Every City in Despair Needs Heroes: Meet Flat Man and Quake Kid

This week, with the second anniversary of the devastating 22 February 2011 Christchurch earthquake approaching, I’ll be blogging about several issues relevant to our situation here in Christchurch and natural disasters in general.

Flat Man and Quake Kid — Credit: Otago Daily Times

We were a city in need, and heroes came to help us.  In our darkest hours, Mayor Bob Parker did what no mayor in Christchurch history has done; he flipped the red switch.  Somewhere in Christchurch, a klaxon sounded, two seemingly-ordinary young men suited up and jumped in their Bumblebee-coloured Camaro to help the city in need.  This is the story of Flat Man, his mother Flat Mum, and his sidekick Quake Kid.

There are too many people to list to acknowledge who helped Christchurch in its hours of need, but some I can think of off the top of my head are Sam Johnson, the Student Army, the Farmy Army, the Salvation Army, USAR teams from New Zealand, the USA, Australia, Japan, and China, the New Zealand Police, the Australian Police, the New Zealand Army, the New Zealand Navy, and, of course, the everyday residents who stepped up to the plate to help their fellow citizens in some of Christchurch’s darkest hours.

But I can’t resist heroes in costumes.  No, it’s not some strange fetish; it’s the child inside me, screaming and kicking to get out.  As a kid, I watched Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, the Super Friends, Batman, and Wonder Woman, amongst other superhero and supernatural shows, and that inner comic book geek has continued well into my adulthood… Just ask Noel.

So when Flat Man, Quake Kid, and Flat Mum exploded onto the Christchurch scene, it triggered that screaming and kicking child within me.  It’d be exciting to say that Flat Man got his powers by a radioactive spider biting him, or Quake Kid joined Flat Man’s side after a gangster sabotaged his parents’ acrobatic equipment, or that, by kissing a guy she liked as a teenager, Flat Mum found out she could absorb other mutants’ powers, but the truth of the matter is that these people are down-to-earth, big-hearted people who genuinely want to help their community.

Quakekid and Flat Man

These heroes have devoted themselves to helping those less fortunate and those affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch.  They have used their own money, time, and skills to provide food, supplies, and strength to those who need it, and, as part of their mission, they want us to help one another as well.  And isn’t that what a hero does?  Bring you help in your time of need?

In August and September 2012, there was a campaign to get Flat Man and Quake Kid on the Ellen DeGeneres Show so they could highlight the needs of the Christchurch and Canterbury communities affected by the earthquakes 2 years on from the 4 September 2010 quake.  My post on the Ellen DeGeneres Show Facebook page gained over 10,000 likes.  So far, nothing has come from that.  (Hey Ellen… the boys are still waiting to hear back from you!  Hey everyone else… if there’s any way you can help achieve this, if you have a link or two to make it happen, please help us!)  Their really awesome You Tube video about the Ellen show is below.

They inspire me to be a better person.  I don’t need a cape or a cool car to be a hero (but hey, that would be awesome, wouldn’t it?!?  Sorry.  Total geek out there).  None of us do.  We only need to tap that inner goodness within us and give ourselves freely, whether that be time or talents or money or goods or services, to those less fortunate than we are: whatever we can give is appreciated.

As Flat Man says: “Be a bruv; share the luv.”

If you’d like to know more about Christchurch superheroes Flat Man, Quake Kid, and Flat Mum, see the official Flat Man Web site at www.flatman.co.nz

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