1/09/2010. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts
pub: Quirk Books. 189 page small illustrated softcover. Price: $17.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-59474-023-7.
check out websites: www.quirkbooks.comand www.irreference.com
Hey, kid, wanna grow up and be Batman? Then ensure you're the son of rich parents who get shot down in a back alley and then with vengeance in your heart and an unlimited bank balance, get educated and dress as a human bat to scare the felons that you're after.
Of course, there's a lot more to it than that and 'The Batman Handbook' gives you a lot of the necessary tips to take up your vigilante activities against evil-doers in five chapters dealing with everything from education to physique as well as pointing out how Batman dealt with some of his villains and traps.
Let's hit on some highlights. There's an interesting comment in the opening chapter about the Batman's costume colour choices for him to be camouflaged at night, saying that he avoided bright blue, red and yellow. Odd choices to avoid but to use them and add green for Robin. Why not just put a target on his chest? He doesn't even have any head protect compared to what Batman wears. I should point out that under the section on side-kicks, Tim Drake's choice of darker colours and tights is acknowledged as an improvement in the costume.
Batman's choice in the shape of his utility belt has changed over the years. I remember seeing the contents of the original where everything was in the tube-like structures wondering how things could be so compact. Interestingly, the 1966 TV series went for box units which at least looked a little more practical but it wasn't really until Frank Miller's time on the comicbook that the utility belt really did look like it would be practical. Logistically, it might have made more sense had the double-tipped bullet shapes on the belt had been twistable to open up bigger compartments. What this handbook doesn't really explain is where do you go to buy the equipment you need for such a belt and how time-consuming it is to make your own gear. Come to that, nor does it explain why the Batman needs a nice shiny yellow target like that around his waist when a duller colour would make sense.
The best bit is making the Bat-Signal for the police headquarters although author Scott Beatty fails to inform that you need a cloudy night for it to be really effective.
The section devoted to the Batman's interrogation technique should certainly not be copied, not unless you're happy holding a concerned twelve stone citizen from a skyscraper one-handed.
I found this book an interesting read and a definite page-turner. By playing it reasonably straight, Scott Beatty does give you a lot of practical information on all manner of subjects but not enough to cause you any serious harm. It's important to note that those of you buying this book and not living in the USA that the wiring noted on page 176 will not correspond to domestic wiring you might have but shouldn't try anyway.
After reading this book, you will no doubt realise that you would have to be exceptional to even do a fraction of the things the Batman is capable of doing, let alone them all. However, if you eat all your vegetables and be an upright citizen, you will also avoid having him smashing down your door for a little chat.
I don't think I want to become another Batman. Not because I'm not smart enough but I've spotted another handbook and want to try this flying thing.
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