The Times Square Spider-Man Is a Menace!

Times Square Spider-Man

Spider-Man and Batman just spent the night in jail for fighting with a heckler in New York City’s Times Square.

With an obnoxious headline that began with the words “BOOM, POW,” CBS’ New York affiliate reported that costumed street performers Jose Martinez (Batman) and Abdel Elkahezai (Spider-Man) were arrested on Saturday, September 13 for assaulting Thomas Rorke, a 23 year old man who was allegedly heckling them. Rorke was also arrested for his role in the fight.

This was not an isolated incident. The so-called costumed performers of Times Square have previously harassed tourists over non-mandatory tips. Last summer, a different Spider-Man performer, Junior Bishop was arrested for punching a cop after being confronted over a tipping dispute.

It may be too much to ask that the men and women who are portraying these comic book characters share the same morals as their fictional counterparts. But I would suggest that Bishop, Martinez and Elkahezai have a severe lack of self-control that makes them unfit for this kind of work. If you can’t handle a heckler or defuse an argument then it’s time to hang up your Bat-utility belt and web shooters.

Here in Los Angeles, we have a similar phenomena at Hollywood and Highland. Costumed performers take on the roles of characters from films, TV shows and comic books while looking to get some quick cash from the tourists. Some of the Hollywood and Highland costumed performers have also been arrested for similar issues to their counterparts in New York.

Technically, what these performers are doing is a copyright violation. They’re trying to make money based on someone else’s characters. Although as a comic book fan, I’m far more offended by their shitty knock-off costumes.

But in all seriousness, these kind of situations shouldn’t be happening. Although he may dress like a 1950s comic book supervillain, New York City Councilman Andy King has the right idea. He’s sponsoring legislation that would force the costumed characters to get a permit from the city. In theory, that would mean that the city of New York would actually know who was under the mask of these costumed characters.

It’s not a perfect solution, but at the very least it may cut down on the number of unlicensed Spider-Men. Because in the immortal words of J. Jonah Jameson, “HE’S A MENACE!”