Though the Batman most of us know is a fictional character, he has inspired many real-world copycats. In the interest of advancing the field of Batman Studies, I decided to research which states have an identifiable Batman and, where applicable, graded that Batman’s performance against the comic book original.
My methods were simple:
- Google “[state name] batman.”
- Review the first five or so pages of results looking for a person actively engaged in an activity that has led to them being named a State Batman.
- Make sure the Batman label is applied by a third party and not the prospective State Batman themselves. (Bruce Wayne got to call himself Batman, but everyone else needs a local newspaper or radio station or blog to cement their status.)
30 states – Alaska, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming – had no discernible State Batman using this methodology. The most disappointing of those was arguably Georgia, which had this impossibly beautiful headline:
That turned out to be some online viral nonsense instead of a true story of Batman getting served and then breaking out of a police cruiser. Thanks for nothing, Georgia.
Others, while lacking a State Batman, boasted some interesting discoveries. According to the 1940 Census, a man named Batman Huffman resided in Gooding, Idaho. He was born in 1861, predating the first appearance of Batman the Superhero by nearly 80 years. Indiana had an appellate judge named Ira Batman. And Arkansas is home to this:
Here are the Batmen of the other 20 states. (Residents of our nation’s capital, I hope you’ll understand why a Google of “dc batman” was a doomed prospect I didn’t bother to undertake.)
This dude used a rock to break into multiple churches and steal computer equipment and musical instruments. I am awarding him a provisional Batman rating of 1/10. If it turns out the computers had proof of these churches being involved in a drug ring that smuggled cocaine hidden inside acoustic guitars, I am willing to revisit that rating.
Arizona Batman helps people keep bats out of their attics by giving the bats an alternative home where they can serve as natural pest control agents. This is very community-minded but not very violent or brooding, so I can only award him a Batman rating of 2/10.
THAT’S DECIDEDLY NOT BATMAN OF HIM. -50/10.
Florida Batman read about a 3 year old who came home with a swollen eye after being attacked by some classmates, so he showed up at her school as a show of support. Defending those who need a protector is very Batman; the story does not make it clear whether Florida Batman threatened the school employees or any of said young classmates. I do not condone either action, but, well, Batman might. Let’s give this a 5/10.
This Batman from Des Moines was running a pest control business removing bats as of 1998. Here is the important part: “To catch a bat, Kelley dons a pair of leather welding gloves and grabs the bat. The creatures have dive-bombed him, and several have bitten him.” This willful disregard for his own safety elevates Iowa Batman above some of his other animal control colleagues. 4/10.
See, that’s way too gentle, Maine Batman. 2/10.
This story’s terribly sad. Maryland Batman, Lenny B. Robinson, spent lots of time visiting sick children and promoting charitable causes, but he died at 51 in a tragic 2015 accident, leaving behind three sons. Rather than slap a half-assed Batman rating on his name, I’ll just say I hope his family’s found some peace.
So what did Michigan Batman do to get arrested? According to state troopers, he “refused to leave them alone while they searched for a driver who fled an accident.” Maybe you’re wondering what Michigan Batman’s rejoinder is:
“Dressing up in my costume, as Batman, is my way of saying that it’s not up to the government to save us.”
Nor was this the first time Michigan Batman was arrested for being himself; a year before this incident, he’d been cited for obstructing a police officer when he was found on the roof of a business carrying “a baton-type striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray and a pair of sand-filled gloves.” As part of his probation, he was forbidden to wear costumes for six months.
But the local Director of Public Safety also admits there have been occasions where Michigan Batman helped provide information to his department!
To review, this guy:
1. Is a nuisance to law enforcement
2. Contributes, at least a little, to protecting public safety
3. Refuses to stop no matter what the state says
The only thing holding Michigan Batman from a perfect ten is his repeated arrests. Batman doesn’t get caught by the cops, buddy. 9/10.
MISSISSIPPI: MISSISSIPPI’S BATMAN: PROTECTING THE TAXPAYERS
Look, I’m sorry, but this is an article about the State Auditor. That’s an important job, and one that maybe shares some of the same motivations as Batman, but it’s not really very Batman-y. 3/10.
Nebraska Batman wears his costume to raise awareness for his son’s rare genetic disorder and talk to children about things like bike safety. In theory, that’s the kind of stuff Batman might do if he didn’t constantly have supervillains to contend with, though I have to imagine Bruce Wayne would be deeply uncomfortable talking to elementary school assemblies. BATMAN WILL WAIT UNTIL YOU DECIDE TO SETTLE DOWN. 5/10.
NEW JERSEY: New Jersey’s own Batman
Similar to Nebraska Batman, New Jersey Batman focuses on youth education, covering topics like “bullying, strangers, 9/11, gangs, drugs and bicycle safety.” You can see how the Caped Crus-hang on. Did that say 9/11? What exactly does New Jersey Batman have to say about September 11th? Does he even address what Batman was doing that fateful morning? On second thought, I’d rather not know. 4/10.
New York Batman is not about to let some cowardly bureaucrats on the City Council tell him what he can and cannot do in Times Square, much less make him get a license for it. Hell, half the time the corruption he’s fighting has infiltrated local government!
But that’s not nearly enough backstory for Batman to team up with Joker. At the very least, he’d be frowning and grumbling about how this doesn’t change anything between them. 4/10.
I have nothing to add other than this was exactly the hero Ohio needed in 2018. 7/10.
Oklahoma Batman got her name because she’s got a bunch of comic book stuff in her classroom, but she also helped shield students from a tornado with her body in 2013. Imagine if Batman just poured all his resources into protecting people from natural disasters and aiding them afterwards! 8/10.
PENNSYLVANIA: Attend Batfest at Lincoln and Whisper Rocks caves
Pennsylvania Batman is a wildlife biologist named Carl Butchkowski, and he has worked to educate the public about a fungus that devastates brown bat populations, which were dwindling in Pennsylvania as of 2014. The science and cave parts of this are pretty Batman, and the rest is decidedly less so. It would rule if Batman’s real name was Carl, though. 2/10.
SOUTH CAROLINA: South Carolina man robs a church in a Batman costume
Genuinely unclear if this is Alabama Batman operating in a different state. Maybe that adds to the mystique? For now, South Carolina Batman gets the same provisional 1/10.
Texas Batman was walking into WalMart to participate in a child safety fair while someone else exiting the store set off the security alarms. So Texas Batman detained the man, found out he’d shoplifted four DVDs (including “The Lego Batman Movie”), and took a photo with him.
Look, maybe this is me buying into Texas’s self-professed bigness, but I expected more out of Texas Batman. 4/10.
This kid saw smoke coming from a house and wisely alerted an adult, who called the fire department. He thought about going into the home in case someone needed saving but wisely decided against it, relying on trained public servants instead. This kid is the much smarter version of Batman. 7/10.
Vermont Batman is an author who works with government agencies to restore bat habitats. Lemme tell you what the real Batman is not: some soft-ass writer. (I should know.) 2/10.
WEST VIRGINIA: WV Batman gives talk at schools
West Virginia Batman has a ton of Google results spanning multiple states. He’s a Visit Schools and Hospitals kind of Batman, and he’s been at it for almost a decade. Longevity definitely counts! Once you start being Batman, you don’t really get to stop. 6/10.
If your state doesn’t have a Batman yet, take heart: Maybe you’re destined to be that Bat.