ACKWORTH, IA - Born in the late 1960's, Bruce Wayne Stroker grew up reading DC Comics. His mother and father - both long-time fans of Bob Kane's seminal vigilante-superhero "Batman" - even named him for the famed millionaire-playboy of the graphic novel. Now that he's fast approaching his fiftieth birthday, Stroker plans on doing the unimaginable: he's purchased up acres of under-used Iowa farmland for the sole purpose of creating his own Gotham City.
"I've always wanted to have my own playset," Stroker admitted in a recent interview. "Other kids had theirs. They were playing with G.I. Joes or Barbie dream-this or dream-that. But I wanted something more. Something bigger. Now that my disposable income equals the gross national wealth of Sweden, I'm going to get it."
Stroker unveiled his plans to build a life-sized Gotham City on recently auctioned properties during last month's town meeting at Ackworth City Hall. Needless to say, Ackworth residents are a bit puzzled.
"I collect hogs," said Darcy Staf, who spends her work hours as a home healthcare nurse at the Ackworth Senior Lakes Residency. "Not real ones. Ceramic ones. And not pigs, either. Just hogs. Ceramic hogs. Just what in blazes would I do with full-size ceramic hogs? What B.W. is thinking in building a full-size fake city doesn't make any sense to me."
Still, Stroker won't be dissuaded from pursuing his dream.
"I'm going to have a full-scale Gotham City Hall where I can play Batman, and I'll be receiving the keys to the city one day, and I'll have a few buddies of mine from high school come out and play, like, the Joker or the Riddler or the Penguin," he said with some excitement. "They'll break up the ceremony, and then we'll fight it out. Not real fighting, you know. Fake stuff, like all of that MMA crap on the Superstation. And parkour. There will be plenty of parkour. Batman is real big into parkour these days. Then, I'll throw them in my Batmobile, and I'll haul them back to my Batcave, and I'll burn them with a propane torch for all of those times they made fun of me for my lisp back in high school. Just like Batman would do."
Stroker is planning to break ground early next spring after the snow melts and the ground is fully thawed.
"I'm planning of building the first few places all by myself," he confessed. "Once I get a couple of the big skyscrapers done, then I figure folks will be so excited to see Gotham City come to life that they'll just start volunteering. It'll be great."