Riddle Me This, Batman!

Essays on the Universe of the Dark Knight

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About the Book

From his first comic-book appearance in 1939 through his many incarnations on the big screen, the archetypal superhero known as The Batman has never been far from the American consciousness. The character shaped the way we read comics and graphic novels, view motion pictures, and analyze the motifs of the Hero, the Anti-Hero and the Villain. He has also captured the scholarly imagination, telling us much about our society and ourselves. These essays examine how Batman is both the canvas on which our cultural identity is painted, and the Eternal Other that informs our own journeys of understanding. Questions relating to a wide range of disciplines—philosophy, literature, psychology, pop culture, and more—are thoroughly and entertainingly explored, in a manner that will appeal both to scholars and to fans of the Caped Crusader alike.

About the Author(s)

Kevin K. Durand is the dean of academics at the LISA Academy College Preparatory School in Little Rock, Arkansas. He has published broadly in philosophy, religion, and ethics.
Mary K. Leigh is a doctoral academy fellow at the University of Arkansas.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Kevin K. Durand and Mary K. Leigh
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 228
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2011
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4629-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8731-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface

MARY K. LEIGH      1

Introduction: What Has Adorno to Do with Gotham?

KEVIN K. DURAND      3

Part One: The Ethics and Anarchy of Batman

1. Virtue in Gotham: Aristotle’s Batman

MARY K. LEIGH      17

2. The Dark Knight Errant: Power and Authority in Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

CHRISTOPHER BUNDRICK      24

3. Why Adam West Matters: Camp and Classical Virtue

KEVIN K. DURAND      41

4. Dark Knight, White Knight, and the King of Anarchy

STEPHANIE CARMICHAEL      54

5. Introducing a Little Anarchy: The Dark Knight and Power Structures on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

SUDIPTO SANYAL      70

Part Two: Batman and Literary Theory

6. Batman’s Canon: Hybridity and the Interpretation of the Superhero

KEVIN K. DURAND      81

7. Seminar on the Purloined Batarang: Batman and Lacan

MITCH FRYE      93

8. Queer Matters in The Dark Knight Returns: Why We Insist on a Sexual Identity for Batman

JENÉE WILDE      104

9. The Hero We Read: The Dark Knight, Popular Allegoresis, and Blockbuster Ideology

ANDREA COMISKEY      124

10. Rolling the Boulder in Gotham

RANDY DUNCAN      147

11. Figuration of the Superheroic Revolutionary: The Dark Knight of Negation

D. T. KOFOED      156

Part Three: Batman and Beyond

12. “One May Smile, and Smile, and Be a Villain”: Grim Humor and the Warrior Ethos

MELANIE WILSON      169

13. “And Doesn’t All the World Love a Clown?”: Finding the Joker and the Representation of His Evil

MICHAEL SMITH      187

14. Call It (Friendo): Flipism and Folklore in No Country for Old Men and The Dark Knight

MATTHEW FOTIS      201

About the Contributors      219

Index      221