Top Ten Tips for Being a Vigilante On a Budget

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My friends and I got into a discussion on vigilantes this past weekend, or, more specifically, what it would be like to be Batman on a budget. It was fun throwing ridiculous ideas into the air but I started to really think about it. I’ve noticed that the only way you can be a decent and successful vigilante is to either have: 1) superpowers or 2) be Bruce Wayne (money, money, MONEY). So for those whose socio-economic position in life is holding them back from releasing their inner Dark Knight, here are some tips on being a vigilante on a budget.

Written by Len Wein and Joe Millard. Art by Jim Aparo. Detective Comics #444. January 1, 1975. Batman Murderer. DC Comics. Batman.10. Learn Self Defence

Bruce Wayne was able to go “find himself” for several years on a billionaire’s budget, which included being trained by various experts in martial arts. You don’t need to do that! Your local YMCA or community centre probably offers self defence/martial arts classes for the budget inclined! Too busy with school and/or work? Don’t have the funds to travel to or pay for these classes? Youtube it. Everything is youtube-able now.

9. Fitness Is Key 

There’s a good chance that you may not have a car and investing in public transportation every night to travel all over the city can get pricey. So what do you do? One of two things: 1) invest in a sidekick (see number 3 for more on this), or 2) invest in cardio.

Cardio is important in crime fighting — do you need to get around on budget? Use the tools you were born with: your legs. Nothing like those legs to take you places. Run, Vigilante, Run!

*For those of us who are not able to do option 2 (cardio) due to physical restrictions, a sidekick can be a great money saving alternative! I probably can’t think of humorous cheap ways aside from that but readers are more than welcome to chime in with their ideas!

Batman #97. The Return of Bat-Hound. February 1, 1956. Sheldon Moldoff. Bill Finger. DC Comics. 8. Be A Detective Or A Computer Nerd Or Something

You don’t have a super power. If you did, you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place. Fighting is fine but you need to be more than just someone who punches people in the face (or else you’re just a weirdo who assaults people). Look at Batman. He punches people, but he’s also the World’s Greatest Detective. You need to find those cowardly and superstitious lot known as the bad guys in order to punch them in the face — thus the additional skills. You can either be a superior detective with decent tech skills or a decent detective with superior tech skills. Not both. That’s the rule. Otherwise, what’s the point of a sidekick? How do you achieve this? Read some Sherlock Holmes. He always seems to know what’s happening.

Spider-Man. Tobey Maguire. 2002. Film.7. Put Together A Costume

Like in the 2002 Spider-Man film, sometimes your first suit will be homemade and look like it was thrown together in minutes (it likely will be). This is where the thrift shops or a cheap vintage store is your friend. I suggest wearing black because it goes with everything and it’ll help you become the living embodiment of night. That’ll make the criminals crap their pants. Also, please don’t mix your vigilante attire with your civilian outfits. It’s a money saving opportunity that’s tempting, but you have a secret identity to hide from villains and, most importantly, your loved ones! How will you explain away the blood on the New Balance runners you wore to class? Or that ugly Christmas sweater your Grandmother made for you to a bank heist on a cold and crispy night?

Batman. Bill Finger. Bob Kane.  Detective Comics #33. 1939. DC Comics.

6. Think of a Cool Superhero Name

You might be too tired to think of an awesome superhero name so why not try for misdirection? Like Bob. Unless your name is actually Bob because then you can just call yourself Tom or Jane if you identify as a woman. Or maybe go the Spider-Gwen route and attach an animal like Bat-Jane. Yeah. Bat-Jane…

5. Niche Crime Fighting: What Is Your Cause?

WHAT’S THE MISSION ALL ABOUT? There are so many other vigilantes with better resources so marketing is the key here. Are you fighting for Truth, Justice and the American Way? What about making sure no one murders parents in an alley way ever again? Maybe look for disoriented guys who need help getting home? You need to carve yourself a piece of the crime fighting pie! You need to provide a service that is needed in the justice-seeking community!

4. Find A Mentor

You wont know everything. Hell, you probably know next to nothing about crime fighting, which is why you need a mentor. There have been others who fought crime on a budget and actually lived to talk about it. Talk to them and find out what you need to know to avoid being them. If they happen to be British and can make homemade biscuits,  bonus.

3. Get A Sidekick

A sidekick is great because they can offer something you can’t offer yourself. Need tech skills? Get a sidekick. Need a ride? Pick a sidekick with a car. Need a steeped tea — double sugar and double cream — while on a stake out? Send the sidekick. Just make sure the sidekick isn’t underage or someone you were, or will be, linked to romantically. That’s too many complications for someone who can’t throw money at the problem. Also, be upfront that you’ll only pay them with the feeling of a job well done.

Justice Society of America. DC Comics. Wonder Woman. All Star Comics #12. 1942.2. Join Some Super Friends

After spending a great deal of time in the crime fighting business, you’re bound to make some super friends. Super friends are basically what you’re not: they have super powers or the power of money to do their job. Befriend these people so you can mooch off them. It helps to have either participated in saving the world from a global threat or save a life of a super friend. The latter is far more likely and way more effective for mooching. Whatever you do, don’t take the secretarial role at the super friends headquarters. The benefits suck.

1. Don’t Create A Supervillain

You can’t afford to! Seriously, you really can’t. You’re too broke for special gadgets and don’t possess super powers to go up against a supervillain. So please avoid pushing anyone into a vat of toxic waste.

*Thank you Chandra Rooney and Liz Bourke for inspiring this article!

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About Author

Former senior editor for WWAC. Part-time contributor. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, Quill & Quire and Hyperallergic.

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