Fighting crime, bringing the bad guys to justice, and owning the night doesn't just take insanity and a single-minded devotion to justice. It also takes a really huge amount of cash. According to Darren Hudson Hick, author of Batman Unauthorized notes, becoming the Dark Knight would run about $300 million, not counting the cost of the Batplane, Batcopter, Batboat, and the Bat insurance premiums, which are likely to be through the roof.
Although Hick notes that some items, like the Batarangs and smokebombs, would be fairly cheap, he claims that the Batcave would run approximately $3.5 million, the Batmobile would run another $2 million, and the Bat computer would cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $290 million. Other incidentals would include the costume ($50,000), ten years of martial arts and criminology classes ($137,000), and a DNA analysis machine ($365,000).
Now as a one-time comic books geek and a once-and-future literature geek, I absolutely love the deus ex machinae that comic book authors use to fill their texts. On the most ridiculous end, there's Superman's apparently endless array of powers, the Fantastic Four's almost infinite potential, and the Hulk's incredible stretching purple pants. On the more realistic end, we have Batman and Tony Stark, both of whom have seemingly bottomless pockets. In the context of comic books, this means that these heroes can overcome almost any problem through the application of a huge amount of dough.
That having been said, in my occasional observation of rich people, I've found that most of them (or at least most of the ones who stay rich for a really long time) tend to be pretty careful with their money. With that in mind, I seriously question some of the items on Hick's Batman list. For example, Hick's Batcave is a 1.8 mile long bomb shelter that Batman apparently built from scratch. I'd argue that this is a little excessive, and could probably be a fraction of the size that he suggests. Any rich guy worth his salt would seek out a gargantuan mansion that's built over a pre-existing cave or extensive underground complex.
Similarly, Hick's Batmobile of choice is the Cadillac Sixteen. While I admire the 32-valve, 1000 horsepower engine and amazing detailing of the Cadillac, it seems odd that Batman would buy a ridiculously flashy concept car and then cover it in $90,000 worth of armor and other extras. For that matter, I don't think he'd have much use for the Bvlgari clock and hand-woven silk carpets that come standard with the Cadillac!
The biggie is the Bat computer. Clearly a serious bat-scholar, Hicks seems to have decided that Batman's computer must be capable of performing miracles. With that in mind, he chose the $290 million IBM Blue Gene/L computer. However, unless the caped crusader is planning a Bat-launch to the next Bat-galaxy, I'm pretty sure that he could probably get away with a top-of-the-line Mac Pro (or, alternately, a couple of top-of-the-line Mac Pros). Apart from the fact that Batman's best computer has always rested between his ears, if he's anything like the rest of us, the Bat computer will mostly be used for e-mail, Facebook, and games on Shockwave!
Bruce Watson is a freelance writer, blogger, and all-around cheapskate. If push came to shove, he'd probably try to be Spider Man. In addition to the fact that it would cost a lot less, he could sue his school for insufficient safety precautions in its radioactive spider facility.
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