I think I first became obsessed with comic books when I was about 6 years old. My mom worked at a deli, and one day when I was too sick to go to school she brought me to work in order to keep an eye on me. Sitting there under the fluorescent lights at a gaudy orange table I went through a stack of super-hero mags. My life was never the same.
I got older, but the idea of masked defenders who must conceal their identities in order to bring justice to the world stuck with me. Eventually I found out that such people actually existed in real life- and some in a manner more comic-bookish than others!
Super Animal is an animal rights activist from Mexico City. Along with his trusty sidekick, Super Animalito, he challenges human domination over other life forms through protest and direct confrontation. (He has been known to challenge bullfighters to fight him to the death, and has been arrested for charging through police lines for trying to actually do so. In one instance he chased a torero through the streets in front of media. The torero looked as if he might cry.)
Super Animal is not alone in his work as a masked avenger though, Mexico has a whole movement of activists known as “Social Luchadors.” They dress like traditional Mexican wrestlers and combat a variety of social ills, from forced evictions of the poor to homophobia. Click on the image of Super Animal above to watch Super Amigos, an excellent documentary about the Social Luchadors!