Petoskey Batman and Bee Sting, two real-world costumed heroes, have publicly turned on each other following a Michigan Protectors leadership dispute.
Apparently, some comic book fans sat down to watch the Kick-Ass movies and decided they were inspirational videos instead of superhero parodies. Otherwise, I’m not entirely sure how to explain the real-world costumed figures that have been popping up, the most noticeable being the controversial Phoenix Jones. Several cities now feature street-patrolling champions, complete with superhero teams and code-names, all without so much as a comic book convention to host them. Unfortunately, comic book logic and human nature dictate that eventually, two former friends must turn on each other to become rivals and archenemies. Such an event has been brewing in East Jordan, Michigan, where Petoskey Batman and Bee Sting have become mired in death threats, welfare infractions, and parole violations among other personal attacks.
“He is an abusive, neglectful, thieving, boastful, cowardly crook,” said Mark “Petoskey Batman” Williams. “He belongs in jail and I will see him there.”
Adam Besso, Bee Sting’s alter ego, also doesn’t have anything kind to say about his former compatriot. “He has to tear others down to feel better about himself,” he said. “He’s like Lord of the Flies with a slightly better version of dirt bags.”
Besso originally invited Williams to join his superhero patrol in 2011, where the two quickly became close friends. “We were brothers,” Williams said. “I loved him as much as I love my own blood family.” As time went on however, Besso’s fellow superheroes became concerned about his behavior, noting that he carried a gun on patrol and frequently made decisions without consulting the rest of his group. Eventually, several Michigan Protector members suggested Williams be made leader, creating tensions between the pair that have only escalated over time.
To their credit, neither Besso or Williams appear to be taking to a costumed brawl to settle the score. Instead, Williams is calling for Besso to be arrested for a variety of crimes and probation violations, from driving with a suspended license to misusing welfare cards to feed the homeless. Then there’s the personal attacks: Besso has criticized Williams for having two girlfriends, while Williams has accused Besso of cheating on his fiancee. More concerning is that one of Williams friends asked for Besso’s address so her friends could “take him out back and shoot him”, a threat she retracted after speaking with Besso.
I certainly enjoy the occasional superhero showdown when it’s in a comic book, but this is real-life, and it just makes me feel sad. I also imagine it’s not going to end well for either Besso or Williams. Barring the appearance of a real-world supervillain that forces Bee Sting and Petoskey Batman to team-up, we’re more likely to see either the end of a friendship or a ridiculous court case that makes anyone wearing a costume look bad.