Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon

Front Cover
A&C Black, Sep 18, 2001 - Social Science - 368 pages
8 Reviews
A work of scholarship and a labor of love. "This is the definitive history of the Batman in all media: comics, film, television and the internet. The bookĂs combination of rigorous historical research and a witty, fluid writing style make it both vastly instructive and vastly entertaining."--Roberta Pearson, editor of The Many Lives of the Batman "Will appeal to avid students of pop culture and comics, and a gay cult audience...BrookerĂs impressive overview of BatmanĂs history reflects on the masked oneĂs origins, early arch rivals and the introduction of Robin, and concentrates on four periods: WWII, the mid 1950s, the Ă60s and the Ă90s. In 1954, child psychologist Fredric Wertham attacked the comic book industryÓnoting homoerotic undercurrents between Batman and Robin; BrookerĂs lengthy and fascinating Ăgay readingĂ supports WerthamĂs claim, albeit with a positive, postmodern twist. After recalling the campy image of Batman spawned by ABCĂs 1960s TV show, the author takes a look at Batman writers, fans, fanzines and the Net, concluding with a hilarious chapter on how his research was ridiculed by the British media." -Publishers Weekly ˘ÓBrookerĂs account is bolstered by his fan expertise. This book usefully expands uponÓThe Many Lives of Batman. RecommendedÓ÷--Library Journal"A historical, detailed, deep analysis of Batman as a cultural icon in America. This isn't a simple polemic or surface-shallow analysis. This is deep stuff-analyzing art styles, histories, individual panels, cultural concepts, and historical documentsÓ. plenty of startling revelations and analysesÓThis is a stunningly well-done, intelligent book. It's proof that comics are not throwaway ephemera, but real, vital, analyzable parts of our culture. It's also a must-have for the hardcore Batman fan and comics fan-who doesn't mind some ideas being challenged."--www.super-heroes.net˘Brooker cuts through the mumbo jumbo to deliver incisive analysis and very sharp reporting, particularly on the comic book's homoerotic subtext and on the 60's TV show's knowing self-mockery, as well as on how the 'official' 21st Century Batman nods to both.÷--Entertainment WeeklyOver the sixty years of his existence, Batman has encountered an impressive array of cultural icons and has gradually become one himself. This fascinating book examines what Batman means and has meant to the various audiences, groups and communities who have tried to control and interpret him over the decades. Brooker reveals the struggles over Batman's meaning by shining a light on the cultural issues of the day that impacted on the development of the character. They include: patriotic propaganda of the Second World War; the accusation that Batman was corrupting the youth of America by appearing to promote a homosexual lifestyle to the fans of his comics; Batman becoming a camp, pop culture icon through the ABC TV series of the sixties; fans' interpretation of Batman in response to the comics and the Warner Bros. franchise of films.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
4
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon

User Review  - Shea Mastison - Goodreads

This was a remarkable analysis of Batman as a cultural icon. Will Brooker lays out some excellent ideas concerning the development of Batman from his origins nearly a century ago; he covers topics as ... Read full review

Review: Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon

User Review  - Fraser - Goodreads

This is an impressive piece of work, but at times heavy going and a bit dense for me, which also kind of spoils some of the fun of the subject matter. Although its an academic book, and well ... Read full review

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2001)

Will Brooker is Director of Film Studies and Television at Kingston University, UK. He is the author of several books, including studies of Batman, Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Lewis Carroll.

Bibliographic information