Szapocznikow: the best sculptor you can't spell. Off-Ramp for April 7, 2012

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's Heroman! Who's Heroman?

David Filmore in his documentary about his work "Hero Man".Credit heromanmovie.com or the movie itself.

It’s a cool February night and I’m standing outside LACMA with my headphones on and microphone in hand. I’m waiting to get in the car of David Fillmore aka Heroman, LA’s only known superhero. We’re going on a ride along so I can get a glimpse of what he’s about.

Fillmore pulls up in his "attack vehicle," a black Nissan SUV wielding a large obtrusive toy clamped to the top that he calls his "raygun." I'm easily distracted by the raygun's cheesy sound effects, pulling the trigger repeatedly on passerby who's faces light up in laughter and confusion.

I ease into my comfy leather seat and start the interview. Fillmore fills me in on his story and mission.

"Many times, stuff will come up where the cops are just uninterested or they don’t have the time or they don’t have the resources or frankly they just don’t give a damn, and in those cases people should have somewhere to turn to. I want to be that person," says Fillmore.

There are no evil villains or radioactive spiders in Fillmore’s story. He got robbed, then got sick and decided to live life to the fullest.

"Well after I was robbed I almost died. I collapsed on a bus in West Hollywood. I went to my doctor and a bunch of tests, a long story short I have ulcerative colitis."

Fillmore's nasty disease is an impetus for doing good. He takes requests for help through his website and receives anywhere from 5-10 pleas a week, some of which he says are a little too outlandish for him.

But also Fillmore spends a lot of his time carousing back alleys and side streets, looking for people up to no good. His pursuits have actually gotten physical at times.

"And I took a step back thinking holy cow this dude just stabbed me, and I looked down and I had this giant gash in my leg. It was so deep I could see my femur."

Fillmore is an observant Jew who sees his caped crusading as an extension of his faith. He says his actions correspond with a Jewish philosophy of repairing the world.

Fillmore criticizes other superheroes for being fakers, noting that they line Hollywood boulevard to be a part of the tourist spectacle and would rather pose for pictures than help someone in need.

"Well I don’t think those guys are fighting any crime. I think they’re just in it for the glory of take my photo, look at me and have a nice holiday precious tourists I guess. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about doing something right and correcting wrongs, because superman, batman-the classic superheroes, that’s what the code is about," Fillmore said.

On the night of our ridealong, Fillmore stayed in the car and didn’t have to tackle any crime. That’s okay, I didn’t feel too much like being Heroboy. But to see Heroman in action in his new movie and read testimonials on his superhero services follow the links to his website.


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