Since his very first appearance, Batman has always been portrayed as an impossibly wealthy person. Like most billionaires, his wealth was inherited which left him plenty of free time to develop his skills and gear in private. As the Batman persona grew, so did his expenses.
Besides his personal Wayne manor mega-mansion, there’s the 100k square-foot Batcave, multiple Batmobiles, Batcopters, Batboats and myriad other cash drains.
However… Ultra high net-worth individuals are notorious for not budgeting well. It can be assumed that Bruce Wayne made zero effort to pinch pennies in his effort to become Batman.
His priorities were secrecy and convenience, not price.
In reality the majority of Batman’s tech and gear would be excessive and unnecessary in a world without super-villains. That means the true cost would be significantly lower than shown in the comics and movies.
What we’ve covered below is what could happen if Bruce Wayne hadn’t been born into the 1%, but an average family with modest means. If you took the same drive and dedication to making a difference and applied it to someone with a realistic budget, what would the true cost be?
It might be less than you think…
Skills and Training
As we mentioned in our article on how to become a superhero, skills are your most valuable resource. Having a wide variety of knowledge and training to fall back on is important for anyone, but especially for a real life Batman.
Batman is said to have learned every martial art in the world before inventing his own style. That’s a bit much, so let’s say you mastered two forms of martial arts.
Krav Maga is a fighting system originally developed by the Israeli military. It’s a mixture of fighting styles including judo, karate and boxing and is known for its extreme efficiency in real world attacks. According to Krav Maga Seattle their elite membership runs $165 plus a $150 registration fee. If you factor in 8 years to become an efficient black-belt level practitioner, that would be a cost of $15,990.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is an ideal addition to the skill set. It promotes the concept that a smaller, weaker person can defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, opponent. By using leverage and taking the fight to the ground, it’s possible to use joint locks and chokeholds to defeat your opponent. Competitors say it takes around 10 years to become a black belt, but since you’re bringing previous martial arts experience we’ll lower that down to 7 years.
According to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy, their “Master Cycle” training plan costs $200 per month. That brings the cost of becoming a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to $16,800.
Among his long list of talents, Batman is considered the world’s greatest detective. Tracking down bad guys long after they’ve left the scene takes a unique set of skills, and isn’t exactly something you can pick up at your local technical college.
Tri-Tech Forensic has 30 years experience in CSI products and training. Their course catalog has an array of classes teaching different areas of crime scene analysis, investigation and forensics.
Examples of some of their courses include “Intro to Fingerprint Science” and “Forensic Ultraviolet & Infrared Photography“.
Each course seems to average around $500. Factor in 10 courses to really hammer in the investigative skills and you’re looking at a cost of roughly $5000.
Being able to fix your own gadgets, work on your own car and invent new tools is crucial to becoming Batman. If you can’t do those things you’ll need to hire people who can, and that’s how things start to become expensive.
Yes, you could go after an Ivy League doctorate in engineering, but that’s not in keeping with our budget-friendly Batman.
According to CollegeCalc.org, you could get a two-year associates degree in mechanical engineering at Bellevue College for $20,152 yearly tuition. $40,304 later you’ll be able to rebuild your own night-vision goggles.
Just about every gadget conceivable has passed through Batman’s utility belt. Our Batman-on-a-budget will only need a few to get by in the real world.
The Spy Tec STI GL300 is a mini real-time GPS tracker that’s less than 3″ across. It can be slipped in a pocket or attached to a car and displays the location of the perp right on Google Maps. The battery lasts for weeks making it a great tool in your arsenal for $50.
Unsurprisingly, batarang throwing stars have made their way off the silver screen. You can buy a set of two 8″ stainless steel bat throwing stars for $20. Let’s be conservative and buy 100 of them for $1000.
Designed for boarding sea vessels, the compact launcher from REBS is a pneumatic grappling hook launcher. In seconds the device launches 153′ of rope, or even a rope ladder using compressed air. Pricing wasn’t available, but $2,000 seems like it should more than cover it.
We’ve featured multiple real world Batmobiles, but it really comes down to one choice. Do you want to be inconspicuous? If you do, then your best bet would be to take an existing car and heavily modify it. A sleeper with hidden upgrades that go otherwise unnoticed.
If you don’t mind making an entrance, the Rezvani Tank is our pick. The 500hp 4×4 can go just about anywhere and has more than a few tricks up its sleeve.
When equipped with the ballistic package, the glass and body panels are bulletproof, even from armor piercing rounds. The fuel tank, floorpan and radiator are wrapped with kevlar. The doors are equipped with magnetic dead bolts and electrified door handles. The Tank is also optioned with military style run-flat tires and ramming bumpers along with reinforced suspension.
An external camera shows a live video feed using night vision and thermal vision. That means it can drive in the dark.
The biggest expense on our list, your personal Batmobile will cost $323,000.
Batman’s suit serves multiple purposes including protection, stealth and intimidation.
With the help of a Kickstarter campaign, Jackson Gordon created a “Combat Batsuit” that guards against punches, blades and clubs through impact absorbing foam, Kevlar, and Kydex plating. His project cost about $2,000.
Factoring in customizations and perhaps even a second suit (hand-wash only after all) we’ll factor in $4,000.
Drumroll please. After years of training and hard work our real-world Batman is ready.
All of the skills, gadgets and gear bring the cost of becoming Batman to…
Not exactly a billionaire-only hobby, is it?
For some perspective, that’s less than the average home price in California. It’s less than the cost to open a Burger King. It’s even less than the average American will pay in taxes over a lifetime.
Admittedly, a lot of that cost went to the car, but it proves a point. We could’ve added a zero to that figure and it still would’ve been a bargain compared to the numbers thrown around in the comics.
Looks like Bats has been getting ripped off all these years.