Science says, "It sucks to be Batman"


25 Responses to “Science says, "It sucks to be Batman"”

  1. Brainspore says:

    Sounds like the writers of The Dark Knight Rises actually may have read that book.

  2. Timmo Warner says:

    o/` No one knows what it’s like / To be The Batman o/`

  3. Interesting — if you guesstimate the actual amount of time Batman spent crimefighting in the Nolan movies, it doesn’t add up to more than a couple of years, three at most. I thought this was odd given the longevity of his career in the comics, but I guess it’s actually pretty realistic. It’s unlikely that the Batman films would run with this and make “Batman” a role that changes hands every 2-3 years, but it would be cool.

  4. ocatagon says:

    Wasn’t this brought up with James Bond in “Never Say Never Again”

    • I’m pretty sure Bond has a permanent soft spot from all the times he’s been knocked in the back of the head.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        It would be a hard spot; the bone thickens up in response to pain and injury. And the soft tissue would he hardened by scar tissue and calcifications. He probably has a big knot back there.

  5. jlargentaye says:

    Here’s Bruce Wayne’s medical report. Note Grayson’s phone number.

  6. Phos.... FourDots says:

    I’d’ve posted this to the Scientific American article, but I’m sick of registering for single-post access.
    I haven’t seen any versions of this meme that addressed the extremely important issue shown, so I figured I was just the guy to do it.

  7. John Smith says:

    NFL players don’t have utility belts.

  8.  Good idea to compare Batman to NFL players. Rodeo clowns have pretty short careers too. But I think Jackie Chan’s medical history might be the best thing to compare to Batman’s medical history.

    • James Kimbell says:

      You could compare him to an MMA fighter, since if Batman was real he’d probably do the same training they do. And he’d also have a big fight a few times a year just like they do.

  9. gwailo_joe says:

    Batman gives better than he gets: he’s not a killer…but he seriously #@$!s people up.  Still, the poor guy has been kicking ass and taking names for almost 73 years…and he’s taken his fair share of lumps.

    All that Scarecrow fear dust, the umbrella stabbings, Catwomans’ scratches: they have got to take a toll.  And adversary injuries notwithstanding, his knuckles must ache like a sumbitch when the barometer drops.

    Still, he brushes his (bat) shoulders off and rejoins the fray…I admire that.

    Even if Gotham City is a craptacular cesspool of scum and’s nice to know somebody cares.

  10. Halloween_Jack says:

    This has been at least partly addressed in the comics (besides the ones mentioned in the article). In Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, a middle-aged Bruce who’s been retired for an unknown number of years and kept fit almost immediately starts suffering injuries when he comes out of retirement, at first just the strain of sudden, intense exertion, but quickly piles up serious trauma (especially after fighting the Joker). In Mark Waid and Alex Ross’ Kingdom Come, elderly Bruce has been so traumatized by his crimefighting career that he has to wear an exoskeleton, complete with neck brace, just to walk.

  11. Sirkowski says:


  12. Snig says:

    Helio Gracie, the patriarch of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu family, lived to 95, spent a big chunk of his life fighting, and openly accepted challenges for several years.  And his gi probably had less padding then the batsuit.  He was training/teaching right up until his death.

  13. Petzl says:

    Regarding football injuries, I’m sure this situation exists for many college players, too.  Those guys serve us, like gladiators, are not compensated (equitably dispersing the billions that their labor generates would sully the sport, quoth the NCAA), and then have wounds for the rest of their lives.  But, hey, enjoy the game.

    • shay simmons says:

      Given the cost of a four year Big Ten college degree, it’s not fair to say that college players are entirely uncompensated. 

  14. NelC says:

    I’m continually wondering why Jackie Chan doesn’t walk with the aid of sticks, given the number of injuries he’s sustained over his career.

  15. John Donohoe says:

    If you’re a fan of DC/Batman and haven’t read “Kingdom Come” id highly recommend it.  Its the story of a future setting in the DC universe in which Bruce Wayne, after decades of abuse to his body, has to wear an exoskeleton to stay mobile.

  16. Has the author not seen Batman Beyond?  Old Bruce Wayne can barely get around with a cane.  He’s well-broken.  But he still manages to find a way to kick ass and fight the evil-doers.  Why?  He’s Batman.

  17. Thad Boyd says:

    Amazing Spider-Man #600 started off with a recap to Dr. Octopus’s first appearance, followed by a montage of him getting punched in the head repeatedly for 50 years.

    Then cut to Ock at the doctor’s office being told he’s dying from the head trauma.

    I don’t buy a lot of Spider-Man comics but that one was awesome.  (And has actually led into the current story that started in #698, which starts off with him on his deathbed barely able to speak.)

  18. airshowfan says:

    Wow, a Batman exceedance curve!

    When structures engineers calculate the durability of a structure that is loaded to very different amounts each time it is used (such as an airplane that will see varying amounts of turbulence, gusts, some good landings and some hard landings and the occasional really really hard landing), it’s not enough to just focus on the “average” load (because any fatigued structure must still withstand the largest loads) and it’s also a bad idea to just conservatively pretend that the largest load is experienced every time (because the airplane would have to be built like a tank if it actually had to take nasty storms and really hard landings every day and still last 20-40 years). So what is done is: Research goes into developing exceedance curves (1, 2, 3) that tell you how often each load level is encountered, as a function of intensity. An exceedance curve may say that, for level flight at 40,000 feet, you’ll hit a minor bump a few times an hour, a major bump about once every 10 hours, and some really serious turbulence maybe once every 500 hours. Then for level flight at 20,000 feet, the curve would be different, with worse turbulence happening a little more often. And even more often for 10,000 feet. You can also have curves for, given a typical hour of a fighter mission, how many 7g maneuvers are performed, how many 6g maneuvers, how many 5g, etc… Then for a bombing mission, you’d get a different curve. Etc. So you can calculate the durability of your structure by integrating the damage it is likely to encounter over 20 years (or 10,000 hours or whatever) of performing the mission you predict.

    In any case, I’ve been involved with work that requires an understanding of how flight-test data led to the exceedance curves (i.e. to our knowledge about how often a typical airplane encounters this or that kind of event) and of how to sum up that data so as to come up with an “effective average per flight” (and when it’s a bad idea to do so)… and I found it hilarious to see that kind of analysis method applied to superheroes. Very cool.

  19. John Retzer says:

    I’ve often thought that Batman’s real super power is the magical ability to sustain damage … a bit like John McClane in Die Hard.

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