Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The Combinatorics of Batman
(I wrote this post about a year ago but waited until the new Batman
movie came out to post it. I haven't seen the movie yet so
there may more possibilities to add to this.)
There have been many versions of the BATMAN story:
comic books (and within that there are several versions),
many movies, and a TV series.
This may lead to a COMBINATORICS question you can ask your class.
So how many ways can the BATMAN story go?
This is NOT A QUIZ- all of the answers are correct
for some version of BATMAN.
1) As a child Bruce Wayne saw his parents gunned down. What were they doing before this happened?
a) Watching the movie Zorro.
b) Watching the movie The Lone Ranger.
c) )Watching an Opera.
2) Who shot Bruce Wayne's parents?
a) Joe Chill- a low level mugger.
b) Joe Chill- hired by the mob since Thomas Wayne (Bruce Wayne's father) had once foiled a crime. The orders were to leave the boy alive so it would look like a low level mugging.
c) The gangster who would later become the Joker.
3) Who was the Joker before he became the Joker?
a) A completely innocent chemist-turned-comedian. He was a good man but a bad comedian. He was just going to do one theft to make ends meet. Things went wrong and he fell into a batch of chemicals and became The Joker. He is now a bad man but a good comedian.
b) A gangster who was sleeping with his bosses girlfriend. The boss arranged for him to be killed ,but nstead the gangster falls into a batch of chemicals and becomes The Joker.
c) Hey, its just makeup. But he has scars which may have come from his father, himself, or who knows?
d) There are surely other versions I do not know. One could probably write a bad PhD on this topic.
NOTE: I don't think the Jokers name is known in any of the versions.
(Contrast: The Riddler's name is Edward Nigma.)
4) Where is the Joker now?
a) In Arkam Asylum.
c) Gee, he really seemed to die but we just know he'll turn up again.
5) Who is Two-face?
a) Harvey Dent, the DA, who was a good man. During a court trial a criminal throws acid on his face. Now half of his face is scared. This drove him insane and he is now a criminal.
b) Harvey Dent, the DA, who was a good man. Dent and his girlfriend Rachel Dawes are kidnapped.Batman and Commissioner Gordan save him but (1) Rachel dies, and (2) Dent has his face half disfigured.This drives him mad.
c) There are about 5 other people who took on this role. One of them was named Harvey Kent. No relation to Clark Kent
6) Who else lives in Wayne Manor?
a) Robin, Alfred the Butler, and Aunt Hariet.
b) Robin and Alfred the Butler.
c) Just Alfred the Butler.
7) How well do Batman and Superman get along?
a) Superman is never mentioned.
b) They get along.
c) They don't get along.
d) They REALLY don't get along!
This leads to a combinatorics question and a Batman question.
COMBINATORICS: Assuming that all of these options are independent, how many versions of the
Batman Legend could there be? This should be easy.
BATMAN: Of all of these, how many have actually been realized?
This might take a Batman scholar to figure out.
And I haven't even talked about Robin (nor will I).
There are also variants of the COMBINATORICS question if you disallow certain
combinations. For example, If Aunt Hariet exists then Superman does not.
I'm sure there are more options I don't know about.
If you know any, comment!