Before he could save others, he had to save himself. He is The Crimson Fist, and his work on the streets of Atlanta, GA attests to the power of the Real Life Superhero movement to help not only the public-at-large, but those who take on the cape and cowl as well.
A history of substance abuse issues ultimately led this affable, sharp hero to look within for answers as to how to move forward from a place of personal despair. “I led a bad life and treated people rather poorly, and thought I should make up for that. I realized that there were better things I could be doing with what I had. It seemed quite natural, really.”
Natural for someone who sparked to the pantheon of such Silver Age comic book legends as the Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice League of America.
“When it comes to what inspired all of us to don the mask and tights, I can say with fair certainty that we were all inspired by comics in some fashion. I came up with my name from a 1990 comic that I wrote. I knew how I wanted to look and what I wanted to have my uniform look like, but I don’t have super powers, and thus find myself more attracted to heroes who either have no powers, or have them rooted closer to reality.”
The Crimson Fist’s reality is centered around outreach to the ever-growing population living on the streets of his hometown, though it wasn’t always that way. “Originally started out wanting to be the Batman type of superhero, I went out at night trying to find criminals to beat up and make the city a safer place, but it was unrealistic. I was dark and serious, and I eventually (and thankfully), grew out that phase.”
Standing just 5”6’ in his simple, but striking gear, The Crimson Fist is still perfectly capable of making a strong impression. The night of his inaugural patrol, he came upon two men violently attacking another man in a dark alley. Without giving a second thought to the mathematical realities of the situation, he purposefully strode toward the perpetrators. The two men stopped, and apparently “freaked-out” at the sudden appearance of this white-and-red clad, mask-wearing man taking an aggressive stance toward them, instantly turned tail and ran. The victim in all this, once realizing that his attackers had fled, took one look at his would-be savior—and ran like hell in the opposite direction.
Today, his activities are of a more low-key, but nonetheless powerful nature. “Generally when I go out on patrols I pack up a backpack with different supplies—in the summer I hand out bottled water, in the colder months, I give them clean shirts and socks and things like that.” But his brand of
community altruism comes at a cost. “I don’t do it nearly as much as I’d like, for purely financial reasons. But I try to set aside some money every month to try and go out and do things.”
Being of service to others has had an abiding, restorative effect on The Crimson Fist, and he makes no secret of it. “I think for the most part, it makes me feel good to do it, as selfish as it sounds. The biggest motivation is just helping people, it’s enjoyable to me,” he says. “And if it means a little sacrifice, I’m OK with that. Because if I didn’t do it, I wouldn’t feel whole.”
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