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Compiled via a veteran author of the comedian sequence, this selection of essays explores Batman’s motivations and activities, in addition to these of his foes. Batman is a creature of the evening, extra approximately vengeance than justice, extra tormented by doubts than jam-packed with self-assurance, and extra darkness than mild. He has no superpowers, simply ability, force, and a truly well-made swimsuit.

One of the main famous superheroes ever created, Batman has survived via campy television exhibits and movies, via actors like Adam West, Michael Keaton, and Christian Bale. It covers either the foolish and the solemn, asking questions like Why is the Joker so strong at pushing Batman’s buttons? What does Batman’s know-how say concerning the times? Why are Batman’s villains crazier than average? and Why is Batman definitely the right, iconic American hero?

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Additional info for Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City (Smart Pop Series)

Sample text

Batman is a Pez dispenser; he is a bat-shaped belt buckle. Batman is not a hard-ass vigilante, nor is he a duly deputized crime fighter; he is a stamped silhouette on a box of cereal. And that is why I am here today with a proposition: of all the decades of Batman stories in a huge variety of media, there is only one that will forever be tied to the character. I am speaking, of course, of the liveaction TV show, which aired twice weekly on ABC from January 12, 1966, to March 14, 1968. The show, featuring Adam West as Batman, was explicitly campy and humorous, with a sensibility in design, plotting, and cinematography that was pure Pop art.

He chose as his territory Gotham City, and as his target the criminal underworld (as Ahab chose the whale), but his real target (and intended audience) was the cosmos itself. In a Batman story from the early ’70s, a trained martial artist studied Batman in combat and then attempted to take him down. Later, looking out the window of Commissioner Gordon’s office, Batman mused that somewhere out there, some other punk was readying himself to take his shot. Gordon asked if that made him depressed, and Batman responded that, no, he could hardly wait.

After perfection, the only place to go is ruination-glorious and exuberant ruination. Frank Miller’s next Batman project is a straight-to-graphic-novel he has written and drawn called Batman vs. Al-Qaeda. “It is, not to put too fine a point on it, a piece of propaganda,” says Miller, as quoted by the BBC, “a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we’re up against” (BBC News). Fans have claimed that Miller has lost his mindhe has certainly revealed that his overblown politics in Dark Knight Returns were not a parody, but his belief that heroic fascism is the answer to our current political problems.

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