Down East 2013 ©
One of the things Maine doesn’t have that other states do – besides oil washing up on our beaches, casinos wasting our money, and Rod Blagojevich – is super-heroes. I’m not sure why this is, although I suspect newly chosen Republican gubernatorial nominee Paul LePage  would blame high taxes, government regulations, and a poor business climate, while the Democrats’ choice, Libby Mitchell , would cite our failure to reform our tax code , lack of universal health care, and declining support for higher education.
Whatever the reason, the fact remains that Superman’s rocket from Krypton didn’t land in Mattawamkeag , Tony Stark’s factory  isn’t located in Westbrook, and Mighty Mouse  prefers Wisconsin cheese.
There have been sporadic attempts in the past to create a costumed character that fit Maine’s character. Alas, Super-Lobster was destroyed in a cataclysmic clash with the evil Steamer Pot and Drawn-Butter Girl. Johnny Chainsaw got cut to pieces by Kaptain Kickback and his demonic sidekick, Tree Spike. And Bed-And-Breakfast Man lost his epic financial battle with The Recession.
But just when the Pine Tree State had seemingly resigned itself to always playing second fiddle to the likes of Gotham City  and Smallville , along comes a report in the Lewiston Sun Journal  that two costumed crime fighters have been spotted working the mean streets of Lewiston and Auburn. “Dreizehn” (it’s the German word for “thirteen”) and “Slapjack” (it’s the English word for a stupid card game) are not the products of a gamma-ray experiment gone wrong like the Hulk , or a lightning strike like the Flash  or super energy pills like Underdog .
They seem to be ordinary people, who – like Batman  – suffer from some sort of psychological disorder that causes them to abandon all fashion sense. Or as Dreizehn put it in the Sun Journal, “Going out at 2 a.m. with a mask on and thinking you’re going to save the world, it says a lot about you.”
Both Dreizehn and Slapjack are in their twenties and, in the best super-hero tradition, keep their real identities secret, lest they become targets of such super-villains as Snide Down East Blogger Guy, with his evil Scepter of Ridicule. While Lewiston’s dynamic duo possess no extraordinary powers or mysterious abilities, the two masked vigilantes do carry batons, night-vision goggles, protective vests, and Taser-equipped brass knuckles. They also have cell phones to call the cops if they spot a drunk driver or somebody bigger than they are doing something bad.
They told the paper they’re going public with their crusade because of recent publicity relating to the movie “Kick-Ass ,” about some – What? A message from my editor? I can’t use the words “Kick-Ass” on this site because it might offend the sensibilities of Down East’s refined readership? Has he seen the words Mike Tipping  is getting away with over in the politics section? Oh, all right – I apologize. I meant to refer to that movie as either “K*ck-*ss” or “Kick-Butt” or possibly “Kick-Bottom.” Anyway, it’s about regular people who decide to be super-heroes, and one of them calls himself something like “Kick-Patootie,” which is how the movie got its name that I can’t use.
Slapjack and Dreizehn are also part of a group called Real Life Superheroes .
According to Slapjack, there are two other members in Maine, “The Beetle” and “Mrs. The Beetle.”
Well, I suppose The Tick  and The Fly  were already taken, and The Black Fly would be more of a bad guy. Still, Maine is severely deficient in caped crusaders, which may be why we have so many black flies. To correct that problem, I suggest some of you get busy creating masks, gloves, and boots, as well as wearing your underwear on the outside of your longjohns. Because it’s time for this state to take its rightful place in the pantheon of super-hero-approved locations.
You’ve heard of the Justice League .
You’ve heard of the Teen Titans .
You’ve heard of the Avengers .
But you’ve never heard of anything like the Society to Terminate Evil-doers And Maine’s Emergency Response Society (S.T.E.A.M.E.R.S.).
OK, the name needs work.
The members of S.T.E.A.M.E.R.S. are:
Toad Man: Eats black flies. With fava beans and a nice Chianti. A little on the creepy side, but then toads generally are.
Black Ice. He’s actually a white guy (we don’t have too many minorities), who can turn any surface into a slippery hell. In real life, he’s the mild-mannered driver of a Department of Transportation sand truck. He has a lot of trouble dealing with the contradiction.
Skidoo. Using mystic powers he learned from an ancient order of monks based in Livermore Falls, he discovered how to cloud men’s minds (and, after several shots of Allen’s coffee brandy and milk, women’s minds, as well), making them believe there’s some recreational value to riding around on snowmobiles in sub-freezing temperatures. His nemesis is Trademark Lawyer, who isn’t about to let him steal that name without paying dearly.
Snowblower. After his defeat in the Republican gubernatorial primary, former ski mogul Les Otten  set to work on his next project: combining human DNA with the mechanical parts of a snow gun. He injects himself with his experimental serum, only to discover he can’t control the huge piles of white stuff that spew from his mouth.
Ms. Matinicus. Bitten by the island-living bug, she finds herself possessed of the power to smash stereotypes about inhabitants of communities well out to sea. Which also happens to be the name of her forthcoming book . Order a copy or she’ll kick your *ss.
Pier Fry. Based in a secret cave beneath his namesake landmark in Old Orchard Beach, this deep-fried defender of the innocent can raise an opponent’s cholesterol by as much as thirty points. He also attracts seagulls. Which means seagull poop. That’s not healthy, either.
Captain Cape Elizabeth. A wealthy playboy by day, but once the sun goes down, he becomes … a wealthy super-hero. Together with his partners, Foreside Boy and Gold-Coast Girl, he lures criminals into Ponzi schemes, heavily leveraged hedge funds, worthless stock options, and investments in Kevin Costner’s “Waterworld 2.”
Red Tide. He’s actually a white guy, too. It’s pretty much all we’ve got. Bitten by a radioactive shellfish, he suddenly finds himself inclined to lecture others on the many benefits of communism. It softens them up for the other heroes.
Blueberry Woman. Also Caucasian. If any oxidants come around, she can destroy them by beaming antioxidant rays from her eyes. Makes a nice muffin, too.
Winning University of Maine Women’s Basketball Coach. Perhaps because of the low pay , a mere $110,000 per year, this super-hero is probably a myth.
Strangely enough, Al Diamon and the masked avenger known as The Beer Tap have never been seen together. E-mail him at email@example.com  and ask why.