Unanticipated hazards of being a costumed vigilante

OK, we all know that by putting on a cape, mask and tights and going forth to do battle with the sufferers of ASSPD that the comicverse has spawned, a person, particularly one without superpowers, runs the risk of being shot, stabbed, thrown off a building or dying in come unnecessarily complex booby trap. There is also the everpresent hazard of somebody who doesn’t like you very much finding out your true identity and using the information to cause trouble of various sorts.

That’s something we expect. We have learned to deal. Well, most of us have, anyway.

But there are a lot of hazards that most vigilantes don’t think about? Stuff like,

your girlfriend dumps you for your alter ego? (sorry, Batman and Robin was on in the breakroom at work the other night).

After a hard night doing battle with your arch enemy, you come to work bruised and battered and find yourself set upon by coworkers giving you the phone numbers to battered women’s shelters and asking you “Why don’t you leave him?”
Let’s see, what else? (Hey, if it was easy to think of more than a couple of these things in advance, we’d probably think twice about going out at night dressed in spandex and looking for trouble, now, wouldn’t we?)

I think a big one would be having to keep the crappy minimum wage job your “real” self has in order to pay the bills while your arch nemesis is most certainly some multi-billionaire trust fund baby. I’d give up being a superhero in a heartbeat if it meant that after fighting evildoers, I had to come back and work at fucking McDonalds all day! All the great evil people are rich. I’d be evil just for the fat payday.

Your social life dies a quick and ignoble death, as you spend your evenings doing super-hero stuff instead of going to the movies, hanging out with your friends, etc.

While patrolling The City from your vantage point on the rooftops, you trip over your cape and become street pizza on the sidewalk.

You spot a group of young teens hanging out, and start interviewing them for the position of kid sidekick. Halfway through your questions about “skin-tight costumes,” “wrestling moves,” and “looking for action at night,” you get busted as a pedophile.

Everytime it rains, your shirt becomes transparent, exposing the superhero uniform you wear underneath.

You’re doing your everyday job when you cross paths with your arch nemesis doing his everyday job. Suddenly your arch nemesis realizes that you look and sound an awful lot like a superhero.

Of course, the biggest problem is establishing your rep as a costumed hero in the first place. If someone starts showing up at bank robberies, kidnappings, natural disasters and the like, swinging from building to building, wearing a mask and tights, he’s going to get his ass hauled away before he has a chance to save the day.

Wedgies. And, come on…what kind of superhero spends time pulling spandex out of his ass?

Superhero/Supervillain romances never work, but they’re so hard to resist.

If your boyfriend/girlfriend dies, it’s really, really hard to let go and find someone else, because there’s a really good chance they’ll come back to life in a couple months - although either the dead one, or the one who came back, might be a clone.

The pressure marks you get on your face from your mask might give you away.

Your X-Ray vision allows you to see a LOT of things that could turn you off of sex forever.

Leaving the toilet stall and finding that your cape has been dangling in the bowl.

I imagine Batman, Daredevil, and other heroes with cut-away masks have a real problem if they need to patrol on a hot, sunny day. “Farmer tan” isn’t the word … maybe “cowl tan”?

I dont’ know about you guys but my thearpy bills are pretty steep.

Worn-out and laser-slashed spandex simply cannot be patched. The colors NEVER match.

Years later, you discover how your faithful butler “entertained” in your mansion a;; those nights you were out on patrol.

Your old used costumes keep popping up on eBay.

The tell-all book(s) by your former sidekick(s) and arch-nemesis)es) name names and include pictures. You find out the hard way what was on those old developed spools of film you never got around to developing.

You never thought to copyright your costume, insignia, car or catchphrase – now some bastards EXCEPTS you are making a mint with all the unauthorized merchandising.

As you settle into your golden years, still steadfastly committed to your superheroic principles, you face a dillemma familiar to many elderly people on a fixed income: New Costume or New Weapons?

The worst superpowers ever: Super-Alzheimers’, Ultra-Incontinence and Wonder-Angina.

One word: chafing.

It’s difficult to find skin-tight ear attachments.

I’m with Mr. Blue Sky; that diaper rash has got to be annoying.

And what about guilt?

Aha! I finally get a good reason to recommend one of my favorite books ever: How to be a Superhero. Unfortunately, it seems to be out of print, with used copies hideously expensive.

I don’t think anyone’s to blame. As rjung pointed out, superheroes never get a chance for a normal social life so it’s not surprising these “workplace” romances occur.

Can you imagine the dry cleaning bills?


Sleep deprivation from living a “normal life” during the day, but going out patrolling at night.

The costume itself… 75% percent of all “super” costumes look bad, or at least could use serious aesthetic improvement.

Outfitting your secret lair…even if you ARE rich, it’s got to be pretty hard to move a bunch of large, heavy equipment in and out of the cave under your house, especially if it’s just you and an elderly butler doing all the muscle work.

The stench that must build up in a spandex costume constantly soaked in sweat, blood, sewer water, seawater…

As Askia said; Radiation-induced super maladies in your old age.

Trying to find a way to eat, drink or relieve yourself (hopefully not all at the same time) when you’re wearing a one-piece unitard.

The pay is awful, unless you were already a billionaire when you become a superhero.

Hypoxia from flying at high altitudes. Ditto with windburn at flying/running at high speeds.

Being indestructible (or nearly so), but NOT having indestructible clothing.

Going into torpor because your super-metabolism needs 15,000 calories a day, minimum.

Being able to talk to animals…but discovering that the smartest animals on Earth have are the intellectual equivalent of very emotional 5-year-old human. And that MOST animals aren’t even THAT smart.

Telepathy makes it constantly “sound” like you’re standing in the middle of a convention hall whenever you’re anywhere near a group of people. And even if you can learn to ignore the “content,” you’re still stuck with the annoying “background noise.”


Cumulative injuries from years of physical exertion and combat. (Torn rotator cuffs, pulled hamstrings, carpel-tunnel syndrome, stuff like that. Think of what happens to a career football player, or a stuntman.) Expect to be using LOTS of BenGay in your twilight years.

I think there was a Spiderman comic about this…

Hazards? The wear and tear that comes from defying nearly every known law of physics. :smiley:

Combine the posts by Kunilou and Flander.

Now you have the Supervillain walking into your fast food restaurant and you have to ask him (or her), “You want fries with that?”

Of course, he (or she) responds by laughing maniacally.

Perhaps the solution is to combint the posts of Lord Vor and Flander. Take your crappy minimum-wage job in a drycleaners.

Then when your arch-nemesis somes in dto drop off his supervillain costume, you have him at a distinct disadvantage.