By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
By Michael Roberts
By Melanie Asmar
"The only role models we have left are either dead or gone or never existed," he says. "It's sad we have to take up that mantle waving a superhero flag."
In the Heroes Network, the Wall Creeper finally felt part of something important.
"It was like coming home for the first time," he says. "Just imagine having a friend in every state that knows what you do and how you are and everything." With his online colleagues, he endlessly compared and fine-tuned his battle suit and tinkered with his MySpace page. He eventually sank more than $1,000 into his alter ego, explaining to his parents that it was going toward a paintball hobby. Along the way, he gathered trade secrets such as how capes, while dramatic, don't work well in actual crime fighting. He discovered that the best place to buy handmade Spandex battle suits was www.Hero-Gear.net — "We've got what it takes to be a HERO!" — and ordered a custom-designed mask from the site for special occasions. And from Entomo the Insect Man, a Naples, Italy-based superhero, he learned he needed an insignia that would set him apart from your everyday all-black ninja. "You are the only Wall Creeper," Entomo told him. "There is no one else like you." So the Wall Creeper painted an ornate "W-C" motif on his mask.
And now the man behind that mask felt like he was becoming a force to be reckoned with. He had to keep his secret from his parents — it was too dangerous and unconventional for them to know about — so a few times a week, he'd wait in his room until the house was silent before sneaking out. Then he'd navigate the moonlit three-mile walk to town before stealthily roaming the streets for hours looking for trouble.
He gave up his swords, preferring to rely on his detective skills and the three or four martial arts styles in which he'd taken lessons (though to keep the upper hand, he won't say how, exactly, he'd handle himself in a fight). Some nights he'd "wall-creep" up buildings, climbing up fire escapes and vaulting over walls so he could run surveillance from roofs. He discovered he could become invisible just by thinking and feeling nothing — acting as though he didn't exist. The tactic seemed to work, since he remembers only a handful of people ever noticing him. The few who did sometimes gasped or screamed, while others waved and wished him a good night.
One time, he says, he tracked a local drug dealer to his house and knocked on his window. When the thug got over the sight of a masked man peeking through his curtains, he allowed the Wall Creeper inside to talk. That night, the crime fighter learned about the OxyContin, heroin, cocaine, meth and ecstasy flowing freely under the direction of a local narcotics ring. He took it all down in his journal and warned the dealer that if he didn't clean up his act, he'd be back.
Other than that, the Wall Creeper didn't experience much in the way of dramatic confrontations. No matter: His main weapon wasn't his fists, but the legend that he believed was growing. Sure enough, he sensed that rumors were spreading around school of a masked vigilante, and to him it seemed that the once-rampant drug trade petered off.
With his home-turf mission apparently accomplished, the Wall Creeper entered college last year in another small Colorado community and stepped up his patrols. He began training two recruits, one of whom supposedly now patrols in the Greeley area under the name Dragomir. Together at college, the three scoped out underage parties for potential date-rapists and would-be drunk drivers. One time they discovered what they thought was an OxyContin pill at a popular college nightclub, so they left the evidence on a vacant squad car, noting where they'd found it. According to the Wall Creeper, the nightclub was shut down within a week.
Another time, the Wall Creeper was biking across campus with his mask off when he spotted what looked like a sleazeball about to take advantage of his drunken companion. He'll never forget how that dude turned tail when the Wall Creeper bore down on him like a bike messenger from hell, ripping open his coat to reveal his fearsome battle armor. Too bad the girl he saved was too sloshed to notice.
This was the Wall Creeper at his finest, the creature inside of him on full display. As he noted in his journal, he'd reached a new level: "When I am out there, alone with a seemingly new body and a different track of thought, I become the Wall Creeper. That part of me barely speaks. He takes his work seriously, and doesn't half-ass it like the others. I feel raw power and animal-like, seeking justice."
The resulting hero was becoming well regarded on the Heroes Network. "He sticks to his mission and doesn't change his ideals for anybody," says Tothian about the Wall Creeper. "For someone his age, he is wise beyond his years."