Soul of the Dark Knight

Batman as Mythic Figure in Comics and Film


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About the Book

This is a book about the comics genre and language, how these were used to create Batman, and how that character’s longevity is largely due to the medium’s unique formal qualities. It argues that Batman’s core appeal is his mythic nature which allows him to transcend changes in reader tastes, the vicissitudes of the comics industry, and the changing media landscape. While including some historical elements, it is mostly a study of how the formal aspects of comics are able to evoke uniquely mythic qualities that have made Batman such a long-lived cultural phenomenon and how efforts to adapt these qualities into other media, particularly live-action feature films, have succeeded or failed based on the strategies employed. The book sheds light both on comics as a medium and art form with its own language, syntax and codes and on the process of adaptation—a growing area of study, given Hollywood’s continuing interest in working with comic book superheroes.

About the Author(s)

Alex M. Wainer is an associate professor of communication and media studies at Palm Beach Atlantic University. He lives in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Alex M. Wainer

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 208
Bibliographic Info: 11 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7128-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1505-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Preface 1
Introduction 3
1. Myth and the Mythic 15
2. “I shall become a bat!” Batman’s History, Personality and Legend 34
3. Mythic Characteristics in Batman 55
4. Comics Art and Batman 76
5. Adapting Batman and the Mythic into Film 101
6. Adapting Batman, Part 1: Batman in Film and Other Media 120
7. Adapting Batman, Part 2: The Christopher Nolan Batman Trilogy 142
8. The Comics Medium as a Means of Evoking the Mythic 161
Appendix: Charting the Mythic in Mass Media 175
Chapter Notes 183
Bibliography 185
Index 192

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A welcome addition…excellent…will encourage both renewed thinking and healthy debate among its readers”—Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics
  • “Valuable”—