Welcome to City Superheroes, the first installment of a regular column that highlights the powerful figures walking among us with the help of a (usually local) illustrator.
What are their origins? What powers do they employ? Who are they exactly? Check back on the first and third Friday of each month for the answers to these – and other – questions.
Moniker: The Mayor
Given Name: Evan Flory-Barnes
Other Aliases: E.F.B., Ev, Uncle Evvy, Shorty George, Snow Leopard, Jeff
Superpowers: Luminous energy, superhuman strength, magnetic conversation and chameleon-like sonic brilliance.
First Appearance: 1996, U.W.’s Kane Hall with Maroon Colony Anonymous
Local Haunts: Pike Place Market, The Seamonster Lounge, The Virginia Inn. He also hosts the regular “Holistic Hang” at Café Solstice, bringing folks together for the sake of open dialogue.
Archenemies: Resignation, Divisiveness
Even Heroes Have Heroes: Magic Johnson, Bjork, Quincy Jones and his mother.
Origin Story: Born and raised in Seattle’s Rainier Valley, Flory-Barnes’ powers first surfaced on his seventh birthday, when he brought together a group of friends to watch 101 Dalmatians — what he calls “the beginning of bringing friends together ever since.” It wasn't until he turned 14, when he received his first electric bass and started playing along to A Tribe Called Quest and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that his powers fully coalesced.
Flory-Barnes thrived on the Garfield High School basketball team, where he was known for his rebounding prowess, passing acumen and defensive ability, winning “Most Inspirational Player” his senior year. A facilitator at the core, his nobility translated to music in college, where he studied the double bass under the University of Washington's Barry Lieberman.
It's an instrument he wields masterfully to this day, playing professionally with Industrial Revelation among other bands (The Teaching, Bandalabra), and composing the original symphony, Acknowledgement of a Celebration.
Now Flory-Barnes patrols Seattle — often with a crowd close by — in search of open, heartfelt spaces where he can transmit his luminous energy, steady balance, gift of superhuman strength and chameleon-like sonic brilliance.
His Philosophy: “With valuing self and creating self-expression, the opportunity is here for the creative folks, the artists, to really have a deeply engaged hang to create a vibrant and flourishing atmosphere that no city has seen. We must exit the haze of devaluation and false modesty. Those days are – they have to be – closed."
"There’s a way Seattle has to keep throwing off its old clothes and continue to learn and radiate and share our stories with the world and then bring that light back to the city.”
What’s Next: Industrial Revelation plays at the Blue Moon Tavern April 11th.
About the Illustrator: Rory Smith studied animation at the School of Visual Arts. Since graduating in 2006, he has worked as an animator, illustrator and cake decorator. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he focuses on comic book illustration.
To see all our City Superhero series, go here.