Yes, I like Batman.
It would be hard pressed to find someone who hates him. Not that I have not cried bullshit in my Bat-mania. I have failed to understand how Bruce Wayne could dig out and fit the Batcave, build and maintain the Batmobile, Batcopter, Batboat, Batsauna, Batbar…wait, I lost my place…hunt down and beat up bad guys, run a multinational company and get enough sleep to insure that he keeps from drooling on himself while taking out supermodels.
I know how long it takes to fix simple things on un-custom cars, it can be time consuming. Don’t tell me that Alfred does it all while making dinner and dusting a mansion and whatnot.
I was hoping the book, Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero by E. Paul Zehr would answer these questions. Well, it didn’t. It added to my doubts that a Batman like hero could exist.
The book discusses little on the logistics of being Batman. Instead, it focuses on the physical aspects of becoming, being and staying Batman, and its effects on the human body.
Not that it wasn’t interesting and insightful, but would be a bit boring to those that have little interest in the workings of the human body and just like to watch The Dark Knight beat the ever loving crap out of someone.
Like I said, the book deals with the human body and how changes affect it. While a bit of background is not necessary because the book explains all that, having some is not a bad idea. Zehr discusses everything from Batbones, Batmuscles to Bathoromones.
It works well with a book I reviewed in a previous post, The Concise Human Body Book by Steve Parker, Becoming Batman takes an in-depth look at the human body. These two work well together, the first being more focused on what happens inside while being Batman.
A concept that was introduced to me by the book is of Batman’s popularity, and why.
“At a very early age, each and every one of us realized that we probably were not born on Krypton, we were unlikely to get bitten by a radioactive spider, and we were not the spawn of mud touched by the gods. We knew, however, that if given the proper motivations, we could become Batman” (Zehr 11).
We, as humans, could be Batman. Maybe some of us could, but not all. Take ambition right out of the equation, like the book almost does. Properly motivated, sure, most of us could become the best that one particular individual could be. Most of us are not willing to give up video games, sitcoms, salt and vinegar potato chips and twelve ounce curls.
Jeff Foxworthy once said, “You don’t mix pond scum and raw sewage and get Avion.” Genetics is one reason why many of us would never be Batman. One experiment took two sets of rats and “selectively” bread them. In eleven generations, there was a 350% difference in the two sets. Genetics plays a large role in how tall, fast, strong and most importantly, how smart you can be. Lucky for me I am smart, since I am all of five eight. I would not be invoking terror in the hearts of the wicked on sight.
If anything, it just conformed my doubts that a Batman-esk person could prowl the night, even if Bat’s humanity makes him relatable as a superhero.
I will take a moment to discuss Batman’s training. In The Ultimate Guide to the Dark Knight, Scott Beatty said Batman studied 127 different martial arts (Zehr 123).
Zehr goes on to say that this would make a sloppy mess of Batman parts. It would be better to study one form, maybe three at the most. Take an example from my life. I can fix cars, weld, do carpentry, plumbing, electrical while writing novels.
But there is always something wrong somewhere. Nothing ever shines. I know a lot, but never perfected one thing. Applying that to the fighting arts, it makes for a bad fighter. Bats would fall quickly. That adds to my argument, and shows the depth the book goes into.
Amazing to think it, but Batman was created almost 100 years ago. Even if touched upon in “Batman Beyond,” I believe that few think about Bats shelf life, and how long he could keep it up. Once the near impossible is reached, it wouldn’t be long before it seeps away, either due to age or damage like concussions and broken bones. Even the lifestyle of Batman would decrease his effectiveness. Being on stake out is lost training time and will result in a weakening in him.
This was a good read, even if it didn’t answer many of my original questions. It did confirm my thoughts that being Batman was next to impossible because of the toll it would take on the body. But like you, I will enjoy watching him beat the tar out bad guys.
Links to the books are below.