(July 13) -- It's not a super time to dress like a superhero in Hollywood.
Just ask Christopher Dennis, who is most famous as the guy who dresses like Superman outside of Grauman's Chinese Theatre.
On July 8, he and a colleague dressed as Batman were arrested near the famous theater while he was passing out flyers for a memorabilia shop.
Dennis, who has been dressing as the Man of Steel since 1991, said he was not competing with any shops and was simply doing the job he was hired for.
"There were some tourists who asked for photos, and it would be rude to say no, so I posed and continued to walk," Dennis said.
Dennis estimated he posed for 30 to 40 photographs right before being arrested. "I would pose for one, and another would come up," he said. "I made no mention of tips, but people were tipping anyway."
At approximately 3:25 p.m. PT, Dennis said, a police car drove up, and one of the officers ordered them to put the flyers on the car.
"Then they handcuffed us and took us to jail," Dennis said. "They charged me with loitering, but tell me this: If I'm loitering, aren't all the other tourists?"
Dennis and the man dressed as Batman were handcuffed and taken down to the station and thrown in jail.
"They made us take off our costumes and gave us blue scrubs and flip-flops to wear," he said. "Then they handcuffed us to the bench and shipped our outfits downtown."
Adding insult to injury, Dennis said, was the request of one officer when he first arrived at the station.
"He wanted to take a picture with me!" Dennis exclaimed. "I didn't think that was appropriate under the circumstances, so I told him no. Not only that, but a couple of other officers asked the one who arrested me, 'How can you arrest these guys?'"
Even stranger than being arrested while dressed as America's top comic book crime fighter was what he learned while posing for his mugshot.
"The officer taking my picture and my fingerprints divulged info about the other costumed characters being arrested, like which ones were carrying speed. Can they do that? There's no confidentiality?" Dennis asked.
Dennis was eventually freed after posting $200 bail, but said the arrest came at a bad time.
"That money was set aside for food," he said. "As it is, I'm going to have trouble making rent because my livelihood is being threatened."
The arrest of Superman and Batman comes six weeks after the Los Angeles Police Department started cracking down on the many costumed characters who gather on Hollywood Boulevard and pose for pictures in exchange for tips.
Police claimed many of the caped crusaders were reportedly demanding tips rudely, even to the point of chasing people down the street and otherwise blocking pedestrian traffic near a heavily touristed area.
The initial crackdown started after the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce requested increased police intervention, partly because of problems and complaints from tourists, businesses and residents.
Some of the alleged incidents include Chewbacca headbutting a tour guide for complaining about his rude behavior, Spider-Man punching Charlie Chaplin in the face and a man dressed as Kiss bassist Gene Simmons getting a little nasty with his long tongue.
Dennis admitted there are a few bad apples who do strong-arm tourists, but he said he's been nothing but aboveboard in the 19 years he's dressed up as Superman.
He thinks his arrest is ironic since he's been trying to create a code for costumed characters to follow, as well as a union. This union would require aspiring characters to take classes on dealing with tourists. "Sometimes people say something, and I've seen some characters just snap. When that happens, I tell the characters to just say, 'Have a nice day!'"
But Dennis is putting his dream aside temporarily as he deals with his legal woes. His case is set for July 29, and he hopes to get a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union to argue his case.
"I have every right to be out [on the street]," Dennis said. "Don't we have freedom of expression here in America? I may dress up as Superman, but, in reality, I'm more like Clark Kent. I'm not demanding. I don't care if I get money."
What Dennis said he does care about, besides his right to express himself in a red and blue costume with a flowing cape, is protecting the honor of the character he has chosen to represent.
"When I was arrested, there was a huge crowd of people -- including kids," he said. "They didn't call me to the side. I was arrested in front of everyone -- hundreds of tourists were taking photos."
Dennis' arrest is casting a pall on members of Hollywood's superhero community.
Joe McQueen, who until recently dressed up as the Hulk, said he is giving up the heroic lifestyle.
"I don't need the hassle," he said. "I've moved on. I don't have time to fight the police. We've actually tried to help them by breaking up fights. If this is because of strong-arm soliciting, I get it. But now you're arresting people who've starred in a movie. Get rid of the bad ones, but don't just start bullying people making an honest living."