New podcast tracks the rise and fall of a real-life superhero

The Superhero Complex tracks the rise and fall of Phoenix Jones, a real-life superhero who patrolled the streets of Seattle.

From production company Novell, the podcast follows Jones as he goes from beloved local icon and leader of The Rain City Superhero Movement to alleged criminal, arrested for selling MDMA to undercover police.

Was he a supervillain all along? Host David Weinberg enters the unbelievable world of Phoenix Jones – and the universe of costumed crusaders. From Buenos Aires to Tokyo, as a new generation of ‘superheroes’ emerges, what secrets lie behind the mask?

When Phoenix Jones first comes into the public eye, he seems a true American original: by day, he’s Ben Fodor: a semi-pro MMA fighter. By night, Ben emerges, clad in a black and gold suit and mask, to patrol the streets of Seattle alongside a crew of fellow oddballs: former soldiers, ex-cops, recovered drug addicts and reformed criminals all intent on making their city a safer place.

But throughout The Superhero Complex, listeners will learn the complicated truth: the challenges of running a real-life ring of wannabe superheroes, betrayals among friends, a crumbling marriage, a failed return to MMA, and hitting rock bottom when he’s brought down on a drug charge.

It’s a story of outsized ambition, the allure of unconventional charisma, and the unclear motivations of someone trying so desperately to be something bigger than themselves.

Told with a balance of in-depth reportage and empathetic character study, The Superhero Complex interrogates not only the mysteries of Phoenix Jones but our society’s fascination with superheroes, and what it means to take the law into your own hands. With outsized personalities that would make Joe Exotic blush, and a twisting narrative that confounds at every turn, The Superhero Complex is a daring entry into the growing canon of true crime.

The Superhero Complex launches with its first two episodes on 5 April, with new episodes released every Tuesday across all podcast platforms.

The Superhero Complex is the second podcast to be released as part of the Novel and iHeartMedia deal, which was announced in 2021. The partnership will involve the release of eleven new investigative series over three years, with a focus on stranger-than-fiction stories.

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