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I write about superpowers a lot and superheros and superpowers go together. So, It has recently come to my attention that there is a real, live superhero in Vancouver. Well, he’s described as a superhero and I kind of disagree with that. I believe superheroes should have superpowers, because they are…super. As far as I can tell, this guy doesn’t have any superpowers. But this guy could probably be considered a hero. At least, he’s a nice guy trying to make a difference in his home town. He may be on par with that Batman guy who visits children’s hospitals to cheer up the kids there. Except that his superhero identity isn’t based on an existing one. So anyway, his superhero name is Thanatos.

Thanatos (image links to photo shoot with a bunch of superheros)

Thanatos goes out once a month, early in the morning, and helps the homeless community in Vancouver. He goes in full costume. He didn’t always. He used to do this just as a normal guy and apparently the homeless he was helping couldn’t remember him. Then it dawned on him that he should make his appearance more memorable. Enter the costume.

Thanatos, the superhero, based his name (and thus costume) on Thanatos, the daemon personification of death in Greek mythology. You may know him from the story of Sisyphus. Sisyphus first cheated death by tricking Thanatos into his own shackles. That must have been a sight to see. How do you trick people into binding themselves? But anyway…

So Thanatos, the superhero, wears predominately black, has a black tie with skulls on it, a black hat, a utility belt, and a green skull mask. It must be an interesting sight to see. I mean, think about it, you’re comfortably drowsing in a corner close to a streetlight in the black of night. And out of the mist, you waken to see a dark, looming figure approach you. He seemingly floats above the mist. Perhaps frightened and wary, you huddle into your corner a bit more. The figure enters into the beam of light cast by the streetlight, and you see a striking, green skull ominously glaring down at you. And then this dark-cloaked, beskulled person hands you a care package and tells you to be well. HOW IS THIS NOT INTERESTING?

I imagine it would look like this…

The fact that this guy decided to base his superhero persona on a minor figure in Greek mythology is interesting. The fact that he based his superhero persona on a figure of death is interesting. He’s not the grim reaper collecting the souls of the homeless on the streets of Vancouver. He’s giving them care packages! He’s trying to help them out! It’s this guy, dressed in black and a green skull, helping people out in the dark! THIS IS INTERESTING.

Anyway, it turns out that the person behind Thanatos is in his 60s. He enjoys what he does and would like to continue doing it for a long time. And when mobility starts being a problem, he says he will be out patrolling the streets in the “Hoveraround of Justice” and with the “Walker of the Free.”

  • This is how I first learned about Thanatos.
  • Here is a pretty interesting interview with Thanatos.
  • Here is Peter Tangen’s site on real life superheroes (the Telegraph article was an excerpt of sorts).

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