Batman and the Joker : Contested Sexuality in Popular Culture book cover
1st Edition

Batman and the Joker
Contested Sexuality in Popular Culture

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 1, 2022
ISBN 9780367562991
April 1, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
118 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This cultural analysis of visual and narrative elements within Batman comics provides an important exploration of the ways readers and creators negotiate gender, identity, and sexuality in popular culture.

Thematic chapters investigate how artists, writers, and fans engage with, challenge, and interpret gendered and sexual representations by focusing on one of the most popular and heated fictional rivalries ever inked: that of Batman and the Joker. The monograph provides critical insights into ways queer reading practices can open new forms of understanding that have generally remained implicit and unexplored in mainstream comics studies.

This accessible and interdisciplinary approach to the Caped Crusader and the Clown Prince of Crime engages diverse fields of scholarship such as Comics Studies, Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Literature, Psychoanalysis, Media Studies, and Queer Theory.

Table of Contents


Reading the Dark Knight

Queering the Caped Crusader

Investigating the World’s Greatest Detective

Chapter One: Dragged into Desire: Bruce Wayne’s Woman Problem

Traces of Batman

Desire and the Dark Knight

The Bat and the Cat

Chapter Two: Lavender Lapels and Poison Pansies: The Joker as Queer Trickster

The Man Who Laughs

Straight and Narrow

The Fraternity of Saps

Death of the Family

Chapter Three: With the Lights Out: The Then and There of Gotham City

Of Other Spaces

Profound Silences

No Man’s Land

List of Comics

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    Chris Richardson is Associate Professor and Chair of Communication Studies at Young Harris College in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia. He is also Program Director of the Popular Culture Minor and Curator of the Andy Rowe Comics Collection there. His previous publications include Covering Canadian Crime: What Journalists Should Know and the Public Should Question (2016), co-edited with Romayne Smith Fullerton, and Habitus of the Hood (2012), co-edited with Hans Skott-Myhre. He also hosts This Is Not A Pipe Podcast (, where he interviews authors of new books in Critical Theory, Cultural Studies, and Philosophy.