Becoming Batman

Becoming Batman : The Possibility of a Superhero

3.59 (315 ratings by Goodreads)
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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.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 140 x 216 x 26mm | 499g
  • Baltimore, MD, United States
  • English
  • 51 Line drawings, black and white; 4 Halftones, black and white
  • 0801890632
  • 9780801890635
  • 121,334

Table of contents

Foreword, by James KakaliosPrefacePart I: Bat-Building Blocks1. The "Before" Batman: How Buff Was Bruce?2. Guess Who's Coming for Dinner: Bruce's Twin Brother, Bob, and the Human Genome3. The Stress of Life: Holy Hormones, Batman!Part II: Basic Batbody Training4. 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 DietPart III: Training the Batbrain7. From Bruce Wayne to Bruce Lee: Mastering Martial Moves in the Batcave 1018. 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 Action10. 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 ShiftPart V: A Mixed Batbag13. 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 MilestonesBibliographyIndex
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Review quote

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. -- Bradford W. Wright, author of Comic Book Nation * www.denofgeek. * Zehr applies his specialised knowledge to quantify how an ordinary person could turn themselves into Batman. * Flipside * As a study of human physiology, this detailed and accessible discussion could appeal to Batman fans and those interested in intensive physical training who are prepared for serious science rather than fantasy. But Batman is only the scaffolding on which Zehr hands his detailed look at the role of genetic makeup, diet, strength training and development of motor skills in attaining the 'outer limits' of physical performance. * Publishers Weekly * Zehr is a scientist, martial arts expert and comic book fan, so he's ideally qualified to write this book... Becoming Batman is an interesting discussion on the science of superheroes. -- Dr JV Chamary * BBC Focus Magazine * Charming book... There is really nothing more awesome than reading a book that cites obscure neuroscience journals in the same sentence with citations to obscure Batman comics. -- Annalee Newitz * * Zehr evaluates what it would take-physically, psychologically, and scientifically-to replicate Batman's actions and become a self-made superhero. His conclusions are sometimes surprising, and often fascinating. -- John Lewis * Baltimore Magazine * A wonderful book that looks at what it would really take to become Batman in today's world. -- The Surfman * * This is a thoughtfully imagined work that uses escapism to make solid scientific points that can benefit almost anyone. And for those who aspire to don a cape and cowl, it's essential reading. -- Richard Sherbaniuk * Edmonton Journal * Two black-gloved thumbs way up! * * The author maintains a humorous and enjoyable tone throughout this book while providing general audiences with proven scientific methods and useful facts about the resilience and limitations of the human body. * Book News * A highly researched, very fairly reasoned and considerably factually-supported tome that not only discusses the potential for the most human of super heroes, also educates us in quite some depth about the limit of human existence and physical and mental prowess. That Dr. Zehr manages to add any style to his efforts (and let's be fair, scientists aren't known for their 'suave'), is a credit to the man and a credit to his obvious enthusiasm for his work and interests. -- Kevin Pocock * * Terrifying mastery of the entire Batman mythohistoriography. -- Steven Poole * Guardian * Becoming Batman is your next step to supercool. -- Rosemary Counter * Toronto Globe and Mail * The author knows whereof he writes... written in an accessible and appealing manner. -- Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky * Centre Daily Times * Not only is it enjoyable as a popular science book for those with even the smallest Batman obsession, it could be an entertaining way to introduce human movement science to potential students. -- M. T. G. Pain * Journal of Sports Sciences * Becoming Batman takes the escapism of the Caped Crusader and puts it in real-world, grounded, scientific terms that is extremely entertaining and interesting. If you're not careful, you might learn something. -- Louis Fowler * * witty and informative, striking an appropriate balance between a pure scientific discourse and ample explanations to keep lesser trained readers intrigued. * * If there's one thing that has influenced the new stuff, the 'Batman, Inc.' stuff, it's a book called Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero, which is written by E. Paul Zehr. It's a guy who is a doctor, and looking into the actual possibility of Batman and what it would take to be that person in real life: What it would do to your muscles and what it would do to your head, and how long it would take to learn the martial arts. And it's really quite fascinating, this idea of the real facts behind it. -- Grant Morrison, Batman writer * *
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About E. Paul Zehr

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
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Rating details

315 ratings
3.59 out of 5 stars
5 23% (74)
4 30% (95)
3 31% (97)
2 13% (41)
1 3% (8)
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