Batman and the Multiplicity of Identity
The Contemporary Comic Book Superhero as Cultural Nexus
Concentrating primarily on contemporary depictions of Batman in the comic books, this book analyzes why Batman is so immensely popular right now in America and globally, and how the fictional Dark Knight reveals both new cultural concerns and longstanding beliefs about American values. The organizing premise is that while Batman is perceived as a very clearly defined character, he is open to a wide range of interpretations and depictions in the comics (what Henry Jenkins refers to as "multiplicities"), each of which allows access to different cultural issues. The idea of Batman functions as an anchoring point out of which multiple Batmen, or Batman-like characters, can occupy different positions: Grim Batman, Gay Batman, Female Batman, Black Batman, Cute Batman, and so on. Each iteration opens up a discussion of different cultural issues pertinent to modern society, such as sexuality, ethnicity, feminism and familial relationships.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: "Always Be Batman"
2. Batman and Multiplicity: Stability and Variation
3. Batman and Sexuality: Secret Identities, Lust and Romance
4. Batman and Sons: Family and Patriarchal Authority
5. The Bat-Women: Caped Crusaders and Costumed Feminism
6. The Other Batmen: Whiteness, Appropriation and Colonization
7. Batman and Villainy: The Dark Side of the Dark Knight
8. "I’m the Goshdarn Batman!" Affect and the Aesthetics of Cute Batman
Jeffrey A. Brown is a Professor in the Department of Popular Culture and The School of Critical and Cultural Studies at Bowling Green State University, USA