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So Who Exactly Is This Captain Manchester?

We reveal the mystery behind the mystery man

Written by . Published on October 2nd 2013.

So Who Exactly Is This Captain Manchester?

In recent weeks, you may have seen a man knocking about town in a homemade and frankly second-rate (they're working on the suit) black and red superhero costume, mask and cape ‘n’ all, performing unusually nice deeds for the good folk of Manchester.

This is about showing a whole new audience that Forever Manchester is relevant to them.

Balloons in Manchester city centreBalloons in Manchester city centreFrom paying for strangers parking tickets to handing out umbrellas in the rain, from giving out scratch cards to serving up gourmet food to the homeless, from litter picking to helping people carry heavy shopping. He even spent the night decking out the city centre with 200 balloons, just to cheer us all up.

Captain Manchester has begun to rack up thousands of twitter followers and has even started to draw the attention of the national press, with the Mirror, the Metro and the Express all scrambling to find out who and what this self-styled superhero is all about.

The Captain’s message of goodwill has even managed to migrate its way across the pond, with trending watchdog MSNnow covering the story.

Right, who needs their shopping carrying?Right, who needs their shopping carrying?

It would appear, that in our heady and frequently disconcerting modern age of repressive despots scattering playgrounds with incendiary bombs, the sexual deviance of an army of ageing media personalities and a video game in which you can club a granny to death with a golf club selling around twenty million units– a normal bloke who spends his free time popping on a daft costume and doing nice things to make people happy has struck a cord  with us. It’s made us all warm and fuzzy inside.

But what’s it all about?

Well Manchester Confidential can exclusively reveal that Captain Manchester is a guerrilla marketing campaign in aid of Manchester-based charity Forever Manchester.

That’s not to say that his acts of kindness haven’t been genuine. But the purpose of the campaign, created by award-winning Manchester producer and director Smudge Jones of Tunafish Media, along with colleagues James McDonald and Richard Brooks, has been put together in order to help raise the profile of the charity and a fair few bob in the process.

In conjunction with the campaign a Captain Manchester comic produced by Smudge and illustrator Chris Spain (As You’re Up) shall be launched on the 9 October (£4) in order to raise funds for the charity.

We spoke with campaign creator Smudge Jones, Chief Executive of Forever Manchester, Nick Massey, and the Captain Manchester comic illustrator Chris Spain:

Captain Manchester fuelling up in SolitaCaptain Manchester fuelling up in Solita

So Smudge, who the bloody hell is Captain Manchester and what's he playing at?

It’s actually one of my friends that’s been wearing the outfit but I’m not going to blow his cover as he’s enjoyed being Captain Manchester so much that he really wants to keep it going.

I’m an ambassador of Forever Manchester and I’ve been involved with the charity for a long time. Forever Manchester works differently to a lot of charities and we wanted to take this approach and run with it. So we came up with this campaign to find a non-traditional way of reaching new people.

It’s obvious to anyone that’s ever lived here that Manchester is a great city full of brilliant, passionate and caring people so we wanted to try and create some kind of embodiment of that.

We decided a comic would be a good way of doing that, getting an outfit and going out and just being nice to people would be a lot of fun and a great way of getting people involved.

What effect has the Captain had?

From the twitter account you can already see the effects that it has had on people. Each day people are sending us great stories of things they have done for others or that others have done for them.

Australasia restaurant contacted us and said they were going to give food parcels to the homeless because of the campaign which was really heartwarming to see. A guy we gave a scratch card to won a few quid on it, and then bought more scratch cards with the winnings and gave them to the homeless.

A lot of people are obviously really passionate about this city and have been expressing that by just being nice to each other. They’re the real heroes.

Have you been surprised by the national coverage?

In a way yes. We knew people would pick up on it but we didn't realise how many people would be talking about it. I guess there's just something about a man in lycra that the general public can't resist.

Parking ticket paid for by the CaptainParking ticket paid for by the Captain

Nick, why has Forever Manchester got into bed with Captain Manchester?

It was a great idea and it represents everything that our charity is trying to do and how we go about our business. The real point of the campaign is to let the people of Manchester know that they are the real heroes and that they can make a big difference to their local area by just talking to their neighbours and working together to make positive things happen.

