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Batman Gadget Shopping List – Quick and Dirty

Posted on January 21st, 2008 in gadgets by admin || No Comment

Over the years through all of his various incarnations Batman has relied on an almost never-ending list of gadgets and equipment, but if you wanted to get down to the core gadgets that Batman has available to him, you’d probably come down to the following list of essentials (links will lead you to shopping sites or searches for the items – when available):

For a more exhaustive and complete list, there is a well documented page at The Great Batman Equipment Archive.

Before there was Nightwing, before there was Oracle, there was Grayson!

Posted on January 4th, 2008 in Fan Fiction by admin || No Comment

This has been bouncing around the web for a few years.

It is a trailer for a movie that never existed. The producer, John Fiorella, made it as a fan fiction entry for a comic book convention. It did so well, and demand was so high for a full-length feature film, that rumor has it DC banned all further fan produced films using DC comic book characters.

Since technically it is a short-film, it even has an IMDB entry that you can find here.

Batman Ascent Device – Now Available!

Posted on March 17th, 2007 in Equipment by admin || No Comment

This came out a while ago and was on my list of things to post about.

Someone at MIT became a little envious of Batman’s gadgets and went and invented their own. Then they built a whole company around it.

This was actually made out of the workings of a power drill.

Batman probably went to someplace like MIT or Virginia Tech or Cal Tech, etc.

Best Bruce Wayne Education? Right here in the U.S!

Posted on March 3rd, 2007 in Bruce Wayne by admin || No Comment

We’re told that Bruce Wayne went to many of the top universities “around the world” before becoming Batman. So just what universities would he have attended? And where are they located?

It turns out, according to an Academic Ranking of the world universities, most of the top universities in the world are right here in the United States. So Bruce wouldn’t have had to go far.

The top 20 universities are as follows:

All but three of these are in the U.S.

So where would Batman go to college?

Bruce Wayne could probably be accepted anywhere. His considerable wealth as well as his intellectual abilities would probably give him access one way or another to any school he so chose.

We could go one route and say he went to a prep-school that fed into a college like Oxford or Cambridge in the UK.

Getting as far away from Gotham, and his own notoriety would have been a priority for him. So, the UK seems as good a place as any to disappear into the woodwork.

But, maybe some place like one of the many schools in California would also do the trick. Since we assume that Gotham is on the eastern seaboard of the U.S., maybe people in California wouldn’t pay him much mind.

In any event, if someone wanted to go to some of the top schools in the world. They’d have their pick of them in the U.S.

Posted by Vinny

Batman’s Expertise and Mastery

Posted on February 23rd, 2007 in Training by admin || No Comment

One of the first questions that comes to mind when thinking about Bruce Wayne becoming Batman is whether he could really master all of the necessary skills in the 12 years he was “away”.

In order to explore this further, let’s take a look at how much time it takes to become good at something.

I read somewhere that it takes about 1000 hours to be an “expert” at something. In this sense expert means to be better than about 90% of the population at something.

When you think about it, 1000 hours seems about right. You can learn to fly a plane in about 4, and you can solo around 10. After 40-60 hours you can have your license. But you probably won’t be an expert until around 1000 hours.

If you practice the guitar for 1 hour every day for three years. You could probably be an expert at it.

Not including homework, by the time you have a B.S. degree in an American University you have about 1800 hours of classroom time. If you throw homework in there – it can be around 3600 or higher.

But since a lot of that is General Education requirements and electives and such, your major is only about 900-1000 hours of classroom and study time.

And to discuss something closer to being Batman, if you were to study and practice a Martial Art for two to three hours a day for an hour or two a day for two years – you could probably be a black belt or close to it (depending on the martial art – your instructor, etc.).

Now, to master something – not just be an expert – it is said that it takes about 14,600 hours. I heard this is the average amount of time an Olympic athlete has put into their sport by the time they compete on the Olympic stage (something like 4 hours a day, 365 days a year for 10 years).

So these are good benchmarks – 1000 hours to be an expert and 14,600 hours to master something. And somewhere in between these two we have a mid-level range. This better than an expert but not quite a master.

For instance, the U.S. Military can typically take a brand new recruit off the street and in about 48-52 weeks they can turn them into a Green Beret, Army Ranger or Navy Seal. At 12 hours of hardcore training a day this will be the equivalent of about 4032 to 4368 hours.

When we discuss Batman we know he’s mastered some things and he is an expert in others. My rough breakdown of each skill and his rating is as follows:

Forensics/Criminology/Detective Skills – Master (14,600 hours)

This is the easy one. Batman is the world’s greatest detective. This has to be his number one skill or at least tied for first place.

Unarmed Combat/Martial Arts – Master (14,600 hours).

