Batman Has PsA?

Has Batman Overcome Psoriatic Arthritis and Psoriasis?  You be the Judge

As a reader on this site I’m sure you are wondering why I like to go by the moniker of “Batman”.  Quite simply it is because I believe that Batman is the bravest of all the Superheros, and the use of his name is my way of paying homage to his excellence.  Now how did I get to the conclusion that he out of all the Superheros is the bravest?  Well firstly Batman is rather unique in being one of the very few Superheros with no super powers.  Did you know that?  As Wikipedia explains,

“Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect, detective skills, science and technology, wealth, physical prowess, martial arts skills, an indomitable will, fear, and intimidation in his continuous war on crime.”

Wow – how brave is that? No super mind-powers to help him melt the brain of a dastardly foe, or invulnerability to bullets when faced down by 1,000 gun toting maniacs.  He has to rely on his wit and own abilities in difficult situations…. just like you and me.

However that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Here’s the kicker.  Batman does all of this despite being afflicted with psoriatic arthritis!  How great is that!

Batman & Psoriasis

I first came to suspect that Batman had psoriasis when I noticed that he nearly always fully covers up his skin.  If you look at other Superhero outfits you’ll notice that the majority are not adverse to showing a bit of flesh.  However Batman is just about completely covered when he is in his superhero outfit.  The only skin you can see is around his mouth.  Why is that?

Isn’t it typical of someone with psoriasis to cover up?  I mean, can you imagine if Batman was wearing a spandex top with bare arms pointing at a bad guy and commanding him to “put the weapon down now”, when he had a bad outbreak of psoriasis on his elbows?  The bad guy would be like “dude, what’s with your elbows?” and then that moment of absolute command and authority that Batman had would be lost forever.  Instead he’d have to pause, and maybe even be tempted to explain that it isn’t infectious, and that it’s actually just an over-reaction by his own immune system which is causing an excess of skin cells etc. etc.  No no no.  Much better just to cover up his arms so that it isn’t a distraction.  How about the gloves?  The official line on his gloves is that they are to ensure that he doesn’t leave any fingerprints behind.  However wearing gloves also has the added advantage of hiding ugly pitting fingernails.  Coincidence?

To confirm this aversion to displaying his flesh, you’ll notice that when he is going incognito as Bruce Wayne he invariably is attired in trousers and long-sleeve shirts.  And have you noticed how many of those shirts are black?  That’s right, practically none.  Who wants to see skin flakes on shoulders?  Yuck – anyone with psoriasis will know that if you wear a black shirt then you are dicing with death, or worse.  However when he’s suited up as Batman that great “wrap around” mask of his contains any stray flakes – even in a hurricane.  Smart guy.

And how about relationships?   Here we have a billionaire, who is a very attractive, intelligent bachelor who can’t tie the knot.  In fact, it is pretty difficult for him to maintain a steady girlfriend.  C’mon, with a guy like this the ladies would be hammering at his door.  Hate to say it but it is a classic case of avoiding relationships which require him to explain his psoriasis.  Non-psoriasis sufferers just can’t comprehend what it is like to live with some nasty skin, but us psoriasis warriors can nod our heads in sympathy.  We feel for you Batman – we’ve been (and some of us still are) in that boat (queue intimate brofist).

And why is it that his Batsuit is black? It is well known that psoriasis sufferers are more prone to depression – and when we’ve had one of those bad days where the psoriasis has flared and is giving us hell – well yeah, I’m going to cover myself up totally in some bad black (the forbidden color – see about shirts above) – preferably leather – and give anyone who even looks like they are glancing at my flaky skin the dirty evil eye.  Yeah buddy – you just keep your head down and keep walking if you know what’s right.  Sorry, I’m getting off track – where are my meds…

Batman and Psoriatic Arthritis

So, the step from psoriasis to psoriatic arthritis is logical.  Up to 42% of people with psoriasis go on to develop arthritis, and Batman is just as mortal as you and I.  I suspected that Batman had developed arthritis when I was trying to fathom why he had invented all his cool gadgets.  Then it dawned on me, the primary reason was to aid his mobility when his arthritis was flaring!  Take the Grapple Gun or “Bat Grappler” as it is also called, the perfect tool to help him get up and move about when it feels like someone has injected glass shards into his hip joint.  And Batarangs.  You think it is easy to get up and change the TV channel when the batteries in the remote are dead and your knees scream at any sudden movement?  I bet his deadly accuracy with those Batarangs came from hundreds of hours of channel changing practice.

Now that you know that Batman has psoriatic arthritis suddenly all his great gadgets make perfect sense right?  Batmobile Remote?  Of course!  I can hobble for 3 blocks carrying all my shopping while it feels like some invisible gnome is thrusting hot blunt needles into my lower back, or I can hit my remote and have Batmobile pick me up.  Duh…. no contest.

In order to further confirm my suspicions I took upon myself a quest for some conclusive evidence, the “smoking gun”.  I spent days trawling through the waste of Wayne Medical.  Unfortunately due to HIPAA (that’s privacy laws on medical records to you non-Gothamites), I am unable to confirm if I found a lab report for a Mr. Bruce Wayne showing elevated ESR, CRP, or positive ANA, or RF.  I’m only able to state that I may or may not have found this…. wink wink.

