Forget Dr. Phil, Maybe You Need the 'Batman' Makeover

Martha Stewart tells you what to cook. Carson Kressley tells you what to wear. In the age of "Extreme Makeover," even lifestyle experts have lifestyle experts. So maybe it's time to let Batman help rescue your career, love life and self-esteem.

If you're going to mold your life after any superhero, Batman is clearly the most rational choice. He's the only major comic book crime fighter with no supernatural powers. The bite of a radioactive spider didn't endow him with the ability to climb walls. His parents didn't send him from Krypton to Earth with the power to bend steel with his bare hands.

Sure, Batman's got the deep pockets of millionaire Bruce Wayne (his alter ego) to help furnish his trusty utility belt with gadgets galore. But the Batarang is just a glorified boomerang, which Aborigines have been wielding for centuries. That's a far cry from Wonder Woman's golden lasso, which magically compels evildoers to tell the truth.

As Batman can tell you, even infinite wealth has limitations, and it hardly guarantees heroics. You don't see Paris Hilton solving murders.

No, what makes Batman special is that he's learned to channel his rage. His parents were savagely beaten and left to die, and he's vowed to wage a war against crime throughout Gotham City.

Batman's not perfect. Maybe he's sometimes bent a little too much on exacting pain from bad guys. But he's also the world's first self-made superhero, a man who traveled the world to toughen his body and sharpen his mind, all to be the world's best crime fighter. If he's still dealing with rage, like any advocate of therapy, he could tell you that dealing with such inner demons is a lifelong process.

So, if you're looking for a lifestyle guru -- with tips on everything from training a sidekick, scaling a wall and romantic entanglements with a catty woman -- the Caped Crusader may be your hero. In "The Batman Handbook: The Ultimate Training Manual," author Scott Beatty teaches all the bat basics -- concealing your secret identity, driving the Batmobile on two wheels, winning a whip fight and pithy remarks to make to your adversary when you're sinking in quicksand.

Just as Bruce Wayne studies under the best teachers in every field, Beatty says he assembled his handbook after consulting with FBI agents, detectives, forensic experts, stunt persons, gymnasts, martial artists, hypnotists, geologists and dozens of other professionals.

Christian Bale, the latest in a long line of big-screen Batmen, says that becoming the Dark Knight in the newly released "Batman Begins" required a physical and mental transformation that was nothing short of an extreme makeover.

"At first, I just couldn't take seriously Bruce Wayne in a bat suit," Bale says. "So I said, 'Look, he has to become just a different animal completely. That allows him to channel all of his rage and his years of dissatisfaction and everything."

The original comic book "Batman," written by Bob Kane in 1939, served as Bale's inspiration. "Kane's intention was for Batman to be a very dark and threatening character … I had a very rigorous training routine because Batman has to look like somebody who has just trained himself and honed his mental skills to such a degree that he's capable of doing things that he does."

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