About the Manual

The Nerd Manual is meant to be both a useful resource for nerds and a guide for the people involved with nerds. If you're a nerd you can find information here that will help you improve your life and perhaps better understand yourself. If you're close friends with, dating, or married to a nerd, I want to give you insight into things nerds do that a lot of people have difficulty understanding.

I hope to avoid offending anyone--either nerd or non-nerd--but please understand that the manual will get into some sensitive topics, stray into contentious territories, and even use stereotypes to illustrate points. It's OK to disagree with something, but keep your comments civil.


Why do Nerds Like Batman?

A Real Hero by Randy Robertson
Answering this question is a little unfair. I mean, who doesn't like Batman? Sure, there are nerds who prefer Superman, Captain America or some other hero, and there are non-nerds who only know Batman from movies, but even the most contentious nerds and completely hero-oblivious people have to admit that Batman is cool.

So the short answer is, nerds like Batman because everyone likes Batman.

OK, but why does everyone like The Bat? It's not like he's a loveable character--his alter ego isn't a jovial scamp with a shaggy dog sidekick, and everything from his costume to his car is designed to strike fear in the hearts of criminals.

What is it then that makes him so special?

He's an Orphan
The obvious starting place is Batman's origin: as a child, Bruce Wayne witnesses his parents' murder and devotes his entire life to fighting crime. Our hearts go out to young Bruce, but that's only part of the equation. The story could easily turn into a revenge plot where the disturbed child grows up to be a psychotic man who dons a scary costume and spends his nights tearing the heads off of every criminal in the city. Certainly, the revenge motif drives many characters in successful books, television and movies, but none of them have been around for 70 years.

What sets Bruce Wayne apart from revenge-driven characters like The Punisher is a noble core that--despite Wayne's anguish and ample opportunities to slide into the darkest side of vigilantism--keeps him firmly anchored on the side of justice. Batman may break the rules and even break quite a few criminal bones, but he doesn't kill (at least not in the comics or animated series, although the movies are a different story) and he goes out of his way to save people from dying. Batman's cowl and nocturnal crime-fighting my have earned him the nickname The Dark Knight, but that black armor conceals a champion of light.

He Spent Years Perfecting Himself
Sure, his childhood trauma makes us feel for him, and his moral code helps us forgive (if not forget) his borderline psychosis, but Batman is far more than just a boy's endless quest for justice. In the fifteen years between his parents' murder and Bruce Wayne's emergence as Batman, he put every waking moment into perfecting his body and mind. Wayne traveled the world learning a dozen martial arts, methods of disguise, archery, military tactics, chemistry, forensics, criminology and even Buddhist healing techniques, forging himself into the caped crusader. 
Kiss and Makeup by JD Hancock
Nothing is Impossible for Batman
Bruce Wayne prepares for every thinkable contingency, and a few unthinkable ones, which is why he's difficult to surprise. When someone does manage to catch him off guard, he doesn't panic and never gives up. Batman immediately looks at how to turn the situation to his advantage. Unless he's dead or unconscious, Batman simply will not stop. Broken arm? Bandage and brace it, then warm up the batmobile. Exposed to nightmare inducing nerve toxin? Already been through that in Nepal, better clean out an Arkham cell for Scarecrow. Broken back? OK, that might mean six months of rehabilitation with a woman who kills the worlds greatest fighters with her bare hands, but then it's right back to protecting Gotham. When you couple Bruce Wayne's relentless force of will with his astounding intellect, there is simply no lock, trap, riddle, gun, gang or bomb that can stop The Bat.  

He's Smarter than Sherlock Holmes
(Yep, I said it.)

Bruce Wayne's brain is the envy of every nerd. Wayne knows something about everyone in his city and most of the important people outside of it. He can track a criminal by the pollen in a boot print, he can outmaneuver military geniuses, and he runs a profitable multi-billion dollar company by day while fighting crime at night. If he doesn't know it, he knows how to find out about it, and he keeps everything neatly cataloged in his computer...back at his secret underground lair, which brings us to... 

Batman by Kabeto Jamaica
He has The Bat Cave
Every nerd has that one room in the house, you know the one, with the computer and the multiple big screen monitors and the books and the toys; the room where he spends hours working on special projects. Bruce Wayne has one of those rooms, but his is a gigantic cave system hidden beneath the manor. His computer is a quantum superprocessor networked to the world, and his toys are military-grade weapons systems. Speaking of which...

He has the Best Gadgets
If you can imagine it, Batman has it. Armored pursuit vehicles that allow him to chase the bad guys across land, sea or air. Batsuits tailored to conditions ranging from arctic tundra to the vacuum of space. Maybe he can't fly, but his grapnel gun allows him to swoop through the night. Then there's the utility belt, a cornucopia of gadgety goodness dispensing tear gas, mini-grenades, lock picks, a re-breather, batarangs, a remote control for the batmobile, and even shark repellant.

He's Just a Man
Despite all his gadgets, intellect, physical abilities and amazing skill set, Batman is ultimately just a man. He has no mutant powers, no alien genetics, no divinely-bestowed gifts. (Lest anyone thinks I've forgotten about his money, remember that Wayne was sent backwards in time and managed to fight his way back to the future despite a tribe of neanderthals, Blackbeard the pirate, and hired gunslingers, all without access to any of his vast fortune.) Bruce Wayne is a man who made a deliberate choice to become Batman and did so by constantly improving himself and refusing to accept any excuse for failure.

This, finally, is what really makes Batman so appealing. While you can never be Superman or Wonder Woman, anyone with enough determination has the potential to be Batman.
The Dark Storm by JD Hancock

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