2010, everything changed.

A random car accident shattered Zimmer’s shoulder and severely dislocated his elbow, knocking him out of the more dangerous missions he thrived on. “Being so physically-limited sucks,” he says plainly, “but I’m trying to find other outlets. I’ve always tried to mix the mental with the physical, so I can’t make excuses anymore. I can’t procrastinate on the intellectual stuff.” Which translates to a now full-time devotion to investing in the development of new weapons and gadgets, and gaining access the informational infrastructure that underpins the superhero movement’s activities, and yet, is often overlooked. “If you do your research, you can be more active and actually help someone.”

The emergency surgery that followed after the accident, has left with Zimmer with partial paralysis of his arm, and a projected recovery of up to two years—not an ideal situation for someone who “gets antsy not doing enough. But waiting around is not an option,” he says emphatically. In fact, he has already designed a custom prosthetic sheath that will allow him greater mobility in his nerve-damaged fingers—and a possible return to the field, ahead of his doctors’ schedule. “This accident hasn’t changed my desire to change the world, he continues, “but it’s changed the way I go around doing that.”

Zimmer welcomes your support of OutYouth:

Zimmer’s Pictures:

Zimmer's Poster Zimmer's Portrait

32 Comments to “Zimmer”

  1. Carolyn Barnes says:

    Great work! These are very impressive works of art. Great posters of a great hero.

  2. Geist says:

    Yup. Zimmer’s as awesome as his poster! Nice work, Pete!

  3. David Dye says:

    Zimmer, you look great, and are great! Keep up the awesome work you do for the continued safety of people!

  4. DangerWoman says:

    Zimmer, I am so proud of you. When you came out, it was the bravest thing that you ever did.
    And surviving that horrible accident that you went through, you refuse to let this setback stop you.

    Anyway, if I do come to New York City to do a team up with you and any of the other real life superheroes of that area, I would be more than honored to have you as one of my heroic chaperones and tour guides!


  5. Z says:

    NYI represent! hahaha. Jk. Looking good, kiddo.

  6. Phantom says:

    Epic suit. Keep up the good work.

  7. Zimmer says:

    Thank you all for your warm words. It’s come to my attention that the non-profit I recommended, Magic Camp, is no longer accepting donations. In it’s place, I would love to recommend OutYouth, a community space for Texan LGBTQ teenagers to share a safe space. Many teenagers do not get this kind of welcoming environment in their homes and schools and OutYouth’s work has been really phenomenal in helping teens. For more information you can visit their site here:


    And if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, this is a fantastic organization to donate to.


  8. Y says:

    hey zimmer! =)

    Is there a way of getting in touch with you by email?

  9. The RaTMaN says:

    u are a different and yet respectable hero man :)
    but can i ask,,are there any of you hero’s that actually fight crime ???

  10. paladin says:

    dude you rock i hope to see you sometime theres nothing to do here just wannabe gangs that just talk (sigh)

  11. Reason says:

    how can i become a hero. i live in england, im quite young ( teenager) and i know martial arts, how to build stuff ,programmer,computer whiz, first aid and ive got equipment.

  12. Zimmer says:

    Y: I can be reached at zimmerbarnes@gmail.com

    Paladin: Be thankful they just talk! It sucks a lot when they do more!

    Reason: Sounds like you’re off to a good start. I would recommend therlsh.net for beginners.

  13. malzhar says:

    what gagets have you made?, and by the way your my new idol, you rock!

  14. Zimmer says:

    Thank you! So far, my main gadget has been the North Star, which uses intense light as a self-defense tool.


    I’ve also been developing a few other projects for the field but I can’t talk about them here.

    My main work with the NYI has involved information, specifically missing person reports, tracking transient populations, knowing what protests happen where and of course keeping up to date on crime mapping for Brooklyn.

  15. MR.SMITH says:

    hello Zimmer i live on long island ny, and me and a group of friends want to get involved. Any way you could be assitence (possibly arrainge to meet up with other heros, advice for any gear ect ect) would be highly helpful thanks

  16. Biko says:

    Saw the HBO feature doc last night. Props to all. Keep up the good work.

  17. Calypso says:


    I am a big fan! My brother is also openly gay and that takes courage. I also noticed that you are just one class away from being an EMT. Congratulations!

    The other night you saved a man from having a huge care accident because he was driving drunk. You and your team are great. I live in the metro area and would love to interview you if you are up to it. Please cotact me via email.

    All the best! And be safe out there!

  18. J.S.Myers says:

    You are awesome! You can totally be my hero! Great job!

  19. The Rising says:

    You the man,Your doing amazing.keep up the good work!!

