Batman, aka Mark Williams, and Bee Sting, or Adam Besso, were once close friends, the Detroit News reported. Now, they are bitter enemies, and the Protectors, who operate in and around Petoskey, a coastal resort at the upper end of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, have lined up with one or the other.
They bonded when Besso came to Williams' support after he was charged with disturbing the peace in 2011. Police said they found Williams, in full costume, on the roof of a Petoskey building where he said he had been chased by a group of drunks.
Besso had his own legal problems a year later after his shotgun discharged as he was wrestling with a man who had been revving a noisy motorcycle in a trailer park in the small hours. He served 102 days in jail.
Members of the group say the trouble began in October, the News reported. Some members, who found Besso too high-handed, suggested Williams become co-leader.
They are no longer friends.
"He is an abusive, neglectful, thieving, boastful, cowardly crook," Williams said of Besso. "He belongs in jail and I will see him there."
The News said Besso responded in kind: "He has to tear others down to feel better about himself. He's like 'Lord of the Flies' with a slightly better version of dirt bags."