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

R. Pearson, Author, Roberta E. Pearson, Editor, William Uricchio, Editor Routledge $20.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-415-90347-9
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. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/04/1991
Release date: 02/01/1991
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Hardcover - 213 pages - 978-0-415-90346-2
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