addresses the scientific feasibility of a human being ever achieving peak of performance embodied by the Caped Crusader, and is essentially a guide for understanding how the human body works and responds to exercise.
Zehr, a long-time reader of comic books, drew on the combined expertise gained in undergraduate (BPE, McMaster University) and graduate (MSc) training in kinesiology with his knowledge of neuroscience (PhD; University of Alberta) and his more than 25 years of personal experience in martial arts. A main point of Zehr's book is that despite all the technology and gadgetry, there is a real person inside the batsuit who needs extreme training. Zehr often points out that this training includes not just Batman's muscles but also his bones.
Inventing Iron Man
examines the Marvel
superhero as a biological control problem. The book explores what it would mean to the human body, and the nervous system particularly, to use an integrated exoskeleton like the Iron Man suit of armor. Inventing Iron Man explores deeply the concept of brain-machine interface
and develops the thesis that such an exoskeleton could only work if it were connected directly to the brain of the user. A main focus are the changes that would occur in the nervous system (neural plasticity) as a result of prolonged use of such a comprehensive neuroprosthetic.
follows Jessie, a 13-year-old girl, and her diary as she documents a year-long school project called the Superhero Slam. Unlike his previous books, Zehr wrote Project Superhero
with a middle school aged audience in mind, aiming specifically at girls. Where he previously used superheroes as a means for relaying scientific research and queries surrounding human physiology, he wanted to look at what "superheroes represent in our culture as seen through Jessie's eyes".
Zehr interviewed real life heroes that provide Jessie with expert advice, including: Mike Bruen, Kelly Sue DeConnick
, Clara Hughes
, Bryan Q. Miller
, Christie Nicholson, Yuriko Romer, Nicole Stott
, Jessica Watson
, and Hayley Wickenheiser