This is also easy. At least at this aggregate level we know Batman is a Master. This will get more complicated when we start to think of all the known martial arts. But I’m going to discuss that at length during a later post. Right now for the sake of argument let us just think of him as being a black belt or better in about 10 different martial arts.

Strategy & Tactics/Intelligence and Counter-intelligence/Psychological Warfare/Game Theory

This is a rough one. We know Batman uses his intellect to out-think all of his enemies and a few of his allies. So we need to make this pretty high on the list. But is he a master at it? I don’t know. For the purposes of making the numbers work and to give this the proper weight – I’m going to put this at 8600 hours.

And then, to round things out we’ll say Batman is an expert(having trained for 1000 hours each) at the following:

Disguise/Sleight of Hand/Ventroquilism/Escape/Lock-picking/Safe-cracking – 1000 hours

These all seem like things he could learn from a single person or group of people (time with an illusionists or carny folk, etc.)

Computer Science/Electronics/Alarm Systems – 1000 hours

Again, these are similarly grouped items. One skill builds upon the other.

Driving/Piloting – Generic Vehicle Skills – 1000 hours

This is the one I think makes the most sense. As I said before, you can learn to pilot a helicopter in about 40 to 60 hours. How long did it take all of us to learn the basics of driving a car? And now when we combine that basic time with the fact that Bruce would have learned some additional skills for all of the various vehicles – 1000 hours makes sense.

Rock Climbing/Rappelling/Hang gliding/SkydivingVertical Ascent & Descent – 1000 hours.

I thought about calling this something like “extreme sports”. But it really is all grouped together into the “Vertical Ascent and Descent” category. Think of a Base Jumper who spends 5 hours climbing the face of El Capitan in about 20 hours, then skydiving/hangliding or rappelling down it. Now imagine doing the same thing 50 times. This person would be an expert – yes? Of course, Batman would have other methods of ascending vertically – gadgets and vehicles – so he’d be more interested in developing skill to get down from high places quickly and safely, or better yet from one high place to another. Again, 1000 hours makes sense. If it would even take that long.

Gymnastics/Acrobatics – 1000 hours

I think I’m being generous to the Bats on this one. He’s not even that good of a gymast – say when compared to Nightwing. I’m not even sure I should break this out from Martial Arts training or the Vertical Ascent/Descent category. But I do think there is a certain body of physical skills that is separate from anything we’ve mentioned already – and this is where I am putting it.

Bio-Chemistry – 1000 hours
I’m breaking this out from the “Forensics” category because Batman uses bio-chemistry too much in his work that is unrelated to his detective work (think antidotes to counteract the effects of a Poison Ivy kiss).

So there you have it. If you were determined enough you could gain the necessary skills and expertise of the Batman in a grand total of about 43,800 hours.

Even assuming I am a little lenient in some places and a little generous in others – 43,800 hours is a good round number to work with.

And if you were to start training at the age of 12. Training for 10 hours a day. For 12 to 14 years. You’d have enough time to do it all.

Posted by Vinny.

Batman’s Religion

Posted on February 22nd, 2007 in Bruce Wayne by admin || No Comment

There is way way way too much to cover on this page. Its from a website that discusses portrayals of religion in literature. It has a section on comic book characters including Batman.

While we know Batman is not church going, we do know his story lines occasionally visit themes of salvation and redemption.

This site examines clues from comic books (they analyze tombstones in a lot of graveyard scenes) to determine:

On the subject of Batman’s religious affiliation, there is some disagreement among fans as well as among writers about whether the character is a mostly lapsed Catholic or a mostly lapsed Episcopalian. There is universal agreement that the character is not an active churchgoer in any faith.

Here’s the link. If you’re a fan of Batman it is well worth the read regardless of your faith or lack thereof:

The religion of Batman, Bruce Wayne

I didn’t want to leave Oliver Queen out…

Posted on February 18th, 2007 in Batman, Green Arrow, Meta-human, Oliver Queen by admin || No Comment

It occurred to me last night while reading that I left out Oliver Queen when I said that Batman was the only major hero who didn’t have any meta-human abilities.

Certainly, Oliver Queen as the Green Arrow is another man of considerable wealth and resources who also trained himself to extreme condition.

Posted by Vinny.

A word about continuity

Posted on February 17th, 2007 in Batman, Bruce Wayne, Origin Story by admin || No Comment

I always have a problem with comic book character continuity. And when it comes to my favorite characters, Superman and Batman, I am very selective in the continuity that I choose to believe in. And in choosing my continuity, I don’t limit myself to the comic books (since time doesn’t allow me to read them as often, I can’t keep up anyway).

I know some things are canon, and I’m not talking about messing around with those.

But, for Superman – I like to believe that his life included the events portrayed in the television series Smallville. I know that Tom Welling in portraying “Super Boy” is now older than any actor who has played Superman in the modern era. But I think the series long story arc of how Clark and Lex go from best friends to mortal enemies is being portrayed exceedingly well. It explains things much better than any comic book story arc has done.

