I Wanna Be a Superhero : The Bryant Park Project Becoming Batman: Is it possible?
NPR logo I Wanna Be a Superhero

I Wanna Be a Superhero

When I grow up I want to be... iStock hide caption

toggle caption
iStock

The new Batman movie, The Dark Knight, comes out on Friday and ever since Christian Bale walked by my desk on his way into the studio the other day — I've got Batman on the brain.

Today on the show we talked to E. Paul Zehr, associate professor of kinesiology and neuroscience at the University of Victoria, about whether or not a mere mortal could actually become Batman. Zehr has a book coming out in the fall on exactly that topic: Becoming Batman: The Possibility of a Superhero.

Bob Kane, who drew the character in 1939, said he purposefully designed Batman without superpowers. "Every person that doesn't have superpowers could relate to Batman a lot easier than they could to Superman — in other words you didn't have to come from another planet to be a superhero, " Kane told Fresh Air in 1990. "All you had to do was be born rich and build your body to perfection and have the urge to go out and fight crime."

Right, just that, easy enough ... or not. Zehr says becoming Batman would mean a ton of workouts, until your body resembled a decathlete's. "You could think of examples — Navy Seals where you have these guys with this extreme sort of deadly intent and training," Zehr says.

Becoming Batman certainly wouldn't be easy or cheap, but I'd like to think his abilities are realistic enough to give every little kid something to dream about.