Above, my favourite moment in Bob Burden’s Flaming Carrot comics, from issue 11. Flaming Carrot incites insurgents against Communists who have seized power in his home town. Says the Carrot, “Life is a ball of string, man! When you unwind it, there’s nothing there! So what have you got to lose? Fortune favors the bold!”
There is a recent interview with Bob Burden at Heroes in the Night, a blog about real life superheroes, people who combine social activism, community work, and occasional crimefighting, with a love of dressing up in capes and masks. More about RLSH at The Real Life Super Hero Project and at reallifesuperheroes.org, where I found a link to this:
Super Amigos is a 2007 documentary by Arturo Perez Torres about five Mexican super hero activists. From Robert Koehler’s review in Variety:
A quintet of unlikely men -- all anonymous, all from humble backgrounds -- takes on the style and appearance of Mexican pro wrestling's "lucha libre" persona that was lovingly spoofed for gringo auds in "Nacho Libre." The lineup includes Fray Tormenta, Super Gay, Super Barrio, Ecologista Universal and Super Animal.You can watch the entire film (82 mins) at hotdocslibrary.ca, and I do most definitely recommend it.
Torres is intent to show, however, that these super-luchas aren't out to put on a show a la Abbie Hoffman's yippie spectacles of the '60s. Super Barrio, for example, conducts serious and lengthy meetings with tenants threatened with eviction, the latest victims of a gentrification trend in Mexico City's center that's devastating working-class communities.
Fray Tormenta, a former pro wrestler, is an ordained priest who achieves real results with neglected children.
Perhaps challenging the country's most entrenched bigotry, Super Gay works as a one-on-one counselor with victims of gay-bashing and parents of gay children, while helping organize a Gay Pride Day rally which brings out 100,000 on Mexico City's large boulevards.
Although he's fighting for the planet, Ecologista Universal tends to be the one superhero working alone -- trekking cross-country to protest everything from a tree-cutting to nuclear power plants. As anyone who's flown into or moved around Mexico City knows, this lucha's battle may be the most daunting of all, and Torres' portrayal of him as a modern-day Don Quixote is both witty and poignant.
Torres, however, seems most interested in Super Animal, a big, burly dude who wants to kick the behinds of as many bullfighters as possible. Staging wild demonstrations and direct actions in front of city hall or the city's central bull ring, Super Animal has built a real following and garners considerable media attention in his efforts to shame bullfighters and ban the sport.
Flaming Carrot™ copyright © Bob Burden.