Manly Stuff Stand & Deliver


Along with his motley band of buddies, Phoenix Jones roamed Seattle in pursuit of evildoers. Wikipedia/Torrin Maynard.


Superhero movies are some of the most profitable in Hollywood. Here’s the gist of pretty much all of them: Some buff guy is burdened by pervasive crime and the inability of the cops to control it. Determined to clean up the streets, the guy dons a garish costume and visits vigilante justice upon evil-doers. The cops resent this as extrajudicial and dangerous. A frustrated populace is grateful. Fold in a tortured love interest and some sad back story. Repeat as necessary for as long as the sequels, prequels, and sub-character spinoffs will keep dragging folks into theaters.

It really has become a bit of trope. Perhaps Hollywood screenwriters have lost the ability to create original content. No real person in the real world would voluntarily risk his life to fight crime as a masked vigilante. And then there was Phoenix Jones…


Phoenix Jones was a real superhero. By contrast,
I’m just some geeky guy who likes wearing a Superman costume
underneath his surgical scrubs at work.

Origin Story


Phoenix Jones was born Benjamin John Francis Fodor in 1988. Raised an orphan in Texas until he was adopted by a Seattle couple at age 9, Fodor’s past had just the right amount of pathos for a proper superhero origin story. A criminal once broke the windows out of his car in full view of bystanders, yet no one intervened. His son later fell on the broken glass and injured himself. The thief left a ski mask at the scene.

Fodor subsequently saw a friend assaulted outside a bar. When nobody moved to help, he donned the criminal’s abandoned ski mask, notified 911, and “made a commotion” until police arrived. He later said, “And I thought, why didn’t someone help him? There were seventy people outside that bar and no one did anything.” That experience lit a fire.

Ben Fodor went home and did a little Googling. In short order, he had his own custom-made supersuit consisting of a Dragon Skin armored vest, multi-aspect stab plating and a cowl. Fodor claimed the purpose of the suit was to ensure that responding police officers did not mistake him for a criminal. He added pepper spray, a first-aid kit, a stun batona nd a net gun. Thusly equipped, Fodor went to work cleaning up Seattle as superhero Phoenix Jones.


Ben Fodor earned some notoriety as an MMA fighter. Wikipedia/Kelly Bailey.

Occupational Hazards


During the course of his three years of superhero service, Jones was both shot and stabbed. In each case his supersuit prevented serious injury. Once, while attempting to break up a fight, two belligerent men attacked him and broke his nose.

City officials, predictably, had little use for Phoenix Jones’ vigilante justice. Seattle city attorney Peter Holmes publicly described Jones as a “deeply misguided individual.” In October 2011, Jones was arrested for using pepper spray to break up a fight. When he arrived in court he wore a civilian shirt over his supersuit. After the hearing he said, “I will continue to patrol with my team … In addition to being Phoenix Jones, I am also Ben Fodor, father and brother. I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime in my neighborhood and everywhere else. I think I have to look toward the future and see what I can do to help the city.”

Alas, nobody’s perfect in the real world, not even superheroes. In 2020, Ben Fodor was arrested for selling ecstasy to an undercover police officer. At the time of his arrest, he was also in possession of a significant amount of cocaine. Despite his obvious warts, I still think the guy is cool. Lots of people talk about being a superhero, Phoenix Jones actually did something about it.

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