So, what does this have to do with being Batman?

Well, for one – I’m going to ignore the origin story portrayed in Batman Begins. Although this is my favorite Batman movie by far, I don’t like how short the Bruce to Bat metamorphis happened.

I know there was also a comic story arc that shows Bruce Wayne going to the FBI academy in Quantico to learn his craft. I’m ignoring this altogether as well.

We have to remember that Bruce Wayne would have been all over the tabloids following the deaths of his parents in Gotham. Bruce would have been very well known anyway as the sole heir to his parent’s empire, but the gruesome details of their deaths would have put him on the covers of all the major magazines.

For those of you old enough to remember think of Barbara Hutton.

For those of us not old enough, think of JFK Jr. Or Princes William and Harry.

In any case, even assuming his notoriety died down once he reached adulthood, I find it hard to believe that The Bruce Wayne could go to Quantico, get trained, then leave the FBI to return to Gotham – only to have some masked vigilante with exceptional detective skills appear months later. And no one notice or even get the connection?

The Bruce Wayne in my universe had his parents murdered when he was 8. He spent 4 years being sad and being a kid and eventually being bored. When he was 12 he left Gotham, and under the direction of Alfred and one of his uncles, he traveled the world and found himself.

He would have been a very unruly and angry young man. And he might have even picked more fights than he could handle. Probably against opponents that not only outnumbered him but who also overpowered him. And he didn’t even fight for all the right reasons. He probably just fought because it helped him handle his anger (most 12 to 14 year old boys fight a lot anyways – he’d have even more reason).

He was probably first sent to boarding schools throughout Europe. Some of which were even tied to some of the greater institutions over there. His anger and restlessness probably got him expelled from more than one school.

Somewhere along the way, someone – probably Alfred – told him he needed to find himself or lose everything his parents ever stood for – justice, protecting the innocent, defending the defenseless, helping the helpless, etc.

He undoubtedly graduated high school early. Got some undergrad degrees in chemistry and science. Maybe did some internships with Interpol or Scotland Yard working alongside detectives and forensics experts. Graduate school would have come next.

All the while he was probably learning to harness his physical aggression by taking Martial Arts classes. At first it was just to learn some discipline. Then it was about the mastery of the art. He would have dabbled a bit in extreme sports like racing cars, skydiving, rock climbing, hang gliding and base jumping. His wealth would have allowed him to travel the world and learn from the best.

This is the origin story I like to believe in. As for what happens after he becomes Batman – I generally follow the continuity laid out at The Bat Squad.

Posted by Vinny

Buying Batman – a Forbes Viewpoint

Posted on February 14th, 2007 in Batman, Budget, Equipment by admin || No Comment

When the movie “Batman Begins” came out in the summer of 2005, Forbes magazine did an article on what it would cost if you wanted to buy your way into being a modern day Batman.

Being Batman from Forbes

Here is their breakdown:
The Training $30,000 (Shaolin Temple -Tagou. For 3 years)
The Suit $1,585
The Belt $290
The Car $2,000,000
The Cave $24,000 (for one year) (really an old warehouse in a questionable neighborhood)
The Alter Ego $1,109,574
The Butler $200,000 a year

Final Cost: $ 3,365,449

Being Batman – Forbes.com

When you look at it that way, and take into account that Bruce Wayne is worth about $6.3 billion (according to Forbes), being Batman for Bruce Wayne is quite the bargain.

As a percentage of net worth (.05%) most of us spend more than that on our hobbies.

- Vinny

Bruce Wayne to Batman

Posted on February 13th, 2007 in Batman, Bruce Wayne by admin || No Comment

Batman has always fascinated me. He’s the one main Super Hero who has no super-human powers at all.

If the comics are to be believed, and his origin story is plausible, then any man (or woman) who has enough drive, determination and wealth can become as formidable as Bruce Wayne did when he became Batman.

As the story goes Bruce’s parents were murdered when he was 8. When he was 14, he left Gotham City and went out into the world traveling the globe – all the while learning and honing the skills he would later use to strike terror in the hearts and minds of criminals.

12 years later, he returns to Gotham City. An expert in Forensics and Criminology, but also a conditioned physical specimen who was an expert in every single martial art. Plus he had exceptional training in gymnastics and acrobatics, vertical ascent and descent and a handful of tricks in lock-picking and escapology.

Is it possible that one man (a boy for the early part of it) could learn all these skills to the degree that Bruce Wayne did in the 12 years he was away from Gotham City?

With this blog, I’m going to try and find out.

Along the way, I’m also going to point out some places a modern day Bruce Wayne might go to get the training.

This blog for me, is purely fun. So if you have ideas (and I’m sure a lot of people do) – please share!

- Vinny Goldsmith

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