  20. Godspeed says:

    Good job. Your North-Star idea has given me a safety idea of my own. Instead of using a derivative of the Black Egg, we will be using two shoulder mounted lamps that can reach close to 700 lumens. As we do not want to cause any permanent damage with the Black Egg. The idea is that they should cause enough night blindness for use to pull a “ninja vanish” on a overly armed opponent. Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t let anyone discourage you guys. God Bless and Good Luck.

    Godsend Clan (Reno, Nv)

  21. ...S... says:

    thanks for doing what most do not dare, for some time and read articles and seen the movement of real-life superhero and in spite of not being able to do the same in my country because I agree with buestra somehow … could say that and been active in the homeless and helped collect signatures to help change some laws should be changed … unfortunately I have a lot to learn but I am happy to fight for things like the murder of Kitty Genovese not repeated, and had to personally intervene in a case of domestic violence and had to dissuade the aggressor forcefully expressed ….. Z, Lucid and TSAF a warm greeting and if you have time would greatly appreciate your own greeting or your colleagues in my messenger

    cordially … s. ..

  22. Yusri The Yus says:

    Hi Zimmer,i’m from Malaysia and i like what you guys are doing.True that some said that you guys should join the police,fire department and so on and it was a noble thing to do but they got paid for what they do while people like you do it voluntaraly.Beside,by joining a police dept,there some regulations to be follow and that can limits what you guys trying to achieve,and not all people can be a cop either.As for me,i’m secretly a crime preventer in my home town. I used to join a team called “The Guardian”,but it got disbanded a couple of years ago and now i go solo but not as frequent as before.What the teams used to do is mainly to gather information or evidence of any crime or vice activities around the area and alert the local police.But sometimes we also got a taste of battling real crime in progress when it happen in front our eyes.Anyway,i hope you and all your superfriends (“..they are super for they don’t have any superpower except for their super heart..” somebody quote to me that) keep on of what you do.You may not be able to change the world,but i may take off some of it burdens a little bits. Good luck!

  23. Comet says:

    Hi Zimmer! I literally just watched the HBO special. Amazing, I had no idea that there were any real life superheroes until a few days ago, when I heard about Phoenix Jones.
    You sir, are an idol of mine.
    I’d like to join, but I’m pretty inexperienced. I know a little bit of martial arts, but I’m not very fit. In particular, my lungs really suck.
    I’m pretty smart though, so maybe I could help with this site, and the community as a whole, before joining in the field.
    What do you think I should do?

  24. Montana says:

    Ahoy Zimmer :-) I havn’t heard of real life superhero’s until my Civics class yesterday but i’d like to say a few things! I admire how you try your hardest to make a difference weither it’s a big difference or a small one. You can get hurt but still stick to what you want to do. (When you hurt your shoulder and you still wanted to be hero). You don’t let anything hold you back from something you have your mind set on! You are a real hero. Keep doing what you’re doing, ITS MAKING A DIFFERENCE. :-)

  25. the eye of horus says:

    your very brave for someone so young my team could use you contact me via email

  26. Max says:

    Hey Zimmer,
    I think it’s really cool what you do. You kinda remind me of Oracle almost. She got injured as Batgirl and couldn’t fight anymore, but still kept up a network for all super heros. If everyone got on board, you could develop communicators on a main frequency that all super heros could use and could call out to anyone on that frequency, and it would give out information from a “command tower” or “central hub” where you could shoot out information to the heros. (and they could have their own team frequency as well.) Tactical and strategic stuff about the location. Also if a fight is getting too hot, to send in reinforcements or quick getaway tips to get out of a bad situation that a hero knows he/she can’t win. I got this idea from playing DC Universe Online. I always wanted to be a hero but I don’t have any type of training or gear. I would like to make a difference… but I’ve got a long way to go. I’m like you too I wanna be in the heat of the action, but

  27. Max says:

    I can’t get hot headed and just bust into this. I know I have to be smart about it. Any tips?

  28. Chlostar says:

    You are really brave in more ways than one. You inspired me as well, I wasn’t scared about coming out as a lesbian anymore. Thanks, Zimmer

  29. Casandra says:

    I think what you do is wonderful

  30. Sara says:

    Great work! It’s very impressive what you’re doing!

  31. katsuki says:

    this is cool I just found out about this today! I just typed in real life super heros to see if anything popped up and you guys did! I watched the videos, why do you all not publish more?! or be more well known to the outside communities? a lot of you are from the east coast area, I’m from Oregon and I now know about this. I would like to join the super hero community, but have zero idea how to even begin lol. I think its a really cool Idea that should broaden more!

  32. DCGuy says:

    I saw the special on Netflix today — so I looked you guys up. As an openly gay man and working in the IT field I applaud you for helping people like you do. You are an inspiration for our community :) I am from DC. Is there any way I could contact you by email?

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