The new movie Kick-Ass, based on the comic book by Mark Miller and John Romita, Jr., explores the idea of normal, everyday people putting on costumes and fighting crime as superheroes. It's not that fantastical a concept, though, according to an article in the New York Post, which spotlights seven real-life citizens of the Big Apple that play dress up and try to save the world. Saving the world, however, doesn't mean thwarting the plans of super villains to take over or destroy the planet. Actual missions can include anything from feeding the homeless to counseling couples on their relationships.

Both the article and its accompanying video come across as something out of the Onion, and the Post unsurprisingly seems to mock the heroes. I must admit the people apparently guarding my city from evil are pretty silly. In a clip showing the superhero "Dark Guardian" (pictured) telling drug dealers to leave Washington Square, he's like a middle school hall monitor. It's a good thing he brings along a video camera (used by the superhero aptly named "Cameraman") on his nightly crusades, as it's probably the only way he doesn't get beat up. But do these guys need costumes? Even more questionable is the masked man ("Life") who gives out toothbrushes and hand warmers to the homeless. Why must he be so anonymous in his charity? And isn't he drawing too much attention to himself to be thought of as genuinely anonymous anyway?

In addition to the Kick-Ass connection, these characters remind me of the documentary Confessions of a Superhero, which focuses on struggling actors who dress up like Superman, Wonder Woman and other comic book characters to entertain on Hollywood Boulevard. I also recalled Stan Lee's short-lived reality/game show Who Want's to be a Superhero? They're obviously attention-seekers, and the relationship superheroes Arjuna Ladino and Shanti Owen (formerly supermodel/actress Cathy Owen) appear in an episode of Wife Swap. But I'd love for someone to make a serious, non-ridiculing film about these people. And if there's a real-life 11-year-old with a foul mouth and a talent for violent crime fighting, such a documentary would likely be quite popular.

Check out the Post's video on these real-life superheroes: