happening peoplearchive

Ethan Hughes

Having seen the fishing industry crash as a kid in Gloucester MA, Ethan Hughes got into environmental science at the U of Vermont and spent six months at a pipeline spill in the Ecuadoran rainforest. "I lived with the Siona tribe," he says. "That's where the superhero was born." Equally inspired by comic books and by tribal animal costumes, Hughes became "Yuccaman" to address a "forests for justice" group in Quito. Later, as a roving environmental educator during the 90s, he adopted other superhero identities. After a year on staff at Aprovecho, Hughes settled on a homestead near Cottage Grove in 2000. In his current guise as the "Blazing Echidna*," he maintains the Heroes Alliance Hotline at 942-3118. "We have around 50 superheroes in Eugene and Cottage Grove," he says. "Each has a costume and an identity. Anyone can call for help -- carpentry, planting trees, whatever. It's all volunteer, no pay, no non-profit." The BE also leads the superhero bike tour, where hordes of costumed riders arrive unannounced in small towns to offer help at any task. The sixth annual tour leaves for Canada on June 5. (*An endangered burrowing mammal in New Guinea.)

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 2 June 2005

hp archive