The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and his Media

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9780415903479: The Many Lives of the Batman: Critical Approaches to a Superhero and his Media
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The phenomenal success of Batman: The Movie seemed to signal the apotheosis of the Batman in the American popular imagination. But what social conditions can account for the enduring popularity of such a dark and conflicted character? The Many Lives of the Batman is the first serious academic exploration of this intriguing cultural phenomenon. Marketing savvy alone did not build the Batman's extraordinary success; it traverses a variety of audiences who have embraced the hero in a collage of different media manifestations throughout his fifty year history. These overlapping lives are illuminated in this critical anthology, which analyzes the contexts of the character's production and reception across a wide spectrum of time and media forms.

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From Publishers Weekly:

Since his 1939 debut Batman has appeared in a stream of guises--the original Dark Knight of the '40s, the ``bright, sunny fellow'' of the '50s, the campy clown of the '60s and the current complex character that incorporates both ``obsessed loner'' and comedic traits. In this intriguing collection of essays, editors Pearson and Uricchio, who teach mass communications at Penn State University, join contributors to examine the reasons for this frequent overhaul in the nature of the Caped Crusader. They point to the comic-book industry's gradual shift from a mass to a specialized medium, along with new marketing strategies and changing cultural environments. Interviews with Batman editor Dennis O'Neil and graphic-novel author Frank Miller reveal both the creative and the business processes of comics. The authors also explore Batman's controversial relationship with Robin, and the influence of fans, so powerfully expressed by their telephone-poll decision to kill the Boy Wonder. Despite its academic style, comics fans, collectors and readers interested in pop culture will find this work stimulating and informative.

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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