Mark Harris
January 05, 2001 AT 05:00 AM EST

Batman Unmasked: Analyzing a Cultural Icon

Current Status
In Season
Will Brooker
Pop Culture

We gave it a B

Holy intertextuality! Sifting through the Caped Crusader’s 60-year career as everything from unwitting World War II bond shill to TV camp relic to rehabilitated Dark Knight, Brooker, a British pop-studies prof whose Gotham City-related Ph.D. thesis got him dubbed ”Dr. Batman,” explores the chameleonic nature of one of America’s most enduring fictional creations. An academic who uses phrases like ”unidirectional causality” when he means ”one cause,” Brooker nonetheless cuts through the mumbo jumbo (his own and others’) to deliver incisive analysis and very sharp reporting, particularly on the comic book’s homoerotic subtext — which actually caused widespread parental alarm in the ’50s — and on the ’60s TV show’s knowing self-mockery, as well as on how the ”official” 21st-century Batman nods to both. B

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