Pub. Date:
Johns Hopkins University Press
Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero

Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero

by E. Paul Zehr
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Battling bad guys. High-tech hideouts. The gratitude of the masses. Who at some point in their life hasn't dreamed of being a superhero? Impossible, right? Or is it?

Possessing no supernatural powers, Batman is the most realistic of all the superheroes. His feats are achieved through rigorous training and mental discipline, and with the aid of fantastic gadgets. Drawing on his training as a neuroscientist, kinesiologist, and martial artist, E. Paul Zehr explores the question: Could a mortal ever become Batman?

Zehr discusses the physical training necessary to maintain bad-guy-fighting readiness while relating the science underlying this process, from strength conditioning to the cognitive changes a person would endure in undertaking such a regimen. In probing what a real-life Batman could achieve, Zehr considers the level of punishment a consummately fit and trained person could handle, how hard and fast such a person could punch and kick, and the number of adversaries that individual could dispatch. He also tells us what it would be like to fight while wearing a batsuit and the amount of food we'd need to consume each day to maintain vigilance as Gotham City's guardian.

A fun foray of escapism grounded in sound science, Becoming Batman provides the background for attaining the realizable—though extreme—level of human performance that would allow you to be a superhero.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801890635
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 11/28/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 340,550
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

E. Paul Zehr is a professor of neuroscience and kinesiology at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, where he is also a biomedical research scholar. He holds black belts in both empty hand and armed martial arts. For more information about finding your inner superhero, visit

Table of Contents

Foreword, by James Kakalios
Part I: Bat-Building Blocks
1. The "Before" Batman: How Buff Was Bruce?
2. Guess Who's Coming for Dinner: Bruce's Twin Brother, Bob, and the Human Genome
3. The Stress of Life: Holy Hormones, Batman!
Part II: Basic Batbody Training
4. Gaining Strength and Power: Does the Bat That Flies the Highest or the Fastest Get the Worm?
5. Building the Batbones: Brittle Is Bad, But Is Bigger Better?
6. Batmetabolism: What's for Dinner on the Dark Knight Diet
Part III: Training the Batbrain
7. From Bruce Wayne to Bruce Lee: Mastering Martial Moves in the Batcave 101
8. Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting: But What Was Batman Doing?
9. The Caped Crusader in Combat: Can You Kayo without Killing?
Part IV: Batman in Action
10. Batman Bashes and Is Bashed by Bad Boys (and Girls): What Can He Break without Getting Broken?
11. Hardening the Batbody: Can Sticks and Stones Break His Bones?
12. Gotham by Twilight: Working the Knight Shift
Part V: A Mixed Batbag
13. Injury and Recovery: How Much Banging until the Batback Goes Bonk?
14. Battle of the Bats: Could Batgirl Beat Batman?
15. The Aging Avenger: Could the Caped Crusader Become the Caped Codger?
16. The Reign of the Bat: Can You Really Become Batman and Remain Batman?
Appendix: Batman's Training Milestones

What People are Saying About This

Neal Adams

"When I walk, every once in a while someone notices they can't hear my footsteps. Do you know why? Dr. E. Paul Zehr knows. I'm training to become Batman. Most of the population wouldn't understand this... but beneath and entwined in the soul of many men is a hero-in-the-making. Training for that moment that will, thankfully, never come. The moment when he must be a hero. The moment he trained for. They'll never hear me coming. In this book Dr. Zehr knows exactly what our giddy souls are doing. Here he tells our secret."

Scott Beatty

If you really want to become Batman, having a billion dollars in start-up funds and a subterranean lair is just the beginning. Dr. Zehr's thoroughly researched and thoughtfully imagined exploration into the real-life rigors of costumed crime-fighting shows just how DC Comics' Dark Knight -- the original self-made hero -- could realistically transform a mere human body into something no less than superhuman. Consider it required reading for anyone seriously contemplating donning cape and cowl.

Scott Beatty, author of The Batman Handbook

Bradford W. Wright

As a kid, I wanted to be Batman but always ended up more like the Joker. I only wish I could have read Dr. Zehr's fascinating book then, so that I would have known exactly what it takes to become a real superhero.

— www.denofgeek.
Bradford W. Wright, author of Comic Book Nation

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Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Timothy Hill More than 1 year ago
Whenever people think of Batman it's always the gadgets and vehicles that come to mind. But there was so much more that Bruce Wayne had to do to mentally and physically to become the Dark Knight, as this book shows.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This actually looks like it just mite work.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yeah u can become batm with this book but u could also become iron man, captain america, the winter soldier, or falcon
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I hate that show. This book seems intesrting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This might actually work (unlike some of my other crazy ideasn that almost always turn against me) only i would probably be a 14 year old ninja living in a secret lair in the sewer with three other bros and a rat sensei and being relentlessly pursued by an evil guy who just so happens to be your sensei's old archnemesis a race of alien robots trying to get back their own dimension and a giant mutant dog ans fish. Sound familiar? Post back if you know what it is. -Nikki
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Being a comicbook fan and in the medical field, I was excited to read this book. In my eye, it is a boring, dull read. Now, this would be great if you are taking a biology class because the detail to which the author goes into us obnoxius. The author will throw the word Batman in from time to time but he could easily be talking about any high performance athlete like Micheal Phelps or Bruce Lee. There are the comicbook refrences from time to time to make a loose connection between Batman and his yawn fest babble about cellular structure and the role it plays in muscle formation. I'll give it a 2.5 because the author does know what he is talking about. But I've taken Micro biology before and it was boring then...shame on you to drag Batman into it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Batman, and I've always wondered if being him was possible. This book is a great blend of entertainment and information. Zehr is a scientist and a martial artist with deep backgrounds in both. In addition, he's an ardent fan of Batman and it shows. He supports physiology with anecdotes and Batman history.
Pennyworth More than 1 year ago
I have followed the caped crusader since before his 1989 movie debut and never looked back. The reason I have come to fancy batman is because of the probability of realism that the character invokes. This book demonstrates what it would take to make the journey from man to super hero.
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