Lurking in the quaint suburb thrall of Brampton, Ontario, a hero has apparently emerged from the shadows with a passion for crime fighting.
Behind the masked suit is not Nicholas Cage with a Sniper Rifle, but Stephen Lawrence, a manufacturing worker by day and masked vigilante by night. According to his short documentary Being Batman, Stephen is the real deal, and has it all; the DIY Batmobile, the wide assortment of stealth weaponry, collectible action figures and bat clocks, even the signature batman armor, an obvious shoe in at any convention for its realistic aesthetics. He trains in his own customized bat cave, a house and garage turned man-cave bat shrine, an apparent “reflection” of himself incarnate. Lawrence has been training himself in the art of Hollywood ninjitsu, preparing for the urban wars to come among the empty streets of this Canadian
suburb. Our masked marauder has apparently been “catching crime” for years, using his own culturally appropriated definition of the ninja and Youtube weapon tutorials, even showing off his gnarly nunchuku skill in front of the camera.
Stephen emphasizes his reasons for doing this, quickly acknowledging in the video about the impracticality of dressing up as a superhero at night and driving around town in a Batmobile: “Batman is not so much a choice for me, it was a synchronicity between Bruce Wayne’s life and my own, it wasn’t a conscious decision to put on a cape and cowl, to be batman. It really is the character that is underneath, it really is the best way to deal with loss, with pain, it really is the most responsible way to express the mystery that I feel has become myself.”
Stephen continues to address the hardships and transgressions he’s had to endure in his life, including losing loved ones close to him. And his opinion, the only way to channel his anguish is to embody inner soul, his inner bat per say. To just laugh this off and walk away is to cut it short. While his ideals on the “ninja” lifestyle and vigilante effectiveness are somewhat far-fetched, when you listen to him talk, you can hear this determination in his voice and you can’t help but sympathize with his ideas of responsibility and accountability. In an era characterized by unmarked police brutality and negligence at the hands of the US court system, maybe a symbol for Justice, a hero to inspire to, isn’t such a bad thing. While the reality of his effectiveness is in question, and his hidden identity already a flaw, the least we can do is learn from his choices, maybe finally finish that Iron Man suit and fly up to Ontario.
While personally I feel like this is no way to cope with the grief of loss, and possibly the most irresponsible and unrealistic form of expression, this is the beauty in the human condition. He will be a fool to many, but also a hero, an idol to few. Is this someone to look up to? Will he follow in the steps of every hero arc and create a villain in his own selfish fulfillment for higher purpose and self-expression? Either way, dibs on being the Joker.
Attached below is the documentary video on Stephen, check it out!!