Hey there Comics Code readers, you join us this week outside the Manchester Museum on Oxford Road as we go on a bat hunt! If you hadn’t already guessed, Ryan and I are looking at bats and the superhero Batfink! Ryan has an appointment at the doctors (probably as a result of what he got up to last year with all those hookers), so as there’s no time to waste…
let’s get started!
WHO IS BATFINK?
Batfink is the animated superhero created by Hal Seeger who first appeared in the cartoon series of the same name in 1966!
IS HE AN ACTUAL BAT?
Yes he is! But like Darkwing Duck in the previous chapter he walks, talks and fights crime. Batfink was aided in his war against the criminal underbelly with his supersonic sonar radar and his very impressive wings of steel! Batfink’s radar helped him locate his enemies by emitting a ‘beep’ that would travel through the air in search of the bad guys and upon discovery of the dastardly fiends it would return to let him know where they were. As for his wings of steel, Batfink wasn’t born with them, he instead had them specially created for him after he lost his own wings when he was a youngster. The wings were bullet proof and they helped him deflect deadly attacks from the scum he fought.
THAT SOUNDS PRETTY IMPRESSIVE; SURELY A REAL BAT CAN’T COMPETE WITH WINGS LIKE THAT?
Well yes, you’re correct a real bat doesn’t have wings as strong as steel; in fact their wings are easy to damage, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not equally impressive.
OK SO TELL ME ALL ABOUT BATS!
Bats are flying mammals from the order Chiroptera, which basically means ‘hand wing’. Bats have webbed forelimbs, which over time have developed into wings, making them the only mammals capable of sustained flight!
Just think about that for a second.
We’re also mammals, yet we can’t chuffin’ fly unaided; so the fact that they can means they’ve achieved something that we can only dream about!!!! Their ability to fly has allowed bats to spread out across the world and now they’re more or less everywhere, except (yes you guessed it) the Antarctic!
Anyway, moving on.
There are approximately 1,100 species of bat, with 70 per cent living off of insects and the rest mostly fruit eating bats. There are also a few that eat fish and let’s not forget the infamous vampire bats! The smallest bat is only 29mm long and there are two suborders of bat… megabats (or megachiroptera) and microbats (or microchiroptera as you might prefer). Differences between the two include the length of their ears and claws, as well the amount of fur that they have. Megabats also tend to eat fruit, whereas micros eat insects, but one of the biggest differences is that microbats use a biological sonar known as echolocation, which they use for navigation and locating prey!
SO BATFINK’S A MICROBAT THEN; RIGHT?
Yes, Batfink’s supersonic sonar radar is what makes him a microbat and he uses it to locate his enemies and also find out where the hell he is! It certainly comes in handy when he’s out on the razz with his pal Karate and he’s become so drunk that he doesn’t know his arse from his elbow!
SO BOTH MICROBATS AND BATFINK HAVE ECHOLOCATION IN COMMON; HOW ALIKE THEN ARE BATS AND BATFINK?
Well just touching upon echolocation again, this is an ultrasonic sound emitted with the express purpose of creating an echo; something that both bats and Batfink do. The two can then compare the outgoing pulse with the returning echo to produce an image of their surroundings, which even allows them to find prey even if they’re in complete darkness. This whole process is pretty cool and allows them to separate the echoes via time and frequency! How good is that?
Now as for Batfink’s famous wings of steel, this is where the two differ. A bat’s wings are thin. Very thin. Much thinner than a bird’s in fact, which means they’re easier to damage and are certainly no wings of steel. However due to their wings being thin they are much more sensitive and can change shape during flight, giving them a good level of manoeuvrability. With Batfink’s steel wings this would make things a bit more difficult for the mammalian hero to have such control over his metallic appendages and so it’s doubtful that he’d be so swift! That of course is no dig at Batfink’s ability to be a hero, he’s certainly proved his worth on many occasions, however he’s probably not as agile as an ordinary bat.
SO WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD OF AN ORDINARY BAT BECOMING A SUPERHERO?
Erm… probably not likely at all. I’ve no doubt that bats are great creatures and they do have brilliant hearing and a fantastic sense of smell, but they have poor vision and are not big fans of the rain, which could prove problematic! As a rule of thumb bats don’t fly when it’s raining as the downpour plays havoc with their echolocation, which means we’d be buggered if a crime was committed near Comics Code Manor as it’s always bloody raining in Manchester! Waiting until it gets sunny again is not the most helpful course of action and it’s certainly not something the average superhero would do. What is more likely is the idea of a human becoming more bat-like, to make use of some of a bat’s best assets. A hero like Batman is notorious for employing a variety of techniques to be like a bat, but he’s not alone in his ideas as there are a number of individuals who use ‘human echolocation’ in everyday life. Working along the same lines as how a bat uses echolocation, humans who have lost their sight have employed the technique to create a better understanding of their surroundings. They make noises (either via clicking their tongues or banging walking canes against the ground) and then they interpret the sound waves to identify their locations and to help themselves avoid nearby objects. This doesn’t necessarily make them want to rush out and fight crime, but it certainly could put them on the right road to being like Batfink!
Well that’s all from us this week; Ryan’s about to go and get the once over from his doc, so as long as he doesn’t have a highly contagious and life threatening disease, we’ll both be back with more science stuff next time!