This is about showing a whole new audience that Forever Manchester is relevant to them - we’ve funded a project, group or a great idea within a mile from wherever you live or work in Greater Manchester.

How is he helping the charity?

It’s a great vehicle for us to get our message across which is about encouraging local people to simply get off their arses and make something positive happen – however small it may seem it helps to improve neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester. People are going to love the comic and they can get a buzz knowing that by simply buying the comic they’re doing their own good deed and helping local people.

So how can people be more Captain Manchester?

Nick: I think a lot of people already have been. The Forever Manchester staff have got involved. They walked past a load of rubbish just outside the office every day last week until Captain Manchester inspired them to clear it up themselves rather than waiting for the Council or whoever else to do it. There’s been tweets coming through every day about people doing similar things. After all we’re all in this together.

Smudge: There’s loads of ways people can get involved. Buy the comic and support the charity. With Forever Manchester you see the impact first hand because it’s happening in your local area.

Chris, how did you come to be involved in the Captain Manchester project?

Smudge found me through my weekly online comic strip As You're Up and reached out to me over twitter. Shortly after that we met up to discuss the project, and I was on board pretty much right away.

How does the Captain measure up against other more formidable superheroes?

Well, I wouldn't exactly fancy his chances in a fight with Iron Man. Really though, he doesn't have any super powers, unless an abundance of love for the community counts, but that doesn't stop him. All that matters to Captain Manchester is that he's out there, making Manchester a better place to be and making people's days a bit brighter. He's just a normal bloke who wants to make a difference, which I feel is all the more powerful.

So what’s Captain Manchester going to be getting up to in the comics?

‘Antics’ is probably too vague a term for me to use, but it’s definitely applicable. We're going to be seeing a lot of Captain Manchester helping people in the community, of course, but we'll also get to see how he sleuths, or perhaps stumbles, his way to the bottom of each case with the help of a trusty sidekick, as well as any secret lairs he may or may not be based in. Hi-jinks, invariably, ensue.

Chris Spain and Smudge JonesChris Spain and Smudge Jones

The first edition of the Captain Manchester comic will be on sale on the Forever Manchester website from Thursday 10th October.

For a monthly donation of £5 a Captain Manchester comic shall be delivered to your door every month. 100% of your donation will stay within Greater Manchester.

Get involved with Forever Manchester at www.forevermanchester.com 

Follow Captain Manchester on twitter @Captain_MCR

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15 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousOctober 2nd 2013.

Not sure giving scratch cards out sends the best message.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
tbboy87October 2nd 2013.

And why exactly might that be?

Daisy WhitehouseOctober 2nd 2013.

Some people really are never happy are they.

Tom OwenOctober 4th 2013.

Is this a serious comment?

Georgina Hague shared this on Facebook on October 2nd 2013.
Richard KiddOctober 2nd 2013.

Nice one. Seems like a genuinely friendly, well-meaning bloke; glad it's not a cynical marketing ploy but something with a bit of decency behind it. Although that mask must be hell to wear for long… the eye holes look spaced wrong and the poor fella must be driven cross-eyed peeping through it. Looking forward to seeing his 2.0 outfit. He might need superpowers to stop the piss being ripped out of him for walking through central Manchester in a cape though!!!

AnonymousOctober 2nd 2013.

so, giving money to someone who is too ignorant to follow parking rules? or has enough money not to care..

SquirrelitoOctober 2nd 2013.

God there's some miserable gets out there and ^^^up there too^^^

SmittyOctober 2nd 2013.

Cute campaign. Forever Manchester is a great charity

AnonymousOctober 3rd 2013.

There are some morons out there that don't see the bigger picture. Manchester is a beautiful city and something like this brings people together and helps us forget, just for a second, about any troubles we have and helps us appreciate the city and people we usually take for granted. Instead of commenting rubbish on here, being negative, go out and do something positive, maybe what you would have liked to see Captain Manchester do instead?

AnonymousOctober 3rd 2013.

Can someone please clarify if it is or isn't Pat Karney

Jonathan MoranOctober 3rd 2013.

This city has become a parody of itself.

bigbaddomOctober 3rd 2013.

Kickass Capt Manchester :-)

Rob NelsonOctober 9th 2013.

He is a pervert. He touched me up on tubby street today.

Rob NelsonOctober 9th 2013.

That's tibb street

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