Without being able to bring personal medical records to the party, I must instead rely on information readily available in the public domain.  Fortunately I stumbled across a Batman doll designed nearly 40 years ago.  Word is that Bruce Wayne himself posed for the design measurements for the doll (not surprising since Batman’s pursuit of perfection is legendary).  Therefore can the doll itself give us any indication of Batman’s secret, personal struggle with psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis?  Discerning reader – you view the pictures and come to your own conclusion:

(thanks to Brechtbug’s Photostream for the pics – also note that shown here are the original colors of Batman’s outfit. Over the years the color scheme of the outfit has been changed 4 times, with the latest version being completely black)

Batman’s Metamorphosis – from Mere Mortal to Superhero

Have you ever wondered how Bruce Wayne made the jump from successful Entrepreneur (with psoriatic arthritis), to awesome Superhero expunging the filth of evil from the face of the Earth?  Well this may shock you, but I truly believe that it is all due to psoriatic arthritis.  Before you click away, please hear me out.

Sure Batman as a boy had wept over his parents’ grave vowing to avenge their deaths by spending the rest of his life warring on all criminals.  But we all know that saying and doing are very different things. I once vowed to take over India on a tractor… but I digress again.  What was the catalyst that eventually spurred Batman to actually make that first step and change from normal everyday Joe to crime fighting Superhero?  For the answer we need to look at the first recorded confrontation that Batman had.  The confrontation with the chemical syndicate.

The confrontation with the chemical syndicate bought about the birth of the Joker.  We all know the story about how the Joker came to be.  Remember?  He was part of a gang doing a heist in a chemical factory when they were ambushed by Batman.  The Joker fell into a vat of chemical waste which resulted in turning his hair green, his lips bright red and bleaching his flesh white.  The whole experience turned him into a crazy, evil villain.

However I got to wondering, why was Batman in that chemical factory?!  Out of all the factories and buildings in Gotham City, and all the hours of the day and night, how did he know that there was going to be a heist going down in that exact factory right at that exact time?  Remember, although Batman is brilliant, he doesn’t have super powers, so he couldn’t have read anyone’s mind to find out the information.

I believe that Batman was in that chemical factory that night because he was looking for a solution for his psoriatic arthritis!  The Joker (before he became the Joker) was a chemical engineer working at that factory.  Batman was at that factory to seek out the chemical research they were doing and see if there could be any application made for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis!  He was wearing his Batsuit so that he wouldn’t be seen (and to hold in any skin flakes), and had his Utility Belt to help with his mobility.  He didn’t know that there was going to be a heist that night.

Think about it.  Because of psoriatic arthritis Batman developed a boat load of cool gadgets like the Batarang and Bat Grappler.  Because of psoriasis Batman developed a Batsuit that would cover his entire body – leaving only the mouth exposed.  Because of psoriatic arthritis Batman was in disguise and tooled up (with his Utility Belt) sneaking into a chemical factory late one evening in the hope of discovering a cure to beat the scourge that was slowly crippling him.  Instead Batman discovered a break-in, a robbery in progress.  He could’ve run.  He could’ve ignored the thievery and sneaked out to return another day.  But he didn’t.  Instead he did the right thing.  Because of psoriatic arthritis he had developed the absolute mental resolve to persist through the level of pain that would cripple normal people.  Therefore because of psoriatic arthritis he stayed, gritted his teeth, flexed his muscles and “brought the pain” to the chemical syndicate.

The robbery was foiled. The Joker was born.  Someone snapped a picture of the “Batman”.  And the rest my friends is history.

Because of psoriatic arthritis, we have Batman today.

Batman and his Psoriatic Arthritis / Psoriasis Today

Which brings us to today.  How do you think Batman is overcoming his psoriatic arthritis day-to-day?  Personally I believe that he is on biologics and is using his scientific and medical resources through Wayne Biotech to further help to find a cure to this chronic illness.  In fact, I would not be surprised to find out that the breakthrough in biologics actually came as a result of an anonymous tip to the pharmaceutical companies – from Wayne Biotech!

You might also ask why Batman doesn’t come out and declare that not only does he fight against crime to better humanity, but he also fights (and wins) a daily battle against psoriatic arthritis?  I believe it is because of two reasons.  Firstly, and most importantly, he doesn’t need or want our pity.  Even though he is a Superhero, he is a bad-ass Superhero.  I expect that he views his overcoming psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in the same vein as his daily workouts to stay in top crime-fighting shape.  It is what you do if you want to succeed.  Secondly, perhaps he feels that it would be wrong for someone perceived as a Superhero to show a weakness.  Perhaps he is correct.  However for all us fellow warriors of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis we know that living your life in spite of incessant attacks to your body, even though those attacks can’t be seen, is the true test of a hero.  To overcome these attacks and also unselfishly serve your community – that takes a Superhero!

Batman, I salute you.


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